When your aim is to earn an income from your blog, time is money.
Running a blog is like running a business: you’re in charge of everything, from high-level strategy, marketing and promotion, to the nitty gritty details of researching, writing, editing blog posts, making changes to your blog’s design, creating graphics for your posts, and more.
Your time is your most precious resource. And when you outsource routine or low-level tasks, you’re able to invest your time in what really matters, allowing you to jump start your blog’s growth. You might be thinking: Sure, outsourcing sounds fine for things like social media management, graphic design, or technical help.
Recruiting other writers for your blog requires a time investment up front, but after your systems are in place it’ll save you a ton of time:
You won’t have to always scramble to make sure your blog is updated.
You can spend more time on editing and polishing posts to maintain quality and cohesiveness of your brand.
You can focus more on high-level strategy, creating your personas, planning topics, and working on growing your blog.
You can spend your time on monetizing your blog by getting sponsorships, or finally writing that book or course you’ve been thinking about.
How to Prepare Your Blog
Convinced? Wait – don’t go out and round up your writers just yet. If you want to maintain your blog’s high quality and unique style, there are a few steps you should take to prepare first.
A style guide will help your writers to replicate your tone and help you to keep your brand cohesive. It doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy. Just open up a new document and start by noting basic blog post requirements like word count, what topics are allowed, and how posts should be formatted. You can also add in what makes your blogs different from others in tone. Do you usually write in a friendly and helpful tone, or are your posts more humorous? You can also pick out a few examples of the type of blog posts your writers should emulate.
Should your writers pitch topic ideas to you before writing, or just send you their completed posts? Should they email posts to you, or do you want writers who will upload posts to your blog themselves? If you’re going to get writers who will upload posts themselves, you may want to think about installing an editorial WordPress plugin like EditFlow or Editorial Calendar, which will help you to better manage your workflow and plan your content.
Before you start, whatever method you use, it’s important to decide what your requirements are, and what you’re willing to compromise on. Melissa Zehner, Professional Writer and Founder of Mooslet, hired writers to help with her clients. She shares her process:
“I put together a list of the content I knew I wanted to outsource so I could find writers who were experienced with those industries/formats. I also put together a wish list of skills any writer I hire should have (SEO knowledge is crucial for most of my clients, and deadline-oriented is a must). I did consider a few writers who didn't meet all the criteria, but I would have paid them a slightly lower wage because they would have required a lot more training and revisions from me initially.”
Paid vs. Unpaid
That advice brings up another question: Should you pay writers? How much?
Unpaid Guest Posts
Some big blogs, like ProBlogger and Search Engine Journal, publish the content of unpaid guest authors. Other blogs, like MakeALivingWriting, pay their guest authors. The one thing you need to remember in making this decision is that writers will not contribute to your blog for free: you need to offer them some kind of compensation, even if it’s not monetary. On blogs like ProBlogger, compensation is in the form of exposure. Writers can reach an established niche audience, prove their expertise, and get some traffic back to their own websites. If your blog has an established, targeted audience, you may be able to get guest authors to contribute without paying them, in exchange for allowing them to promote themselves. While guest posts have the obvious advantage of being free, they do have a few potential drawbacks:
Unpaid guest posts may not be as high-quality.
You'll have more trouble getting consistent posts.
If you compensate authors by allowing them to promote themselves, that may distract from your own blog’s conversions.
Paying your writers has several advantages:
Paid writers are generally more reliable and consistent. Since you’re paying them, you can negotiate a regular agreement and tell them what to write about and when.
Paid writers will generally write higher quality posts.
You can focus on promoting your own blog, instead of promoting your authors.
Before hiring writers, freelance writer Swadhin Agrawal advises, bloggers first need to “analyze their income streams and check if they can afford writers that can match the level of content on their blog.”
“Not every writer can do justice to their blog tone, and those who can do might demand a good amount of money.”
But how do you determine rates? Swadhin shares his process:
“I go by the market price. Another good strategy is to use relationships with other writers and find out what the current price is.”
Melissa advises always paying per-project. Here’s how she determines rates:
“The rates I offer are per-project and they're based on the estimated research and industry knowledge required, as well as the approximate time it takes to complete a project.”
Where to Find Writers
Now that you’re ready to bring writers on board your blog, where do you find them?
It’s easiest when you can start with your own network, says Melissa:
“I had a whole team of writers that I outsourced to when I worked for a previous agency, so I have a bit of a network already. I reach out to them when I need help and ask them to spread the word.”
Swadhin says that if he were new to hiring writers, he would:
“Go to the sites in my niche. I see if they have hired writers and if yes, I use the author bio beneath to contact them. (But be sure to check sites of your level – a smaller site might not have a good writer and a mammoth site might have a writer beyond your budget.) “Popular freelance writing sites (that educate other freelance writers) like freelancersfaqs.com or makealivingwriting.com are great hubs of some extremely talented writers. Go to their guest post section, pick some promising writers, go through their posts or guest articles.”
Finding the right writer for you can be a long process, so be sure to keep an eye out wherever you’re interacting online – whether on social media, other blogs, etc.
Ready to Grow Your Blog?
Are you ready to go from blogger to manager, and invest more time in strategy and monetization? Get started today by preparing your blog and putting together your guidelines and processes, then reach out to your favorite writers! While it’s a time investment up front, in the long run it’s the best way to free up your time and grow your blog.
About KeriLynn Engel
KeriLynn Engel is a copywriter & content marketing strategist. She loves working with B2B & B2C businesses to plan and create high-quality content that attracts and converts their target audience. When not writing, you can find her reading speculative fiction, watching Star Trek, or playing Telemann flute fantasias at a local open mic.