It’s pop quiz time! You’re in charge of content marketing for your company, and you need a freelance writer – fast. Writing that white paper, case study, or series of blog posts yourself or using someone in-house is not an option. What do you do?
- Find a freelance content marketing writer specializing in your industry.
- Work with a reputable content marketing agency (with only a few exceptions, your best bet is to check the Content Marketing Institute’s Agency Directory).
- Use a content mill/platform.
If you answered 1, I will buy you a fancy cup of coffee should we meet in person. If you answered 2, you get credit, too, because I love working with reputable content marketing agencies that value their freelance writing team. Agencies are great when you need a strategy, a strategy refresh, or want to outsource a good chunk of your content marketing operations. They can help you set goals for your content marketing initiatives and give you an experienced outside perspective on your content marketing.
An agency is completely different than a platform: agencies are hands-on and really get to know your businesses. Platforms are where you put in an order for content, and you don’t know what you’re getting. You also need to have some sort of strategy to order content from a platform; most of them will not do that for you.
Please note: I love agencies, and I mean no disrespect to them. I will always tell you that if you need more than writing services (e.g., strategy, design, distribution), you should definitely contact a reputable content marketing agency.
Choose an Agency for Larger Initiatives
Let’s talk about agencies for a minute. I don’t pretend I can do everything. I can’t give you a comprehensive strategy for your content marketing: a plan, a roadmap, design, distribution. This is best left to a reputable agency with a team of in-house or freelance professionals. If you need more than just writing, I strongly recommend you reach out to one of these agencies. They can help you a lot more than I can.
Sometimes You Just Need a Writer
But when you just need writing – you know what you want, you have an in-house strategy team in place, and you have the budget – you should absolutely work directly with a freelance content marketing writer. You’re probably reading this and thinking, “Well, yes, Christine. Of course you’d say that! You’re a freelance content marketing writer.” And you’re right. It’s definitely a benefit for me if you engage my services directly – although no hard feelings if you go with another writer who might better suit your needs. But it really is a win-win situation if you have the in-house support:
- There is no middleman – and no inflated pricing. It’s so tempting to hop on a content marketing platform to get some content written but think about it: there is a middleman, and there is a cost markup. So out of the money you’re paying for that blog post, a good-sized cut is going to the platform. This is different than how agencies work; they pay for quality, and they’re doing your strategy, too, so it’s not a markup. They’ve budgeted for writers, designers, and other professionals. Which brings me to my next point…
- You’re getting top quality. Platforms tend to vastly underpay their writers. You might balk at the initial cost when a freelance writer tells you how much that blog post/white paper/case study is going to cost. But they’re quoting that price because they have the experience and skills to back it up. Great freelance writers aren’t going to fight amongst themselves on platforms for the scraps. They’re assertively quoting what they’re worth. Agencies know this, which is why, if you’re looking for more than just writing, you should definitely contact one. They hire quality writers.
- You are in control. You’re working directly with your freelance writer when you just need content. You send her the content brief, not submit it through some sort of Byzantine platform. And instead of having to log back into the platform to get your content, you can specify how you want the content delivered (Word document, Google Docs, or something else), how you want her to submit her invoice, and more.
- You can better negotiate contract terms. With content marketing platforms, they likely have a standard contract. Freelance writers (and agencies) do, too, but they’re more willing to negotiate contract terms. Need to pay Net 45 instead of Net 15? We can work with that. Need to make sure there’s a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in place? We can also do that, too. There’s a level of flexibility that you definitely don’t get with platforms.
- Less people, better security. Finally, working with just one freelance writer, as opposed to a platform, means that fewer people are handling your documents. And if you’re the type of company that uses NDAs (as many of my technology clients do), you likely don’t want a lot of people seeing information about a product that hasn’t yet been launched. Think about all the eyeballs that will be reading your briefs. Wouldn’t you rather keep it to one trustworthy person or an agency that uses the same writers regularly?
Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose how you outsource your content writing. But if you want to ensure you get top quality, make your legal department happy, and secure your intellectual property, working with an individual freelance writer or a reputable agency is your best bet.
If you’d like to learn more about how I can help you with your content marketing writing, shoot me an email. If you’re not ready yet, but want to learn everything you need to know about case studies, sign up for my newsletter and download my free e-book.