You’re a growing small business. You know that marketing and sales have changed; cold calls and advertising don’t cut it anymore. You’ve got to do something different to the competition to stand out in your market.
Blogging could be the solution. Writing posts to answer your customers’ questions, show personality and build trust.
You’ve published a few articles in the past and they’ve had great feedback, but you simply don’t have time to do it regularly. There’s only one thing for it…
You’re gonna need help.
The question is, do you insource or outsource?
Insourcing involves recruiting an employee; someone to take on the responsibility in-house. You could go for a student or intern, but that would mean training them from scratch. That’ll take time. You need someone with experience, who can work autonomously from day one – a content manager.
Alternatively, you could outsource it to an external company. There are loads of marketing agencies out there, but you don’t want a one-stop-shop. You’re gonna do this the right way. You need a company with specialist knowledge – a blog management service.
So how do you figure out the best option for your business?
Well, I’ve spent some time looking at the similarities and differences, so you don’t have to!
But, before we get into the comparison, let’s get clear on our definitions…
What is a blog management service?
A blog management service provides specialist support to entrepreneurs and small businesses to publish and promote their blog content and help them drive measurable business results.
What is a content manager?
A content manager* is employed to coordinate and oversee the content presented by their company. This will predominantly involve managing blogs and website content, but may also include managing video and podcast production, and social media. They are generally responsible for creating, editing, posting and updating content across the company’s various media channels.
*For the purposes of this article, I am referring to an experienced individual, as opposed to a student or intern.
Ok, with that out of the way, let’s start with the similarities.
What are the similarities between a blog management service and a content manager?
The main similarity between a blog management service and a content manager is that they both bring experience.
A content manager will have experience from their previous roles and qualifications and a blog management company provides a professional service, based on their specialist knowledge and expertise with clients.
They both also offer a long-term solution for content marketing. When you hire a content manager, you make a considerable investment in their recruitment, employment and CPD, so you’ll want them to stick around for a few years!
With a blog management service, there isn’t the same up-front investment. But you’ll start receiving value from day one and, over time, build up an efficient and productive relationship that’ll make it worth holding onto for the long term.
What are the differences between a blog management service and a content manager?
1. Embeddedness in the organisation
Content marketing works best when the company takes full ownership of their strategy, and creates a culture within the organisation of teaching and sharing information, which permeates everything they do.
An employed content manager will become embedded in the organisation, and develop an innate understanding of the brand and ethos. This can help to ensure consistency in messaging across marketing channels.
They will also have more access to the wider team, making it easier to extract their expertise and showcase it in the content.
A blog management service can offer a flexible and cost-effective solution for content marketing, however, as an external service provider, they will never truly be embedded in the company in the same way as an employee.
Having said that, over time, you can build a strong relationship and they can really get to know your company, team, products/services and customers.
And whilst they may not have the same depth of knowledge about each company, the fact they work with multiple clients means they have a greater breadth of experience to draw upon. Every client they work with informs their approach with the next.
2. Content creation
By definition, every content manager will be responsible for managing the content production process, but most will also be expected to create the content itself.
This simply depends on the culture of the company; whether the wider team are expected to contribute content, or whether this rests solely with the content manager.
It may seem cost-efficient to have one person do it all, but it means they’re spread thin. For a blog strategy to be successful, every post should be published and distributed effectively.
If they’re focused predominantly on content creation, then it becomes more challenging for them to complete these aspects thoroughly.
A blog management service focuses primarily on the publishing and promotion of the content. At Boost, we encourage clients to create their own content or work with freelance writers where this isn’t possible.
They will coordinate the process and liaise with team members or contractors, to support them in continuously creating high-quality content. This ensures that both the creation of the content and the publishing and promotion, are given the attention they deserve.
Separating these two aspects also enables you to treat them differently. The tasks associated with publishing and promotion are vital but largely administrative and/or technical.
Therefore you might wish your content writer to focus purely on writing, and have a specialist service handle the rest (which might reduce costs and/or improve results).
Some blog management companies do offer content writing, but this may be an add-on rather than a standard feature of the package. Always be sure to check with the company what is included.
3. Training requirements
Both a content manager and a blog management service will come ready-made with experience. The difference is, one you will have to keep training, and the other you won’t.
As an employer, you are responsible for your content manager’s professional development. This might involve sending them on courses, or to conferences, as well as ensuring they undertake regular self-study, all of which bears a cost.
However, a blog management service is responsible for their own training; they will join membership organisations and continuously do research to make sure their processes reflect current best practice. As a customer, this time and effort is all wrapped up in your package fee.
4. Systems and processes
When it comes to systems and processes, as an employee, a content manager will do things your way. If you already have a system in place, they will follow it. Or if you don’t, they can create it.
Whilst this gives you maximum control over your processes, it also means your content manager is fully responsible for documenting it and keeping it up to date.
A blog management service will have their own procedures for managing the content production process. These will reflect industry best practice, based on their continuous research and development.
On the plus side, this means you’re given a ready-made system to work with, and you don’t have to think through all the steps. The drawback is that, if you ever stop working with them, you might lose the system too (although, at Boost, we let you keep it!).
But what happens if your content manager leaves? We’ve already noted that hiring one is, ideally, a long-term solution but, even with procedures in place, if they quit then your company will suddenly stop producing content (at least until you can recruit and train their replacement).
Even holidays and sick leave could have an impact on your content schedule!
If you’re working with a blog management service, regardless of what happens internally within their own team, it’s their responsibility to ensure the work is done. From this point of view, it’s less risky, as there will be no adverse effect on your content production.
One of the benefits of having an employed content manager is the fact that there is no fixed quota for their output. They have the freedom to spend a couple of weeks working on a mammoth, in-depth post of 5000 words, or to publish 3 blogs in one week of 500.
A blog management service, on the other hand, needs to operate on fixed deliverables – ie. 1, 2 or 3 posts per week – in order to manage workload and offer standard packages.
This can be seen as a constraint, but equally it encourages consistency and, in turn, helps to build momentum. It’s also worth noting that your package can grow with you, as you scale up your content production.
Finally, the juicy bit – cost. The salary for a content manager can range anywhere between £20,000 and £40,000 per annum, with an average of £28,500 (according to www.payscale.com). This puts the basic monthly cost at around £2,375.
Then there are the additional costs of employment to consider, such as insurance, pension, holidays and sick leave. Plus, we’ve already mentioned the costs associated with their ongoing training and professional development.
Unless you are an entirely virtual business, the likelihood is they will also require office space and equipment. And remember that no human is productive 100% of the time; as an employer, you are also paying for your content manager’s downtime.
With a blog management service, there are no hidden costs. They work remotely, so they don’t require space or equipment. They cover the cost of their own insurance, benefits and training. And, as their packages are based on deliverables, you only pay for exactly what you get.
To give you a direct point of comparison, at Boost, our smallest package of £495 per month (for 1 post per week) equates to £5,940 per year and our largest of £1,335 per month (for 3 posts per week) equates to £16,020. Both cheaper than the lower end of the salary range for a content manager.
However, a few of things to bear in mind. Firstly, our packages don’t include content writing, so this would be an additional cost. Secondly, an employed content manager would likely have a wider range of responsibilities than just blog management.
Thirdly, if you already employ staff, and have the infrastructure in place, then the costs associated with insurance etc. might be somewhat diluted.
You should employ a content manager if:
- You want someone who is solely dedicated to your organisation
- You want someone who can both create the content and coordinate production
- You are happy to provide ongoing training and support their CPD
- You want to develop and control your own procedures for content production
- You prefer to have flexibility in content output
- You already have staff infrastructure in place
You should hire a blog management service if:
- You want to draw upon experience with a wide range of companies and brands
- You want to separate the tasks of content writing and content production, and have specialists deal with each
- You don’t want to worry about training or CPD
- You want to use a ready-made system which reflects best practice
- You want to ensure continuous content production
- You want to minimise costs
Got any questions?
Leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer!