4 Ways to Get Compelling eCommerce Content for Your Brand

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You’ve put in countless hours researching, planning and strategizing and finally have an eCommerce content marketing strategy and comprehensive editorial calendar that’s going to skyrocket your brand. The only problem is — you need writers to get the job done.

There are plenty of options when it comes to finding writers and editors, including hiring freelancers or using eCommerce content creation companies or agencies, but each one comes with its own set of pros and cons.

In-House Staff Writers

PROS: The value of in-house writers is their experience with your company and products. Whether part-time or full-time, in-house writers know the value your company provides, and they have an intimate knowledge of the entire content-writing process for your website. They also have better access to the right people and products when they have questions.

CONS: Most companies simply don’t have enough experienced writers on staff to complete a major overhaul in a timely manner. Hiring a full team of writers can be cost-prohibitive when you factor in salary and benefits. If your content creation needs slow down or go through a lull, you still have to pay your in-house employees.

You may also find that your company’s in-house writing team has lots of priorities on their plate, and your project may not be at the top of the list. This could mean your project will take a backseat to other work, which may impact deadlines.

Freelance Contract Writers

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PROS: There are thousands of freelance writers available who would jump at the chance to work on content creation for your eCommerce website. They typically can start work quickly, and you can often find professionals with extensive experience in your company’s niche. Since they usually charge by the job or by the hour, you aren’t obligated to pay them when you don’t have a need for content.

CONS: Hiring your own team of freelancers is often the most stressful and time-consuming option by far. It’s usually very labor intensive at the start — just as difficult as hiring a brand-new team of employees — and you could find yourself drowning in paperwork just to get them paid.

Once you have a team in place, you’ll probably find the quality of the writing varies from writer to writer. Like new employees, there will be growing pains, edits and rewrites as you coach the different freelancers in the style, process and overall results you’re looking for.

Agencies

PROS: For many companies, hiring an agency is attractive because it gives them one point of contact for their project. An agency will usually assign you an account manager to organize the project and work with you to ensure the work meets your specifications. Agencies typically offer other services as well, such as SEO, creative or marketing, so some companies look at agencies as a one-stop shop.

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CONS: Some agencies have in-house teams of writers, but many turn around and hire freelancers or content creation companies to complete projects as needed. They then simply mark up the fees and pass the bill along to you. So if you don’t need the agency’s additional services, you’re almost certainly paying too much.

Specialized Content Creation Company

PROS: In many ways, this option provides a balance between hiring an agency or a team of freelancers on your own. It gives you access to a pre-qualified team of writers with experience creating content for eCommerce websites.

Most companies will assign you a project manager, so you won’t have to hire and train each writer individually. It’s also often a less expensive option than hiring a traditional agency, since you’re not paying the marked up price you’d pay the agency for the services of the writing team. And many content creation companies are poised to scale with you as your content needs grow. In fact, many agencies rely on these kinds of specialized writing teams for exactly the same reasons. By hiring them directly, you cut out the middleman.

CONS: Content creation companies are not created equal. Some use a rigorous vetting process and hire only highly skilled writers; others don’t have high standards in place. Pricing is all over the board with these types of companies, and the price isn’t necessarily reflective of the quality you’ll see in your product descriptions. When you go this route, expect to invest some up-front time to be sure you get the company that will do the job you need.

What’s Best for You?

Every project and every website is unique, so you’ll need to run the numbers to see what works best for your project. Most agencies and content creation services will gladly sit down with you and discuss your situation at no cost to you. Depending on the volume and scale of your project, you might be able to do a small proof of concept trial before signing on. You have nothing to lose by reaching out to them to see what they can do.

Now that you have a sense of your options and the pros and cons, it’s time to make a decision on what works for your business. Remember to ask yourself:

  • Do you have the team of writers you need to accomplish the task?
  • If not, what’s the most cost-efficient method available to get them?
  • Is the solution you choose able to deliver the quality you need?

Whatever you choose, remember to focus on the quality of content (everything from titles to descriptions) you are adding to your site whether they’re being written in-house or by outside contractors.

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PS: if you want the full story on how you can create content for an eCommerce website at scale, you might want to download our eBook for the full how-to.

Lisa Rohner

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As Director of QA/Enterprise Production, Lisa is in the trenches of content marketing everyday. She manages large-scale projects for some of the web's largest etailers, ensuring they get high-quality results on time.

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