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In this practical, informative white paper, you'll learn about the differences between using in-house writers and outsourcing freelance writers:

  • How can you tell which strategy is the right one?
  • Real-life scenarios illustrate how to choose between in-house writers and outsourcing freelance writers
  • Side by side comparison for all methods!
  • Is there a wrong or right answer?

The Big Question…

Question People are always asking us – which is the better option – in house writing, or outsourcing freelance writers? This is an important question!

After all, this decision will impact:

  • The time and resources you or your team will spend on content
  • how much money you spend (and how profitable all your efforts are)
  • how interesting, informative, and engaging the content is to your readers

But, the answer may surprise you… Our answer is always the same: BOTH! There is no right or wrong answer. As a matter of fact, we encourage every organization to not just use one option, but both! Each strategy has its place, depending on your unique situation.

The key is knowing when to write content in house, and when to outsource content writing to a freelance writer or content marketing agency.

First, let’s review the full set of options you have when it comes to assigning your content out to writers to get it written:

  • Option #1  In-House - Writing it Yourself
  • Option #2  In-House - Assigning the Work to a Digital Marketing Team Member
  • Option #3  Outsourcing Freelance Writers
  • Option #4   Outsourcing to a Content Marketing Agency

Choosing the Best Option

There are six main factors that will determine which strategy is right for each unique case:

  • Time - How much time do you have to devote to a project?
  • Budget - Do you have the budget to outsource this project?
  • Talent - Do you or your team members have the talent required to complete this project?
  • Love vs Hate - Do you or does someone on your team actually enjoy writing?
  • Complexity - Is the format of the content simple or more complex?
  • Company vs Industry - Will writing the content require in-depth knowledge of your specific company, or is it broader and more industry based?

Comparison Overview

Options Assigned Time Cost When to Use Advantages Things to Consider
In-House Yourself Time Time Time Time Time Cost Cost Cost You have the time and ability to write high quality content. You have the specialized knowledge required for the topic. You have access to good editors for polishing Your content will be more authoritative You can build a connection with your audience The people with the most expertise are typically the people with the least amount of time to spend on content. If you do write it yourself, it’s helpful to hire an editor.
In-House Team Member Time Time Time Time Cost Cost Cost Team members have the time, talent and knowledge to handle the topic. You have access to good editors for polishing. Still create content that is authoritative while saving you time. You know which team members are best suited for each topic. You trust your team members to provide quality content. Be opened minded and realistic when it comes to assigning topics to the right person. Find writers in your team with specialized knowledge on the topic. You’ll still need to spend time planning, outlining and reviewing/editing content.
Outsource Freelance Writer Direct Time Time Cost Cost When you or your team don’t have enough time/talent/knowledge to cover a subject. You still prefer to manage the planning, writer assignment, production and editorial process. Larger pool of writing talent with a vastly wider range of expertise. Will save the bulk of time required to produce content in-house The right platform makes the process of finding, hiring, managing and paying writers simpler and more efficient. Requires some time upfront to sample writers to build a trusted team. You’ll still need to spend time planning, outlining and reviewing/editing content.
Outsource Content Agency Time Cost Cost Cost Cost You have very little time or resources to spend internally on content creation. You or your team doesn’t have the time/talent/knowledge. You prefer to have the planning and creation process handling by someone else. Saves you time, it’s the most hands-off solution. Perfect for those with limited experience in the content creation process. Will be more expensive than other options since you are paying for project management in addition to content creation. Still requires some of your time and feedback in the process. Not 100% hands free.

Comparing Cost Details

TimeBefore you pick the option that’s right for you, it’s important to understand just how much the true cost will be. Remember, time is money!

Let’s take a look at an easy way to estimate just how much content production and outsourcing freelance writers can cost, both in time and resources.

Options Assigned Average Blog Post Average Whitepaper Average E-Book
In-House Yourself Time to create: 2-3 hours Time to create: 15-30 hours Time to create: 40-80 hours
In-House Team Member Time to create: 2-3 hours Time to plan and review: 10-30 minutes of your time Time to create: 15-30 hours Time to plan and review: 2-4 hours of your time Time to create: 40-80 hours Time to plan and review: 4-6 hours of your time
Outsource Freelance Writer Direct $10-$30 Time to plan and review: 10-30 minutes of your time $60-$120 Time to plan and review: 2-4 hours of your time $120-$250 Time to plan and review: 4-6 hours of your time
Outsource Content Agency $20-$50 + content agency fee* Time to plan and review: 10-30 minutes of your time $120-$240 + content agency fee* Time to plan and review: 1-2 hours of your time $240-$500 + content agency fee* Time to plan and review: 2-4 hours of your time

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Real Life Scenarios

Option #1 In House - Writing it Yourself

This is the most time consuming option, but in some instances, you may be the only one who has the required knowledge and subject matter expertise to handle the topic appropriately. You will be in charge of all aspects of your content production. From the original planning phase, to writing the content and editing it, you will be in control of the entire process.


Bob runs a construction supply business online and has an established article collection designed to educate contractors and Do-It-Yourselfer’s. He has at least five to ten hours available every week for writing and he really enjoys writing. His particular knowledge base about construction and the issues that contractors face a regular basis makes him perfect for writing content that will connect with his audience.

Writing it Yourself In this scenario, Bob would be well served to write his content on his own. He has the writing skills, time and the knowledge needed to get the job done right. In the future however, if his business picks up and he finds that he no longer has free time to devote to writing content, going directly to outsourcing freelance writers would be a great idea.

Still want to keep your writing in-house, but don’t have the inclination to write? There’s another option available to you.

Option #2 In House - Assigning it to a Team Member

This option requires that you have team members who have a talent for writing and the knowledge base necessary to do justice to the topic. While you will still be involved in the planning process, the actual writing of the piece of content will be done by someone else on your team.


Team Member Maria owns a retail business online and has a fashion blog on her site that is currently posting around 5 to 10 posts every week. While she doesn’t have the time to manage her business and write, she has several employees who can. By assigning out blog posts to her employees, Maria can rest assured that people who understand the topic, and have the time to write, can create content on an on-going basis.

If Maria ends up losing employees with writing skills, or the company continues to expand, she may want to consider freeing up some time by working with a content agency or with outsourcing to freelance writers.

How can Zerys Help?

Zerys For content that you decide to keep in house, you’ll still need to manage the planning, assignment, production, editorial review and publication process. With Zerys, you’ll have a whole suite of tools at your fingertips designed to make this process easier and more intuitive.

Option #3 Content Writing Outsourcing to a Freelance Writer

In a perfect world, you or your team would be able to write all of your content, but as we all know, we’d don’t live in a perfect world. You and your team have the knowledge, but you also have the least amount of time available to write.

While no one will ever write exactly like you, with a little bit of time investment, you can find knowledgeable freelancers who can learn your style. If you choose this method, you’re not alone! Thanks to the myriad of tools available, like Zerys, 62% of businesses now turn to outsourcing freelance writers for their content creation.


Freelance Writer Jim has a website for his small business and he would like to start writing content for it. However, Jim has no experience in writing and finds it difficult to put together compelling content. In addition, his schedule does not permit him the extra time to write content. By outsourcing to a freelance writer directly, he can plan out several weeks worth of content in advance and relax, knowing that the writer is going to handle everything for him.

In this situation, Jim would not save any time or money by doing the content on his own. In the future, if he wants to expand, or doesn’t have time to work directly with a writer, he may want to consider using a content agency.

Never worked with a content agency before? Let’s see if this is the right fit for you.

Option #4 Content Writing Outsourcing to a Content Marketing Agency

The biggest difference in working with a content agency is that you will no longer be managing the overall project. While it still requires a minimal amount of time, the bulk of the workload for content creation, project management and revising will be handled by the content agency's team of writers.


Kelly runs a website for her bakery and wants to use content to reach out to her local market and expand her business online. While she has several employees that have experience with her industry, none have any writing skills and no one has the time to write content.

Content Marketing Agency In addition, Kelly has no knowledge of writing and isn’t sure how to deal with the more technical aspect of posting new content on her site. In order to meet her specific goals, Kelly hires a content agency to write her content and promote it on social channels. She schedules a time once a month to approve new topics and content and everything else is handled for her.

This scenario highlights the fact that some business owners simply cannot deal with producing content on their own and don’t have the time to manage individual writers. By working with a content agency, Kelly can outsource everything and spends minimal time managing the process of creating and posting content.

Breaking Down Content Agency Fees

Content Agency Fees can vary widely and are typically not broken up into “per piece” fees, but charged as part of a package of a set number of content pieces. Your fee will cover not only the creation of the content, but also project management and other services.

A rough estimate for the average monthly fee you can expect from a content agency is:

Content Creation Low End:  $500 - $1000 per month
Middle End:  $3000 - $5000 per month
High End:  $10,000 +

Your unique situation, the amount of content pieces you need and your overall strategy will impact your overall monthly fee from a content agency.

Is there a wrong or right answer?

Right Answer No – they can all be the correct answer!

All of these choices are legitimate. So, whether you use in-house writers or you decide on outsourcing freelance writers, there is no wrong or right answer!

By looking at each situation individually and keeping an open mind, your content production will be more agile and you will be able to consistently produce amazing content on a regular basis.