Marketing Agency Vs. Freelance Content Writer: Pros And Cons To Help You Choose Your Next Writer
If you had to pick one, would you choose to work with an agency or a freelance content writer?
How does price influence your decision? What about guarantees?
The hiring process is always a challenge. And outsourcing work can feel like a mission impossible. You must choose between the best price, quality, value, and other factors like client support and availability.
Maybe you need someone to consistently publish on your blog, rewrite your web copy, or run social media and email marketing campaigns. You hear good and bad things about both freelance content writers and agencies.
So, which one should you choose?
Let’s find out!
What does content writing mean?
Before we start the battle: agency vs. freelance content writer, let’s clarify what content writing is and why you should care.
Content writing refers to written content such as blog posts, guides, ebooks, landing pages, social media, web copy, you name it. While many people mistake content writing for copywriting, there are some differences between the two.
Content writing focuses on a long-form copy, which does not necessarily aim to sell your products directly. It can focus on attracting more traffic to your website, educating customers, and creating brand awareness. Of course, all this is to convert a visitor to a customer eventually or make existing clients engage more.
The goal of copywriting is to sell directly. It’s more effective in ad copy, sales pages, value propositions, lead magnets, etc.
Before you start hiring, it’s important to set the right goals for your content. That will help you understand how much work you need to outsource, plan the budget, deadlines, etc. Also, remember that content writing comes with many additional services such as on-page SEO, research, language and communication skills, knowledge of the sector and audience, style, etc.
But if you’re sure you need a content writer, then you have options. You can hire a freelancer, a full-time employee, or work with an agency. In this article, I’m skipping a full-time writer because usually, if you have big content plans and ongoing work, it makes more sense to hire full-time. So, for now, let’s focus on agencies and freelancers.
The process of working with a content freelancer
Freelancers can be a great addition to your full-time marketing team. They provide quality and speed. While there are some drawbacks, the whole process of working with a freelancer is rather simple.
You find the right fit
You agree to the terms and deadlines
Sing a contract or pay in advance
And start working.
Most freelancers include one or two revisions of their work in their rate. So, depending on whether you like the first result, you either pay or ask for changes.
But let’s see what the actual pros and cons of working with a freelance content writer are.
Pros of working with a content freelancer
The process of working with a freelance content writer is straightforward. You can immediately start working without going through a long onboarding process.
You work and communicate with them directly, saving time on communication, revisions, and clarifications. Usually, content freelancers also work with only a few clients at a time and can focus on your projects.
Most freelancers work alone, so you will be communicating with one person. You get proper responses and can chat more casually. After all, you are communicating with a real person and not some auto-response bot. An experienced freelancer will try to respond quickly and make sure that you are familiar with their process.
You’ll also be their priority. Working with a few clients lets freelancers know your business needs and audience better.
Freelance content writer rates vary greatly. If you go to Upwork or Fiverr, you can find writers charging a few dollars for a long-form copy. While I don’t recommend hiring the cheapest content writer, you definitely have the price advantage of hiring a freelancer.
Freelance rates include the work they provide, meaning you don’t pay for a middleman (unless you’re hiring through some freelance gig marketplaces) or agency fees. So, even when hiring a medium-rate content freelancer, you can expect to spend less than outsourcing your work to an agency.
Many options to choose from
So many freelance content writers are eager to work for you. If you don’t believe me, try posting a job request on some Facebook group, LinkedIn, or marketplace for freelance services. Within minutes, you will receive a dozen comments and message requests.
A large supply gives you the upper hand in choosing whom to work with, what rate to pay, and other perks. If you don’t like your current freelancer, there are a hundred others who can replace them.
Most freelance writers are flexible, they can move their schedule to accommodate you, maybe even adjust rates or give some discounts. Flexibility becomes crucial when you need to change deadlines, come back for revisions, or add more work.
Of course, you shouldn’t abuse the flexibility of the self-employed, but it can be a nice perk, especially when the need for content grows.
When you work with freelancers, you don’t go through a long hiring process with many legal obligations. Although there are legal obligations that bond a freelance worker and employer, it’s much easier to back down from the deal.
Let’s say you started working with someone and you didn’t like the work they provided. You pay for the work they did, say goodbye, and never see them again. Not so easy to do the same with full-time employees or agencies.
Cons of working with a freelance content writer
Even though I am a freelancer myself, I’ll be honest with you. There are some negatives to working with freelancers, and you should be aware of them before starting to outsource work.
A long search for the right one
So, do you remember when I told you that there are thousands of eligible freelancers to hire? Well, it takes time to find the one you can trust with all your heart and money.
I wrote about the red flags in freelancers (read it to be prepared better). But to give you a general idea, the internet is full of scammers, fake accounts, and unprofessional people. Sometimes, companies hire freelance content writers who disappear the moment money reaches their account, or they provide work that is identical to your competitors. You either work with someone you can fully trust or build a careful screening process.
If you hire someone with no portfolio or even a Facebook picture and don’t sign a contract, don’t be too surprised when they vanish off the face of the Earth.
Some legal liabilities tie a company and freelancer, but it can be complicated and time-consuming to catch scammers or unprofessional hires for a few bucks that they took.
To reduce your risks of hiring the wrong freelancer, always make sure they have a portfolio, testimonials, and a clear online presence. It would be even better if you knew someone who worked with them before and could give a recommendation.
The process of working with a marketing agency
Marketing agencies can be a great solution if you want to outsource more than one marketing task at once. Most agencies offer bundles of different services. And they can do much more work because they have more resources.
Starting the process of working with an agency isn’t that much different.
You find the right fit
You agree on the work you need, and they give you their offer
You sign the contract detailing the work you will receive, how much it will cost, and other technicalities.
However, the main difference between working with an agency and a freelancer is that agency is a middle man. That means the work you ordered will be assigned to some content writer. You won’t directly communicate with that writer because all the talking is done through the agency. So if you want to change something, it either takes more time, or you need to change the contract.
The pros of working with an agency
An agency is more reliable than an individual person. You have contracts and other legal commitments that bind you. And when I say agencies are more reliable, I’m not only talking about scam risks, I’m also talking about them having more resources in case of an emergency.
For instance, your freelancer gets sick. That means that the work you ordered will be delayed. If the writer working for an agency gets sick or fired or whatever, there will be someone else doing your projects, and you won't need to worry about delays.
Marketing agencies often sell more than one service. They provide services such as web development, graphic design, on-page and off-page SEO, social media, link building, etc. If you need some of this work for your business, you can get an offer for a bundle of services and forget about searching for one more person to hire.
You don’t need to manage anyone yourself
You signed a contract with a marketing agency that states their responsibilities. You don’t need to communicate and manage writers, check if the work is being done, or why someone is late. The agency does that for you.
You can, of course, dislike the quality of work and ask for revisions, but you don’t need to ensure writers are still working and not taking off with your money.
Cons of working with a marketing agency
Can be expensive
Agencies are usually more expensive than freelancers because they provide the role of a middleman. So if the writer charges 80 euros per article, an agency will charge 150 euros or more. After all, they have to pay their workers and generate profit.
It can take longer to receive the final work
Time is the price you pay for the middleman. Let’s say you need to do one revision to add some information. You send this request to the project manager who is responsible for managing the writers. They then have to contact the writers who are working on your project.
Let’s say someone is on vacation, then they have to contact some other manager who will have to waste time to find another available writer, and hey, look, it’s already Friday after 2 pm, and no one is working.
When working with an agency, it’s very unlikely that you will actually get to talk to the content writer responsible for your project. You can’t just pop up on their email saying if they could jump on a quick call for some changes. You have to prepare emails and clearly explain your expectations, otherwise, be prepared for more revisions and more time wasted.
Also, many ideas and comments get lost in countless emails between you, the agency, some project manager, and the writer.
The verdict: agency vs freelance content writer
My verdict is: it depends. I would say: choose a freelance content writer if you want a more personalized approach, faster and cheaper results. Hire a marketing agency if you need more guarantees, don’t have time to deal with writers, and have more work to outsource than just content projects.
Both agencies and freelance content writers have advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, it comes down to what you feel is right for your business. If you have enough resources, try both to see which type of collaboration is more acceptable to you.
And if you want to outsource your work to a freelance content writer, let’s chat. I offer extensive content services and can help you optimize your content to communicate better with your customers and rank your website on Google.
I also offer a 30% discount for the first bundle of work.