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Unicorns don’t exist: 11 reasons to hire a content marketing agency

by Carol Ann Tan on August 4, 2017

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Once folks learn the ROI of content marketing, they decide it’s time to build a content marketing strategy and start reaping the benefits for their business.

One of the most common questions we hear from prospects who have made this decision revolves around hiring: Should we hire a new marketing employee, or are we better off outsourcing the work to a content marketing agency?

There are benefits to both, of course. But in our experience, hiring an agency is more cost effective and usually helps you get more out of your marketing spend.

Here are a few compelling reasons to consider working with a content marketing agency.

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11 benefits of hiring a content marketing agency

1. Diversify your marketing team’s skill set

Generally speaking, marketers tend to specialize. One potential hire might be an amazing writer; another might be a kickass designer; the next might be a whiz at pay-per-click.

Given how complex and multifaceted marketing has become, it’s basically impossible to find that One Magical Employee Who’s Good At Everything. ✨🦄

The skills gap is real: 30% of employers say it’s “a nightmare” to find marketers with the right skills!

By contrast, when you hire an agency, you’re hiring an entire team with the combined education and experience needed to navigate the ever-changing marketing landscape.

2. Benefit from your agency’s experience

An in-house employee simply doesn’t have the bandwidth to master every change in every aspect of the marketing industry — it’s enough simply to keep up with their everyday work.

But content marketing agencies have to stay on top of the latest industry trends and developments. That’s how they stay competitive.

Good agencies will invest appropriately in marketing education and training. That’s how agencies are able to streamline your content according to industry needs — it’s their job to know the right keywords to use, the right platforms to leverage, and the right analytics to monitor.

When you hire an employee, you gain a skills-specific mindset. What’s the point of hiring a really great writer if, say, they don’t know how to optimize their content for SEO? But when you hire an agency, you’re also gaining a business-specific mindset that can offer you strategic assistance in expanding your marketing reach.

3. Leverage advanced marketing automation technology

When used right, marketing automation tools are cost-effective and help boost productivity — without sacrificing authenticity in your marketing.

But with thousands of marketing tools available on the market, how do you know which ones to use? And where are you supposed to find the time and money to train someone to use these tools?

An agency can offer you valuable support in choosing — and using — powerful software that helps meet your business goals more efficiently.

For example, the Sprk’d team is HubSpot-certified and can assist you with all HubSpot-related services: HubSpot onboarding, day-to-day management of your inbound campaigns, and even monthly analytics tracking.

4. Get more bang for your buck

Agencies give you access to an entire team of professionals with diverse skill sets — for a fraction of the cost of hiring each person individually.

Also, you’re only paying for the services you need. When you hire an employee, you’re also responsible for overhead costs like benefits, unemployment insurance, social security taxes, and more.

With an agency, you don’t incur such costs, as you’re usually only billed according to what deliverables you’re getting.

5. Get the right people at the right prices

Sometimes, you need to hire someone with a very specific skill or perspective. Maybe you need a writer with inside insight into the accounting industry. Or maybe you need a whiz at Google Analytics.

When you’re working on your own, this often involves a costly and time-consuming search process or training program. But many agencies have vast networks connecting them to experts in all aspects of marketing. Simply tell your agency what you need — and it’s their job to make it happen.

Even if you hire an agency with a particular focus (for example, Sprk’d specializes in organic content creation), they will likely have reliable partners they work with for other skill sets like paid search, video capabilities, web development, etc.

The agency may also enjoy partner perks, like lower costs, which they can then pass on to you.

6. Maintain continuous content production

If you’re relying on that One Magical Employee✨🦄 for all your content production needs, you run the risk of seeing your blog updates grind to a halt every time that employee falls sick or goes on vacation. Or, worse — they could quit!

In any case, it’s challenging for one person to produce quality content on an ongoing basis. A dedicated team can maintain a consistent content calendar by monitoring industry news and responding to developments in a timely manner.

The most cost-effective way of accessing a team like this? An agency.

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7. Streamline your training process

With each new hire, you commit to an extensive onboarding process; aside from standard administrative needs, you’ll also have to show them your preferred industry resources, train them to follow a style guide, and answer any questions they might have.

While you’ll still need to provide an agency with information about your company and your industry, the onboarding process is usually simpler, as the agency will already have its own internal onboarding processes in place to better understand your industry, target customers, and more.

8. Reduce the burden of project management

Even the most independent employee will still look to you for a degree of management: What are their deadlines? Who is responsible for internal review? Who do they directly report to?

If you don’t have the internal capacity to drive your content strategy forward, hiring an agency is a good bet. You’ll usually be provided with a single point of contact at the agency for all deliverables, which helps lift the bulk of the project management burden from your shoulders.

9. Let your employees focus on what they’re good at

There’s actually no such thing as the One Magical Employee Who’s Good at Everything✨🦄,. So, to make sure all your marketing bases are covered, your other employees may need to pick up the slack.

This isn’t productive in the long run, especially if their skills are better suited to areas other than marketing.

With an agency, you gain a dedicated team that specializes exclusively in marketing, meaning that you won’t have to compromise on quality or consistency in executing your content strategy. That frees up your existing employees to focus on doing what they do best.

10. Easily scale your content needs

In the short run, scaling your marketing efforts is expensive and inefficient. Let’s say your budget gets tight and you need to scale back. With in-house employees, you always have to pay them a full-time salary, even when they don’t have a full-time workload. (And if you fire them now, you’ll incur greater costs down the line when you need to replace them later.)

Conversely, if you want to increase your content production, you’ll need to go through the hiring process first — and finding and onboarding qualified employees takes time.

Working with an agency affords you more flexibility as your priorities or strategy shifts. In response to a fast-approaching product launch, you might need to launch an additional eBook or set up a lead-nurturing email campaign — no matter what, your agency should be able to pivot quickly.

11. Hear an outside perspective

Sometimes, you and your team may be too close to your business to step back and view your work with an unbiased eye.

An agency can offer you invaluable insights into what your prospects see when they visit your website or use your product — allowing you to better understand, and consequently enhance, your target audience’s user experience.

The ROI of hiring a content marketing agency

The initial cost of engaging an agency to execute your content strategy may seem high, but in the long run, the expertise and flexibility they bring to the table ensures that you’ll enjoy a higher return on investment than if you simply brought on a new employee.

Looking to partner with an agency? At Sprk’d, our mission is to help businesses fire up their stories by adding a little spark. We love what we do, and we love finding new people to do it with — and we’d love to hear from you.

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