To increase online visibility and improve SEO rankings, it is essential to keep a blog. However, hiring someone to maintain your blog full-time or even part-time is not cost-effective, so the majority of companies choose to work with freelancers.
This has obvious financial benefits, but the problem for companies is whether the writer can produce quality content that provides value to the reader. You should also bear in mind that the content they produce for you represents your company.
Working with a remote blogger needs to be a collaboration for it to work successfully. Writers need to understand your products, services, your brand identity and your target audience.
What to look for in a blogger
Ideally you want to find a blogger that understands your products and, in the case of specialist niches, they should have knowledge and experience in the field. At the very least they should be excellent researchers capable of writing engaging content your readers can trust.
Bloggers are typically passionate about the subject they write about, otherwise they would not waste their time blogging in the first place. Their passion and knowledge is something you can take advantage of.
Look for a writer with a strong, unique voice together with a good knowledge of your industry. If they have a good following on social media networks, all the better. This way you can use them as influencers, and word of mouth marketing is the most powerful tool in your arsenal.
What bloggers need
All too often, online business owners instruct writers to deliver articles that are based on keywords. And nothing more. If the writer knows nothing about your company, or the image you want to project, you cannot expect them to deliver content that is suitable or effective.
Furthermore, if you do not collaborate with the writer and formulate a content strategy you could be missing out on attracting an audience. The most effective content is focused to target specific customers, but if your blogger does not know which products you want to promote and which customers you are targeting.
By engaging with bloggers you can help them understand the “why” behind your brand. This is the message you want to make clear to your audience and by understanding your business philosophies, bloggers can more effectively promote your products and services.
If your company offers a number of products or services, collaborating with bloggers enables you to develop a content strategy that strengthens your message and makes your content more visible across multiple platforms.
For example, a blog post may tie in with a special offer you are promoting through social networks. You have prepared and posted your landing page and had some feedback, but a blog post on the same product a few days prior and after launch raises awareness and reinforces the message.
Communicating with remote bloggers
Technology makes it easier to work with remote freelancers whereby a collaborative process is much easier and cost-effective than ever before. However, shooting off emails giving instructions is not always the best policy.
It may depend on the nature of your content marketing campaign whether or not you feel you need to speak with your content writer, but if you are launching a marketing campaign to promote a special offer, you should ensure that the writer is kept in the loop and understand what message is to be delivered and how their content fits into the purchasing process.
In such circumstances, oral communication with the blogger is the best option, either by phone or video conference. You want to be able to give them the opportunity to ask questions so they are comfortable with their role. Hearing their tone of voice also gives you a better indication as to whether or not they understand your goals.
Communication should also be continued after a campaign. If you intend to continue your relationship with the writer, giving feedback about the successes and failures of a particular campaign or progress with search ranking and audience engagement will help to improve the process moving forward.
Any marketing campaign is a collaborative process, and blogging is no exception. Even if maintaining a blog is for the purpose of improving your search engine ranking is your main or sole purpose, communicating your goals to freelance bloggers gives you a better chance of meeting your targets.
The Dos and Donts of Working With Bloggers
Bloggers used to be the butt of office jokes – but things have changed. A good blogger with a strong army of followers can be very influential marketing tools, and can realistically increase your conversions.
Having said that, finding the right bloggers is not always easy and you can waste a lot of time chasing the wrong type and getting nowhere. Take heed of this advice and you will save yourself a lot of wasted energy.
Don’t try and reach out to celebrities
Celebrity bloggers are not interested in working for some unknown in the backwaters of Kent. Unless you are a recognised brand celebrities want to be associated with, you are wasting your efforts chasing them.
Celebrities are also expensive, so unless you do have some pulling power and a marketing budget to match, you will have more success looking elsewhere. Which brings us nicely to the next point…
Do find relevant bloggers
Relevant bloggers is key to your success, so look for influencers that specifically write about your products and philosophy.
For example, if you sell Apple phones, approaching a blogger that specialises in Android will not put you in front of the right audience.
To find the right blogger, look beyond the content they are publishing and determine whether their audience is your audience.
It nearly always is, but let’s say you have an app to alerts consumers to discounted clothes. A fashion blogger is good, but a price-conscious fashion blogger is better!
Don’t send generic emails
The manner in which you approach bloggers does matter. In most cases they are professionals and deserve some respect.
Too many marketers still consider them as geeky bloggers trying to be writers. This is disrespectful. They actually have a lot of knowledge in their field which is why they have such a healthy following of readers that trust them.
Therefore, your approach should be personal. Stroke their ego a little and comment on their work. And rather than saying something passive like, “I love your work”, offer an opinion on a piece they published recently.
The fact of the matter is you have to make a connection with bloggers as influencers in the same way you do with customers. Finding common ground and building a rapport will get you better results.
Do pay professionals
A professional blogger has to make a living and are likely to charge a fee. The amount they charge will depend on how influential they are. If they do charge, you will have to make a judgement call. Just remember to add a rel=”nofollow” link from bloggers who are paid for their work and send links from their site, because ultimately this is a paid link. A paid link which passes PageRank (yes, Google still use this internally) is completely against Google’s guidelines. You want traffic from good blogs, not just PageRank.
Before you agree to pay, ask the blogger if they can provide results from previous experiences they have had working with companies.
Working with bloggers does have its benefits, although finding the right fit for your products is not always easy. You will need patience and persistence, but eventually you will be rewarded.