Top-Down Content Pipeline: How To Decide On Utilizing In-House Teams Or Vendors

Written on 
September 3, 2021

It is all about working smarter and understanding who can best produce the content required and deliver it on time.

The modern consumer landscape demands more content on more platforms, more quickly than ever before. Creative teams have had to evolve and grow to meet this challenge head-on - and thus, the hybrid agency model was born.

Almost all creative teams now operate with a combination of in-house, external agency and freelancer talent. This is great because it allows flexibility in team size as work demand ebbs and flows in different directions; one month you may be working with 5 freelanced videographers and be using an external agency to produce a short film, the next month you may be working on a branding project which requires the in-house team only. With teams continuously changing, which projects and tasks you manage in-house and which you outsource can be enigmatic. Moreso, how to distribute tasks strategically to get work done faster and more time and cost-effective is even more challenging.

A common error for creative teams is failing to view and value external talent as an extension of the in-house team. The notion that people who do not work within the same four walls as you won’t do as good a job, stay true to the brief or deliver equally good results is something that the past year with Covid-19 and national lockdowns has disproven. External agencies and freelancers can perform their respective professions to the same caliber as their in-house counterparts - and with a lot of teams perfecting their remote briefing, communications and collaborations since March last year, the task has become even better resourced.

When determining what to distribute to whom and why, the most important things to bear in mind are availability and skillset. A Resource Manager should have already established which talent has the bandwidth to take on specific tasks for each project - but equally important is matching up work to specific people’s skillset. If the best person for a particular job is not within your immediate, in-house team, it is always better to outsource that to a better-suited person in order to produce the best results possible. But equally, if a particular person or team are inundated with work and won’t be able to meet your deadline, look elsewhere. If your current portfolio of creative contacts does not service all of your requirements - you need to grow it! It is all about working smarter and understanding who can best produce the content required and deliver it on time. Cost is also important. To work within your budget, using a freelancer may be more economical than outsourcing a particular task to an external agency.

There is no set rulebook on which tasks and projects work best where - it depends on the particular job at hand, and what is most important for that job’s success. Is it strong brand knowledge, wide knowledge base, in-depth knowledge? Is it a precise project that you need to collaborate on and deliver quickly - meaning someone working in your timezone and ideally your office would work better? Does the particular task need someone with a very specific set of skills and experiences?

These are all the questions to ask yourself when putting together a content pipeline and planning how to distribute projects across your team.

For success, having centralized, realized and adopted project and resource management processes is essential. If these are the foundation of your way of work, then you make your way of work much easier.

What determines how you plan out your content pipeline? Do permissions, security, access to software or any other factors come into your decision process? I’d love to hear from you - please send me an email at

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