So…you want some visual content, eh? Maybe it’s an infographic, an ebook or report, or even a combination of visual storytelling pieces.

Chances are you have an internal design team—small, medium, or large—that often collaborates with your marketing folks. But with almost everyone in the organization throwing requests at them, internal design teams tend to operate on a chronic time crunch. That’s where outside help comes in, whether in the form of a creative agency or a freelancer, to supplement your internal designer(s).

First things first: Deciding what kind of content you want to add to your media strategy is almost as important as deciding how you’ll make it. Agencies and freelancers offer different content and partnership options to consider. But not to worry! We have some handy resources to help you narrow down your desired deliverables:

Now that you know what you’d like created, you’re on your way! But if you don’t have the capacity to produce your content yourself—or if you want input from experts with an outside perspective—you may find yourself at a crossroads, debating which path to take to reach your destination. Do you choose a creative agency (like Lemonly) or a freelancer? Depending on the type of content you want, your budget, timeline, and the experience you’re looking for, either path can create great results for your company.

Here are a few of the key differences between these avenues so you can make a more informed decision about your next project. Who knows, maybe it’s just the sneak peek you need to see what our creative agency could do for you. ?

1. Sometimes you need that outside perspective. 

It’s easy to go on autopilot with your own content. (You know that feeling when you’ve been staring at something for too long and start to lose sight of the bigger picture?) Fresh eyes can do your content a lot of good, whether you’re working on a new visual campaign or an internal communication initiative. Vetting your ideas with a team of experts can help validate your approach and help point out your blind spots.

2. With a creative agency, you’ve got a full team at your disposal. 

A freelancer is just one person, one mind. With an agency, you get everyone’s expertise focused on your project. 

Your relationship with a creative agency doesn’t just have to be strictly about production. Teams like ours are teeming with brilliant professionals ready to help with the initial brainstorming, concepting, and strategy behind your project, too. You can be as hands-on or hands-off as you’d like. 

3. A tried-and-true process keeps your project moving smoothly every step of the way.  

No more wondering what happens next or what is needed from you at any given moment. With an established process and a dedicated project manager, agencies can provide clarity into exactly what’s happening with your project, your role in the process, and the timeline.

A project or account manager will be in the driver’s seat, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the sights (while offering feedback at each stop). This allows producers to write and create your content with their full attention, while you continue communication with a project manager as your personal liaison. With a freelancer, often you end up needing to manage your project.

There’s proofreading and giving feedback within an agency, too. You’ll have more eyes on your project, ensuring that you get the best possible design and content accuracy.

4. If you need to scale up your project or add more content down the road, an agency can deliver.

When that single static infographic turns into a series, an interactive, or even a full-fledged campaign, a creative agency is ready to adapt. They have the expertise to recommend the right suite of visuals and the bandwidth to create them, lickety-split.

If you need more content, a creative agency can easily adapt to continue to provide you with storytelling for every platform. Need some bite-sized cuts for sharing on social media? Want to transform your infographic into an animated video? Done and done. 

5. A creative agency has everyday availability. 

In collaborative teams, it’s easy for creatives to consult with each other, pass things back and forth, or bring on a teammate to increase bandwidth for your project. That means an agency can often get you to your final destination even sooner than a freelancer who has specific hours. Plus, if you operate on a retainer model, you have guaranteed availability whenever you need it.

6. Branded or editorial content? It’s all fair game. 

Whether your content is more educational or promotional, a creative agency has the tools to make your content shine. Agencies have expertise in creating anything from branded sales collateral to value-adding lead generators. (You can even take this handy quiz to find out which approach might work best for you.)

7. Go boldly where your brand has never gone before. (Or don’t.)

If your creative should look and feel a certain way to match your existing assets, an agency can make sure your deliverable fits right alongside the other elements of your current media strategy. 

What’s more, if you’re looking to expand your visual identity (say, with a design system), an agency can help incorporate new brand elements like illustrations or icons that align with your established visual guidelines.

8. It’s what an agency does—all day every day.

Creative teams have tons of accumulated knowledge and experience from other clients that can be brought to your project. You get the advantage of learning from other people’s mistakes and successes without any of the headaches and time-consuming trial-and-error they went through. What worked for Brand X might just work for you, or another strategy that wasn’t quite right for Brand Y could be perfect for your story. Teams bring their cumulative experience to every new project, and you reap the benefits.

9. More value for your investment.

Realistically, your investment with a creative agency may be greater than with a freelancer…and that’s a reflection of everything we’ve said so far in this post. If working with an agency aligns with your project goals and the type of experience you’re looking for, you’ll get better mileage from the production prowess and strategy smarts an agency can provide than from a freelancer.

10.  Allow the work to speak for itself.

When choosing either an agency or freelancer, peruse their portfolio to ensure they meet your expectations for your creative vision. Having a team of designers means an agency will have a more diverse portfolio with many different styles according to the talents and preferences of each designer. No matter whose portfolio you’re browsing, make sure what you see on display aligns with your vision for your content. 

So, which path is right for you? Creative agency or freelancer?

Ready to hit the road with Lemonly for your next project? Let’s talk.