Is it more effective to create your content in-house, or to hire professional writers to get the job done? We lay out 3 possible approaches that can deliver a high-quality company blog. Includes editorial plan template for download.
A few days ago I was speaking to a customer who told me that her company had asked her, as an expert in her particular field, to write an entry for their business blog. Of course, she felt a certain sense of pride that they thought she was qualified and had something to say worthy of sharing on the company blog – but she also seemed a little skeptical about agreeing to take on the extra work:
“I don’t really know exactly what they want me to write about. And it’s not like I don’t have a ton of other things already on my plate – my job already keeps me super busy day-to-day. On top of that, it can take what feels like forever to get a response to in-office emails reviewing work.”
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this from a customer. So what are the options for tackling this conundrum and finding the best way forward to build a succesful company blog that works for everyone?
Even professional content managers can have trouble finding the time to write for the company blog themselves. According to Contentpowered, it takes about 3 hours and 57 minutes on average to write a high-quality blog post – and that’s not taking into account time spent on SEO or formatting and style elements.
Now you might understand, as I do, why the idea of spending a large chunk of a working day creating a blog post might trigger a certain skepticism among already over-extended employees. At the same time, there can be some advantages to getting your in-house experts to have their own say on your business blog. Research conducted by digital asset management specialist Canto in 2020, for example, already showed an increase in in-house content productions, and a trend likely continuing to move in that direction. So is it worth writing content for the company blog yourself? Conversely, what are the arguments in favor of having professional content created by an external company or agency? And how can each of these differing approaches be successfully implemented?
5 Reasons to Write Your Content In-House
- Nobody knows more about the subject matter than your resident expert.
- Nobody better knows your target group(s), their problems, and their desires.
- Your resident expert speaks the same ‘language’ as the customers in his department.
- You minimize the risk of inaccurate information being posted on your company blog.
- In-house content creation doesn’t require any extra budget.
5 Reasons to Outsource Your Content Writing
- Creating blog posts takes time – and many busy employees don’t have time to spare.
- Writing is not everyone’s strong suit – it can be frustrating for employees without much prior experience.
- It’s about more than writing – without professional SEO, even the most well-written blog post might get buried in Google rankings.
- Your in-house experts may lack the writer’s toolkit that would help them know where to start, how to break through writer’s block, or how to write quickly.
- The working hours used by the employees may end up being more expensive for the organization than outsourced content creation.
Option 1: Keeping it In-House
For some companies, this option makes more sense simply due to budgetary constraints. Other companies have seen the advantage in having their own experts reach out to their customers on a personal level by writing for their business blog, providing answers to common questions and helping them along their buyer’s journey. If you have employees that can write well and learn to blog strategically, you can join a growing trend of companies who stay ahead of the curve by generating original, relevant content in their field from the people who know your business best.
Without professional outside help, it’s gonna take a big chunk of your employee’s time dealing with all the aspects of content creation and corporate publishing. There’s no real way around this if you want to keep your business blog posts to a high standard: good business blogging takes time. Because it’s not just about putting your expertise into words and then publishing it. If it doesn’t have proper SEO and lacks good structure, your customers may completely miss the article when it ends up in the dark depths of Google that never see the light of day (or your customer’s computer screen).
Train your employees to write and blog. With the right methods and background knowledge, you’ll soon be able to produce high-quality business blog posts for exactly the right target group, with a streamlined process that wastes less time. With a seminar in business blogging, content creation or alternative online writing courses, your experts should have the tools to successfully write for the company blog. Additionally, the conception and implementation of a professional content strategy can also be learned and implemented in-house. And finally, you may also want to consider working with a reliable content marketing partner agency who can help with a fresh set of eyes and offer support to your in-house team.
Option 2: A Lit Bit In House, a Little Bit Outsourced
This scenario is probably the most widespread, because most companies have a few employees who are keen to write and know how to do it, but maybe not enough to generate consistent content output for your business blog. By bringing in some professional content creators to write for the company blog, you can increase your output with a wider variety of texts that have different tones, voices and styles. In this way, you can reach a wider range of readers, and the in-house writing staff can learn a thing or two from the professionals.
Things can get a little messy if the style is too inconsistent, or if topics end up being covered twice due to lack of communication or a clear overview of the content strategy. Sometimes new research may lead to different conclusions than those reached by your company after years of experience in the field, and conflicting statements can confuse your customers. A coordinated content strategy and close cooperation between external service providers and in-house experts is key.
Work with a platform everyone writing for your business blog has access to, and where the content strategy is clearly presented for everyone to see. An editorial calendar on Trello is an ideal starting point to give an overview of the individual topics you want to cover. This free tool is easy to use and enables communication between employees from different organizations – all the writers, both internal and external, can see what’s going down. It’s also a good idea to lay out a long-term editorial plan that provides an overview of future content, priorities and responsibilities, so everyone can see where you’re heading. Find ways to bring in-house and external content creators together so that they can learn from each other, inspire each other, proceed methodically (for example, by defining buyer personas) and work with each other to create a successful company blog.
Option 3: Outsource It All
Larger companies in particular often prefer to have their content created by professional journalists and copywriters. If you’re looking to have new posts on your company blog regularly (maybe even daily), this can be an efficient way to get that done. If you’re bringing in hired guns, you should expect the content to be well researched, and the articles to be well-written and well prepared. They should also be able to take SEO into account – your business blog’s content should be easily found by potential customers.
Even if you’re outsourcing all your content creation, you still have to check the content for accuracy and quality. Plus, you’ll need someone to be responsible for uploading the posts to the company blog. Coordinating and collaborating with journalists, copywriters, and agencies or freelance platforms can be a time-consuming job, and dealing with external workers who may not be familiar with your corporate culture may lead to a few headaches. Also important to remember: your business blog should follow a profitable longer-term content strategy, and all your collaborators need to be clued in on that.
Put together a team whose core task is managing the content of the company blog. In smaller companies one person should be able to handle it; in larger organizations you should have several employees sharing the workload. Develop a long-term content strategy with an editorial plan, editorial calendar, buyer personas, etc. Work together with experienced and competent journalists or copywriters right from the start – going for a cheap, untested option can result in a lack of quality in the content that’s either counterproductive for your brand or time-consuming for your content managers, adding unnecessary fact-checking and editing work. If necessary, you can look for external service providers to help you develop a professional content strategy, proofread and edit your content, and get you access to a network of high-quality, proven journalists and content writers.
Conclusion: Whatever You Do, Don’t Let Your Content Get Lost At Sea
It’s understandable that my client’s company decided to start creating content in-house. At a time when the business world has been catapulted into digital spheres at faster speeds than ever before, organizations have to rethink their future steps and goals. Having content for the company blog increasingly produced by your own employees can give you a steady, built-in, high-quality content marketing machine. But you need to make sure the content is consistently of high quality. There’s an ocean of content out there: if the content you generate for your business blog doesn’t interest the reader in your target group (s), if it’s unreliable, or if it doesn’t rank on Google, it’s gonna get lost at sea. So invest in your content marketing – and whether that investment is more weighted toward company money or company time will depend on your needs . Be it through professional content creation, the right training of your employees, or hiring competent help in developing and realizing your company blog, your investment will pay off. Regardless of whether the employees write content themselves or if it’s created by professional journalists and copywriters: quality is what counts.