Should You Hire a Professional Blogger?/ August 4, 2014
You already know that blogging has the power to attract droves of new customers to your business. Now, you’re ready to take the leap into unfamiliar territory to add blogging to your marketing strategy.
Or maybe you even have a blog already, but it’s not yielding the kind of results you expected.
It might be time to hire a professional.
The question you’re asking yourself is this:
Is it worth it?
Here’s the truth:
Every business can benefit from hiring a well trained blogger, but not every business should hire one. Depending on your marketing strategy, it might not be a smart investment.
Here are some considerations to help you decide whether or not you should devote the time, energy, and money into professional blogging.
What To Expect
Even with average writing ability and barely decent content, companies are successfully driving traffic to their websites.
A really good blog, though, will do much more.
What a professional blogger can do for you:
When you hire a writer to create content for you and your brand, it’s reasonable to expect them to attract more customers – but not with only one post.
Dependable and reputable bloggers will help you lay out a long-term action plan to steadily grow your fan base and attract the RIGHT audience for your blog.
Here’s the thing:
Not all traffic is good traffic.
Many a frustrated business owner has given up on blogging and social media because, even after gaining hundreds of thousands of ‘likes’ and collecting thousands of blog subscribers, they see no increase in sales. Imagine how exasperating it would be to spend thousands of dollars, not to mention the hours of your already busy time, building a social fan base…and then none of those fans become customers.
That all-too-common problem is the direct result of attracting the wrong audience.
Professional bloggers, especially those with copywriting training, will help you identify and attract the right audience, which means that the traffic you’re bringing to your website is more likely to convert.
In addition to that, your blogger can help you develop your brand identity and convey it to your potential customer base, and many will provide input that can shape your marketing strategy as a whole. Some bloggers might even be willing to update and edit your old content to make it better, and a few will help optimize your entire website.
Your writer will help you rank better in search engines, bring in more repeat customers, and refine your marketing message so that it has more of an impact.
In short, a good writer makes you money.
And isn’t that the point?
But there are some things your blogger won’t do:
Hiring a professional writer, if you make smart decisions, will increase your profits…
But a professional blogger is not going to revolutionize your business overnight.
He or she is not going to immediately drive hoards of new customers into your stores and make sure that you’re the #1 Google search result for every keyword related to your business.
No matter what you’ve heard, those are simply unrealistic expectations. If you think a blogger is going to save your floundering business in just a few weeks, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
A great blogger will become central to your marketing strategy, but you’re still responsible for the solvency of your own business.
Also, since professional blogging is not a standardized field, every writer has his or her own areas of expertise and talent.
Some writers may offer photo editing and graphic design, while others expect you to provide your own images. A blogger might incorporate a direct mailing campaign with your online marketing, or they might specialize in curating interesting content that adds to your brand identity.
The important thing is that you know what you want to accomplish by hiring a writer, and they agree that they can meet your expectations. Experienced pros will help you set goals and clearly communicate their plans to achieve them, but it’s up to you to speak up, respond to their messages, and set aside enough time at the start so that everyone knows their responsibilities.
Wait, you’re going to have to devote time to this, too?
Welcome to reality.
No matter how great your blogger is, they’re not going to be able to accomplish much if you don’t take some time to communicate and provide some basic resources.
How much will it cost?
If you’re a smart business owner, you’ve been reading all of this thoughtfully, but in the back of your mind, you’ve been wondering:
How much is it going to cost to hire one of these professional bloggers?
That’s not an easy question to answer.
You CAN find someone who will write content for you for as little as $15-$20 per blog post, but at that rate, don’t expect fantastic results.
Think about it this way:
If you want a writer who’s going to create content that resonates with and attracts the right audience, that writer is going to have to put hours of time and effort into research, figuring out exactly who that audience is.
In addition to that, they probably spent hundreds (or thousands) of dollars in extra training to learn how to make meaningful connections through their writing, and they’re going to devote at least 4-8 hours to everything they write for you to make darned sure that every post has the effect you’re looking for.
So, if you were a full-time writer, would you accept $20 for 8 hours of work? Is that an acceptable return on your training investment? Would you check back to make sure that post is getting results and adjust it if necessary?
I didn’t think so.
If you’re spending $50 or less on a post, you’re not buying results. What you’re paying for is not traffic, marketing power, or search engine optimization.
A blog post that costs $50 or less saves you the time of having to write stuff yourself.
That time you saved is what you’ve paid for, and for some businesses, that’s worth it.
For companies with more aggressive marketing strategies, though, a $15-$50 blog post isn’t going to accomplish enough. When your blogging strategy is intended to produce a monetary ROI, the smartest option is to hire a well trained blogger – and that costs much more.
Depending on what you want to accomplish, a professional blogger may charge anywhere from $100 to $500 for each individual blog post, or they may charge a weekly or monthly retainer which will vary depending on how much work you expect them to do.
If that seems like a lot, you’re probably thinking of that money as an expense instead of an investment – and that’s a sure sign that your blogging strategy isn’t developed enough yet to be shopping for a professionally trained writer.
While an experienced blogger might be out of your price range at the moment, you should never hire a mediocre writer at a lesser amount when you’re looking for outstanding results.
Cheap blog posts have a purpose – even a mediocre blog will attract some traffic, help convey your brand ideals, and give you a little bit of a boost in search rankings – but spending $50 per blog post is a waste of money when your blog is intended to pad your bottom line and bring in new paying customers.
A $50 investment with a $0 return is far more expensive than a $500 investment that brings in $1,000.
Also keep in mind that blogging is a long-term strategy, and your first few posts aren’t going to yield immediate profits. Just like when you started your business, most of your time and money was invested in building momentum during those critical first few months, right? Before you begin paying someone to write content for you, lay out your strategy and set expectations for results.
Where Do You Find Good Writers?
Perhaps your business isn’t in a position to devote the necessary resources to blogging strategy, and that’s okay.
If that’s the case, you might consider starting a free blog to begin learning the skill yourself, and when the day comes that you’re ready to incorporate blogging into your marketing plan, you’ll have some basic knowledge to work with.
Or, maybe you’re not ready to set out an aggressive plan for your blog’s success, but neither do you have the time to devote to write your own posts. New bloggers, college students, and even some freelancers will take on writing jobs for relatively small fees. Try posting on your own job board or on other job posting sites to find those people, and be sure your expectations are realistic.
But if you’re ready to lay out a serious blogging strategy, you’ll want to find an experienced writer to help you succeed.
Most full-time bloggers don’t take Craigslist postings very seriously, though there’s always a chance you could luck out and find someone through a Craigslist posting. You’re far more likely to find the right kind of talent somewhere like the ProBlogger job board.
Very often, though, the best writers aren’t actively looking at job postings because they’re already flooded with referrals.
Here are a few of the places you can get in touch with exceptional writers:
- At seminars and workshops: Professional blogging is the kind of career that raises a few eyebrows, and since so many people would love to learn the skills necessary to work from home, pro bloggers and freelance copywriters are often invited to speak at teaching events. You can generally browse the speakers’ biographies and find contact information, and if you actually attend the event, you get the double benefit of seeing a demonstration of skills in action and learning valuable information.
- On other great blogs: Not every business allows their bloggers to include a byline or author biography with their posts, but when you come across a blog post that you particularly like, check the bottom of the page to see if the author has a link to their own website. If not, you may be able to send an email inquiring about who wrote the post in question, and you might get a response with their contact information.
- On social media: Some professional bloggers regularly share their work on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or other social sites. When you see a consistent history of great content being shared through social media, you’ll be able to reach out immediately and make a connection.
- In formal networking groups: Aside from bloggers within the ranks of old-school referral sharing networking groups, members are more likely than the general population to take note when they encounter a particularly good marketer. Whether you’re an official member or not, most groups would be happy to recommend any professional bloggers they’ve met or who they already work with on their own websites.
Of course, one of the advantages of working with a freelance blogger is that you’re not required to make any long-term commitments.
A word of advice, though:
Don’t cut ties too early if you’re getting impatient about results – remember that this is a long-term plan and you’re not going to see profits immediately – but there’s nothing wrong with purchasing a post or two before you decide whether or not to continue working together.
Before you make a final decision, be honest with yourself.
What do you want to get from your blogging strategy?
That’s really the question you need to answer.
From there, it will be easy to decide whether or not it’s worth hiring a professional blogger.