When you need high-quality copywriting content for your business – whether it’s website pages, blogs, ads, emails, brochures, or anything else with words – you essentially have two options: hiring a full-service copywriting agency/firm or working with an individual freelance copywriter. Both routes have their own unique pros and cons, so how do you choose between them? Let’s dig in.
As a business owner or marketing manager, finding top-notch copywriters to create compelling content for your brand is crucial. But should you go with an established copywriting service with teams of writers, designers, strategists and project managers? Or directly contract with a solo freelance copywriting professional?
The choice ultimately depends on factors like your budget, scale, needs, and personal preferences. There are great arguments on both sides. Copywriting services provide reliability, quality control, and capacity for large initiatives. While freelancers offer lower costs, flexibility, direct communication, and customization.
Below we’ll explore the core benefits and drawbacks of each option. Keep in mind only you can decide the right fit for your particular situation. A cash-strapped startup may lean towards freelancers, while big brands often hire agencies to manage content with more structure and scale. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer.
When you hire an established copywriting agency, firm, or service, you gain access to an entire team of specialists:
– You get experts across different creative and strategic roles – Copywriters obviously, but also designers, account managers, project coordinators, SEO strategists, content planners, and potentially even developers and data analysts. This diversity of in-house talent allows them to effectively tackle nearly any type of content project.
– Quality and reliability are baked in – Reputable copywriting agencies employ rigorous processes like work frameworks, style guides, editorial calendars, status reports, quality assurance checks, and more to ensure consistently high-quality work across all clients and projects. You don’t have to worry about missed deadlines, poor writing or unprofessionalism.
– Bigger projects and ongoing needs are no problem – Unlike a solo freelancer with capacity limitations, an agency can readily scale their team up or down to match your project demands. Need 100 new product descriptions within the next month? They have the resources and workflow to handle it. Ongoing content needs? They’ve got you covered too.
– Access to specialized industry experience – Copywriting agencies often have dedicated teams focusing on certain industries like tech, finance, healthcare, etc. This allows them to bring insider knowledge of tailoring messaging and content specifically for those niches.
– Strategic guidance beyond just writing – Services provide more holistic strategy and planning for optimal content structure, topics, promotion, and more – not just the writing itself. This big-picture view leads to greater impact.
Of course, those advantages aren’t without some potential downsides:
– Agencies often cost more – You’re paying for all that in-house talent, infrastructure, and project management, so agency fees are generally higher than freelancer rates. Though with an agency, you may get what you pay for in terms of quality, capacity, and services.
– Less control over who writes your projects – With a freelancer, you choose your exact writer based on portfolio, experience, etc. But with an agency, you don’t get to hand-pick the individual writer – though they’ll thoughtfully match writers and teams to your needs.
– Less flexibility with custom requests – Established copywriting agencies often have set workflows, teams, and processes that don’t easily accommodate lots of custom, out-of-scope requests. Their model is tailored more towards scale.
– Potential for churn of team members – While they aim for continuity, account managers and writers at agencies could change over time as people leave for new jobs. This can disrupt rapport and continuity.
On the other hand, working with freelance copywriters offers some unique benefits as well:
– Rates are often more flexible – Freelancers are generally open to negotiating prices, offering discounts, or working within your set budget. Copywriting agencies usually have fixed price structures.
– Direct communication and feedback – There’s no project manager as a middleman. You can communicate directly with your freelancer for feedback, revisions, and discussing the content work.
– Writing may feel more customized – With only a single client to focus on, a freelancer gets to deeply understand your brand voice, values, and audience. This can result in copy that feels more tailored than agency writing for many diverse clients.
– Lower minimum commitments – Freelance copywriters are often willing to write something small like a single blog post, email campaign, or web page for a relatively low minimum fee. Copywriting agencies may require long contracts with high minimums.
– Unique stylistic flair – The best freelance writers bring their own distinct voice, creativity, and style rather than just sticking to a formula. This can infuse projects with a unique flair.
Those freelancer advantages aren’t always guaranteed though. Here are some of the biggest drawbacks to look out for:
– Quality varies wildly – Nowadays, just about anyone can claim to be a copywriter or content professional. Freelancer skills, experience levels, and portfolios range hugely. Examine their work samples closely.
– Consistency and availability vary too – Freelancers set their own availability and juggle multiple clients, so they may have limited bandwidth or scheduling conflicts. Work quality also depends heavily on the individual.
– Less structure and accountability – With an agency, you get dedicated account managers, legal contracts, quality assurance processes, progress reports, and more. Freelancers work independently, so you have little recourse if projects go sideways.
– Unclear legal status – Freelancers rarely provide detailed contracts, NDAs, or other official legal protections. You have little recourse if problems arise.
– Limited perspectives – A solo freelance copywriter obviously brings a singular perspective to the content rather than an agency team’s diverse insights, expertise, and creative ideas.
So when choosing between a copywriting service and a freelancer, first consider factors like:
Ultimately, look at your specific business situation and content requirements to determine if a full-service copywriting agency or an individual freelance writer is the right fit.
For small businesses and startups, a freelancer may provide an affordable solution focused solely on your brand. Larger brands often hire agencies to tap into their expertise, infrastructure, and capacity for managing enterprise-level content.
There’s no one right choice – just be sure to critically assess the core pros and cons and how they align with your goals, resources, and priorities. With the right copywriting partner, you’ll get compelling content that drives real results.