- Internal and external content teams can both help nurture organic growth in their own ways. Which is better for your business depends on your needs and wants.
- External content teams are built of experienced experts, who have access to greater skills and a broad depth of industry and market knowledge. However, some businesses may want more creative control in their marketing.
- Internal content teams, however, may be faster to work with and know the business from the inside, but they may be less experienced and are likely to be spread thin.
Marketing content, both static like websites and temporary, such as for a special promotional campaign, comes in many forms. In a perfect world, every company would have a specialist to create whatever they need, a photographer for product images, a graphic designer for a catchy ad design, and a talented writer for engaging and compelling copy.
In reality, though, it’s just not possible for most firms to keep that kind of talent on the books, so internal marketing teams are more likely to be staffed by employees whose skills are more broad-based, capable of covering a multitude of roles and stepping in for others on the team where necessary.
On the other hand, external content providers are highly focused on specifics regarding who is creating the content and critical marketing elements that the content drives, such as link building and search engine optimization (SEO).
It’s a big decision for companies, especially those who are just growing to the size where internal or external content teams can take them to the next level, provided they make the right choice for them. Here we’ll try and help you make that call by giving an overview of the pros and cons of internal and external content teams so you can decide for yourself which is right for you.
External content teams: The pros
Access to greater skills
An external content team will be highly specialized in creating daily content for different clients. So, naturally, this will give them a greater depth of experience in creating different types of content and perfecting the role, shortening how long it takes to produce content assets.
External content providers will also be in a position to have several subject specialists for different areas, meaning that even an organization with varying needs in terms of audience and focus will have someone who can meet them where they are. Importantly, external content teams will also be well-versed in the must-haves of digital marketing, i.e., SEO, PPC and building content according to search engine best practices.
Broader market knowledge
One of the major advantages external content teams have in being so in-depth in their writing for a multitude of clients is understanding how a range of different niches operate and bringing together a variety of approaches.
This is knowledge of marketing and how content can achieve various objectives, whether it’s creating a particular brand image, improving product awareness, or straight-up driving sales; lengthy experience in the field feeds success.
They’ll also have access to content research tools that, when using an internal team, come with payments that the organization itself will have to foot. Not only that, but they’re well versed in navigating these tools, and getting the information they need from them.
Finally, an external content team will be on the pulse of Google algorithm updates, and can help a bran adjust accordingly when things inevitably change pace again.
Better capacity scaling
If your company is expanding rapidly, one of its most considerable constraints is getting in the right personnel quickly enough. Failure to scale up to meet demand can result in missed opportunities and a potentially damaged reputation as customer orders are delayed, or quality suffers. On the other hand, with external content teams or working with freelancers, you immediately have access to a vast pool of talented content creators, meaning your marketing doesn’t have to suffer from your success.
Unlike committing to an employee and hoping they’ll be the right fit you need moving forward, you can easily try as many external content teams as you like. This can be useful for getting fresh perspectives on your marketing approach or comparing how different methodologies play out better regarding final results.
Internal content teams: The pros
Any company with more than one or two employees can attest to the importance of team building. Close communication and understanding how an employee works can simplify getting your vision across. When you know who you’re working with, understanding where someone else is coming from is made eaiser.
This familiarity with an internal content team also extends to pulling together to really turn things around on a tight timeline because there’s a spirit of togetherness that is hard to replicate for external contractors.
It would also be expected that an internal team would have a deeper understanding of your brand values and exactly the image you’re trying to put out there. Naturally, they are surrounded by the brand all day long. They should also have at least some idea of what pushes your customers’ buttons, so when tasked with creating content, they automatically have the tone and your firm’s target customer in mind.
With internal content teams, there may be a much shorter lead time for content being created. This is a natural advantage of the shortened communication lines. For example, instead of talking to an account executive at the contractor who then generates the brief for the writer themselves, you can just communicate directly with the writer – you’re probably even in the same office as them.
Remember, though, that a very efficient external content team might still be able to get you content even faster than an internal one.
External content teams: The cons
While external content teams may have a broader and deeper skillset, it can also make it a bit more challenging to keep your exact vision on track. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as bringing new ideas to the table is often exactly what a marketing team needs.
However, if you’re very set on doing things a specific way, this is probably easier to achieve with a team you can constantly check on.
Most external marketing teams (at least the very good ones) will be open and amenable to creative input from your team – you do, after all, know your business the best.
Locking down talent
Say you meet your perfect writer; they get everything you want to say the first time, know your niche inside-out and perfectly capture the tone you want across different messaging. The only problem is, they’re with someone else: your external content team.
You can always ask for them specifically to work on projects for you, but at the end of the day, the decisions on where or when they work with you will be out of your control.
Internal content teams: The cons
Time to scale
Having a close-knit team or even handling your content yourself is okay when just starting out, but it’s not feasible as your business grows and those personnel and work hours are needed elsewhere.
Unfortunately, keeping everything in-house means hiring new employees to take up those projects, which can be a lengthy process, especially if you haven’t hired marketing or content specialists before. This can lead to delays in getting in the needed resources, leaving you or other team members having to pick up the slack.
On top of the time it can take to scale up capacity, there’s also the issue of committing to those resources you bring in. As a company grows, it will inevitably come to a content bottleneck. That is, they suddenly realize that everything on their website and much of their marketing material needs a refresh.
You need a lot of work done quickly, so you look to make hires. But that volume of work is relatively exceptional. Afterward, you may not have enough to fully occupy your new hires.
Capacity to specialize
There’s a reason why medical professionals are encouraged to take specialty paths; it’s not that a pediatrician wouldn’t be able to diagnose adults or perform an operation, just that those who specialize become much better at that particular job.
While not quite as life or death as medicine, it’s the same when it comes to creating content; if you’re writing 40 articles a month, you’ll probably be better at it than someone who writes two at the same time.
In addition, specialty writers working for external content teams have the volume of work to entirely specialize, whether it’s in tech, finance, real estate or any other niche.
For internal teams, which may also have a wide range of other tasks, they just don’t have the time and space to perfect their knowledge and skills.
Internal or external content teams – which is right for you?
The choice of going with building your own internal content capacity or tapping into the expertise of external teams is a big one for your firm. Both have pros and cons.
Internal teams give you more creative control and better oversight but can be tough to scale up quickly, and may not be able to specialize in the role.
On the other hand, external teams give you a low-commitment choice of expert writers in a given field, along with the SEO and PPC knowledge to deliver on objectives; however, they may require time to get to know your brand as closely as your employees.
For the best part of a decade at Redefine Marketing Group, we’ve been helping companies of all sizes to achieve measurable growth and success by delivering the digital marketing expertise they need.
Whether it’s a complete digital marketing package of SEO, link building, social media and, of course, great content, or even in an advisory role to create a plan they can execute themselves, we’re always here for whatever our clients need. If you’d like to learn more about our content creation and everything else we provide, contact us here.