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Outsourcing your content creation to an agency: 8 mythbusters

The internet is awash with rumours. Whether it’s about your favourite TV show, the royal family's latest row, or the behaviour of certain world leaders, you can find theories about pretty much any topic online. One of the rumours we'd like to focus on is whether using a marketing agency can ever work when it comes to creating content for you.

It’s a fair debate and we understand why customers might be dubious. Some of the widely posed questions include:

  • How can an agency understand your industry well enough to write about it?
  • Are agencies trustworthy enough to deliver on their deadline promises?
  • Is working with an agency just going to end up being more work for us?
  • Does outsourcing content actually end up more expensive than just employing an in-house writer?

We’ve heard these concerns before. We can’t speak for other agencies – and we understand some of them have let our customers down before, giving agency content creation a bad name in the process. But in this post we want to address some of the widely held misconceptions surrounding content creation (and how we combat them at ESM Inbound).


Myth #1: Using an agency ends up with costly rewrites when you don’t end up with the content you originally asked for

We’ve all been there: you order the seabass at dinner and a steak arrives instead. Ordering something which then doesn’t get delivered is frustrating. It leads to longer waits (while everyone else around you happily gets on with their meal), makes you hungrier, and means you don’t actually enjoy the correct order once it finally comes out; you’re just glad it’s here so you can catch up and move on.

How ESM Inbound does it:

  • We remove the danger of ‘not ending up with the content you asked for’ by using a thorough and structured content planning process.
  • Because we start with a detailed plan, and put you at the heart of the process, the margin for error is vastly reduced, meaning we deliver the content you requested.
  • You are given the opportunity to check the plan ahead of content being created, as well as a round of revisions once the first draft is shared with you: we build revisions into the content-approval process because we know it’s a natural part of creativity.
  • We don’t charge you for these initial changes, which limits the chance of unforeseen costs for you.

Myth #2: Your own sales and service teams end up writing the content because the agency work wasn’t expert enough


The thing about your teammates is: they’re good at what they do. They are experts in their field and probably know the processes around sales, service, product, design, development and so on, inside out. But they aren’t writers. They aren’t designers. They aren’t content strategists. Expecting them to be able to create content (and find time to do so) is unrealistic. You might feel out of your depth if you suddenly had to run a sales forecasting presentation. Likewise, your colleagues shouldn’t need to write content.

How ESM Inbound does it:

  • We include an interview with anyone of your choice during the planning stage for content creation. If this is one of your experts, then our content strategist will be able to find out everything they need about your business and their role, directly.
  • We never expect your team to write content: they are professionals in their spheres and we want to keep it that way. By interviewing them, then further researching around your business, we create a convincingly joined-up piece that conveys a powerful message on behalf of your business.
  • During the content-review process, you might choose to run the content by your sales or service team – or anyone else at your business – for a sense check, but this is still a far shorter process than asking non-writers to create content from scratch.

Myth #3: The effort of building your own content approval and agency-managing processes means it isn’t worth the hassle

Logic follows that working with more people surely equates to more work, right? The idea of having to come up with new content-approval processes and making time to walk everyone at your business through a new way of doing things might sound like it’s more trouble than it’s worth: maybe sticking to your current content process would actually be better?

How ESM Inbound does it:

  • Making more work for you is the last of our goals. That’s why we’ve come up with our content-creation process, so you don’t have to. Our system will be explained to you, as well as what our responsibilities are, when we start working together.
  • Our process is tried and tested so you don’t have to devise a new way of working; our aim is to remove anxiety and effort from your current content procedure so you are freed up to go about other aspects of your job role.
  • We don’t need ‘managing’. We have turnaround times, steps and independent working methods in place to manage ourselves – as long as your touch points are upheld, we’ll be able to work together to meet deadlines.

Myth #4: Nasty surprises when costs suddenly spiral, meaning you’re out of pocket


Remember the days when a chocolate bar cost 30p? And they were bigger? Sigh. No-one likes inexplicable price hikes. Especially when you’re paying for the same product or service you’ve always had, but now it costs more, with no additional benefit to you. That’s a way to almost certainly frustrate and distance your customer.

How ESM Inbound does it:

  • Whether you want a one-off content task or to start one of our content packages, the price we quote you is the one we will stick to until the content is delivered.
  • While other agencies or freelancers may push their fees up midway through a project, we have set pricing structures to help you manage your budget and understand exactly what you’ll get. We are up-front about costs and state them on our website, unlike many agencies. 
  • There are opportunities to add more to your content request, commissioning additional work, but these will be charged at a fair rate. With ESM Inbound there are no hidden fees: we are transparent about what our services will cost you.

Myth #5: No face-to-face contact means directions get lost in translation

Many agencies work remotely. It’s the way of the modern world to have pods of employees working across the country, or indeed, across the world, enabling agencies to find the best people for the job, not just someone who might be geographically convenient. With this comes the concern from some businesses that the ‘personal touch’ is lost and there’s more room for error.

How ESM Inbound does it:

  • We include person-to-person, direct contact as a standard part of our content process. Talking to you is so much more beneficial (and enjoyable) than trying to only communicate via email, which is where instructions can get murky.
  • The initial consultation call, as well as the later interview with a member of your team or one of your customers, is done via phone call or video call. We use platforms such as HubSpot, Zoom and Vidyard to build face-to-face relationships with you and your team.
  • Not only are we more than happy to conduct conversations via video call, but we will screen share and record videos wherever we feel it is helpful. This means you can rewatch and slow down anything we discuss, having the opportunity to revisit our meetings for clarity, or share them with colleagues.
  • Likewise, we offer coaching and on-site visits for businesses who want more hands-on guidance through their marketing (or sales and service) offering.

Myth #6: Voice and tone are inconsistent and there’s a lack of depth and breadth in the topics covered

Working with some agencies might mean a variety of writers are roped in to create your content: writers who haven’t done the research and conducted interviews with you first. Understandably, this might lead to a range of tones and voices being used: writers aren’t robots, they each bring their own flair. So in order to achieve consistency, an agency needs to operate with tried-and-tested processes.

How ESM Inbound does it:

  • We assign one content strategist to your piece of content. You may meet a different member of the ESM Inbound team via email or on some calls, but as far is as possible, we will ensure one person is responsible for creating your content in your house style to avoid inconsistencies.
  • We have a rigorous QA process: a content expert in our team checks the final piece of content alongside the plan which has been approved by you. If they think the writer has missed the mark, we will perform rewrites internally ahead of sending it to you; you will receive the content only once we are happy we’ve satisfied your criteria.
  • The depth and breadth of a topic i.e. your industry or sector, is thoroughly researched by your content strategist ahead of getting started. They will ask you for examples of previous campaigns, competitors' content you like and industry documents that will help the strategist form a comprehensive view of your business.

Myth #7: Responsibility for the lengthy ideation process still remains with you



Explaining to others what to do so often results in "never mind, I’ll do it myself." There’s too much to explain, to demonstrate and questions to answer. This inevitably increases your workload, leads to stress and resentment, and means you don’t have time to really hone and craft your ideas: you simply need to get content out of the door.

How ESM Inbound does it:

  • Our content packages include campaign planning; we see each piece of content as part of a bigger picture. This begins with an ideation process between you and the strategist, reviewing what has worked before, what competitors are doing and what your buyer persona responds to.
  • It will be your role to sign off on content, circulate it around your team as appropriate, and keep the process running smoothly so we keep the ball rolling, but it will not be your sole responsibility to tell us what to write: we will do this together.
  • A content strategist doesn’t just write content; they strategise. They have training across a range of HubSpot certifications, and a plethora of experience to enable them to bring the inbound methodology to your campaign, designing it to attract as many leads as possible.

Myth #8: There’s a lack of job satisfaction because of so much back and forth between you and agency workers

Hands up: who loves ticking things off their to-do list? The satisfaction we get from a job well done is great, and we want you to get that same rush of pride and progress when working with ESM Inbound as when you complete your own projects.

How ESM Inbound does it:

  • We want to help you feel satisfied. We understand that working with an agency is a commitment, both emotionally and financially, which you, and your wider team, need to see the value in. Our job is to help you do your job better, ensuring you feel those golden moments in the workplace where everything runs smoothly and content is delivered to a high standard.
  • We avoid endless back and forth which can be so demotivating by putting clear, pre-determined steps in place during content creation.
  • We don't want you wasting your time juggling multiple communication threads and contacts, as you would with a portfolio of freelancers. We ask our initial questions, then go away and get on with it. 

While some myths might have fragments of truth to them, at ESM Inbound, we pride ourselves on dispelling any negative views of agency content creation that customers might have. While we can't speak for all inbound marketing agencies, the time and effort we've put into our processes and the transparency with which we share information, helps pick ESM Inbound out from the crowd: indeed we have been recognised as Diamond-certified HubSpot partners, in part due to our processes and customer satisfaction.

Our dedication to listening to you, communicating clearly, and applying inbound thinking and strategy to your content, means you get an exceptional service which helps prove you made the right decision to outsource your content to us. 

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