Whether you are a start-up that’s just getting off their feet, or an established brand that’s been on the web for years – at some point you’ll need new copy. You know it’s not going to be cheap, and you know you need a great writer – but should you hire an in-house writer or a freelancer? You might be surprised at the slew of benefits that come from hiring outside writers to create your content.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring an Outside Writer?
One thing that there is always going to be a need for is written content. From books and brochures and flyers to blog posts, landing pages and emails – copywriting is everywhere. So, if your brand is going to be around for a while it might seem logical to hire an in-house copywriter to take care of all your needs.
But, if you’ve considered hiring a freelancer, you’re not alone. Most of the time website copy and advertorial copy are one-time projects – even if you’ve got projects planned out for the next six months.
So why might you choose to hire an outside writer to take care of these needs?
A Fresh Point of View
One great reason to choose an outside writer is to get a fresh point of view. Someone that works for your company full time is probably not going to question you on much. After all, they work for you. The difference with a freelancer is that they work with you – and they are less afraid to tell you when you might be able to do something better.
Wouldn’t you rather someone who isn’t afraid to pipe in and tell you that your blog content could use sprucing up or that your home page copy is by far not SEO efficient?
Lower Cost than In House
You might be surprised to find out that you’re going to end up saving money by hiring an outside writer. When a single project can cost thousands of dollars, how could you possibly save money paying by the project rather than paying an annual salary?
Well, the main place you’re going to save money is benefits. When you hire a full-time employee, you’re expected to pay an annual salary, health benefits, vacation time, family leave, sick pay, and retirement savings options.
Most of the time, your company will be expected to pay a portion (or all) of those health benefits and many employers match offered 401k and IRA savings up to a certain percentage. Instead, you could take that $70,000 or more you would have paid out annually to a full-time employee and use that as your freelancer budget. You’d be surprised how many opportunities that will create to add that to your current content marketing budget.
Find the Best Writer for the Project
Another reason to hire outside writers is because you’re not locked down to one person. While one person can create consistent style, most writers are able to adapt to a brands style and voice relatively easily. On the other hand, not all writers are comfortable writing all types of content.
You’ll be able to take your time and find the right writer for any project. You might have one person who handles a white paper every quarter, while another creates regular press releases while a separate blogger creates your blog content.
Not only will this ensure that you have high quality content every time, it also makes it easier to have multiple marketing projects happening at once. If you have one person trying to tackle six different writing projects at once you might fall behind – but if you have three or four reliable freelancers handling those six projects you’re a lot less likely to miss your deadline.
What Are Some of the Downsides of Hiring a Freelancer?
Now that we’ve talked about some of the biggest benefits of hiring an outside writer, let’s look at some of the downsides. After all, not everything is going to go as planned, all the time – right? While working with freelancers makes things easier most of the time, there are always going to be a few drawbacks.
You’re on Their Time
The main thing that becomes frustrating for clients is the fact that you are suddenly on someone else’s time. After all, you’re running a business – but so are they. You can’t expect someone to drop what they’re doing for you at a moment’s notice – especially a freelancer.
After all, they chose that career path for a reason and flexibility and being able to work on their own time is certainly big reasons for most.
You’re probably going to have to get used to email and text correspondence more often than not. Phone calls and Skype or Zoom meetings will need to be scheduled – and sometimes varying time zones means being ready for that call earlier or later than you usually prefer to be working.
You’re Not Their Only Priority
Really, it’s an adjustment – but it’s not unreasonable. Most freelancers will do their best to work with you and they’re not going to put you off intentionally. But they are working with at least two or three other clients, just like you. All of them needed their content yesterday. All of them have impending deadlines. All of them have bosses breathing down their necks for an update.
Working with an outside writer means respecting their time, their expertise and their business. After all, that’s what you would expect from them, is it not? Don’t be upset when your freelancer texts you back with “finishing up another call/blog post, can I call you in 20?”
Remember, you chose this person for a reason. Whether that was their industry knowledge, the impact their byline carries or that you simply loved their writing style – remember that when you’re feeling like you’ve waited too long for a response and start to get frustrated.
Unless it’s been days or weeks of silence, you probably have nothing to worry about and they will get back with you soon.
So, Should You Hire an Outside Writer for Your Brand?
The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Some would prefer to hire a full-time writer just for the convenience. They can attend your marketing strategy meetings and provide direct input and feedback. Chances are that employee would work from your main office – so it will be a walk down the hall to check on the status of that latest press release rather than waiting for an email or text back.
Depending on your needs, hiring a full-time writer might not be a bad idea. However, if you’re looking for a way to get the most for your money then hiring a freelancer (or three) is going to be your best bet. You have a better chance at negotiating on price – and even if you don’t you’ll still get more done for the same price as an annual salary.
You might be thinking that hiring a full-time writer is the best way to get someone who will be loyal to your brand. You might be skeptical of freelancers, expecting them to up and run when the project is over. That couldn’t be further from the truth. As long as you’re not a nightmare client, you’ll probably have no problem finding a freelancer who will work with your company long term.
In fact, many freelancers prefer it that way. While we’re not looking for a day job, we are all for stable and predictable income. For too many writers the world is feast-or-famine – so a retainer gig for a monthly or quarterly report, case study or white paper is exactly what they’re looking for.
So, should you hire an outside writer? Yes, in most cases, there are far more benefits to hiring a freelancer than there are downsides. Even if you’ve hired a full-time writer, you still might need freelance help occasionally when your in-house writer is sick, on family leave, or on vacation.
For most companies, hiring freelancers is a no-brainer from a financial standpoint. There are so many more benefits than that. But the cost savings alone is enough to have many brands utilizing freelancers for all their content and copywriting needs. In an age where the gig economy is growing rapidly, the freelance talent pool is growing too – finding the perfect writer at the right price has probably nev