Despite the growing popularity of new content marketing platforms and trends (e.g. TikTok, interactive content, and augmented reality), blogging remains extremely relevant in 2022.
According to statistics gathered by OptinMonster, approximately 409 million people view more than 20 billion blog posts each month.
Blogging also remains an effective way to drive targeted and high-quality traffic to your website. According to OptinMonster, websites that host blogs report 434% more indexed pages and 97% more inbound links.
Informative and relevant blog posts are a great way to build relationships with your audience and generate leads. These leads can be more easily converted into long-term, loyal customers.
Yes, I get it. I need to update my blog consistently with relevant, high-quality content. But where do I find good blog writers to get the job done?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll definitively show you the must-have steps in hiring a blog writer for your business.
But first, you’ll need to decide: will you be hiring your blog writers in-house, or would you rather work with an agency or freelancers?
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Decide: In-house, Agency, or Freelancers?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question, and each route has its own pros and cons.
Hiring blog writers in-house will allow you to build a stable team of content writers. These writers can be managed by your managing editor, content manager, or digital marketing manager. Hiring in-house also allows you to train your writers and ensure they’re familiar with your brand’s products, services, and unique value proposition.
However, hiring in-house is also very expensive, and only bigger and more established businesses can afford to make this investment. If you’re a startup or SME, you’re likely working with a much smaller marketing budget and need to keep costs from skyrocketing.
The second option is working with a content marketing or digital marketing agencies. While there are many reputable companies offering such services, you’ll need to partner with an agency that has a proven track record for delivering results. You’ll also want to work with an agency that charges rates that align with your marketing budget and delivers content that is both authoritative and SEO-friendly.
Finally, the third option—hiring freelance blog writers—is feasible for those working with a tighter marketing budget but still want to generate great results from their blogging and content marketing efforts.
Working with freelance blog writers comes with its own unique risks and rewards. It’s risky because many freelance blog writers offer their services, but some don’t have the skills or experience to get the job done.
But if you’re able to find a freelancer equipped with the prerequisite skills, experience, and subject matter expertise, then you have a winner!
To find the solution that works best for you, consider your business’s needs, your current marketing budget, and how much time and resources you’re able to devote to managing content writers and developing a viable content strategy.
If you’ve decided to try the freelance route, then read on to discover our eight tips to hiring a rockstar blog writer in 2022.
8 Tips for Hiring Rockstar Blog Writers in 2022
- Set your content marketing strategy, goals, and deliverables
Before you begin the process of hiring a writer for your blog, you’ll need to establish your content marketing strategy, goals, and expected deliverables. These are very important as you’ll need to find blog writers who’re able to align with your strategy, goals, and expectations.
The content marketing strategy for your blog should cover the following key areas:
- Your target audience – What audience are you trying to attract to your business with your blog content? What are their challenges and pain points? How can your products or services help solve or alleviate their challenges and pain points? Note that your target audience should closely align with your buyer personas.
- Keyword research & content calendars – Have you clearly identified the keywords you’re planning to insert into your blog posts? What topics will be featured in your blog? Have you created a content calendar that clearly outlines the topics that will be covered?
Your content marketing goals should align with some of your key performance indicators (e.g. revenue, lead generation, audience retention). How many leads and how much revenue would you like to generate from your blog posts? What engagement metrics do you want your blog content to hit and following which timeframe?
As for deliverables, you’ll need to outline how many blog posts you’d like to produce each week, month, or quarter. Planning your deliverables will help you project how long it would take to hit your content marketing goals. It will also help you figure out how many blog writers you’ll need to help you hit these benchmarks.
- Create a job description
The next step is to create a job description. Your JD should clearly outline the responsibilities of the blog writer, your expectations, as well as the necessary qualifications.
In terms of responsibilities, how many blog posts (or how many words) is the writer expected to produce per week or month? Are they also expected to produce other types of content (e.g. eBooks, whitepapers, website copy, or social media copy)?
Expectations could include preferred qualities and soft skills (We want a blog writer who is highly creative and analytical, is a team player, and is highly responsive to internal communications since this is a remote position).
Qualifications should cover your preferred technical skills (Our ideal candidate should have 3 years of experience as a blog writer, should be familiar with best SEO practices, and should have a solid knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry).
You can also use the Qualifications section to list down the software and project management tools your ideal candidate should be proficient in (e.g. Semrush, Surfer SEO, and ClickUp).
As for rates, you should clearly outline how much you’re willing to pay your freelancer and your method of payment. Will you be paying them per word, per hour, or per content piece? Will you be paying them every week or twice a month? Do you prefer PayPal, Payoneer, or some other mode of payment?
Make sure to research the standard industry rates for blog writers in your niche or industry. Blog writers in tech or B2B often expect to be paid more than writers in other niches, for example.
Also, avoid setting your rates too low or your writers (especially the really good ones) might eventually leave you for better-paying gigs.
Once you’ve drafted a solid job description, the next step is to source viable candidates using your preferred online job board or professional network service.
- Use LinkedIn and online job boards to source freelancers
LinkedIn Recruiter is a great place to reach qualified talent through job posts. The service allows you to expand your candidate search to over 810 million LinkedIn members.
You could also explore freelance writer job boards, like Peak Freelance and ProBlogger, or more general online marketplaces, like Fiverr and Upwork.
Another option you could consider is to look for qualified and highly experienced blog writers in more affordable labor markets, such as India, the Philippines, or Kenya.
Writers in these markets generally charge much less than writers in the developed world due to their lower cost of living. English is also widely spoken in these countries (it’s an official language in all three countries) and college graduates are generally tech-savvy and highly skilled.
A caveat: Despite the wide pool of talent in these markets, finding highly skilled content writers who can communicate in English like native speakers can be challenging. You may have to sort through a long list of applicants before you find a candidate that works for you. There’s also the time zone difference and possible cultural nuances that you have to deal with.
However, if you’ve decided to try this route, check out country-specific online job boards (like onlinejobs.ph in the Philippines). Other potential hiring platforms include freelance writers groups on Facebook.
- Interview your potential candidates and send them a writing test
Once you’ve posted your JD on your preferred job sites, the applicants should start rolling in.
Start by vetting the resumes and professional profiles of these applicants. If they have the qualifications, skills, and experience you’re looking for, reach out to the shortlisted candidates. Schedule remote interviews (for remote hires) and on-site interviews (for local hires).
Use the initial interview to get to know each potential hire and verify some of the qualifications and prior work experiences listed on their resume. If they appear to be a good fit for the job, proceed to the next step—sending them the writing test.
- Assess the writing test
Your writing test should be closely aligned with the actual work the applicants are expected to produce if they’re hired. A good tip is to pick a blog post topic from your content calendar and have the applicants write it for you.
Make sure that your writing test comes with clear instructions. Include all of the pertinent details (e.g. word count, primary and secondary SEO keywords, the target audience for the blog post, your preferred tone and voice, etc).
Consider paying your applicants for their test articles. While not all employers do this, it’s a great move as it shows that you respect each applicant’s time and effort during the trial process.
Depending on the job scope, you may also choose to include supplementary tests, like a copyediting test or website copy/social media copy test.
Don’t forget to set the deadlines for your writing test.
Email your tests and wait for the submissions to hit your inbox.
- If they pass, conduct a final interview
Once you’ve received the submissions, assess them carefully.
Aside from determining if each candidate followed your writing instructions correctly, perform a deep-level analysis of each submission. Did the writer produce content that was accurate, well-researched, and well-structured (e.g. strong introduction, solid body, and fitting conclusion)?
Were the SEO keywords inserted seamlessly? Were the metadata and alt-text correctly structured? Was the article proofread or are there numerous typographical and syntactical errors?
Did the candidate demonstrate a strong understanding of the subject matter, your target audience and their pain points, as well as your brand (if it’s a branded blog post)?
Now you can schedule the final interviews and job offers for the candidates who produced solid work.
Use the final interview to iron out the details of the job offer, including the expected weekly or monthly deliverables, the final rate, work hours, and other pertinent details. If both parties agree to the arrangement, then draft and send them their freelance contract agreement to review and sign.
- Give them a probationary period
Give your new hires a probationary period ranging from one month to three months. During this period, monitor their overall work performance, their ability to meet deadlines, the quality of their work, and other key performance indicators.
If they fail to meet your expectations during this period (perhaps their work is consistently submitted late or contains numerous factual and grammatical errors, etc), then you may opt to terminate the freelance contract. On the other hand, if they surpass your expectations, prove themselves to be invaluable to your business’ success, or show potential for further growth, then you may decide to give them a higher rate or other perks for demonstrating excellence.
- Rinse and repeat as you grow your business
As your business continues to grow, rinse and repeat this process to hiring a blog writer. Hiring experienced freelancers will allow you to tap into the expertise and diverse skill set of numerous professionals.
Choosing to work with freelancers will also help you keep your marketing costs down, and you can increase or decrease the amount of work you’re commissioning from your freelance pool based on your content marketing needs.
Outsource Your Blog Writing to Buzzing Blog
While there are numerous benefits to hiring freelance blog writers, there are many benefits to working with reputable blog writing agencies as well.
Buzzing Blog provides fully-managed blog writing services to business owners and content marketing/digital marketing managers who need to augment their teams with premium freelance support.
Buzzing Blog will take care of every stage of the blog writing process—from topic ideation and keyword research, to producing outlines and ready-to-publish content pieces for your business blog.
We’ll make sure that each blog post is authoritative, well-researched, and optimized for search engines and human readers. These blog posts are more likely to rank prominently on the search engine results pages (SERPs), resulting in a steady influx of leads and prospects to your website—leads and prospects that can be converted into loyal customers and brand advocates.
Schedule a free consultation today and find out how we can transform your blog into a lead generation machine!