Checklist: Finding Great Blog Writers In 2020
Any business that wants to grow their organic audience must invest in high-quality content. It’s been well established that content marketing is the future, and boy have the masses caught up – the internet has over 1.6 billion websites, and over 500 million of them are blogs.
Blogging is no longer just a hobby; it’s a business strategy, and it has been embraced by 80 percent of B2B marketers and 36 percent of Fortune 500 companies. According to research, 61 percent of customers are likely to buy from companies that create custom content.
If you’re reading this article, it’s because you already understand the importance of a vibrant blog and you’re wondering how to get started. You may even have the content strategy down to a pat, but you’re looking for trustworthy people who can implement it properly.
Let’s dig in.
Before Looking for a Blog Writer
Before delving into the deep end of content marketing, you must decide how much content you need for your marketing strategy to be successful. There isn’t a single correct answer, but making regular posts tells search engines that your site is regularly updated.
According to a Hubspot study, businesses that post 16 or more articles per month have 3.5 times more traffic than businesses that post 4 or fewer times monthly. Your blog posts can address customers’ problems, offer valuable information or establish your expertise or thought leadership in your field.
Whether you publish four or sixteen posts, the key is to choose a number that you can consistently manage. Consistency is the greatest tool in the content marketing toolkit.
Next, you must decide how long your posts should be. This depends on who your target audience is, and how deeply you must explain content to provide value.
Even though attention spans are becoming shorter, it doesn’t mean that you need to focus on shorter articles. A 2016 study showed that the average length of Page 1 results in search engine is 1900 words.
Testing reader engagement with different post lengths can help you figure out the best length for your posts, but you should have 1000 words as your minimum for informative, resourceful posts.
Now, to finding the writers that give you this kind of content.
Where to Find Great Blog Writers
There are several options for a business that is looking for great content writers, especially once you have your content strategy set. They include:
Content Ordering Platforms
Content writing platforms such as ContentFly are the best for small-to-medium enterprises. They offer a balance between good content provided by pre-vetted writers and affordability, which is fundamental for small businesses.
These platforms have a pool of talented, pre-vetted writers who receive writing assignments suited for their skillset at affordable prices. In return, they are assured a steady stream of work that makes the reduced cost worthwhile in economies of scale. Some, like ContentFly, use algorithms to match writers for industry-or niche-specific content.
In-house Content Creators
An in-house content writer is at your disposal and can create specific content for your business. He/she understands the internal workings of your company and coordinate with other teams as need. If you don’t have steady work for them, however, their cost is prohibitive, considering the additional benefits like health insurance and allowances.
Freelancing sites may be cheaper than the above options, but finding a qualified writer is extremely time-consuming. What’s more, you’re likely to receive low-quality work without the assurance of revisions if your writer messes with your project.
Sites like Fiverr and Upwork offer freelancing services for all kinds of services, which means they don’t have time to keep vetting the quality of work you receive. Even content marketing platforms are not created equally; the quality of writing you get isn’t the same everywhere.
Content marketing platforms like ContentFly are superior in that sense: you have a team of pre-vetted writers who are matched according to your needs.
Content Marketing Agencies
Content agencies can help you get the content strategy as well as content writing services. However, you can expect to cough out significant amounts. Sometimes, the cost may outweigh the value that content will provide for your business.
How to Manage Blog Writers
The first step in managing blog writers effectively is to understand your audience's needs. Understanding their needs means you can communicate effectively with your writers, and they, in turn, can create tailored content.
Here are some strategies to help you manage writers effectively, whether they are in-house, on a platform or contracted in other ways.
Set Measurable Goals
Your goals should come from the top levels and be communicated to your marketing teams and then your content writers. For example, you may want to “Increase social media traffic (to your website) by 50 percent”.
These goals should include historical metrics to form the basis of measuring content marketing success. Track these goals over time and use them to build your content writing strategy. Don’t be afraid to refine them if they don’t meet your overall business goals.
Develop Style and Content Guidelines
Your style guidelines are the ones that ensure your content looks consistent, regardless of the writer who worked on it. The beauty of style or content guidelines is you can change them with each project. Your guidelines also communicate your expectations to the writer, and this helps to avoid misunderstandings.
Guidelines should include information about your audience, goals for each post, the kind of expertise of the ideal writer and tone among others. You can also recommend word counts, give instructions for submissions and any restrictions. Hubspot’s guidelines offer a good article template, but there are many other style guides depending on your objectives.
Use a Master Content Schedule
You can create certain types of content for certain days of the week or weeks of the month. An editorial calendar can help your writers to know your expectations for the week or month and stick to deadlines. Additionally, in case the person managing changes, the calendar ensures continuity.
There are tools to help you with content scheduling, but you can create your own spreadsheet and share it with your writing and marketing teams.
How to Pay Blog Writers
Figuring what and how to pay blog writers is one of the most confusing areas of blogging for business owners and managers. If you’re unclear on how to proceed, here are general payment guidelines to help you seek out and engage writers.
Full-time or Freelance?
As explained earlier, full-time writers are entitled to the full benefits of other employees. You should only go this route if you have enough workflow to justify their salary and benefits. Freelance writers are paid per article, but it can be tedious to find a suitable writer each time you need them.
Content platforms have a steady pool of writers and charge a fixed amount for a certain allocation of words per month. With ContentFly, for instance, you pay just $250 for 4,000 words a month, divided according to your preference.
Flat Rate or Per Post
Generally, articles can go for as little as $25 or as much as $150 with freelance writers. This depends on the time and effort needed to create the content and whether there are extras, like charts and interviews.
Alternatively, you can negotiate a flat rate with a good freelance writer. He/she will provide a certain pre-negotiated amount of content per month according to your strategy or schedule. This is also how most content platforms work.
Experience and Expertise
If you need expert-level content within your niche or industry, you must be willing to pay extra to get this content. Sometimes such content requires more extensive research and a writer who understands the in-workings of your niche. Sometimes these experts aren’t skilled writers, which means the copy needs rewriting by a writer to make it blog-ready.
To Attribute or Not?
Finally, you must decide at the beginning whether or not your writers can keep the by-line, which allows them to use the content in their portfolios. Content marketing platforms like ContentFly work on the basis of ghostwriting – this means that your business owns the content and the writer only wrote on your behalf.
However, you can still choose to allow writers to publish with their names and your company’s details. This can incentivize them to give lower writing rates, especially if your blog will give them publicity.
How to Hire Blog Writers
There are many ways to find potential blog writers. The only difference is in the amount of work you’ll have in finding and managing them. These include:
Your Blog and Mailing List
You can put out feelers among your audience and allow people familiar with your niche to interview and become your writers. You must interview them carefully and edit their work keenly to ensure it meets your standard.
Industry Forums and Niche Blogs
If you have niche forums and their rules allow it, you can post an invitation to apply there. This may be useful if you need highly specialized content within your niche.
You may need to pay to post the ad, but job boards are a useful way of soliciting writers. However, you still have to interview keenly before getting someone suitable. If you do, you may start a long-term working relationship.
On content platforms like ContentFly, you don’t need to interview the writer yourself or manage them once you take them on. Finding and managing good writers is just one more thing you have to worry about, and outsourcing allows you to focus on your core competencies.
You simply post your brief and the site will match you to a pre-vetted content creator best suited for the assignment. Then you wait for your article to be submitted, and you can get an unlimited number of revisions until you’re 100 percent satisfied.
This is the hardest question, and it doesn’t have a single answer. There are different pricing structures, and these will determine how much content writing costs your business. At the minimum, businesses should blog at least once a week, and the minimum post length is 1000 words as mentioned above.
Most businesses outsourcing content creation decide to hire freelance content writers, of whom there are millions at various skill levels. Each freelance can set their prices depending on their level of experience and the kind of portfolio they have.
First-tier freelancers, who contribute to sites like Forbes, may charge as much as $6,000 for 4,000 words – the bare minimum for business blogging. Second-tier freelancers may charge around $2,000 for 4,000 words while third-tier freelancers may charge $1,000-1,200 for the same word count.
You can choose fourth-tier writers, but these can be a bit of a gamble even though they come cheap – some as low as $400 for 4,000 words. Fifth tier writers are often found in sites that outsource content writing to other countries. While they charge $280, most are likely to deliver sub-par work given that they may not be native English speakers, let alone content marketers.
This is where content writing platforms come out superior. ContentFly, for example, charges just $313 for 4,000 words, and you get writers who have second and third-tier skills for one-third of their cost on the free market.
You can be sure that these writers will deliver high-quality work – and you have the platform’s guarantee to get as many revisions as needed until you’re satisfied.
Because they’re pre-vetted, however, you will almost always be satisfied with their quality of work on the first try. You don’t have the headache of finding, interviewing and managing writers.
Hopefully this article has given you a good primer on hiring content writers. You might chose to outsource your writing to a freelancer or content platform, or you want to hire an in-house writer. Regardless, ensure that you write a detailed brief and provide all information on style and deadlines to get the content you need.
The quality of content you get relies on how well you communicate your expectations. Any writer will tell you that they appreciate clear and precise briefs, as they leave no room for error.