Your marketing goals are clear. You want to capture your audience, gain engagement, and nail conversions or sales. To do this, you need to hire the right people to get it done.

But hiring exceptional marketing talent can come with exceptional headaches. Seeking and interviewing can take months, and finding the right people to fit your project, goals, and culture can be a long and frustrating process.

More and more businesses are turning to fractional talent to not only fill roles quickly but to find the right fit, save costs, and scale projects more efficiently.

What is Fractional Talent?

Fractional talent refers to contracted specialists brought in to fulfill a specific job in a short period of time or a seasoned professional slotted in the long term to help alleviate in-house resource and/or skills gaps. They may be analysts, creatives, or writers.

In today’s fractional labor market, companies can access skills with a speed and immediacy that is unprecedented. This immediate access to a wide variety of skills, the agility to start and stop work on demand, and the lower average cost compared to full-time employees gives a meaningful competitive advantage to HR and business leaders. – RJ Milnor, founder and CEO of People Analytics Partners, for SHRM 

Marketing departments may hire different types of fractional talent based on their needs, such as strategists, content creators, social media specialists, or SEO specialists.

Why Choose Fractional Talent?

Implementing fractional roles provides immediate access to a wide variety of skills, the agility to start and stop work on demand, and a lower average cost compared to full-time employees.

Cost effectiveness in terms of fractional team hiring


One of the top reasons to use fractional talent is cost. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the average cost of a full-time employee is 1.25 to 1.4 times the salary. A single strategist may only produce four pieces of content a month, depending on complexity. This means for a robust content program, you’ll be paying huge costs to create at scale. Optimizing with fractional hiring helps you maximize your impact.

Flexibility and scalability

Fractional talent is perfect for jobs that aren’t part of the day-to-day. If there are skills that are critical for specific projects but not for the rest of the year, you may want to bring in a contractor.

Similarly, fractional talent can be perfect for specific deliverables, such as blog writing. A stable of expert freelance writers can free up the rest of your marketing department if you decide to ramp up production.

Access to specialized skills

Well-rounded marketers make excellent full-time hires. They can easily adapt strategies to cater to the unique needs of different audiences. And they understand, at least at a high level, the nuances across marketing channels like digital, social, content, and traditional.

But knowledge at a high level often isn’t enough to execute a highly detailed marketing plan. Fractional talent can provide laser-focused expertise in subjects like search engine optimization or email marketing, that provides measurable results.

Identifying the Right Fractional Talent

Identifying the Right Fractional Talent

A recent study from McKinsey & Company found that 36 percent of employed workers who responded to its survey were contract, freelance, temporary, or gig workers, which McKinsey estimated to be the equivalent of 58 million Americans. So, there is plenty of talent out there.

The struggle is not to find talent, it’s to find the right talent. If you’re looking to add fractional experts to your team, you’ll want to consider skills, strategic fit, and recommendations.

Skills and expertise

Because you’re seeking a contractor to fill a specific role, their experience and background matters. At a minimum, look for resumes that match your specific needs.

It can help to create an internal job description, much like you would for a full-time hire. This way, you know exactly what you want, such as:

  • X-Y years of experience
  • Proven success in these areas
  • A track record of working with a specific technology

Cultural and strategic fit

Just like a full-time employee, you want your fractional talent to fold into your culture. In that regard, you should look for a good fit when it comes to work style and values. Consider:

  1. Work style: They are compatible with the company’s communication style, pace, and collaboration methods.
  2. Attitude: They exhibit a positive attitude and work ethic that complements the team dynamic.
  3. Alignment with goals: Their approach and work align with the company’s strategic objectives and long-term vision.
  4. Adaptability: They can integrate their work into the broader business strategy and adapt to changing priorities.

Recommendations and reviews

One of the benefits of fractional talent is the increased hiring time. But that same nimble hiring means you don’t have time to suss out strengths and weaknesses as thoroughly as you would a full-time hire. Make sure to look for recommendations or otherwise find a way to vet talent.

For example, freelance content creators at ClearVoice are thoroughly vetted and must apply to be accepted to the platform. We identify and accept applicants based on their skill level, credentials, and experience.

The Hiring Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

The Hiring Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Hiring fractional talent doesn’t have to be scary. Take four steps and then start reaping the reward.

1. Define your needs

Before seeking fractional talent, identify exactly what they will be doing. Start by outlining the scope: what are the objectives, deadlines, and deliverables? This clarity will not only help you communicate your needs but also ensure you’re on the lookout for freelancers with the right expertise.

Codify the requirements for your fractional hires and then start looking.

2. Find the talent

A few places to find talent can be:

  • Traditional job boards like LinkedIn
  • Networking events
  • Industry-specific societies and job boards
  • Freelancing networks

3. Interview or screen talent

While you don’t want to spend six months looking to hire fractional talent, you are still hiring. You’ll want to connect with potential contractors for virtual interviews to make sure you’re checking for that strategic and cultural fit.

4. Make your selection

Send over the paperwork and start working! No need for the traditional hiring process that takes a massive time toll. Yes, you’ll need to onboard them, but the ramp-up time is minimal in comparison to a full-time, in-house employee who needs to sit through various HR training, benefits calls, and various department introductions, let alone their roles onboarding duties. So cut to the chase.

Best Practices for Integrating Fractional Talent Into Your Team

The best fractional talent feels like an extension of your team. This means you’ll need to find ways to work well together for long-term success. You just have to make sure you have the right leadership strategies for fractional teams.

Onboarding strategies for fractional talent

Onboarding strategies

Provide comprehensive onboarding to help your fractional talent learn your company’s culture, values, and processes. Document processes and ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities. It may be helpful to hold a kickoff meeting to provide context and institutional knowledge and answer any questions.

Communication and workflow management

Fractional pros are 1099 employees, meaning there are legal requirements around communication and workflow management you need to keep in mind. Legally, contractors should not be told how or when to do their work.

Still, you’ll want to establish procedures for how you’ll communicate and when, what’s expected, and what works best for all parties.

Monitoring and feedback mechanisms

Even the best writer or strategist isn’t perfect. You’ll want to set up a system for check-ins and feedback. Schedule regular review sessions and create a cadence for feedback and revisions.

Leveraging Managed Content Partners for Hiring Fractional Talent

Leveraging Managed Content Partners for Hiring Fractional Talent

If all of that still sounded like a lot of work for the number of freelancers you’re hoping to acquire, you may consider using an agency or flexible content partner.

Benefits of using a partner

Content partners provide the benefit of an expert contract hire without needing to source one. An agency or partner can manage your overall content strategy while finding, vetting, and managing fractional writers.

How content partners vet and manage fractional talent

Specialized content marketing agencies take the time to review the talent at hand. For example, ClearVoice reviews the CV Portfolio of every person who applies to join their network. And, we do a little more to be certain your talent is spot on, like:

  • Reviewing their CV Portfolio & content
  • Verifying published works
  • Confirming rates per word and per piece
  • Verifying industries of expertise
  • Confirming identity via Zoom

ClearVoice fractional team how we did it

How ClearVoice Shifted its Marketing Team from In-House to Fractional Talent

When we recommend fractional talent, it’s because we know it works! In 2022, the ClearVoice internal marketing team was affected by a mid-year reduction in force, a surprise Q4 budget cut, and other team churn that left us struggling to keep up, let alone grow our lead generation efforts.

We hired four specialists in content strategy and production, brand copywriting, multimedia production, and web development on a fractional basis. This allowed us to:

  • Pay experts their asking rate
  • Execute campaigns more efficiently
  • Shift resources quickly when necessary
  • Save the cost of a senior resource doing coordinator-level work

The change led to a 30 percent increase year-over-year in Sales Qualified Leads (SQL) — our marketing KPI — while saving nearly 40 percent in our marketing operating expenses. Read our whole experience switching to fractional talent here.

Supercharge Your Marketing Department With Fractional Talent

Fractional hires allow you to bring in experts to execute specific tasks and campaigns. They can help scale your business and often cost less than a full-time employee. If you’re not sure how fractional talent can help your team, connect with a seasoned content strategist to help identify your next steps and goals.