How To Hire A Blogger For Your Company
In the world of marketing, content is king. If your business has any sort of web presence, you’ll need to develop outstanding, valuable, direct content that attracts visitors to your site and helps buyers along their purchasing journey.
Georgia-based Reynolds Golf Academy experienced the results of content firsthand. The book “Content Rules” explains how Charlie King, the company’s director of instruction, created a blog, videos, and an eBook to encourage newcomers to the sport and existing golfers to increase their skills. The results were stunning — 2009 was RGA’s best year ever, even during the midst of a recession.
Great results from content marketing don’t start in a vacuum. First, you need to hire a knowledgeable writer. A great blogger can have a huge impact on the quality and quantity of content output, but finding and retaining one is harder than it looks. This article will explain where to find strong writers and how to verify they’re appropriate for your niche.
We’re going to cover:
- The benefits of hiring a blogger
- Challenges in sourcing writers
- How to find writers for your niche
- How to properly vet a writer
- Considering freelancers vs agencies
Benefits Of Hiring A Blogger
If you haven’t already hired a blogger, you will need to start considering it as your company grows. Blogging is key to unlocking real conversations with your audience, as shown by these statistics:
- 55% more web traffic
- 97% more backlinks
- 92% of frequently-updated company blogs generate sales
Professional bloggers offer much more than just a few good sentences. Those with extensive knowledge of the industry can improve search engine rankings, brand awareness, and your inbound marketing strategy.
Your search engine rankings are boosted when bloggers write with best SEO practices. By combining certain keywords with word counts, topics, and styles, bloggers push your site’s URL closer to Google’s first page.
Brand awareness informs potential customers about who you are, what you do, and how you can help. Technical blogs allow your visitors to build trust, become informed about solutions, and be more confident about their needs.
Inbound marketing is a critical tool for success, particularly with technical brands. Blogging offers valuable content to leads and their pain points, which you can help solve. By positioning yourself as an authority, you are better prepared to attract and keep new customers.
Challenges In Finding A Writer
If you have ever tried to hire a writer in the past, you already know that not all bloggers can serve your niche.
When it comes down to brass tacks, writing experience is the most integral aspect of hiring a writer. Certain functions of blogging may be able to slide by without experience, including non-technical writing, basic guest posting, or microcopy. But if you need a technical case study written about a client, you’ll need to hire someone with industry knowledge. Truthfully, finding skilled writers with experience in your field can be a large initial barrier.
In addition, not all writers have experience with the marketing side of writing, including search optimization. If you’ll need writers to perform keyword research, SEO, or plan a content strategy, you’ll need to incorporate this into your hiring process.
Writers that provide keyword research and in-depth marketing knowledge may be harder to find, particularly if they also need expertise in a particular niche. What’s more, they likely aren’t going to charge the same rate as an industry beginner.
When looking for a writer, be prepared to ask questions and use particular keywords to find the right fit. For example, ‘content writer’ is going to return very different results from ‘technical writer.’ Also consider using a technical writing rubric to objectively evaluate each writer.
How To Find Writers In Your Industry
Writers can be found online, through connections, and even from job boards. The best way to find the ones that fit your niche is to pay close attention to the people and professionals in your immediate circle.
LinkedIn, Xing, and Bark are great sites for seeking out professional bloggers and their work experience. You may also find articles, blogs, and other pieces of work online that fit exactly what you’re looking for. Reach out to writers whose work you like. If they can’t spare the time for you, they may be able to point you towards other professionals.
There’s also a good chance that someone in your immediate network has experience working with a blogger. Ask your acquaintances, colleagues, and others in your industry about writers they’ve used. Who would they recommend? Who do they feel would be a good fit?
If you want to pull from a wider selection of applicants, create postings on job boards or freelance sites. Remember that almost anyone can see and apply for these jobs, and you may get hundreds of applicants that do not fit your needs.
Vetting Potential Blogging Candidates
Once you’ve got a list of candidates, you’ll want to make sure that your blogger has the right skills for the job.
Start by asking your candidates for a brief interview. These could be as short as five minutes, or even full one-hour conversations. Listen to how they respond to your questions, particularly their knowledge of the industry and your software. Be sure to level with them about your expectations (quality, quantity, deadlines, etc). Freelance bloggers are only as informed about the role as you allow them to be.
Next, discuss the specifics of your field with blogging candidates. Keep in mind that the best type of blogging content is in-depth rather than generic. Millions of blogs exist for ‘best gaming laptop,’ but not quite as many cover the actual technical specs.
Put simply, the best blog writers need to understand your topic well. They either need to come to you with prior knowledge, or you will need to give them time to learn. Bear in mind that training your blogger may take more time than expected, and force you to push back deadlines if you’re on a schedule.
Finally, give your blogging candidate a starting topic to write a sample article. This is where their real skills will come into play. No matter how much experience or knowledge of writing they may have, a test article is the blogger’s best method of strutting their stuff. This is also the stage where you should take another look at your needs.
Certain blogging candidates may have excellent topic knowledge, but need to improve their writing. In contrast, other bloggers may have great writing skills, but need to learn your topic better. Some candidates have everything you’re looking for. Ask yourself: do I need perfection immediately, or can I be flexible?
As you might imagine, making the final decision can be difficult. Ultimately, the best candidate is a blogger that works well with your deadlines, follows directions, and submits deliverables that exceed expectations. If you are stuck between two or three candidates, ask someone else in the company to help you make a decision. For an objective option, use a predetermined rubric to help you make the call.
Consider Freelance: Does It Work?
The largest and possibly easiest blogging base is found in freelance writers. These content creators have a lot of talent, but may not operate in a way that complements your business. If you’re considering hiring a freelance blogger, keep the following in mind:
- Freelance writers may be cheaper, which can keep your costs down. This allows you to reap the benefits of blogging without the expenses of full-time staff.
- Your freelance writer can focus solely on deliverables, and not have the same distractions that a team member would, such as water cooler conversations or constant Slack notifications.
- Freelance writers typically work through several revisions with you to make sure the copy looks right.
- Freelance writers go where the money is. In other words: they won’t work exclusively for you.
- Highly skilled freelance writers don’t come cheap, and charge an asking rate that reflects their experience.
- Not all freelance bloggers return deliverables at your exact deadlines. Cycling through writers that aren’t a good fit for your industry will cost additional time and money (which highlights the importance of a good hiring process).
While freelancers are a great fit for some companies, they may not be the best decision for every industry.
Consider Agencies: Are They Worth It?
Agencies make finding writers faster, more efficient, and sometimes more cost-effective. Although you pay more upfront, the process is much more hands-off, and easy to trust.
- Deadline management, payment, and writer vetting are all exclusively handled by the agency. This frees more of your time up for other tasks.
- Some agencies help chart your business’s content marketing from the get-go. Their writers are fully equipped to generate unique content. Agency subject matter experts often have more scope and industry experience than freelance writers.
- Agency writers have experience with many different industries. Draft.dev offers technical marketing content for software startups, for example.
- Agencies have higher total costs than freelance writers. Keep in mind that agencies handle all aspects of the hiring process, including payments and quality control.
- You may not need the high-production output that agencies provide. Have an honest conversation with your rep to determine specific needs.
Hiring a blogger is an important step for your company’s growth. Although the process may take time to learn, investing in someone who puts your business into words will be invaluable to your success. Having a solid idea of what you need and a robust hiring pipeline to follow will considerably smooth the process. The future of your company (and bottom line) will thank you.
Finding writers on your own can be time-intensive, stressful, and take up a large portion of the workday. If you’d rather outsource the hiring process, check out Draft.dev. We source software and tech writers with many areas of expertise, helping you craft professional content for tutorials, blog posts, and other tech audience must-haves.
Build a Blog that Software Developers Will Read
The Technical Content Manager’s Playbook is a collection of resources you can use to manage a high-quality, technical blog:
- A template for creating content briefs
- An Airtable publishing calendar
- A technical blogging style guide