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Why Search Agencies Need an In-House Content Creator

by Alyssa James | 27.03.2014

I did a quick search of agencies that advertise that they create content in-house. Besides content marketing agencies, most don’t mention whether they have copywriters, developers or designers in-house. This is something that clients want to know that you have. They should know that a large part of the content you’re creating is being done by someone you trust enough to put on your team. The client that has hired you is already outsourcing, and to do that on a regular basis is too many degrees of separation. It’s comforting to know that if there is a problem, their concerns can either be relayed directly or will at least be explained accurately.

Plus, you have another lovely person’s face to put on your client pitch PowerPoints!

Here are some reasons you should consider hiring in-house content creators:

They are your all-around A* pupils

Your in-house copywriter will give that extra care and attention to your clients’ needs and they can stay on top of requests. They’re not just churning out copy or designs as many freelancers do. They combine SEO or UX experience and creativity to develop the kind of content that works best for their clients. They also have the opportunity to be there in the office with you, learning from the rest of the team and incorporating new skills into their work.

Everyone has more time to do what they do best

Even though different teams need to be involved in the content creation process, that doesn’t mean you want your SEO Account Manager spending half his day briefing copywriters or a PPC executive in brainstorms every afternoon. Not when they have targets to hit. Let your content team deal with content – they can take a raw idea from the SEO manager and turn it into a brilliant piece of work. Even if you want to continue outsourcing work, someone in-house who is focussed on content can brief an external copywriter efficiently, leaving your SEO Account Manager to do what they do best: SEO.

Add new services to your agency

Give a shout if you’ve been in this situation: A new client is looking to have their website optimised and build authority in their sector, but the content on their website is confusing and hard to parse. They have a good service, but you wouldn’t take them seriously if you were basing it solely on their website. They have a blog but it’s been neglected. Your answer? You send over recommendations and hope they take them under advisement, knowing that the upcoming work is futile until they do it.

But wait! You have an in-house copywriter with experience in their field. So here’s what you do: Offer a website copywriting service – satisfaction guaranteed! Rewrite and UX their site, offer two blog posts a week, create a new infographic every quarter to be hosted on their blog, and so on… Suddenly your work becomes more effective.

You have more control over content creation

You’re in the driver’s seat from start to finish. Anyone in-house is going to have a better understanding of your clients’ needs and expectations. In-house content teams will be familiar with the brand audience, tone and guidelines. That means they’ll be able to knock out a piece before you’ve even had time to brief a new external copywriter or designer.

Have you ever sent a piece to the client for approval only to have them send it back with a bunch of track changes, simply because you didn’t have time to read it or the expertise to see problems? Having someone you trust in your office means they usually – hey, mistakes happen! – won’t send you or your client rubbish. They’ll also be able to act as officers of quality assurance when you do outsource because they’ll understand sentence structure or design principles.

So, when they send it back to the copywriter or designer, they won’t say “I/The client don’t /doesn’t like this. I don’t know why, just change it.” They’ll say, “The balance of the infographic is off because there’s too much negative space” or “This sentence structure is awkward because you’ve confused ‘they’re’ and ‘their’ and you’ve switched tenses halfway through a run-on sentence”.

Your people will know the in-house style, best practices, and deliver consistent work over and over again. Of course, they may get slightly burnt out or bored, so you know:

You can still outsource when necessary

Your in-house team might be good. They may even be excellent. But I get the feeling – unless you’ve hired them for this specific expertise – they wouldn’t be able to write a white paper about Random and Pseudorandom algorithmic code generation for military system encryption. That’s a real brief title.

Agency work is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get. It’s likely there will always be outsourcing for as long as there are agencies. Be sure you have a good briefing system to help streamline the process and get your external copywriters on the same page as you for consistent work.

It’s also good to occasionally get a fresh pair of eyes on work that has been going for awhile. Using someone external is a great way to do this, even if it’s just for the novelty. Plus, it keeps your in-house staff on their toes!

Good value for money

When you outsource (especially if it’s to an agency worth their salt), they will overcharge. They have to make money, after all. Some even have the audacity to overcharge and under deliver, which can end up being more hassle than it’s worth. You’re also not giving your clients the best value they can have from your agency. Give them that personal touch and put another team member photo on your slides.