With shifting budgets and economic earthquakes, marketing teams are engaged in the age-old question of whether to hire in-house or work with a vendor or agency.

We hate to break it to you, but the answer isn’t as straightforward as you think. It requires some in-depth comparison and reflection on your industry and business overall. 

The same rings true with content marketing. An increasing number of businesses are choosing to outsource their content creation needs. In this article, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of in-house vs. outsourcing, helping you make the best, most informed decisions that align with your unique content marketing objectives. 

Understanding Outsourcing in Content Marketing

Content marketing is one of the easiest places to start with outsourcing in marketing. Hear us out! Take a moment and add up all of the resources you’d need to create content in today’s landscape:

  • Content Strategist
  • Content Marketing Manager
  • Writer(s)
  • Editor
  • Designer(s)
  • SEO Specialist
  • Multimedia/Video Producer/Editor

If you hired all those folks in-house, that’s quite the headcount budget! And, let’s be real – do those folks really need to work full-time with your company? Maybe some of them do, but in many cases, businesses don’t have salaried employees to fulfill these types of functions.

Enter outsourcing – either with a vendor partner or by simply hiring a cadre of content contractors.

outsourcing content may be the best way to achieve your content objectives.

Key Benefits of Outsourcing

We’ll go ahead and say it: outsourcing content may be the best way to achieve your content objectives. Here are some of the top benefits of outsourcing content creation: 

  • Cost-savings: In most cases, outsourcing content saves you more money than hiring in-house creators. You get quality talent to create content for your brand without a full-time salary, benefits, payroll taxes, etc.
  • Time-savings: Marketing has aggressive timelines and rigorous deadlines. We get it! Diving into the weeds of content creation takes up a ton of time. But outsourcing doesn’t have to. Outsourcing helps maintain your team’s content workflow when you lack the capacity or time. 
  • Access to top talent: Content outsourcing allows you to work with industry experts without long-term commitments. Not to mention, freelancers bring new, fresh perspectives to the table and open the doors to access different tools, resources, and in-depth information. 
  • Lightened workload: With the flexibility provided, you can easily offset the workload of your core team and boost your overall impact. This lets your in-house people focus on other vital tasks like strategy and monitoring return on investment (ROI). 
  • Diversified content strategy: Avoid the in-house cost of content diversity with a managed service or agency. They bring economies of scale to the table so you can create a range of content types, such as videos, podcasts, eBooks, infographics, and much more. 

Potential Drawbacks

We’ve laid out the pros, but what about the cons? Brands looking to get started with outsourcing need to be ready to encounter potential drawbacks such as: 

  • Maintaining company and brand standards: With in-house resources, it’s easier to consistently uphold all values and standards. When you outsource, you’ll need to monitor your brand guidelines as content is delivered. 

Pro Tip: Hold an initial kickoff meeting to emphasize your standards and supply your brand and editorial guidelines upfront to help showcase your preferences from the start. 

Pro Tip: Hold an initial kickoff meeting to emphasize your standards and supply your brand and editorial guidelines upfront to help showcase your preferences from the start.

  • Communication breakdowns: The more people in your content production operation, the more likely communication can cause delays. It’s essential to overcommunicate your needs and expectations with any outsourced partner or content agency.  

Pro Tip: When onboarding a new agency partner, think of them like a new employee. Provide thorough communication and training on your brand to ensure success. 

Pro Tip: When onboarding a new agency partner, think of them like a new employee. Provide thorough communication and training on your brand to ensure success.

  • Contractor or freelancer replacement: Like employees, contractors and freelancers can churn. And sometimes, they do so without less notice than an in-house resource. When looking for an approach to outsourcing, consider partners who have access to many seasoned experts to easily swap up for the given project, piece, or role. 

Pro Tip: Build longevity with freelance resources by taking a long-term approach to project staffing. This might include grouping multiple projects, guarantees, or other incentives that create more of a bond between your business and the freelancer. 

Pro Tip: Build longevity with freelance resources by taking a long-term approach to project staffing. This might include grouping multiple projects, guarantees, or other incentives that create more of a bond between your business and the freelancer.

The Case for In-House Teams

In a perfect world, all marketers would have endless budgets to maintain in-house content marketing teams. Production would encompass the full gamut of content types, and the content operation would be flawless, from strategy to ideation to production to distribution.

This dream is rarely a reality, unfortunately, especially as budgets tighten. This doesn’t negate the benefits of in-house teams, which range from more control over content to deeper alignment with the company’s culture to more direct and faster communication. In-house teams are also better equipped to produce content for other teams within the organization.

in-house content covers everything from building your brand essence to fostering a productive workforce and company culture.

Pros: In-House Content Marketing Teams

When it comes to in-house vs. outsourcing, going all in on in-house has its perks. It covers everything from building your brand essence to fostering a productive workforce and company culture. Let’s unpack some of the top benefits of in-house teams: 

  • Brand and culture fit: In-house teams work closely within the company’s ecosystem, ensuring a strong alignment with the brand’s vision and culture. This collaboration fosters a unified approach to achieving overall goals.
  • Direct oversight: Managing projects in-house allows for more control over each aspect of the content creation process. While outsourcing can offer flexibility, keeping specific projects in-house provides direct oversight, ensuring projects align with company standards and objectives. 
  • Quality control: With in-house teams, there’s an opportunity for more frequent quality checks, which help keep projects on track, within budget, and up to standard. The proximity allows for a more hands-on approach, monitoring and maintaining quality throughout the production process.

There are some challenges you might face with an all-in-house approach

Cons: In-House Content Marketing Teams

While in-house teams have their perks, it’s only fair to look at the flip side. Here are some challenges you might face with an all-in-house approach: 

  • Cost concerns: Sure, having everyone under your roof sounds great, but it can get pricey. We’re talking salaries, benefits, the works — not to mention the tech and tools everyone needs. It adds up, and before you know it, your budget might be stretching a bit too thin.

Pro Tip: Keep a close eye on your budget and weigh the costs against the benefits. Sometimes, outsourcing specific tasks can give your budget some breathing room. 

Pro Tip: Keep a close eye on your budget and weigh the costs against the benefits. Sometimes, outsourcing specific tasks can give your budget some breathing room.

  • Hitting a bottleneck: Skill gaps are real, and when your team’s missing a piece of the puzzle, things slow down. Delays can hurt your brand and disappoint your audience. And if you think hiring more hands will fix it quick, remember — recruitment and training take time.

Pro Tip: Regularly assess your team’s skills and consider short-term training or workshops to fill in the gaps without the long hiring process. 

Pro Tip: Regularly assess your team's skills and consider short-term training or workshops to fill in the gaps without the long hiring process.

  • Stay cutting edge: We know content marketing moves fast, and keeping your team up-to-date with the latest trends and skills is a must. But finding folks with the right expertise for a one-off project? That’s a tall order.

Pro Tip: Leverage online courses and industry webinars to keep your team sharp. For niche needs, a short-term consultant might just do the trick without the long-term commitment. 

Pro Tip: Leverage online courses and industry webinars to keep your team sharp. For niche needs, a short-term consultant might just do the trick without the long-term commitment.

Navigating these challenges is part of the in-house game. As you’re refining your in-house vs. outsourcing operations, it’s all about balancing the benefits with the bumps along the road and finding what works best for your team and your brand.

Deciding What’s Best for Your Business

Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks: deciding between keeping things in-house vs. outsourcing and throwing some tasks over the fence. 

It’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. You’ve got to take a good, hard look at what your brand needs, what your team’s rocking at right now, and how your budget’s looking.

Assessing Your Business Needs and Goals

Assessing Your Business Needs and Goals

First things first, when you’re deciding in-house vs. outsourcing, nail down what you’re aiming for with your content marketing. Is it about getting your name out there, becoming the go-to expert in your field, or raking in leads? Your endgame helps to steer the ship on whether you keep things in-house or seek help from outside.

Say you’re diving into the deep end with some super niche, technical content. If your in-house team isn’t quite fluent in that type of content and technical jargon, it could be time to lean on outsourcing. On the flip side, if your content needs a big splash of what makes your brand unique or deep dives into your products, then your own crew might just be the all-stars you need.

Balancing Budget and Resources

Weighing your dollars and cents against the talent you’ve got or might need is quite the balancing act. When you’re deciding between in-house vs. outsourcing, ask yourself: can your budget handle bringing on new faces? Level up your current team’s skills? Or solidify the tech and tools for the job? If just thinking about it makes you break out in hives, well, there’s your sign.

But let’s keep it real: there’s something to be said for the inside scoop and control that comes with an in-house team. They get your vibe, they know the drill, and they’re all about pushing your bottom line. 

Yet, sometimes, you might need some expertise your team doesn’t have, or you’re up against the clock with a mountain of work that could easily be outsourced. That’s when a managed service provider might just be your knight in shining armor, bringing those top-notch skills to the table and driving home the results you’re after.

In-House vs. Outsourcing Head-to-Head

Let’s put in-house and outsourcing right up next to each other and compare and contrast their features to consider.

Comparison chart of in-house and outsourcing features

Features to consider

Let’s break down each one individually. First up, in-house.

In-house

  • Limited resources
  • Limited set or range of tech and tools
  • Narrow expertise range
  • Can be expensive and time-consuming
  • Easy quality assurance and control

Now, outsourced.

Outsourced

  • Supplementary resources
  • Access to further tech and tools
  • Broader range of expertise
  • Can be more cost-effective
  • May need a bit more oversight to ensure quality assurance

Both have their pros and cons, it just depends on which solution is right for you. But regardless of which one you choose, you’re going to need to know how to manage them.

Best Practices for Managing Outsourced and In-House Teams

Managing a mix of outsourced teams and in-house staff is a common scenario, especially in content marketing. But to make this blend work like a charm, there are a few tricks of the trade you’ll want to master. 

Clear chat and teamwork are the name of the game, whether you’re rallying the troops in-house or coordinating with your remote allies.

Effective Communication and Collaboration

Clear chat and teamwork are the name of the game, whether you’re rallying the troops in-house or coordinating with your remote allies. Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Asana are lifesavers, helping to bridge the physical gaps between in-house and remote teams. Everyone is just a shout-away, even if they’re in different time zones. These platforms are great for keeping tabs on things, swapping files, and ensuring everyone is swimming in the same direction. 

Pro Tip: Keep your outsourced teams in sync, regardless of time zones, by setting up regular catch-up calls and status updates — this keeps the workflow gliding smoothly. For your in-house crew, make sure to hold regular meetings, either face-to-face or virtual, to strengthen team unity and spark those lightbulb moments with instant feedback.

Monitoring Performance and Output

Quality is your top priority. It doesn’t matter if your content’s whipped up by your in-house geniuses or your outsourced pros. Sticking to those high standards is what it’s all about. So, how do you make sure everyone’s hitting the mark? Regular syncs and a keen eye on performance — that’s how.

  • Track the wins: Keep an eye on those KPIs. They’re like the breadcrumbs that tell you if you’re on the right path.
  • Feedback fests: Get into the groove of giving and receiving feedback. It’s the secret sauce for keeping things sharp and everyone on their toes.
  • Sample reviews: Dive into content samples every now and then. It’s like a sneak peek into what’s cooking and whether it’s up to your taste.

Pro tip: For the crew in your corner, how about more of those laid-back, “Hey, how’s it going?” chats or deep-dive discussions on the fly? And for your outsourced pros, provide crystal-clear goals and a structured review process to keep the quality top-notch and everything ticking like clockwork.

ClearVoice is uniquely positioned to manage in-house and outsourced teams for our marketing team and build outsourced content teams for other companies' marketing teams.

How ClearVoice Manages Outsourcing and In-House Strategies

ClearVoice is uniquely positioned to manage in-house and outsourced teams for our marketing team and build outsourced content teams for other companies’ marketing teams.

For our own marketing, we have assembled a mix of freelance writers and editors, long-term fractional content marketing professionals, and in-house strategists and managers. These resources help us manage the content marketing machine from strategy to distribution and analytics. We manage our workflows with a combination of project management tools, The ClearVoice Platform, Slack, and team meetings. Every process is documented so we can onboard and offboard all team members seamlessly when needed.

And, for our customers, ClearVoice primarily helps fill the content production gap. We source top freelance talent from our network of thousands of vetted freelancers in hundreds of business categories while managing the content production process for our customers. Additionally, we also source fractional resources that can flex into other marketing positions as well.

Bottom line, we have hands-on experience creating collaborative, hybrid teams and understand what it takes to build a content apparatus that generates great content and creates impactful business results.

The Future of Content Marketing Teams

ICYMI, the way we work is shifting big time. We’re talking more remote gigs, teams scattered across the globe, and a hefty dose of tech and AI stepping in for the usual grind. So, flexibility is key here.

So, what’s the game plan? It’s all about customizing how we juggle the home team and the outsourced, flexible pros. By finding that sweet spot between in-house vs. outsourcing, getting stuff done, and keeping the quality top-notch, companies can harness the full potential of their content marketing teams.

If you’re looking for an experienced partner to help produce the content assets you need, ClearVoice is here. Our managed content services are a perfect fit for brands of all sizes in over two hundred business categories. Connect with a content strategist today to get started. We’re all ears.