In-house or out-sourced? The answer is ‘find your own mix’

The old adage that content is king remains as true today as it has ever done, arguably it is increasingly the case as Google hones its search algorithm to weed out replicate sites.

But developing and managing quality content can be expensive and resource intensive meaning there is always the temptation to find quick fixes by outsourcing content creation.

Our panel believed that a direct ownership of content was important because it is, in essence, a natural extension of how they strive to ‘own’ their customers but a mix of internal and external resoucres was inevitable to properly manage all sources.

Helen Skeen, Thomas Cook Online content manager, said: “You need to lay so many foundations to set up external resource to provide you with content.

“So unless there is a good cost benefit in doing so, you are half way there anyway and you might as well do it in-house.

“It’s a relationship with the customer, a touch point, and my personal point of view is you should manage that and love it and organically grow it so you are delivering on the right experience.

“However, money is tight, so there is definitely room for outsourcing if it’s content that’s not product related and it’s only going to be on the site for a short shelf life.

For Manish Gajria, ecommerce director, the key to this question was about the management of content that is likely to be coming from a variety of sources.

“Of course content is super-important for our sector and we are working with external partners who help with that management,” he said.

“It is a partnership where bits of the management which are core to your operations have to be in house.

“But content is coming from so many different sources that management is no longer a uni-dimensional element it a more complex thing we have to manage.”

Darren Peacock, Avis Budget UK marketing and communications manager, said the corporate structure in his company means it has had a greater reliance on external agencies.

But he added: “We have operated a blog ourselves for six years and it’s crucial our people answer that because a lot of the questions are about product.

“If we had a third party agency they’d only have to come to us to answer those questions.”

Phil Stelter, Unique Digital deputy managing director, said the multiple forms of content makes it difficult to manage in-house and firms had to find the balance that works for them.

“If I look across the clients we are working with I don’t think there’s necessarily a single answer, everyone has a bespoke support structure.”