More business is happening online every year. By 2023, e-commerce will account for nearly a quarter of all retail sales. And nothing helps bolster sales online quite like excellent copywriting. Done well, it could mean the difference between random sales generation and steady revenue, customer retention, and brand loyalty.
Copywriting comes in many forms. A lot of writing goes into a website, including ads, social media posts, and product descriptions — not to mention the webpage copy itself. Copywriting might feel tedious, like something that just needs to get done.
However, without quality copywriting, you’ll miss an opportunity to cement your brand voice, encourage sales, and put your best foot forward.
So when it comes to addressing a business’s copywriting, you might want to get the marketing team on the same page by enrolling them in copywriting courses. Or, you can follow the two main avenues available: A business can hire an in-house copywriter, or outsource their copywriting projects to a copywriting agency.
Whatever choice you make, it’s important to know that there’s no right or wrong approach. Whether you hire an in-house copywriter or outsource often depends on the scale of the business in question. There are positives and negatives to both approaches that would be good to keep in mind.
Advantages of In-House Copywriting
Hiring a copywriter means filling a new position, but there are certainly benefits to hiring someone in-house. It saves the business money in the long run and having an employee dedicated to crafting your writing means you will be able to develop a distinctive brand voice and identity. What’s more, copywriting progress is easier to oversee.
In-house copywriting is a great choice for businesses watching their bottom line that know they’ll need ongoing copywriting services and don’t want to rely on an inconsistent freelancer pool.
These days, there are ways to get businesses up and running with little to no overhead. With just a domain name, you can get right down to business. No need to rent out a brick-and-mortar office and hire a full team.
If your startup is strapped for cash, a freelance copywriter is not going to be within your budget. The best freelancers will charge high prices — which are justified by their expertise in a particular subject and their years of experience converting customers.
If your priority is saving money, an in-house copywriter is a way to go. That doesn’t mean it’s easier, though. Hiring in-house requires time and energy to select and onboard your chosen candidate, not to mention the learning curve of your business’s copywriting needs.
Another cheap option is to fund copywriting classes for your marketing team. This has the added benefit of augmenting the skillset of your existing team members, saving you money on the hiring and onboarding process.
It’s important to watch sales, however. If those don’t increase as your copywriting is refined across platforms and mediums, it could be smart to invest in a freelancer—if only to see where your copy is underperforming.
Boosting Brand Awareness
You know your business better than anyone else — so well that you might have trouble articulating your brand. Branding surrounds everyone on a business’s staff, colors every interaction, and informs the work that each team member contributes. However, when it comes to brand awareness, not everyone might be in sync.
Are you the sole founder of a company? Writing your copy probably guarantees that your brand remains distinct and resonant. It stays individual, and therefore it also reflects the company’s values. But copywriting is a heavy lift, especially when entrepreneurs have other tasks and projects that demand more of their time.
An in-house copywriter will be able to speak directly in your voice because that’s the only voice they’ll be using to write.
Hiring a freelance copywriter means working with someone who has many brands in their portfolio. You can be sure that your freelancer will dedicate a lot of time to researching your brand voice. Still, they might not be able to achieve that particular spark that makes your voice unique in the business world. An in-house copywriter guarantees you won’t have to deal with such a mismatch.
Keeping copy in-house ensures that you’ll be able to go over it with a fine-toothed comb. You’ll also have a much easier time tracking the analytics of your copywriting collateral.
For this reason, in-house copywriters make sense for businesses large and small. Small businesses will have full creative control of the copywriting process with an in-house copywriter. For larger enterprises, the copywriter might be part of a team.
Regardless, an in-house employee means your copywriter will have much greater visibility into the brand’s voice, the copy’s analytics, and the loftier missions and goals of your company.
A freelancer will have difficulty bringing that to the table.
Copywriting is a Niche Specialty
Depending on your business model, some freelancers might struggle with crafting the kind of content you’re looking for.
With an in-house copywriter, you can be sure that they are specialized exactly to your business needs.
If an entirely new in-house copywriter is too high of an expense at this time, you can still make a lot of headway with copywriting courses. With just a one-time investment, you can acquire the skills that will help you reach your audience in the clearest and sharpest language possible.
More than that, you won’t have to worry about hiring an in-house copywriter if you have the skills to do the work yourself.
Even if you do choose to hire an in-house copywriter or outsource to a freelancer down the line, you’ll come to the relationship with a lot of experience that will only enrich the process.
An In-House Copywriter isn’t Without Drawbacks
With all that said, it might sound like an in-house copywriter is a perfect arrangement. But before you post an ad on a job forum or begin writing your first product description, you should understand that writing a copy is more than typing away on a laptop in a tropical location.
Here’s what you need to know:
Writing a copy takes a lot of time. To do it right — with research and clean writing and optimal word choices — takes much longer than most people think.
It’s not hard to see why when you think about it: Copywriting means research, SEO skills, and psychological tricks. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done before even one word is committed to the page.
No doubt there are brilliant copywriting classes and lessons out there. But these courses are time intensive. If you are looking to bolster your business’s copy as soon as possible, you’ll want the copy to be correct and live before even the first sale. Starting with poor copy will do the opposite of encouraging sales.
A website filled with errors and typos and shoddy copywriting is not a website your clients will visit again. So, there are good reasons to invest the time to get strong copywriting talent — yes, even if it’s outsourced.
When to Consider Outsourcing Copy for Your Business
There are many circumstances where outsourcing your copywriting makes good sense. By outsourcing, you’ll reduce work stress on your core team while boosting sales.
Here are just a few of the main reasons to consider freelance copywriting.
Saving Time and Hassle
It’s a lot of work to own and manage a business. However, selling is crucial to every business and will be a constant source of attention. If you can add some outside talent — who will almost certainly be remote and available at your discretion — why wouldn’t you take advantage?
Every business is trying to sell. For most businesses, those sales are driven, in part, by your copy collateral across channels and mediums. If the copy isn’t there, those clients simply won’t buy the product.
In short, first impressions matter, and producing a clean copy that will leave a strong first impression is more than enough reason to invest in a freelance writer. Given that producing strong SEO-minded copy takes time, outsourcing is a good option to relieve day-to-day work stress and get your website ready to sell in a shorter time.
When you outsource, you’ll be able to spend a greater amount of time on the tasks and projects only you can do, rather than trying to wear eight different hats.
Gaining a Fresh Perspective
Small business owners often spend most of their time thinking about the inner workings of their company — no surprises there. For example, you might spend all your free time thinking about new products you could offer or how your business might be able to capitalize on the latest fads.
And while there’s nothing wrong with being close to your business, it can stifle innovation and creativity. You might find yourself stuck in a copywriting rut. A freelancer is a great way to break up those doldrums and gain a fresh perspective on your approach.
Freelance copywriters bring years of experience and training to the table. They won’t be as invested in your company as you are, which is a good thing!
A freelance copywriter will use what they know of consumer psychology and converting copy and apply those principles to your business. Because they don’t have the same mission-focused starting point that you do, they’ll be able to show things to you that you might have been blind to.
Another way to put this? Because the freelance copywriter is an outsider to your company by definition, they will approach your work from a lens much closer to that of a customer. Think of this as an excellent product test, just with someone articulate doing the testing.
Leveraging Expertise and Professional Knowledge
Not just anyone can become a freelance copywriter. To be a freelance copywriter, you have to spend years training and learning everything that goes into strong copy, which includes psychology, marketing, and high-conversion language.
Here’s something you may not know: Although copywriters tend to have a reputation as solo artists, this couldn’t be further from the truth! Copywriters often surround themselves with other people working in their profession. From critiques to opinions to ideas, a copywriter is often in touch with a vast network of other copywriters.
This means that when you hire one, chances are you’re hiring the eyes and ears of many.
Each industry is specialized and unique, which means that your copywriter talent will have to draw from a deep well of expertise to convincingly write on behalf of your company. Not to mention the essential role that SEO (search engine optimization) plays in modern copywriting. With a freelance copywriter, you can be confident that you’ll have a stress-free experience.
Copywriting is no walk in the park, but with outsourced talent, go ahead and take the scenic route — your freelance copywriter will have the business covered in the meantime.
More Bang for Your Buck
Although it may be cheaper on paper to keep your copy talent in-house, there are plenty of use cases where it’s worth it to invest in stellar copywriter talent outside of your company.
What’s the reason?
Because training and bringing an in-house copywriter — or training yourself in copywriting fundamentals — takes time and energy that your business might not have yet. When you have a product that’s ready to hit the market, there’s no waiting. The last thing you want is for your website’s shoddy copywriting to delay your big launch.
Hiring a freelancer will cost money upfront, no doubt about it, but that cost will be worth it in the end. If you’re looking to have a copywriter to tackle your project and hit the ground running, outsourced talent might be the way to go.
Copy Boosts Your Business — No Matter Where It Comes From
Look at industry after industry, and what you’ll see they have in common is a robust copywriting strategy that spans web, social, and email. Such a strategy helps you refine your brand voice while converting customers.
But the real secret is that as long as the copy is strong, it doesn’t matter who wrote it. Freelance and in-house copywriting are beneficial in many different use cases. The important thing to do is decide what’s best for your business — now and into the future.
Whether you’re considering freelance or in-house talent, just focus on the writing chops. If the writing is effective, that’s all you have to worry about.
About Author: Liz Slyman has worked on campaigns for some of the biggest brands you know––and breakout brands that you WILL. As the founder and CEO of an award-winning copywriting agency, Liz turns over a decade of copywriting experience into copywriting courses, coaching, tools, and resources for new and established copywriters.