Freelancers, consultants, experts, or agencies: how do you choose who to work with on your comms?
One of the rules of a startup is that there’s always more to do than there are people to do it! Even when you are hiring, you have to remain lean and startups are usually moving from one round of funding to another. That means you cannot always deliver what you want, and usually, marketing is at the bottom of the list.
It’s critical that you make the right decision in this stage of growth, so here is our quick guide to freelancers, consultants, experts, and agencies.
Freelancers will do what they say on the tin. They are self-employed and deliver projects or ongoing retainer work for various clients. They usually have one focused set of skills in one area, and so you may need to work with a number of freelancers to ensure you cover all your marketing and communications needs, like digital marketing and social media, email marketing, PR, etc.
If looking for a highly specialised person in one area for a project, it will be much cheaper to get a freelancer than hiring someone on full time.
It can take up a lot of time managing and coordinating with freelancers, and though cheaper, you’ll still pay above rates as they are freelancers.
Consultants are usually more specialised in leadership, strategy, vision, and processes, but they don’t do as much of the doing. A consultant typically advises on a particular business/comms challenge, and then hands over the solution to someone else to implement it.
They really know their stuff and will come with lots of experience, which will be way cheaper than bringing them on board full time.
When working with consultants, you’ll still need to find someone to fix the actual problem.
From the start, this self-entitled qualification is very vague. Don’t trust someone who just self-describes as an ‘expert’ but doesn’t offer any specialisms or specifics. Plenty of people are experts, but if that’s all they say, and they can’t really back-up this claim, be wary.
If you find an expert in the area that you desperately need, happy days!
It’s a bit vague, and there is a risk you could be taken for a ride.
Often the best of both worlds: agencies got the skills of consultants and freelancers without the uncertainty of experts, and you can work with them on projects or retainers, whatever is best for you. Plus, they already have built up a team of skilful professionals, specialised in different fields. So whether you need PR, social media, or a complete digital marketing transformation, they are ready and well-qualified to do the work for you.
With an agency, you’ll get a complete mix of all the skills you need.
When choosing to work with an agency, you might end up speaking to many people, so prioritise choosing a direct point of contact, such as a project manager or an account manager.
Head out to this guide, where you’ll find seven tips that you need to follow when choosing the right agency for you.
Whatever you decide to do, you need to ensure you are communicating as a business and most importantly, that you support the growth of your startup through your professional communication.
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