Since I revamped my business in 2013 to do more of what I truly love – writing – I’ve been a blogger for several clients.
Today, with almost two years under my belt as a bona fide blogger, I come to you with tips based on my own experience. They’ll help companies looking to hire freelance bloggers as well as writers contemplating blogging.
If you’re seeking a blogger for your company, these tips are for you.
TIP #1: Hire someone with expertise in your field.
Whatever your field may be, find a blogger with experience in it. Don’t hire just any writer. You really need someone who doesn’t need an education in your industry.
Check out the writer’s LinkedIn profile and resume (if he or she has one). Get references and contact them. Chat with your prospect on the phone to get a sense of his or her experience.
Finding someone who has recent and/or ongoing experience in your field is the best piece of advice I can give you.
Someone with passion for your field is also a good indicator, as long as he or she is a good writer. Example: I’ve never worked in the fitness field, but I’ve belonged to one health club or another for 40 years and exercise 7 days a week. I’m qualified to blog about “women working out.” Similarly, I’m no vet or dog groomer, but I have such a love affair with my mini poodle that I could blog about owning and loving a dog.
Hire someone without any sort of experience or familiarity in your field, and you’ll get crap for writing.
TIP #2: Ask to see writing samples.
Ask for samples of blog posts the writer has published. If someone’s new to blogging, ask to see other types of writing, and ask the person do a blog post or two on a topic that you provide. See if you like what you get.
Ideally, when you get posts from your blogger, you shouldn’t have to do much more than read through them. They should be ready to post. If not, and you find you have to do more than a light edit on the posts, this could be a red flag. Grammatical or spelling issues are inexcusable. No one’s perfect, but you shouldn’t have to correct your blogger’s grammar or spelling.
TIP #3: Get the housekeeping details nailed down from the get-go.
Make sure you communicate your business goals and expectations with your blogger. Start by addressing these basic questions:
- What’s the schedule?
- What format should the work come to you (probably Word)?
- How long is a blog post?
- Who’s supplying visuals? (Usually it’s the client unless you want to compensate the blogger)
- What’s the financial agreement?
I supply my posts in Word, and my clients supply the visuals (I strongly recommend you include a visual with each post). If my agreement is weekly and I have to skip a week due to some reason, I make up for the missed week within the month.
A blog is generally a few hundred words in length. Typically, it’s closer to 500 words for me, although they can run shorter or a bit longer.
TIP #4: Give your blogger your input.
Regardless of the blogger’s expertise, the client must be a good communicator. Here are some points you need to make with your blogger. Keep in mind they will change as time goes by:
- Who’s your audience?
- What do you want the audience to know about your company?
- What products/services should the blogger focus on? (This will change, of course.)
- What key words are critical? (They will change, sometimes with every post.)
TIP #5: Encourage questions from your blogger.
Let your blogger know that she or he shouldn’t hesitate to reach out with any questions, ideas or concerns. Trust me, we won’t take advantage of your time. It means when we’re stuck or drawing a blank on a post, we can shoot you an email with some questions to jumpstart our creative juices. Having one contact person on the client side is ideal.
TIP #6: Feedback is a fine thing!
While handholding isn’t necessary, you shouldn’t be totally AWOL when it comes to dealing with your freelance blogger. We need your input. Inspire us. Feed us topic ideas to think about for future posts. Point us to web sites, news articles, or other posts that you like for whatever reasons. This helps us write posts that relate directly to your business, your specialty, and your goals.
You’ll be much happier with the work written by your freelance blogger if you follow these practical guidelines. Keep the channel open as your relationship grows. Writers aim to please, no matter how experienced we are.
© 2014 Margie Dana. All rights reserved.