Bringing a blogger on board to speak for your business is very personal. There is a great deal that the blogger will need to know in order to create the best blogs for you that inspire your readers and move them to act. Take the time to carefully consider your blogging candidates, deciding on the one that you will trust with your business identity.
Goals and Voice
First, a professional blogger will want to know your goal(s) for establishing and publishing a business blog. If you are not clear about your goals – your blogger may be able to help you discover and clarify your goals. Second, your prospective blogger should be able to demonstrate his or her ability to capture the voice of your organization. You need to know if your candidates can blog for business, ask for examples of writings and blogs for other organizations. Even if your blogger does not have samples from your business segment they may still be a good match. Look for a variety of other successful writing projects in multiple business segments. This proves your candidate is able to understand multiple business segments and will be able find your voice. Remember, a competent blogger is writing for your customers, not you.
A good writer will know the right questions to ask about your business to fully understand and replicate your organizational voice in writing a blog. If there are unique industry circumstances and sensitive areas and topics that require special handling, be open and candid with your blogger about how these subjects relate to your business. They won’t know unless you tell them.
Target Customers or Influencers
As the owner of your business blog you should be committed to creating relevant and remarkable content to achieve your engagement, education and entertainment goals. During your regular editorial planning meetings your blogger will join in with you to brainstorm topic areas and be sure that you are adequately covering all of your target groups.
Your blogger should help you define and visualize your customer types and influencers. She will want to know what questions and concerns your target has about your business. These questions will be the starting point for attaching a keyword strategy to your blog. If your business has a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy, share it and the keywords and phrases you are prioritizing in your other online messaging. If you don’t have an SEO plan, your blogger may be able to recommend an SEO specialist and perhaps craft your SEO strategy as part of the package of services.
The last things to work out with your new blogger are process-related.
- Approval Process – Establish an approval process that will leave enough time to meet your deadlines. Take the opportunity to deepen your hired writer’s knowledge of your business during the approval process. Include image selection, keywords choices, and blog descriptions in the approval process.
- Establish Timelines – It is a good idea to set an approval date that is at least a week before the publish date, maybe more in the beginning. Work at least a month ahead on topic brainstorming. Determine the optimum frequency for blog posts and the average length.
- Decide Who Posts and Preps the Blog for SEO – Posting a blog includes an important series of steps that should not be overlooked, or your business will be overlooked by the search engines.
- Calls To Action – Consider your blog as part of your marketing strategy. If you do, then you will want to decide on the kind of calls to action you will include to capture the identity and interests of your prospects to bring them into your engagement pipeline.
- Marketing Your Blog – It is not enough to simply post your blog on your website. As each new blog is made live you should also market it on your social media channels. You might also consider promoting and linking your new blog posts in your regular e-blasts or newsletters. Discuss your marketing plans with your hired blogger.
- Monitoring and Responding to Comments – Good blogs create a two way street for comments and engagement. Decide who in your organization, including your blogger, will monitor and comment back. Be sure they can authentically answer in your organizational voice or, when called for, speak from their area of expertise in your business.
- Determine Compensation Plan– It is a good idea to establish a conditional starting pay structure to help both you and the blogger get a good idea of the amount of time needed for each post. Once you and your blogger feel confident that you understand what it takes to get a quality output, it is time to negotiate a fee per blog or a monthly flat fee based on a specific number of blog posts and the supporting tasks. If your blogs require a high degree of complexity and fact checking, be prepared to pay a higher price.
There you have it, a good framework for bringing a blogger on board. Next time: Finding Competent Bloggers and What to Avoid.
K. Donovan Consulting, specializes in inbound marketing and content development, including blogging for business.