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In-House or Freelance Writers? How to Choose the Best Content Writer for Your Small Business

So, you’re considering hiring a writer for your business. Having a writer on board will help you generate quality content for your prospects, leads and customers that is helpful to them and brings visibility to your business.


But do you hire a freelancer or an in-house writer? How do you choose between the two?


In this post, I’ll take you through:

By the end of this post, you should have a better understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of each, and which one will be right for you.


Writing applicants in a waiting room

 

What are the differences between freelance and in-house writers?

The main differences between freelance and in-house writers are how they work and how they are paid. In-house content writers are either full-time or part-time employed writers, meaning they are salaried.


Freelance writers however work on a part-time basis and are not salaried. They are usually paid per project or assignment and set their rates.


There are advantages and disadvantages to both types, so before you consider hiring it's worth looking at how each can affect your business.


What to consider when choosing between freelance or in-house writers

Two one way signs pointing in different directions
Image Credit: photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

Before looking at the pros and cons of each, there are a few things to consider when choosing the right writer for your business.

  1. Your budget: are you able to afford an in-house writer's salary? Is it more efficient to hire someone on a project-by-project basis?

  2. Experience required: do you want someone who has broad experience in your niche or someone who is highly experienced in one small area? Do you need an experienced writer, or are you willing to train a new one?

  3. The time needed: are you on a short deadline? Do you have time for the recruitment and training processes?

  4. Communication, availability, and involvement in the business: do you need someone who can be available during normal working hours or someone who can be flexible? Do they need to be held accountable?

  5. Brand and style: is your brand style important for your content?

Make sure you can answer these questions before you decide because knowing your goals and what you require will help you make the right choice for your business.


Now that you know what you need and what your constraints are, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of freelance and in-house writers.


Pros and cons of hiring a freelance writer

Pros

  • Flexible - freelance writers have the freedom to choose their writing and business lifestyle. You might think this would be a disadvantage, but the flexibility allows freelancers to work to their strengths. They can get things done more efficiently and without the need to report to a senior authority (aside from your business).

  • Niche experience - freelancers can pick a niche to write in. By honing in on a niche, they become highly experienced in writing for that area. They also have the advantage of writing for other clients, meaning they develop flexibility in their writing style and a broader range of experience writing in that niche.

  • Cost-effective - because they are not salaried, freelancers are usually cheaper to hire than an in-house writer. This is because they are contracted per project (e.g., for each blog post or piece of content) or for a retainer fee that’s usually cheaper than a full salary.

Cons

  • Limited availability - while freelancers are flexible in their work, the downside is that they may have limited availability. This entirely depends on the freelancer in question. Some freelancers decide to work the usual 9-5, while others choose to work fewer hours. And, because they aren’t salaried employees, you won’t get to decide when their working hours will be.

  • Separated from the business - freelancers will usually never set foot inside your business (unless they happen to be nearby). They work entirely remotely, and so won’t have the advantage of knowing your business as an in-house writer would. This means it may take some time to build the relationship between your business and the freelancer.

  • Slower delivery time - when outsourcing to a freelancer, you’ll need to accept that the work may take longer to complete. This is because freelancers have other clients with different expectations, and your project is just one of many. They will complete it as soon as they can, but you will need to account for a longer completion time.


A freelance writer working from home on a laptop

Pros and cons of hiring an in-house writer

Pros

  • Dedicated to the business - in-house writers write exclusively for your business and no one else. This means you won’t have to worry about whether they will get back to you in time, or if they have other projects going on - you’ll know exactly what is expected of them because they have a salaried contract.

  • Knowledge of the business - in-house writers also have the advantage of knowing the business and brand better than freelancers. They will spend time with other departments and teams, and be very familiar with the business style guide. This will make it easier for them to create content that matches your brand style.

  • Quicker delivery time - because in-house writers aren’t writing for anyone else, they will be solely dedicated to your business during their working hours. This will mean quicker delivery times on content and creating more high-quality content faster than a freelancer.

Cons

  • Expensive - not only are in-house writers salaried they are also expensive in the time it takes to train them and for them to familiarise themselves with the business. Plus there’s the additional time cost of the recruitment and hiring process which you wouldn’t have with freelance writers.

  • Prone to burnout or boredom - in-house writers are writing similar content for the same company every day. If not challenged or given fresh projects, at some point they will burn out or get bored with their work. This may result in sick leave due to stress, or leaving the job entirely. Then you’d have to start the recruitment process all over again.

  • Limited experience - whereas freelancers will have a broad range of experience in a niche, in-house writers won’t have that luxury. Writing exclusively for your business means they don’t get to experiment with other styles of writing or work with other people (unless they start freelancing on the side). This means although their writing will be tailored to your brand, their overall experience won’t be as broad or developed as a freelance writer’s.

An in-house writer in an office

 

Next steps

Hiring the right content writer for your business can be a difficult decision to make. However, as long as you understand your business needs, it can be much easier to choose between hiring a freelancer and an in-house writer.


When deciding which type of writer to hire, you need to consider the following:

  • What is your budget?

  • What writing experience do you need?

  • What is the timeline for your project or requirement?

  • How involved in the business do you need the writer to be?

  • How important is your brand style to your business?

There are pros and cons to both freelancers and in-house, and no choice is better than the other overall. It all depends on what you and your business require.


Are you considering hiring a freelance content writer? I work with busy B2B service-based businesses in the UK by writing content such as newsletters, blog posts, and books. So if you think I’d be a good fit for you, get in touch to see how I can help you be more visible, show your value, and get more leads.


Or, you can subscribe to my mailing list to get exclusive updates, offers, and early access to new blog content.

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