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The Differences Between Agency and In-House Content Marketing Teams

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I joined the SiteVisibility content marketing team three months ago, after coming from an in house content team, and the difference between the two styles of work place are a lot more different than I predicted. Working in house is a lot more linear, whereas an agency can be a lot more varied and fast-paced, and if you’re thinking of making the move to either side, I’ve found that working here has opened a lot more doors. Here are a few things that really separate the two when it comes to my role.

There’s more focus on on-site content in house

Whilst this might sound obvious, when I was working for an in-house content team I’d spend much of my time updating the content that was already on the site. I spent little time creating articles for outreach, and my day to day mainly consisted of product description updates and helping the PR department update their sales messages.

In an agency, it’s quite the opposite and I find myself creating a lot of blog posts, doing outreach, and overseeing more complex content projects. This may also be more of a comment on the type of company I worked for previously, however I certainly think that working in-house doesn’t have as much variety as an agency does.

An agency has more varied work

This leads on from my previous point. One of the biggest attractions of moving to an agency is the fact that you’ll be working for a whole range of clients from small local businesses, to the big ones that are at the top of their game.

This means that there’s a whole variety of work, especially within the content department. A day for me could be writing a press release concerning finance and ending it researching the latest celebrity fashion styles for a women’s lifestyle website. This also means you end up having a bit of a rather varied search history (for example my most recent search history includes how to organise your house, looking for jobs abroad, and types of cocktail dresses).

Because the work is a lot more varied, it makes it easier to get the opportunity to do bigger projects and really get to explore what the latest buzz is in the industry. If we can wow our clients by producing a really snazzy content project then it keeps them happy and also means that the content team lets their creative juices flow.

Things progress quicker in an agency

Ever have that awesome idea at work, and everyone thinks that it’s great, but then nothing gets done about it? That doesn’t happen at an agency. If you have an amazing idea for something, you’ll undoubtedly find yourself with a task to research that idea the next month.

Oh and that’s another thing, at all of the in-house jobs I’ve had I’ve never really had to account for my time, whereas at SiteVisibility everything we do is accountable and planned out down to the hour. This is really handy because it means you get everything that you planned to get done within the month on-time.

The role expands in a different way

Whilst the content industry is changing as a whole and is leading into a more marketing-focused role, I still think that a content position develops in a different way in both types of work environment. In-house you may find that you’re stuck in a bit of a linear structure, however this means that you’ll eventually get promoted to a senior member of staff, or one day the coveted position of Head of Content.

In an agency, whilst these roles still exist, there’s more scope to expand outwards into a variety of other positions within the company. You could easily specialise in a PR, project management, or more technical role with the variety of work that you will encounter.

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2 Comments
  • Pukul Rana on January 22, 2013

    Hi Jo,

    Nice article and great introduction into the different working cultures. As someone who has worked client-side / in-house for most of my career I have always been nervous about the transition. But your article certainly helps to put some perspective on this… will let you know if I make the leap.

    However, I have to say whilst the dynamic nature of agency-side can yield some immediate results, there are some positives from the in-house experience. Whilst relatively slower paced, there are a number of relationships and ‘strategic’ considerations to take into account – which normally means the taking time to communicate trends and good practice in a way that stakeholders can relate and feel assured that you’re right; before giving you the green light. Frustrating I know, especially when an agency come in and tell the same thing ;) – but it’s a skill set that’s often overlooked me feels.

    Otherwise, good luck in your new role and look forward to hearing more.

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