21 Feb Thinking About Hiring a Blog Writer? Watch Out for These 6 Common Mistakes
Few business owners have both the time and skill needed to do their company blog justice.Most simply don’t feel comfortable with the writing process, especially when the published blogs will publicly represent the company to the wider audience.
Blog content, however, is more important than ever to a company’s marketing strategy. It is one of the five key pillars of SEO. It appeals to top of funnel consumers. It builds your trust and authority with prospects. It fuels your email nurture drip sequences.
In short, blog content is critical to your success. Yet blog writing is the biggest bottleneck that agencies and businesses face.
Considering all these personal limitations and high expectations, outsourcing blog writing makes perfect sense. But there is a right way and a wrong way to hire a writer. Many business owners commit hefty mistakes when offering someone the chance to take the reins on their business blog.
Here are six of the biggest of those mistakes. Watch out for them when hiring a blog writer to avoid frustrating setbacks and to ensure your blog is as great as it deserves to be.
Mistake #1: Going With the Lowest Bidder
This is absolutely the most crucial mistake. Remember the maxim: “you get what you pay for.”
Hiring the cheapest writer you can find creates problems because it assumes the only goal for your blog is to have something published on it. In reality, you want every article published to fit a few criteria:
- Proper grammar, spelling and syntax
- An engaging structure that is as easy to read to completion as it is to skim quickly
- A compelling voice
- Research and effort during prewriting so that your blogs are informative and offer value
- Able to capture the unique perspective of your brand or company
Hiring the cheapest writer guarantees none of these things. In fact, you are highly likely to end up with a non-native English speaker who is going to copy the first article he finds on Google Search …badly.
Have high standards in mind and use them to make your budget reasonable. Keep in mind that a badly written blog can cause damage to your brand and marketing goals, making a poorly run blog worse than no blog at all.
Mistake #2: Not Looking at Their Resume and Past Work
The best indicator of a writer’s strength is their past work. You will want to see a broad range of writing styles covering all the topic types you intend for your blog.
Some writers work better in an editorial format, for instance, compared to a list of “X reasons why…” format so ensure the writer you have in mind is capable of creating what you need.
You should also look out for a writer who is able to write engagingly in several different voices. Most likely, you have several different buyer personas you’re targeting so the writer should be chameleons capable of appealing to multiple audiences. At the same time, she should have consistent stylistic devices that make reading her pieces easy and fun.
Hold out for writers who can impress you with their past work and their overall versatility. As a final test, you should also commission sample pieces to ensure they can satisfy your desired writing approach.
Mistake #3: Not Setting Goals and Expectations
The best writer in the world is going to struggle with meeting your expectations if you can’t make them clear.
Since no one can read minds, you will need to explain the purpose of your blog and what you intend to get out of it to the writer. These guiding principles will help the writer shape her approach to your blog.
For instance, if your goal is SEO and generating traffic from social media shares, then the writer may take a more “viral” approach. If the aim is to generate leads and develop brand awareness, quality information and a strong brand voice matters most. If the goal is to create a guide to complex topics in your industry or operate as a sales funnel, the overall strategy for blog topic selection and publishing matters as much as each individual piece.
Define your goals, and make them clear to your writer. At the very least, provide an overview of the type of topics you want to cover and what you intend readers to do next. For example, if you have SEO goals, provide a sample of keywords she can work into the writing.
Establish guidelines for how casual or professional you want the language to be. Give a range of article lengths. Tell her what elements she needs to include upon submission to make your life easier, such as adding images or including a meta description.
Put all of these guidelines in a document, and ensure your writer has no questions. You don’t want her reaching out via email at the last minute just to get a piece done. If she has a document to refer to, she can self guide and make the process for both of you easier.
Mistake #4: Going With a Strong Writer Who Can’t Match Your Brand Voice
Make sure that any writer you hire can adopt the approach and voice you want to represent your brand. A great test is to provide her with guidelines for a sample article using excerpts from blogs you like and some loosely described ideas you’ve had.
If she can produce something that comes across as similar to something you’d write or close to a blog style you want to emulate, you know she’s a keeper.
Mistake #5: Not Establishing a Set Workflow and Process After Hiring a Blog Writer
At the beginning of your relationship, you and your writer should know how the typical process for submitting blogs should work. Tell her the deadline for each piece. Tell her whether you want an outline or topic proposal submitted first. Explain how many revisions you might typically go through.
Setting guidelines for touching base is also critical. Even though some professional relationships can work well on autopilot, the last thing you want is for your writer to go AWOL on you. Yet, this can easily happen if you don’t set clear expectations on when you wanted to hear from your writer next.
Your writer can also become frustrated if you change your process constantly or add on unexpected things like major changes between drafts. Try to work towards consistency.
Mistake #6: Not Talking Strategy With Your Writer
When you hire a new writer, you form a relationship that can be quite beneficial to you both. The best way for this relationship to blossom is to talk about strategy, performance and feedback at key points in the year.
Try to schedule a call or meeting with your writer at least quarterly. Discuss your upcoming plans. Offer both praise and suggestions for improvement. See if he or she has any ideas you could work into your blog strategy. Make a goal to push your blogging to become better month after month.
Following all of the suggestions above ensures you don’t just find a great writer, but that you also develop a professional working relationship that gets better over time. If you can do all this, you will be much happier with the work from your writer and happier about the results your blog achieves.