Content agency vs. freelancer: Which to choose?

In today’s increasingly digital world, traditional marketing strategies just don’t cut it anymore. And the best part is, they don’t have to! When it comes to creating a strong brand identity, getting you noticed, and boosting sales, there is no better tool than content marketing. 

Creating informative, high-value content to share with your audience has been the order of the day for a while now — and it’s not going away any time soon. The problem is: how do you create this content? Yes, you could do it yourself but with everything else on your plate, do you have the time?

So, if you’re not going to produce your content in-house, that leaves you with two main options — a content agency or freelancers. In this blog, we’ll take a look at what exactly each of these options are, the pros and cons of both, and which is the best choice for you. 

What is a content marketing agency?

What is a content marketing agency?

In short, a content marketing agency is a company that specializes in creating content and marketing materials for other businesses. They work with clients to create high-quality, impactful content, plan and execute content plans, and help businesses create a brand image and voice based on their needs.

If you’re familiar with Scribly then this might sound exactly like what we do — and that’s because it is! We actually wrote a blog recently going into detail about what content marketing agencies do, so check that out here for the full rundown!

We’re going to dive into the pros and cons of content marketing agencies in just a moment but we know what you’re thinking: “Scribly is a content marketing agency, of course you’re going to say that this approach is the way forward!”

Well, that’s not completely true. Scribly utilizes a hybrid model where we have account managers and content experts working on all of our clients’ accounts but we also use a network of elite, highly-vetted freelancers to produce much of the content. In this way, Scribly straddles the line between content marketing agency and freelancer, so you can trust us to give both approaches a fair shake!

With that out of the way, let’s jump into the pros and cons of content marketing agencies.

The pros of using a content marketing agency

First, let’s take a look at a few of the pros of working with a content marketing agency.

  • Convenience — With an agency, you can have as much or as little input as you like, either driving your projects or leaving it to them to come up with the content plan, produce the content, and distribute it
  • Broad expertise — Agencies often work across many different forms of content. This means you can take advantage of different forms of content for your marketing strategy all with the same company, using the same workflows, and paid for with one invoice
  • Scalability — Given that agencies often have larger teams, they are more able to produce content at scale or in large batches, unlike freelancers who tend to work alone
  • Consistent workflows — Although it will differ from agency to agency, content agencies will have ways of working in place that make producing content quick, easy, and consistent

The cons of using a content marketing agency

Now, onto some of the cons of working with a content marketing agency.

  • Cost — Undoubtedly the biggest con on the list, agencies tend to be costlier than working with freelancers, so may not be ideal for smaller businesses and those with lower budgets (though we will say that we can often agree on costs)
  • Impersonal — Since you are doing business with a company and not an individual, working with an agency can feel impersonal and like you’re just another client in their roster (though account managers can help mitigate that and become a friendly face)
  • Broad expertise — We put this in the pros section but it may also be a con. If you are looking for one specific type of content or you work in a particular industry, you might be better served by a  specialist rather than a team of generalists

What is a freelancer?

So, in the battle of agency vs freelancer, we’ve dealt with content agencies. Now let’s take a look at freelancers. Freelancers are individual professionals who usually specialize in creating single types of content. Of course, some freelancers can create multiple types of content but most will just focus on one, such as written content, video, or imagery.

What is a freelancer

Freelancers are self-employed and often have multiple clients that they work with. They may specialize in a specific industry or niche or work across multiple industries. There are many websites available to find freelancers, such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Toptal. Contracts are negotiated directly between the freelancer and the client and tend to be done on a project-by-project basis.

Now we have a better understanding of what freelancers are and how they operate, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.

The pros of using a freelancer

Starting with the pros of working with freelancers, there’s a big one that jumps to mind.

  • Price — Freelancers tend to be cheaper than agencies. This makes them perfect for one-off projects, small businesses, and those with a lower budget
  • Personal touch — Working with a freelancer means working with an individual creative, rather than with a faceless company, giving you a more personal touch and connection with the person you are working with
  • Specialization — Many freelancers are experts in one or two niches or industries, meaning that they can produce higher-quality and more accurate content than might be expected from an agency working across a broader range of subjects
  • Flexibility — Freelancers provide far more flexibility than agencies, often allowing you to negotiate on price, commission custom projects, and delivery dates

The cons of using a freelancer

And finally, the cons of working with freelancers.

  • Limited content types — Typically, freelancers will specialize in a single form of content. So, if you’re looking for imagery to go along with your blog, you’ll need to find another freelancer to do that for you
  • Smaller scale — Freelancers are individuals, so if you are looking to produce a large amount of content (particularly if you want it quickly), they may not be able to keep up with your requirements
  • Inconsistent workflows — If you are working with multiple freelancers, they will often have different ways of working, invoicing, delivering, etc., making it more complicated when trying to juggle multiple projects or pieces of work

So, in the battle of digital marketing agency vs freelancer which is best for you?

At the end of the day, there are pros and cons to both ways of working, whether that be through a content marketing agency or with freelancers. It all depends on your budget, the type of project you are undertaking, and what you need from a content partner. There is no one-size-fits-all solution here but hopefully this blog has given you some food for thought.

If you’re looking for the best of both worlds though, Scribly has got you covered! Our account managers work with you through every step of the process, helping you to create a content strategy, and determining what type of content best fits your goals. Then, we leverage our network of expert freelancers to find the best fit for your industry, before delivering only the highest-quality content right to your inbox.

Get in touch with the Scribly team today and find out how we can help you take your marketing efforts to the next level!