SEO Content Writing Services: Pros and Cons
SEO Content Writing Services: Pros and Cons
Since the re-explosion of content marketing in the 21st century, content creation has quickly evolved into an essential business activity. As with any essential business activity, brands need to determine the most cost-effective way to get it done without compromising quality.
Typically, this means deciding between one of two strategies: Developing an in-house writing team or outsourcing SEO content writing services to a content writing agency.
So what’s the difference between the two and what are the pros and cons of SEO content writing services? We’re here to answer your questions.
Insourcing Versus Outsourcing Content Creation
Quality SEO content writing is the primary driver of traffic, leads, conversions and profit. For these reasons, you probably already have a content marketing strategy in place. (If you don’t, keep reading, as this article can help you save time and money on creating a strategy that works best for you.)
For content to achieve all of its touted benefits, you must publish original, informative, helpful and engaging content on a consistent basis — consistent meaning multiple times a week. Whether brands have an existing strategy or not, most can agree that getting to the point where they’re able to publish quality content with the necessary consistency is no easy task. Brands that have been in the content race for a while also know that there are two common ways to get to the finish line:
- Insourcing Content Creation: Brands develop a culture of content within their organization and either hire in-house copywriters or delegate content-related tasks to some or all team members.
- Outsourcing Content Creation: Companies pay freelance copywriters, blogging companies, SEO content writing services or similar third-party entities to write content on their behalf.
Having helped thousands of brands realize their content marketing objectives as an agency, you’d think we’d be biased and say, “Choose us, choose us!” We’re not going to do that. We realize that making the most of your content marketing efforts is not as simple as picking between options one and two. You need to do your homework, weigh the pros and cons of all possible strategies and understand how your final decision aligns with your long-term goals.
The Pros and Cons of SEO Content Writing Services
When deciding whether to keep content creation in-house or to outsource the task to an SEO content writing company, you should make a list of your top motivating factors for each option. Though these vary from brand to brand, some factors have more sway than others:
- Cost savings
In the following sections, we’re going to explore each of these five motivating factors in-depth and how likely (or unlikely) SEO content writing services are to deliver.
1. Cost Savings
Pro: Save On Overhead, Benefits, Overtime, Training and Other Items
At first glance, it may seem like hiring a web content writing agency is more expensive than hiring an in-house copywriter. While pricing structures and fees vary from firm to firm, you can expect to pay anywhere between $25 and $150 per blog post from an agency. Depending on your content needs, that can quickly add up to hundreds or thousands of dollars per month. Before you balk and say “No, thank you,” consider the alternative.
The average salary for an in-house copywriter is $49,982 per year. When you have a full-time employee, you need to offer benefits. Those amount to about $21,625 per year. Add to those figures the cost of hiring ($4,000), payroll taxes ($4,119) and equipment ($2,800), and your “average-priced” copywriter suddenly costs you $82,526 per year.
Even if you were to buy SEO content writing services on the high-end at $150 per article order one article every day, you would still pay less to outsource content creation than if you were to hire an in-house writer.
Balance Your Needs Through Outsourcing
When calculating costs, you also need to factor in content need versus output. According to the results from a recent survey we conducted, the average in-house writer can pump out 87 500-word articles per month. For a small business to stay competitive, the data shows it needs to publish no more than 30 blog posts per month. As a small business, hiring a full-time writer would not be worth the expense.
But what if you are an SEO agency, large enterprise, e-commerce business or some other corporation that requires a large volume of content each month? A single writer would not suffice, but two or more writers would still end up costing you too much. At the end of the day, and if cost is one of your main concerns, outsourcing your content creation to SEO content writing services makes far more financial sense than keeping the work in-house.
Con: You Get What You Pay For
When it comes to content creation, this old adage rings true. While we at BKA believe that content shouldn’t break the bank, we also know that good writers don’t come cheap. If you do decide to outsource, be wary of agencies or freelancers that offer too-good-to-be-true rates as, chances are, their services are too good to be true.
If a writer or agency agrees to write articles at $5 a pop or to deliver a month’s worth of content for just $200, beware: Either the writer or firm will relegate your project to the bottom of the to-do list, or you will likely receive low-level, hard-to-read, keyword-stuffed and overall bad content.
Pro: Gain a Fresh Perspective
Though this perk is only available through large SEO content writing services and companies with tens, hundreds or thousands of writers on payroll, it’s a strong one. By working with an agency such as BKA, you gain access to dozens of qualified writers, each of whom has his or her own distinctive writing voice. Each writer also takes unique angles to similar topics, providing each blog or website with much-needed diversity.
While it is true that consistency is crucial to building a loyal following, you don’t want to be so consistent as to bore your audience or, worse, scare off potential readers. Additionally, whereas a single author may get stuck in a rut after writing about the same topic day after day, agency writers often approach each new topic with enthusiasm because the topic is new to them.
Agency writers are also more likely to explore new ideas you or an in-house writer might have overlooked, or to go more in-depth on topics that seem like general knowledge to you but on which your readers may want additional clarification.
Get Specific With SEO Content Writing Services
If you desire a mix of both consistency and diversity, many agencies will allow you to pick your writers based on samples. You can identify writers whose voices align with your brand and isolate those that may be best suited to specific projects.
Finally, though the client onboarding and writing processes vary across agencies, at BKA, we welcome branded style guides. Our writers use these guides to inform their writing and ensure that each deliverable is in line with clients’ expectations.
Con: Lose Expertise
Consumers are smart and incredibly perceptive, especially when it comes to spending money. As a result, most are able to discern between a “fluff” piece written for marketing purposes and a piece written by a real expert. This is especially true in highly technical fields, such as technology, health care, finance and software.
In these types of industries, buyers desire valuable content that delves deep into a given topic with the kind of specificity and accuracy that only a subject matter expert can deliver. SMEs are typically involved in the day-to-day operations of an organization and speak industry lingo naturally, both in their speech and their writing. You cannot fake content from an SME, and, in many cases, you shouldn’t try to.
Another thing to consider when hiring SEO content writing services is a lack of familiarity with your brand. While you can always provide style guides and feedback to get agency writers to the point where they can emulate your brand’s voice, no one will know your brand values quite as well as you or your employees do.
Pro: Save Time
One of the main reasons business owners outsource content creation to SEO writing companies is that they do not have the time to hire and train new employees. According to Investopedia, it takes, on average, 42 days to find and hire the right candidate to fill a position. Integrating new hires and getting them to the point of 100% productivity can take another six months of training. If you don’t have time for that kind of commitment, you’re not alone.
When you hire SEO content writing services, you can count on the writers to be fully trained and qualified from the get-go. If training is necessary, the agency will take care of it — not you. Not only does this free up time for you to focus on other, more important aspects of your business, but it also allows you to implement your content marketing strategy sooner rather than later. Instead of having to wait six months to see any sort of return on your investment, you can start seeing results within a matter of weeks.
Con: Lose Time
When outsourcing content creation, there are two main problems companies routinely run into that can cause them to lose time. The first is an inability to find a reliable and/or quality content writing agency. For content marketing to be successful, the efforts must be consistent and of value. It may take you a while to find an agency or writer that offers both — possibly longer than the seven or so months it takes to hire and train an in-house writer.
The second challenge you may face involves managing freelance writers. From keeping tabs on productivity to ensuring projects get done to handling payments and tax forms, you will quickly learn that working with contractors requires a whole different set of skills than managing your in-house team.
Pro: Scale Your Efforts
Some of the greatest perks of working with a blog writing service are the flexibility and scalability it promises. On the one hand, SEO content writing services have access to several writers — often hundreds — meaning they can meet your content needs at every stage of business growth.
If you’re operating on a small budget, you can negotiate entry-level packages or, if working with BKA Content, order standalone pieces. As your business and budget grow, you can increase your investment without having to worry that the agency won’t have the means to keep up. When business slows, you can scale your efforts back until it picks up again.
Content writing agencies also afford you greater flexibility. Because they work with writers from a variety of backgrounds and with varying levels of experience, you can play around with different content types, including but not limited to blog articles, web pages, landing pages, product descriptions, infographics, recipes, white papers and E-books.
Con: Get Pushed to the Back Burner
Though a reputable agency has several measures in place to prevent unmanageable workloads, some — especially younger companies — may take on more work than their writers can realistically handle. While there is no way for you to control an agency’s workload, there are aspects you can look at to determine its commitment to deadlines. Those include company age, customer reviews, client roster, portfolio and team roster.
For example, a one-year-old company with two customer reviews and a small portfolio likely has only a handful of writers on staff. On the other hand, a 10-year old agency with several account managers and a client roster that includes well-known brands probably has the means to tackle sizeable projects in a timely fashion. Though you should not discount younger agencies, if you anticipate ordering large amounts of content on a consistent basis, it may make sense to work with more established SEO content writing services.
Pro: Get Content On a Consistent Basis
Consistency is key across all aspects of your content marketing strategy. We touched on consistency in terms of style and tone in the “Perspective” section, but a consistent publishing schedule is just as important.
According to Forbes, an inconsistent strategy can confuse visitors and reduce a brand’s value by as much as 20%. On the other hand, consumers view brands that maintain regular strategies as more credible, reliable and trustworthy, and more able to provide a better customer experience.
Several factors may affect a single writer’s ability to maintain a rigorous writing schedule, including meetings, in-office distractions, vacation days, sick days and writer’s block. Because most SEO content writing services have several writers to take on assignments, however, you can have peace of mind that none of these factors will interfere with your content creation schedule. If a writer assigned to your project suddenly falls ill or decides to take an impromptu “personal day,” your account manager can reassign the project to an available writer and ensure it reaches your inbox as promised.
Con: Struggle To Find a Reliable Agency
In your search for the right agency for your brand, you may discover that not all content writing firms are created equal. Unfortunately, there are several so-called agencies out there that are, in fact, “content mills.” These mills prioritize profits over all else, which is evident in everything from their low-quality writing to poor customer service to complete disregard for client deadlines. You may have to go through one or several bad apples before finding the right fit, but with persistence, you will find it. That said, the same conundrum holds true with in-house writers.
The Best of Both Worlds
At the risk of sounding redundant: Not all SEO content writing services are created equal. You have your freelancers, your content mills, your subscription services and everything in between. While you can learn about the various types of content writing companies here, you can reap the benefits of both an in-house writer and a content writing agency when you choose to work with BKA Content.
At BKA, we offer several tiers of service depending on your content needs, one of which is our managed services model. Under this model, you get access to our thousands of writers, all of whom must undergo a rigorous application process and training period before being granted the freedom to select articles. Once onboarded, writers are either invited to join or try out for “teams” according to their interests, industry knowledge and writing levels.
Each team consists of writers who have specialized expertise in certain fields, such as law, medicine and IT. A personable account manager oversees each team to ensure writers complete projects on time and in accordance with clients’ expectations. The same account manager maintains ongoing communication with clients and acts as an intermediary between them and the writers. This model gives you the same level of control you would have with an in-house writer, but without the hassle of actually having to manage the writers yourself.
Our solutions are also scalable. From standalone articles to monthly orders to large, one-off batches of high-quality optimized content, we have the team and the resources to tackle it all.
Finally, our team cares. We truly do. We understand that for many business owners, the decision to hire an in-house writer over SEO content writing services comes down to relationships and loyalty. They want to know that their writers are just as invested in their bottom lines as they are. We get it, because here at BKA Content, we prioritize relationships, too.
Though our team is mostly virtual, we strive to maintain a family atmosphere and one in which everyone feels appreciated. At the end of the day, we believe that it is this value that enables us to deliver a better content experience time and time again.
Ready To Hire SEO Content Writing Services?
If you’re ready to partner with BKA Content, or if you want to give our SEO content writing services a test run, browse our Content Shop to learn more about our self-service options. Or, you can reach out to us directly to learn more about our managed services option.