In-house or Agency? Start a Career in Content in 2020

Ideas lightbulb on PC screen

I can’t exactly remember whether I had a particular career in mind when I was a kid. You often hear children excitedly proclaim that “When I grow up, I’m going to be…” with a wide range of careers ending such a statement. A Fireman? Doctor? Unicorn?

While I’m sure I’d have made a great unicorn, I ended up becoming an Editor instead. Before I started university, I decided that working with content was something that I wanted to do, and this came to fruition in 2015 when I finished my degree in English Literature, abandoned my increasingly unbalanced procrastinating-to-studying ratio and joined the 9-to-5 as an Editorial Assistant.

From in-house editing to working at a digital agency

My first role involved working in-house for a legal know-how company, with the irony being that I had limited legal know-how. However, something that any newcomer to editing or writing quickly discovers is that you don’t need to be a complete expert in every field to edit or produce content. From there, I moved to a medical research company before finally joining ICS-digital in 2018 as a Content Editor.

This year marks my fifth year in full-time employment, during which time I’ve had some exposure to both in-house and agency editorial work. For those looking to begin or continue a career in content this year, here's why I'd recommend looking at a digital marketing agency for your next step.

ICS-digital office

Variety is the spice of… content?

Working with in-house content has many advantages. You get a real feel for exactly how your company wants its content to look like, and during your first few months you build a strong editorial skillset that will benefit you for the rest of your career.

However, not all companies are the same, and some in-house editorial roles may not offer a great deal of variation in the sort of content they want you to look at. This is the first advantage I want to highlight, as it’s hard to find more variety than what a digital agency will offer you.

In my first year at ICS-digital, I’ve had the opportunity to work with content tailored to a vast range of industries. From iGaming and sports to DIY, lifestyle and much, much more, working at a digital marketing agency has allowed me to work on something completely different every day.

Proofreading and writing can get old fast when you’re looking at the same thing all the time, but in this role, I’ve been able to contribute to creative projects such as producing well-researched infographics, come up with article ideas to pitch to clients and edit everything from short link-building articles to entire collections of on-site content to even scripts for videos.

If you want variety, working at a digital agency may be the best choice for you.

There’s an “I” in “team” if it’s international

In-house editing and copywriting can differ greatly from company to company. In some, there may be just a handful of Editors and Writers, beating back the tide of bad grammar and splling misteaks (yes, those were intentional), while others may have entire departments dedicated to producing content.

Digital agencies are no different in this respect, but I’ve found that working at a company like ICS‑digital has really shown me exactly how much there is to producing content on an international level. Content is literally ICS’s middle name, so it’s understandable that the content team is extensive, covering over 42 languages over 58 territories around the world.

Since it’s slightly beyond my skillset to learn another 41 languages, I work with many other Editors and around 200 Writers to cover my linguistic shortfalls. Not only has this been a real learning opportunity from an editorial perspective, but I’ve been able to discover so much about the world outside of my UK‑based bubble.

If you’re looking to broaden your horizons, digital agencies can allow you to become a part of a vast team of people from all over the world with an interest in content.

International flags

Digital marketing agencies are growing… fast

As an industry, marketing has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. While there’s still a place for conventional sales techniques and advertising, an increased reliance on mobile technology and search engine optimisation (SEO) has necessitated the creation of an entirely new sector, which is where digital marketing comes in.

More and more companies are recognising the importance of digital marketing every day, with increased budgets and planning being allocated to put SEO and social media at the forefront of business strategy. Looking at the first half of 2019 alone, it was reported that SEO expenditure reached £3.7 billion in the UK, outpacing that spent on all other forms of digital ad spending combined.

With a 13% increase in ad spend for SEO, working on content that capitalises on this is certainly a career choice that puts you directly in an area of growth. Whether you’re interested in writing content, editing or working directly with clients, digital agencies are innovating in this space like no other industry, with 2020 being an ideal time to get onboard.

Working at ICS-digital has allowed me to learn a lot about the many aspects of digital marketing, not only through many training and knowledge-sharing opportunities, but through working with an ever-expanding team that cover a variety of skillsets.

ICS-digital office

It may be too late for me to become a Fireman or Doctor (being a unicorn is, of course, still on the cards), but I’m glad that my career has taken me in this direction. Being a part of a digital agency has shown me a new side to working with content, and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to enter this exciting sector in 2020.

If you’d like to get started in digital marketing, or if you’re looking for your next role within this industry, head to our careers page to see our latest openings or send your CV and cover letter to