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Content creation moves in-house

Next year will see an average 9% increase in PR and marketing content creation, with more content being produced in-house as nearly a third of marketing teams plan to reduce agency spend, according to research commissioned by digital asset management specialist Canto.

Key findings

  • Content creation will grow in significance in 2020 – up 9% on average – as it increases from 32% to 35% of total annual marketing spend.
  • In companies with over 100 employees the proportion of budget dedicated to content creation next year is due to rise further from 38% to 42%; an increase of over 10%.
  • Around a third of respondents (32%) said they currently create more content in-house than they did a year ago, while on the other hand, 23% said they outsource more of their marketing content creation.

Discussing the increasing need for content, Mike Paxton, head of UK business development at Canto, says: “The PR industry has been talking about the importance of content for over a decade now, driven by digital media, mobile and social. Over this time we’ve seen the lines blur with other marketing functions and the need for high-quality content accelerate. The findings of our research illustrate how organisations are responding.”

More in-house creatives

Paxton believes that the structure of communications teams is bound to change: “With more content creators expected to be employed in-house in 2020 – which could range from writers and graphic designers, to even photographers, illustrators and video producers – teams will benefit from embedded specialists. Whilst our findings don’t signify wholesale change in the industry, this trend does point toward the desire for content creators to be closer to the pulse of the organisation and its customers, working internally with agility across business-as-usual activities and bigger campaigns.

“Those responsible for leading in-house PR and marketing teams should consider: how do we ensure our evolving team maintains consistent ways of working; how will we increase efficiency rather than admin; and how can all content produced be easily accessed both internally and by external partners?”

New tools

Talking about those who are self-employed, Paxton advises: “Agencies and freelancers should look to respond to the insourcing trend by looking for ways to better integrate themselves into clients’ workflows. Messaging tools, project management apps and digital asset management platforms can all provide access to multiple parties for seamless collaboration as a unified team.”

Money matters

Naturally, keeping budgets to a minimum is a concern. Over half of respondents (51%) said they intend to make better use of market or audience research in order to improve their ROI in 2020. The other most popular planned improvements to increase the ROI of marketing activity are:

  • By using better technology (42%)
  • By repurposing existing content (37%)
  • By implementing better measurement (34%)
  • By reducing spend on agencies (29%).

The bad news

Over two-thirds (71%) cited experience of not knowing content already existed within their organisation with teams not being good at sharing content internally. More than three-quarters (80%) believe that content is difficult to find and can sometimes be buried within their business.

So, ironically, one key problem for those who want to communicate about their business, is poor communication within their business.


Sapio Research analysed responses of decision-makers spanning marketing departments from SME to enterprise and blue chip. The research covered a wide-range of organisations’ marketing plans and a cross-section of budgets. One in five businesses surveyed have an annual marketing budget of more than £250,000, with 8% commanding a budget surpassing £1 million. More information can be found here.

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