A CMO’s Guide to Hiring Freelance Writers vs. Full-Time Employees

A CMO’s Guide to Hiring Freelance Writers vs. Full-Time Employees

Marketers often favor hiring full-time in-house writers for their perceived dedication. However, this approach can lead to challenges such as higher costs and limited flexibility. It also may lack diverse skills and perspectives. Freelance writers offer scalability and specialized expertise. They bring fresh ideas and adapt quickly to varying content needs. This content compares these options to help marketers make more informed, cost-effective decisions for a dynamic content strategy.

Matt Mottola, Founder of VentureL, shares, “30% of our network are writers, and we’ve noticed their key challenge is differentiating their service. The best have done this by being a go-to partner for content marketing, not just an individual writer.”

He continues, “Main advice: connect with others to offer a more diverse offering and be able to scale up production in line with clients’ demand.”

This perspective underlines the strategic adaptability of freelance writers, aiding businesses in scaling their content needs effectively.

From Savings to Strategy The Business Case for Freelance Writers

From Savings to Strategy: The Business Case for Freelance Writers

When considering content creation resources, marketing execs often weigh the benefits of hiring freelance writers against employing full-time staff. Amassing large marketing teams seems to be a thing of yesteryear. It should no longer be considered the default, as each option has unique advantages and trade-offs that can impact a company’s content strategy and operational flexibility.

The shift to remote work in recent years has increased the freelance talent pool, giving businesses access to a global marketplace of specialized skills. Scott Galit, CEO of Payoneer, notes the impact of this trend, “The pandemic created more demand for freelance writers with more opportunities to start and grow their business.”

He adds, “However, there’s also more competition as the freelance workforce has increased. Freelance writers need to expand their customer base in a growing sea of competitors.” This perspective highlights the importance of leveraging the growing number of freelance writers to maintain a strong content strategy. The following points dive a bit further into this topic.

Cost-Effectiveness and Overheads

Businesses can save up to 70% on content costs by using freelance writersThe global gig economy is a significant labor market sector, accounting for up to 12% of all workers. In 2021, the gig economy generated an estimated $5.4 trillion in revenue, demonstrating its economic impact.

Additionally, companies avoid the expenses associated with benefits, office space, and other overhead costs when working with freelancers. These cost savings can fund other critical business areas, such as growth initiatives, innovation, or marketing campaigns.

Freelance writers typically charge less than full-time employees, offering businesses significant cost savings. According to data from ZipRecruiter, the average hourly pay for freelancers in the United States is $29.32 an hour. Wages typically range from $11.30 to $75.00 per hour, with most freelance writers earning between $18.03 and $30.53 hourly. Businesses can save up to 70% on content costs by using freelance writers instead of full-time employees.

With budgets for content marketing shifting, most brands are allocating under $500,000 in 2022 and 2023. With an expected rise in larger budget allocations for 2024, strategically allocating funds towards freelance talent can be more cost-effective.

Adaptability and Scalability

Working with freelance writers offers a key advantage: flexibility to adjust content production levels according to your needs, whether that means scaling up or down. Businesses can engage freelance writers for individual projects and discontinue their services after completion. In fact, 78% of companies relied more on freelancers in 2023. This trend underscores the operational agility that freelancers bring to content production.

This flexibility allows marketing teams to adjust their content output in response to fluctuating market conditions – both up and down. It also reduces fixed costs for companies with varying content needs, making it an attractive option.

Commitment and Availability

Although freelancers offer flexibility, it sometimes leads to availability issues. Full-time employees provide a stable and predictable schedule, enhancing availability. However, in their pursuit of stability and growth, they may encounter challenges with the company’s fluctuating capacity or expansion strategies. Despite a full-time employee’s commitment, companies may face limitations in providing opportunities for career advancement.

Integration with Company Culture

Full-time employees, more deeply integrated into a company’s culture, will likely produce content that more closely reflects organizational goals. Although less immersed in company culture, freelancers offer rapid adaptability and fresh insights. Their flexibility and unbiased viewpoints can significantly foster innovation and aid in expanding into new markets.

Diverse Expertise vs. Deep Knowledge

Freelance writers offer diverse expertise and fresh perspectives to projects, often specializing in niche areas. Their niche expertise can be ideal for targeted content campaigns. On the other hand, full-time employees possess a deeper understanding of the company’s products, culture, and brand voice.

Their knowledge contributes to a consistent and cohesive content strategy.

Navigating Industry Experience with Freelance Writers

Navigating Industry Experience with Freelance Writers

Freelance writers with industry-specific experience are invaluable. Companies turn to these professionals to mitigate challenges such as maintaining a dynamic talent pool and keeping overheads in check. Data indicates that this pool of freelancers will grow from 60 million in 2022 to 86.5 million in 2027. Reinforcing this trend, more than 30% of Fortune 500 companies use freelancers. Similarly, up to 70% of small businesses also rely on freelance talent, indicating a growing dependence across various business sectors.

To find expert writers, define your content needs, focusing on industry and technical terms. Start by using professional platforms like LinkedIn to identify candidates. Then, explore freelance talent pools like nDash’s to review writing portfolios demonstrating a history of industry-related writing experience.

more than 30% of Fortune 500 companies use freelancersTap into writing communities and seek referrals from your network to connect with seasoned writers possessing niche expertise. Consider content production platforms specializing in your industry for a more streamlined approach, as they pre-screen writers for industry-specific experience.

Aaron Lester, GoTo’s former content strategist, talked to us about his experience working with vetted freelancers on nDash. “nDash helps centralize the content creation process – it streamlines our whole operation from the content side. We build out our company profile, adding foundation and messaging documents about who we are, our approach, and our audience.”

He continues, “We only have to build that once, and then every writer we work with can find it. It’s made our process for onboarding writers much easier.”

To assess prospective candidates’ expertise and writing style, consider sending sample assignments. This method demonstrates their ability to deliver content consistent with your company’s benchmarks and showcase their research prowess.

Efficiently navigating the freelance market for writers with the right industry background involves strategic searching, networking, and vetting. Businesses can collaborate with freelance writers who bring insightful, authoritative content by concentrating on these areas.

Enhancing Digital Presence with SEO-Savvy Freelance Writers

Enhancing Digital Presence with SEO-Savvy Freelance Writers

Companies can elevate their marketing strategies by enlisting freelance writers specializing in SEO. These skilled professionals improve online visibility by producing engaging, well-researched content finely tuned for search engine algorithms.

Quantifiable Impact of Working with SEO-Savvy Freelance Writers

_nearly 60% of B2B marketers believe the content their teams produce is too generic ...According to HubSpot’s research88% of marketers already following SEO best practices plan to increase or maintain their budgets. By strategically incorporating relevant keywords and optimizing meta tags, these writers can help businesses climb search engine rankings. Understanding user intent is also crucial for attracting organic traffic.

Moz shared the following insights on their social network, “By implementing effective SEO, you can increase your visibility online, reach your target audience more easily, and drive more conversions.”

Consider this – when someone searches for a product, service, or answer, less than 1% look at the second page of results. And, if your link receives a featured snippet, it gets the highest click-through rate 42.9%. Unfortunately, nearly 60% of B2B marketers believe the content their teams produce is too generic or doesn’t produce the response they need.

The solution? Working with an SEO-savvy freelancer. These writers understand and apply SEO principles to create content that matches your audience’s needs. This approach helps improve your visibility and ensures the content is relevant and meaningful to those who find it.

Strategies Freelance Writers with SEO Expertise Use

SEO-savvy freelance writers are at the forefront of tapping into the market where 68% of online experiences begin — search engines. With a staggering 53.3% of all website traffic originating from organic search, we cannot overstate the importance of SEO expertise.

These professionals hone in on Google, which commands a 78.01% search market share, by employing various strategies to optimize content and improve search engine rankings. These include:

  • Keyword research: 50% of search queries are four words or longer, indicating the importance of long-tail keyword research for SEO. Pinpointing relevant keywords and phrases that align with user search queries and business goals.
  • Content optimization: Organic SEO is reportedly 5.66 times more effective than paid search ads, showcasing the value of high-quality, optimized content. The goal is to craft engaging, well-researched content that incorporates targeted keywords naturally and strategically.
  • Meta tag creation: Meta descriptions and title tags are crucial as only 0.63% of Google searchers click on results from the second page, so capturing attention on the first page is critical. They’ll craft compelling meta descriptions and title tags that accurately reflect the content and captivate search engine users.
  • Internal linking: 53% of marketers believe that ranking is the primary KPI to measure the effectiveness of their link-building strategy, which includes internal linking. They’ll structure website content with relevant internal links, enhance navigation, distribute link equity, and improve search engine crawl efficiency.

Adhering to Industry-Specific Writing Styles

Adhering to Industry-Specific Writing Styles

Some businesses are looking for freelance writers who can easily switch gears to write about any topic in any style. The ability to craft authoritative whitepapers for tech enthusiasts and AP-style press releases for business insiders is a highly sought-after skill. Additionally, the capacity to write engaging lifestyle blog posts for a casual audience is equally valued. Those who possess this versatility stand to command higher rates and attract a broader range of clients.

_ data suggests that the global freelance market will reach a value of $12.01 billion by 2028.Regarding this trend, researchers anticipate the global freelance market to grow significantly. With a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.4%, data suggests the market will reach a value of $12.01 billion by 2028. This growth shows an increasing demand for skilled and versatile freelance writers.

Consider the tech industry, where writers must understand the jargon, acronyms, and trends that permeate the sector. Freelancers must simplify complex technical concepts into clear, concise, and engaging deliverables that inform and engage tech professionals.

Similarly, AP style is essential for press releases. To ensure releases are accurate, compliant, and effective, writers must understand the nuances of AP’s grammar, punctuation, and newsworthy writing.

Writing lifestyle blog posts requires a conversational tone and an understanding of the target audience’s needs, interests, and pain points. Writers must connect with readers personally, weaving engaging narratives that capture their attention and keep them returning for more.

ETQ’s former CMO, Nina McIntyre, aptly captures the demand for versatile freelance writers. She remarked, “We’re developing content for many different personas and industries — and while there are some general pieces, the vast majority of our content needs to address specialized concerns. The demand gen beast is a ravenous engine!”

Aligning Content with Comprehensive Marketing Strategies

Aligning Content with Comprehensive Marketing Strategies

Freelancers aren’t just content creators. They’re partners in shaping and executing content strategies that align with broader marketing objectives. According to the Content Marketing Institute46% of B2B marketers say one group (or person) handles all types of content in their organization, indicating the potential for freelancers to contribute across various content areas.

Nicole Bump, a Fractional Content Director, underscores the significance of this collaboration. She explains, “I work closely with my clients to develop comprehensive content strategies and editorial plans, often resulting in a substantial volume of content to create.”

She continues, “When I need additional bandwidth or specialized expertise, I rely on nDash to find and vet qualified freelance writers who can seamlessly integrate into our team and effectively execute our content plans.”

_44% of marketers say thought leadership content is their top objective ...By collaborating closely with marketing teams, these professionals can ensure their work connects with target audiences and supports ongoing campaigns.

Additionally, they can complement product launches and reinforce brand messaging.

We can expect video content to surge. In fact, 17% of marketers plan to increase its use in 2024, aligning with the trend of increasing video content. Social media remains a top priority for content marketers, with 35% of their budget allocated to this format. Its dominance should continue in the coming year, maintaining its position as a crucial marketing channel.

Thought leadership is a significant goal when outsourcing content, with 44% of marketers citing it as a top objective. Freelance writers can contribute to this approach by shaping consumer-facing conversations and establishing brand authority.

A holistic content strategy provides a roadmap for crafting a cohesive narrative that nurtures leads throughout the sales funnel. This engaging narrative is essential for converting potential customers into loyal brand advocates.

Specific Tasks Freelance Writers Perform to Support Content Strategy

Specific Tasks Freelance Writers Perform to Support Content Strategy

37% of marketers prioritize customer and audience research in their content marketing spendFreelancers play a pivotal role in developing and implementing effective content strategies. Their contributions span the entire content lifecycle, from planning and creation to promotion and distribution. By encompassing various planning, creation, and promotion aspects, they ensure that businesses and organizations deliver valuable and engaging content.

Audience Research and Insights

Writers conduct thorough audience research to gain insights into the target audience’s demographics, interests, and pain points. This understanding is crucial for crafting content that resonates with the audience and drives desired outcomes. As an SEMrush study reveals, 37% of marketers prioritize customer and audience research in their content marketing spend, highlighting the critical role of audience understanding.

Content Planning and Scheduling

These professionals develop content calendars to effectively plan and schedule content creation and distribution. These calendars ensure a consistent and organized approach to content delivery, maximizing the impact of content marketing efforts.

Buyer Personas and Content Creation

High-performing companies surpassing revenue targets are 60% more profitable than those not customer-centric. Among these, 71% have formally documented personas, which are regularly maintained and updated.

Buyer personas help freelance writers understand their ideal customers and create content that meets their needs. Personas reveal target audience needs, challenges, and preferences. This insight enables the creation of highly relevant and engaging content.

Content Creation and Optimization

Freelancers craft targeted content that supports marketing objectives and caters to specific audience segments. They also optimize content for search engines, enhancing visibility and increasing organic website traffic. This combination of targeted content and search engine optimization ensures that the right content reaches the right audience at the right time.

Content Promotion and Distribution

Professional writers promote content through various channels, including social media, email marketing, and influencer outreach. This multi-channel approach ensures that content reaches a broader audience and achieves greater reach and engagement.

Content Performance Tracking and Analysis

These individuals actively track and analyze content performance using metrics and analytics. This data-driven approach provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of content strategies, allowing for continuous improvement and optimization.

Industry studies and trends show that the demand for skilled freelance writers is growing rapidly. A Content Marketing Institute study reveals that 25% of B2B organizations plan to hire or contract content marketers in 2023. This data underscores the increasing importance of working with this talent to shape successful content strategies and achieve marketing objectives.

Tackling Employee Retention in the Writing Industry

Tackling Employee Retention in the Writing Industry

The writing industry faces significant challenges with employee retention, particularly among in-house copywriters. Several factors contribute to high turnover rates, which pose various operational and financial challenges to organizations.

Short Tenure of In-House Copywriters

Turnover can cost employers around 33% of an employee's annual salary.The average tenure for in-house writers typically ranges between one and two years. The shifting dynamics of the job market and the growing appeal of freelance work significantly influence this trend. As a result, many writers opt for freelance opportunities, leading to frequent vacancies in in-house positions.

High Turnover Costs

The cost of employee turnover is substantial, averaging around 33% of the departing employee’s annual salary. These costs aren’t just financial but also operational. Hiring and training new employees can result in direct expenses, like salaries, benefits, and recruitment costs. Indirect costs associated with hiring and training new employees include lost productivity, workflow disruption, and departing industry-specific knowledge and expertise.

Impact of Losing Experienced Writers

The departure of seasoned writers from an organization is particularly detrimental. It leads to losing specialized expertise and established relationships with clients and colleagues. These aspects are difficult to replace and require significant rebuilding time and resources. The expertise of experienced writers, developed over the years, is integral to maintaining the quality and consistency of content.

Effect on Team Morale and Company Culture

Frequent turnover affects a company’s operational aspects and profoundly impacts team morale and the company culture. It can lead to a sense of instability among remaining employees and affect their job satisfaction and productivity. The continuous process of adapting to new team members can be taxing and may detract from a cohesive work environment.

The challenges of employee retention in the writing industry necessitate strategic approaches to improve job satisfaction, provide growth opportunities, and create a stable work environment that can retain talent effectively. Addressing these issues is crucial for maintaining operational efficiency, preserving institutional knowledge, and fostering a positive and productive workplace culture.

Strategic Advantages of Working with Freelance Writers

Strategic Advantages of Working with Freelance Writers

_39% of marketers need help accessing subject matter experts (SMEs).Contracting freelance writers provide critical strategic advantages, such as accessing specific skills for formats (31%) and adding bandwidth to match volume (30%). This data suggests that while in-house teams are preferred, external partners have a clear role in supplementing specific skills and managing content volume effectively.

Nigel Sarbutts, Founder of PRCavalry, advises, “The key challenge is finding clients who value your skillsets and the flexibility, resourcefulness, and network you bring. The highest value work comes from deep sector knowledge where you are out of reach of the race to the bottom of generalized markets. Go deep, go niche, and thrive.”

Freelancers’ deep understanding of specific sectors can provide businesses with content that stands out in a crowded marketplace. Let’s dig into that a bit more:

Freelance Writers: Gain Global Talent Access

The World Bank reports that of 3.38 billion workers worldwide, around 1.57 billion are freelancers. This vast talent pool represents a wealth of knowledge and experience businesses can tap into to create inclusive content.

This reach enables companies to find the perfect fit for their content needs, regardless of location or time zone. Freelance writers can also provide valuable insights into different cultures and markets, helping businesses create culturally resonant and inclusive content.

By working with freelance writers from around the world, businesses can:

  • Access a broader range of expertise and skills
  • Gain insights into different cultures and markets
  • Create content tailored to specific regions or languages
  • Stay up-to-date on global trends and developments

This global approach to content creation can help businesses reach a wider audience, build stronger relationships with international partners, and establish themselves as global leaders in their industry.

Freelance Writers Offer Specialized Skills

Freelance writers often possess specialized skills and expertise in various subjects and sectors. This specialization can be a significant advantage for businesses that require content on niche topics or must adapt their content to specific target audiences. Businesses can tap into the expertise of freelancers to produce high-quality content. This strategy ensures that the content meets the needs and preferences of their readers.

Research from the Content Marketing Institute reports that 39% of marketers need help accessing subject matter experts (SMEs). Freelancers can help to bridge this gap by providing specialized expertise. Whether a business needs content on a complex technical topic or a highly specific cultural niche, a freelance writer can likely meet their needs.

The Role of Freelance Writers in Agile Business Environments

The Role of Freelance Writers in Agile Business Environments

Integrating freelance writers into business strategies is a forward-thinking way to tap into their expertise, understanding of different cultures, and ability to save money. Companies can benefit from strategically using freelancers to craft engaging content that extends their reach to a broader demographic.

By embracing the freelance revolution, businesses can enrich their content, foster innovation, and stay ahead of the curve in content marketing excellence. Capitalizing on this involves establishing clear communication channels, leveraging project management tools, and nurturing long-term partnerships with freelancers.

Contact us to explore how our network of experienced freelance writers can elevate your content to the next level.