A blog is a lot like a baby, brought into the world after a period of planning and then nurtured as it grows. Just like you would with a human baby, you probably feel protective of your blog. But there comes a time when your blog can benefit from the input of freelance writers. How do you know when that time has come?
Your Blog Has Grown More Popular
You’re likely to start thinking about hiring freelance writers once your blog gains some popularity. Before you develop a loyal audience for your blog, your energies are better spent on monetizing the content and expanding its readership.
As a blog’s popularity grows, a few things happen. It starts to become profitable, freeing up funds for new hires. Those loyal fans you’ve created also become hungrier for new posts. Skilled freelance writers can take a popular blog to the next level by posting more frequent fresh content.
You Don’t Have Time to Post as Often as You’d Like
Running a successful blog is hard work. When blogs are in their infancy, bloggers can devote the majority of their time to crafting blog posts. However, as a blog grows more popular, bloggers usually find themselves spending more time responding to readers and moderating comments. Monetizing the blog’s content also takes time, and bloggers shouldn’t forget about maintaining a social media presence. Big name bloggers often find themselves busy with press conferences and other media events.
All of these responsibilities take time away from the core job of posting content. Without regular content, even a big name blog will fail. If you’re noticing your post rate dropping off, it may be time to bring in some freelance writers to bridge the gap.
There’s also a limit to the number of quality posts any one person can create. Hiring freelance writers is a great way to increase the number of daily posts on your blog. This is especially important if you’ve built a global audience. While you’re sleeping, freelance writers on the other side of the world can post so you’ve always got fresh content.
You Need Fresh Perspectives
Blogging on any topic for a period of time can make any blogger feel stale. If you’re feeling low on inspiration, it may be time to hire some freelance writers. Encourage writers to pitch ideas to you and write about the topics they’re passionate about. They’re likely to bring original perspectives that will breathe new life into your blog.
For the most diverse ideas, consider widening your net and hiring freelance writers from other parts of the world. Their own experiences with your topic area should shape more unique content. Global hires are a no-brainer for topic areas like travel or fashion, but you’ll be surprised at the fresh takes they have on other topics like relationships, home decorating, and technology. Your international freelance writers can help you connect with readers from other parts of the world and also expand your blog’s global reach.
You Have Time to Find the Right Freelance Writers
Your time may be limited, but you shouldn’t consider hiring freelance writers unless you can spend time finding the right ones. You should make time to read through applicants’ resumes and writing samples. Look for writers who are experienced writing about your topic areas in a similar voice to your own. It’s also advantageous to hire writers familiar with WordPress or your preferred blogging platform. You should also learn more about the revision policies and turnaround times of your writers to see whether they match your requirements.
It’s smart to hire writers for a trial period, such as 30 days, during which you should pay close attention to their blog posts. It’s a good idea to restrict posting privileges during this time so you can review all content before it goes live.
You Can Afford to Compensate Your Freelance Writers Well
European industrialist Sir James Goldsmith famously said “If you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys.” This saying is certainly true in the world of freelance writing. You’ll find many freelance writers happy to blog for free or close to it. However, many of these writers have poor English skills. Few have college degrees. If you want the best bloggers, you’ll need to pay for them. Considering the time and effort you’ve spent building your blog’s brand, you want the best.
Paying well doesn’t just help you secure the best bloggers. It also ensures those bloggers will go the extra mile. Freelance writers can’t afford to spend a lot of time on low-paying work, so they’ll often skip vital steps like proofreading, fact checking, and promoting your posts on social media. Make sure your budget can cover reasonable wages before you consider taking on freelance writers. Otherwise you’ll likely find yourself with writers who will detract from, rather than enhance, your brand.
You’ve Created a Clear Style Guide
More than perhaps any other medium, a blog is about personality. The most successful have clear voices which speak directly to readers and make them feel part of a community. A blog’s personality is its brand. Hiring freelance writers, who have their own unique voices, carries a certain degree of risk. Will your blog’s tone change so much that you alienate your loyal following? You can minimize this risk by creating a clear style guide for your freelance writers.
Your style guide may be one of the most important documents you’ll ever create, because it makes clear what your blog and brand stands for. It should define your target audience, the tone of your posts, buzz words and verbiage to avoid, and other advice for writing the kind of posts you like. Most freelance writers are used to following style guides to craft work for their clients. Spend time creating yours before taking on new hires.
Hiring freelance writers doesn’t mean you’re handing over total control of your blog. You’re still free to post and edit its content as you see fit. However, the expertise of freelance writers can be invaluable as your blog grows.
Written by Derek Miller, Marketing Consultant