Hiring someone to write for your blog can be a big step. It will help you generate traffic and links for your website, but it can be challenging to find the right person at the right price to make the investment valuable. To get the best results, you must be a partner with your blogger to ensure the content is top quality and appealing to your customers.
If you are paying someone to blog for you, what is your role? What do you need to do to make sure the posts are suitable for your business blog? Here are 10 things to do before, during and after you hire a blogger to write for your business blog.
- Determine what kinds of posts you want to see. You can have news about your business, specials you’re running, industry news analysis, commentary, interviews, how-to articles, tips, top-10 lists, features on products you sell, short bios of employees and regular customers – the list goes on. Some of these things are easier than others to write, and you may pay more for posts that require more research (such as interviewing an employee or customer or finding out the “how to” so it can be described correctly). As a rule of thumb, those posts that take longer to write are more informative and will generate more traffic and links, making them worth the extra time/cost.
- Think about search engines. Your blog posts need to include key words and terms from your business, and writing for SEO can take a little more expertise. On one hand, simply posting plenty of good content about your business is going to naturally result in good key words. On the other, a writer experienced in working in good terms and writing effective headlines is valuable. If your blogger doesn’t have this background, you may need to do a little more work to make sure posts are optimized for search.
- Be prepared to pay. You are unlikely to get good blog posts for $5 or $10 each. If it was easy and didn’t take much time, you’d be doing it yourself, right? Your blogger may have an established rate per post or per hour. Or, you can pay for a set number of posts to be delivered per week or per month. You can pay a little less per post if you are having your blogger write 3 per week as opposed to 2 per month.
- Hire wisely. Don’t just find someone who can write – find someone who has professional experience. The person you choose should have familiarity with blogs, examples of blog posts and other writing samples. While it’s not required, finding a blogger with a journalism background has its benefits. Journalists have experience writing on deadline, writing quickly and asking lots of questions to make sure they get it right (most of the time!).
- Look for someone who is local. Sure, your blogger can work from anywhere. I’ve certainly done good work for clients across the state and across the country. But if this is your first time hiring a blogger or other creative person to produce work for you, you may be more comfortable with someone whom you can meet face-to-face. That person can also better see what your business is like, what you do that makes you different from your competitors and who your employees are than someone distant. If you do hire a blogger who is not local, make sure he or she has experience working remotely and references who can attest to his or her efficiency.
- Take the time to train. A good blogger-for-hire needs to learn about at least a little about your business, the terminology you use and the trends and topics that are common to your industry. If local, invite the blogger to stop by your business and see how things work. Introduce the blogger to employees and make sure he or she knows what specialized experience your employees have. They may be good sources for blog posts in the future.
- Set up a scheduled time each week or month to talk. You need to have a regular time to brainstorm blog topics and give your blogger the information he or she needs to write knowledgeably. This should be a time when you aren’t interrupted by customers, employees or family. Plan on a regular half-hour in-person or phone conversation to plan upcoming blog posts with your blogger. This is going to make your blog’s posts more relevant and timely.
- Keep a list of blog post ideas. Use your smart phone or a little notebook in your purse or pocket – whatever you carry with you wherever you go. You may think of something you’d like to communicate to your customers based on a conversation with a vendor, or you may see an ad when you’re out to dinner with your family that sparks a thought. Jot everything down so you have some topics for your blogger to write about. Go over your list during your scheduled meeting.
- Review posts (quickly!) before they go live. Don’t rewrite, unless the writing is truly ghastly. Simply review for accuracy and correct use of industry-specific terminology. If you have feedback for your blogger, deliver that going forward. Blog posts need to get up quickly and they don’t have to be literary masterpieces, but they have to be of good enough quality to properly reflect the professionalism of your business. Don’t nitpick or you’ll end up spending as much time as if you wrote the posts yourself.
- Promote your blog. It’s your job, not your blogger’s job, to promote your blog (unless you’ve hired your blogger to assist with your public relations and social networking in addition to writing). Tell your customers about the blog every way you can – in your store, at your point of purchase, on your invoices or receipts, in your email newsletter, through Facebook and Twitter. Encourage people to read and subscribe to your blog by having give-away contests or specials for readers. Make the time and money you’re spending to have a great blog pay off!
Do you need a professional blogger to make your small business website excel? Visual People offers copywriting and blogging packages with a proven, professional writer. While we think there are benefits to hiring a local blogger, we do work with clients around the country who can’t find someone local with the necessary experience. Contact us for more details.