If you are an entrepreneur or marketing professional, you know that starting and maintaining a blog is a great way to provide informational, entertaining, and relevant content to current and potential customers. In fact, your blog is probably the centerpiece of all of your content marketing efforts.
The only problem most businesses faces is finding the time, talent and resources to keep a blog going. Chances are, you aren’t a writer. Even if you were a writer, that doesn’t mean you have the time to dedicate to maintaining a blog, nor does it mean you have staff readily available to devote time to content creation.
The alternative is to settle for publishing blog posts whenever you have the time. Unfortunately, the benefits of a blog are lost if you only post sporadically.
Ultimately, your best option might be to hire a freelance writer. This can solidify your content marketing efforts and ensure readers have access to new content on a regular basis. Then, you could always supplement your company blog with original posts from employees featuring industry updates, customer stories and more.
Here’s a look at five best practices when hiring freelance writers to assist with your content marketing needs.
1. Offer a byline
Many business owners who hire freelance writers opt to secure their services as ghost writers. The freelance writer creates the content, but you take the credit. In some cases, you might not take credit, and will simply publish without a byline. By using ghost writing services it is more likely that readers will credit you directly for the content.
There are some good reasons for using ghost writers. You may want your readers to associate you with posts. On the other hand, fees for ghost writing services are often quite pricey. After all, who is going to willingly pass their writing credits on to somebody else without making a decent amount of money? Here are some other reasons to avoid ghost writing in favor of a byline.
A writer with a byline will:
take real ownership of the content that they write
be willing to negotiate price if they know they will receive credit
enjoy writing pieces that they can add to their portfolios
2. Ask for the writer’s portfolio
Before you consider working with a freelance writer, know exactly what you are getting into. Find and read their published works and the items that they have included in their online portfolio. Be sure to look for the following:
Is their writing:
focused on a specific niche or does it cover a variety of topics?
thoughtful, well-researched, and compelling?
developed in a way that would give audiences a reason to engage?
Many freelance writers are also excellent researchers and can write on a variety of topics. This may be more valuable to you than outsourcing content creation to a writer who happens to have written an article or two in your niche.
3. Ask for referrals
You aren’t the first person to consider hiring a decent writing service. In fact, other small business owners in your circle have likely already hired freelancers to help them with their content marketing needs. So, why not ask your peers for recommendations?
If you hear the same names coming up multiple times in positive ways, that can be a good sign that you should look into hiring a writer or firm. However, if you are going to rely on word of mouth, make sure that your needs are similar to the needs of the person making the referral.
4. Identify your content needs.
There are a variety of reasons to hire freelance bloggers.
Some businesses want to pass full control and responsibility of their company blog over to a third party so that they can focus on other business activities.
Others want a freelance writer or writing service accessible when the need arises.
Then, there are business owners who want to maintain complete control over their blog, but find hiring a freelance writer is more cost-effective than hiring and training an employee.
Before you hire a freelance writer, create a role description that details what you want them to do. It is always best to let them know what you expect.
5. Check out author bios.
The next time you read an article or post on your favorite blog or magazine, pay attention to the person who wrote it. Scroll down to the author bio and you will often find information about the writer’s experience, who they work for, and more. You may even find a link to a website or a blog where you can get more information about the writer’s work.
This article has been edited and condensed.
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