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What are your thoughts on hiring a content marketer for blogs, landing pages, and emails for $75-100K per year or hiring an agency?
While I'd agree with @justinadelson that $100k is on the high end of the salary range - It's not ridiculous.
Here's three potential six figure content marketing gigs that open for competition:
And there's plenty more just like that...
Here's the reality:
Finding a content marketer that is worth the six figure salary isn't going to be an easy task. The best marketers are either already fully employed at a company doing exciting, interesting & challenging work or they're starting/running their own business.
One of the benefits of having someone in-house is what @martijnsch said: An internal resource will REALLY understand your business. Agencies can REALLY get to know your business but it's not going to happen overnight and you have no control over their internal situation. If the person at an agency who is leading the project with you decides to leave the company; you could be in a tricky situation (if the agency doesn't have a documented process around knowledge transfer and processes). That said, agencies do offer the benefit/opportunity of having more skills in-house than a sole individual. A good content marketing agency can offer you services in landing page development, SEO, case studies, paid media, social media and much more. A sole individual may only be good at one or two of these things BUT if you're hiring a high paying marketer - I'd hop they're more T-Shape than anything and can help you execute across the board.
The last thing I'd say when it comes to hiring an individual vs. hiring an agency is the implications of a six figure gig. A lot of marketers think once they get senior, they no longer have to get their hands dirty and still create content. At that salary range, I feel like a lot of people applying might come in with the hope of building a content team within the organization under them rather than creating all the blog posts, landing pages, case studies, emails and social content on their own... The good marketers will.. But some will feel like they're above the execution.
I will work for you right now for $100,000. Send me the offer and we'll get this thing done.
That being said, I personally think $75k-$100k for a content writer is pretty high. According to MarketingLand, the average salary for a content marketer is $61,000. Of course, that could include other tasks like SEO or strategy but it is still a good start point (range is $60k to $75k). The benefits you get from hiring an agency is that you pay one salary but get multiple experts working on your project doing several things. Whereas if you hire one person you might pay the same amount but only get someone who is skilled in one or two specialties. That is not always the case - I consider myself well-versed in multiple marketing strategies and tactics - but it is something to consider.
So, hire one dedicated employee or an agency? I think it depends on how large your company is and how much content you need to be written on a daily/weekly basis. The salary you mentioned is pretty high so I have to imagine that your company is well established and has a lot of funding or a good stream of cash/revenue. If your marketing and sales model is based on content marketing (i.e. inbound marketing), I would hire someone on a full-time basis because you can get the most value out of someone who would create content continually - especially if you have someone on staff who can monitor performance (e.g. SEO, email, etc.). However, if you have a smaller company and could use an agency that can provide more than just a writer then I would go with an agency.
Quick note: Scripted.com charges ~$150 per month to use their service and a long blog post (~850 words) will cost about $100. If you had a dedicated Scripted writer creating content for you once a week for a full year it would only cost you $6,600.
I likely would go with the hiring option. In that case you can get somebody who will really understands your business and can help you translate your tone of voice into the communication on these mediums: blogs, landing pages and emails. An agency can likely help with the execution and might be cheaper but you would still like to have a good idea from your company with what your company represents.
Do you already have a person in-house who is thinking about content and messaging from a strategic, high level? If not, then you should hire at least one in-house content marketer or strategist before considering adding an agency.
The best agencies will work very closely with you to figure out your content strategy, but I don't think they can replace a person who's deeply embedded in your company. Before you hire an agency, you'll need to work on your personas, establish a brand tone and voice, and understand your business goals (including your product roadmap, if you are a software company). These are table stakes to ensure that your agency has the tools required to succeed. But these things need to come from someone who deeply understands and lives and breathes your business—most likely not an agency.
Great points, Kelvin. Need to establish the groundwork to properly guide an agency.
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