In this blog, Jon Brown, Senior PR Account Manager at The B2B Marketing Lab, explains the hidden costs of outsourcing B2B content creation and the things to consider when choosing between in-house and agency support.
So you’re thinking about creating more content. Great! ‘Content is king’ as they all say, and more content means more ways to engage with potential customers and get them to your website.
But as you're stretched for time, you've decided to outsource the work to an agency which specialises in B2B content creation (blogs, case studies, eBooks, market research and white papers).
However, after they write a couple of pieces (all of which seem to be driving engagement, traffic and lead generation) you receive a rather large bill and the agency tells you they won’t produce any more content unless it’s paid.
Unfortunately, this scenario is not uncommon and is perpetrated by what we would call 'rogue agencies'.
Content creation has its costs - but some agencies don't disclose them upfront. In this blog, I'm going to go through the hidden costs associated with content creation, so you have a better idea of what you're paying.
Time vs deliverables
Firstly, agencies charge clients in two different ways – by time or by deliverable.
Time-based charges are calculated using the time it takes to draft, approve and finalise content, whereas deliverable-based charges are paid in one sum, regardless of how long it takes.
Both options have their advantages; time-based is preferable when you need quick, short-form content drafted, whereas deliverable-based works well when you need long-form, technical content.
As well as how agencies charge customers, there are several other factors to consider when outsourcing your B2B content creation:
How many rounds of edits do you need?
Depending on how many changes you need to make to the content, you could rack up a huge bill in the background.
Before enlisting an agency for content creation, find out how many rounds of edits are included in the cost of the service. Be careful not to fall into the trap of making lots of rounds of edits that are unknowingly outside of your contract.
Costs can also increase depending on who is writing the content. For example, a senior copywriter will cost more than someone junior. The reason is that a senior copywriter will be more experienced and capable (typically). In most cases, a senior copywriter will be able to draft the content much quicker than a junior copywriter and it will require fewer edits.
So when speaking with your agency, try to find out who will be creating the content for you and whether the price changes based on the answer.
If you’re looking to create a downloadable asset such as a white paper, eBook or case study, getting it designed, formatted and branded will cost extra.
Once again, ask how many rounds of edits are included and how much the designs cost.
Most agencies will specify a word limit for each content asset, i.e. blogs 600 words, eBooks 1,000 words. If you haven't specified how long you want your content to be, the agency could keep writing and writing, increasing the cost.
Ensure you set boundaries and agreements around content that unexpectedly goes over word limits and expectations.
P.S. An agency will be able to help you create or develop your B2B content marketing strategy. If you're unsure of what that means - just check out our guide for more information.
Have clear objectives
When choosing to partner with a B2B content creation agency, be clear about your budget and your expectations at the start of the engagement.
Ask about the agency’s background and expertise. If you’re looking for a more technical piece, what skills and knowledge will they bring to the table? If it’s part of a content marketing campaign, how will they help support the creation process throughout the programme?
Hidden costs can be embarrassing for both parties, but by being open and honest you can reduce the likelihood of this ever happening.