Freelance copywriter vs copywriting agency - which is best for your business?
Today is a pretty special day for me. It’s the one year anniversary of setting up Rin Hamburgh & Co as a limited company. Although I started building my freelance team in 2015 and added the ‘& Co’ to the brand officially in 2016, it wasn’t until 21 March 2017 that I formally registered the limited company.
A lot has happened since then. I’ve taken on two members of staff, grown the freelance team, and worked with some incredible clients ranging from exciting start-ups to household name brands.
And I’ve finally got comfortable with saying that I run a copywriting agency rather than simply “I’m a copywriter.”
Going from freelancer to business owner has been a big shift in mindset and has involved a lot of practical changes. We’ve got defined processes now rather than everything just being in my head. I’ve had to learn to delegate, how to manage people, how to brief writers properly and how to provide constructive feedback. It’s been quite a journey!
But what does the change from freelance copywriter to copywriting agency mean for our clients? If you’re in need of someone to create new website copy for you or help you out with your business blog, which one should you choose?
Why use a freelance copywriter?
I’ve worked with some really great copywriters in my time. Individuals who are dedicated and skilled who will always deliver work on time and to length.
A great copywriter can also be flexible and potentially come in to work in-house if you should need it, essentially becoming one of the team. And because they don’t have the overheads of an agency, they’re usually a lot more cost effective.
The problem is that finding a good freelance copywriter can be incredibly challenging; there are plenty of average ones and a few really rather terrible ones out there. Sifting through them takes an awful lot of time and effort - I know, because I’ve done it myself.
The other problem is that the good freelancers get booked up. If you’ve seen our video, you’ll know that’s how I ended up running an agency - I was just far too busy and it was taking its toll. When you need a project delivered within a couple of weeks, it’s frustrating to hear that your favourite freelancer is booked up until the end of next month.
So if you’ve found yourself a great freelancer then hold onto them! They are worth their weight in gold. But if you need help quickly and you don’t have time to source one, you might find an agency can help…
Why use a copywriting agency?
This is not where I do a big old sales pitch, honest. In fact, as I just said, a great freelancer is worth holding on to. But there will be times when getting an agency on board is what’s needed.
One central issue is capacity. Because an agency will have access to a pool of tried and tested freelancers and will have processes in place for managing availability, you shouldn’t have to wait too long for your copy.
And if your business is growing and your copy requirements are likely to grow with it, then you need to be sure that your provision will be able to expand to meet that. One person can only do so much work, whereas a team has infinite capacity.
With an agency you’ll also get a fully managed service. They’ll handle everything from brief creation through copy drafting, editing and proofing, as well as managing the writers and even liaising with other professionals from designers to marketing strategists. That’s quite a few less things for you to sort out at your end.
Choosing an agency should give you at least a minimum standard of quality too. A terrible freelancer might be able to get by on good luck, but a terrible agency won’t last long. It’s just too competitive out there and running a business - with staff to pay, office space to rent, accountancy fees and a million other expenses besides - means there’s no room for slackers.
Unfortunately these costs can make big agencies prohibitively expensive for a smaller business. Which is why we’ve structured our business very carefully, using a very small in-house team and a much larger pool of freelancers who we can bring in on a project-by-project basis to keep costs manageable.
I like to think of us as having the agility and personal touch of a freelancer with the reliability, capacity and quality levels of an established agency.
If you have a project that needs the input of a professional copywriter, do get in touch and have a chat to see whether we’re right for you. If I think you’d be better off looking for a freelancer or even hiring an in-house writer of your own, I’ll say so.
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Want to read more? Try this - What should I look for in a copywriter?