Outsourcing Blog Writing: A Simple Cost-Benefit Analysis

May 2, 2022

It’s been proven time and again that integrating quality content in your marketing strategy helps increase brand awareness and boost leads.

However, many marketing executives have said that remarkable writers are hard to come by.

That’s why content writing agencies exist. Content writing agencies are made up of teams of quality writers and editors who do all the hard work for you and deliver stellar content to drive you towards your marketing goals.

Is outsourcing your blog writing processes worth it? How does the cost compare to hiring an in-house content team? How much content do you need to create anyway?

To answer these questions, we’ve compiled this cost-benefit analysis of outsourcing your blog-writing tasks compared to hiring an in-house content team.

Outsourcing blog writing

Costs of Hiring an In-House Team vs Outsourcing Blog Writing

The average cost of hiring a single in-house content writer is $81,800. The cost can be broken down as follows.

ExpensesAmount
Hiring costs$4,000
Average salary$49,982
Benefits$21,625
Payroll taxes$4,119
Equipment/overhead$2,800
Total Costs= $85,526

When it comes to outsourcing, a content writing agency will structure its services in one of two models: self-service or managed service.

Self-Service Model

The self-service approach is self-explanatory. It involves a hands-off style where clients use the agency’s online platform to place a blog order. These platforms tend to have package features where the client selects how much they’re willing to pay for content services.

The agency then assigns the task to an individual writer who submits the work to the client once it’s done. The client may request a revision depending on the package they’ve chosen.

Self-service is the cheaper of the two approaches, but it’s more time-consuming. It’s almost synonymous with how you’d interact with and manage an in-house writer, except that you manage them through the agency’s platform.

Managed Service Model

Managed content services offer clients more value in terms of customer service and convenience.

If you outsource to a managed service, you’ll be assigned an account manager with whom you’ll work on all projects. The account manager then creates a team of writers to handle your content and manages them on all your tasks.

In short, your only task is to place content orders.

Not all content writing services offer account management, and not all services offer the same perks.

Some writing services offer additional features that may add to your total cost. Such features may include:

In terms of cost, outsourcing writing services may require clients to pay a retainer of between $2,500 and $10,000. Other agencies may require a membership fee.

For those that don’t need retainer fees or membership fees, the cost may fall under one of the following payment structures:

  • Pay per word
  • Pay per hour
  • Pay per article

Using the pay-per-article model, the average cost of a 550-word article is $35. If you’re looking for a 100-124 word product description, the average cost is $7.45.

As such, if a small-to-medium business needs 30 500-word articles per month, they could save up to $70,000 by outsourcing their blog writing services. A large business that needs 250 500-word articles per month could save up to $200,000.

Outsourcing blog writing is cheaper

When it comes to cost, we can already see that outsourcing content writing services is more effective. What are some other benefits that come with outsourcing content creation in comparison to hiring an in-house team?

Pros and Cons of In-House Content Teams

Here are the main advantages of having an in-house content team:

  • Industry experience: In-house content writers tend to narrow their focus to your industry and produce content specific to your business only.

    This gives them a deep understanding of your market, audience, brand voice, and content goals. An in-house content team allows you to create authoritative, engaging, and informative content.

  • More control: Hiring an in-house content team grants you access to them at any time of the day. You also have full control over all your campaigns and the content you create.

On the other hand, in-house content creation comes with several disadvantages as well.

  • Expensive: If you choose to go the in-house content creation route, be prepared to spend a lot of money and resources to recruit new talent, train them on your brand’s needs and manage their work.

    If yours is a large organisation with several branches, your content production process is going to be slower because of the bureaucracy.

    Besides, you’ll need to have someone to send and receive tasks and proofread or approve the assignments. You’ll have to spend more than what is needed to create the content alone.

  • Skills gap: An in-house team may be quite limited when it comes to skills and expertise. You may have a team of expert blog writers who might not be helpful when you need SEO and copywriting services.

  • Fixed capacity: Your output volume will always be capped whether you have one writer or a team of 10.

    For example, say you want to increase content production in a few months. You’ll have to either increase salaries or expect lower-quality content.

In addition, content personalisation is essential for creating valuable content. However, the content value drops significantly when it becomes too promotional, which commonly happens with in-house content teams.

Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Content

There are several advantages of outsourcing blog writing:

Convenience and Flexibility

With most blog writing agencies, you’ll have an option of account management. You basically have someone else managing the writers, training them on the type of content you need, and providing feedback.

Your only tasks would be giving direction on the type of content you want and possibly which keywords to integrate or topics to write on.

Most content writing services further offer quality assurance and editing to ensure the content is up to par by the time they deliver. The work is publish-ready when they submit. This will free up your calendar and allow you to focus on your business.

Content writing chart

Potential to Scale

Crafting valuable content takes practice and training, especially when you need keyword-based writing. Content writing services have experience with this kind of content and SEO services. Experience furthermore brings speed in creating content.

Content writing agencies also have large teams that come in handy for larger projects.

Competence and Expertise

Content writing agencies are usually experts in several niches and know the tactics necessary to make your content work for you. It’s highly likely that the writing company you choose to work with already has experience in your market.

In terms of content quality, content writing agencies produce the best because that’s their speciality.

Access to Resources

Blog writing agencies give you access to large teams of writers with expertise in various topics. They also offer editing, proofreading, and content strategies, whether you need blog articles, product descriptions, whitepapers, eBooks, or something else.

As a bonus, you can always adjust your content volume without having to change your budget or provide more resources.

On the other hand, there are disadvantages of outsourcing your blog writing:

  • Limited control: Outsourcing limits the amount of control you have over your project, due to the middlemen involved. Some agencies have a lot of bureaucracy which can blur communication. The key is to always work with an agency that focuses on one aspect of your strategy, such as writing or editing.
  • Limited inside knowledge: A third party won’t know your brand as well as you do. If you need specialised content, it may take some time for the agency to understand how to speak to your audience and create content in your voice.

Our Verdict

Going by our analysis, outsourcing your blog writing offers more benefits than hiring an in-house team while saving you money and resources. Imagine having an extra $70,000 to utilise in other business aspects?

Have you decided that you want to go the outsourcing route? Know that not all content agencies are equal. They all follow different pricing and account management structures. As such, take your time considering these factors and select one that works for you.

Finding a suitable content agency is synonymous with accomplishing your content goals. That’s what we do here at CopySmiths.

CopySmiths

I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of CopySmiths and Small Revolution. In my 20 years of experience, I have helped online businesses create high-performing content specifically on an eCommerce store's blog. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.