Intern, part-time employee or contract marketer?

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Each option has pros and cons

If your business is on the cusp of needing help with marketing and communications, you’ll first need to consider whether you want to work with an intern, hire a part-time employee or outsource the work to a contracted marketer. Each option has pros and cons. Let’s look at them in turn.

Should you work with intern marketers?
First, it’s important to recognize that interns should not be considered free labor. Volunteer programs are useful for free labor; internships are intended to provide immersive work experiences for a limited time.

Interns should work under the direction of someone with experience who can provide instruction and guidance. You set up the projects; they follow, implement and report back.
One benefit of marketing interns is that they can offer unique perspectives. They can share fresh ideas and help target a new demographic of consumers for your business. They can be a breath of fresh air!

On the other hand, one downside to working with interns is that they are intended to be short-term (three- to six-month) hires. After that time, interns move on to continue their education or to find permanent employment. Unless you end up hiring an intern at the end of the term, you will need to go through the selection process again and train a new intern to work on your company’s marketing projects. That takes time and energy.

Should you hire a part-time marketing employee?
There is more to hiring your first marketing employee than selecting the skills you desire, setting an hourly wage and placing an ad on Indeed.com. Bringing a new team member on board also involves recruitment time (interviews, reference checking, skills testing) and expenses related to payroll, taxes and benefits.

Hiring an experienced marketer who is willing to work part-time can be challenging, and it can be difficult to find one part-time person who is good at all necessary marketing duties, including website management, copywriting, social media management, copyediting, graphic design and public relations.

That said, hiring a part-time marketing employee can be a good option, and you should be able to find one who has some experience and who will be able to get up to speed in your business within a few months. The most important part is to be patient until the right match comes along.

Should you hire a contracted marketer?
Retaining the services of a contracted marketing pro can be like hiring an executive-level marketer on a part-time, as-needed basis. The work will cost more per hour, but you will not need to go through the employee recruitment and hiring process. You won’t need to manage payroll, taxes, insurance, continuing education or break times. A contracted marketer is only “on the clock” when doing actual work for your business.

One challenge to working with a contracted marketer is that the person will not have feet on the ground in your place of business, so you’ll need to work collaboratively to share company news and distribute useful collateral, such as videos and photos.

In summary, when the time is right to get help with marketing and communications, you have options. Understanding the pros and cons of working with interns, hiring a part-time marketer or retaining the services of a marketing service provider will help you make the best decision possible for your business.