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Would You Trust an Outsource Blogger?
You know that blogging is essential to your business, right? Right? It regularly adds fresh content to your website, it attracts an interested audience, it increases your credibility as an industry expert, and it helps you engage directly with the blog reading public. But, it’s time consuming, and it takes time to attract a crowd of regular readers. These are two of the main reasons business owners give up on their blogs after the first few months.
This is very unfortunate because blogging is essential to your business, right?
There is a solution, but is it wise?
You can outsource your blogging to freelancer writers, as long as you’re very clear about your expectations.
There are a lot of very talented freelance writers out there, but there are also a lot of chancers. There are also a lot of talented writers who aren’t suited to your particular industry or your tone and style. This is why you need to do more than check references and examples of previous work. You need to create a shortlist of potential writers, send them your guidelines and set them a writing test. You can then choose the most suitable writers.
Note the plural. While you want a consistent tone and style, you also want more than one voice. The problem with having only one writer is that people start to identify her with your brand. If she ever stops working for you, then your brand effectively loses its voice. Your readers could be a little miffed and they could decide that your blog isn’t worth reading anymore.
Having three or more writers will prevent this problem. It will also give your blog more variety, and, as we know, people like variety.
On the other hand
The downside to outsourcing your blog is that you don’t get to form a relationship with your readers. Your blog manages just fine without you and you start to lose touch with your audience. You might also not have as much control as you would like, especially if you are so busy with other things that you really don’t have time to touch base with your bloggers and your blog.
Then there is the cost. In-house blogging is free. Well, it doesn’t cost you more than what you would ordinarily pay in salaries. Outsource bloggers like to eat, so they like to be paid. Fees vary greatly. It’s important to remember that expensive writers aren’t automatically good and cheap writers aren’t necessarily bad.
Some people struggle to assess their true worth and undersell their services, while others are under the misguided impression that they’re the online version of Dickens and charge fees to match.
Outsource agencies can usually be trusted to promote good writers, so they are often a good place to start. But don’t underestimate online classified sites, like Gumtree.
You need to provide outsource bloggers with enough information so that they can represent your business properly. You might need to have some training sessions with them (which is only possible if they live in the area) to discuss the exact nature of your business, as well as the industry and your place in it. If they don’t live nearby, which is more than likely in this day and age, Skype video calls are an adequate substitute.
You’ll also need to provide them with written specifications, procedures, and guidelines, which you should also go over in person or via Skype, so that they know exactly what is expected of them.
Finally, you’ll need a written contract, which details terms of service and termination procedures.
Outsourcing blogging is not a bad idea and it’s not something to be ashamed of. But you need to pick your writers carefully.
Image credit: alamodestuff, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr