Can we be frank? Managing a blog is a huge pain in the butt.
Blogs take a lot of focus and effort at all times. It doesn’t care if you are busy with other work or have run out of ideas. It can’t be bargained with! It can’t be reasoned with!
When managing a blog becomes challenging it’s easy to forget how important they are. In an infographic about the "Blogcomony," Social Media Today cites the following stats:
Despite the benefits, any experienced blogger knows that managing a successful content marketing strategy is harder than ever today. Content creation is growing at a rapid pace, making it increasingly difficult to reach potential customers.
Marketers have to be on their blogging game, even while more and more responsibilities are heaped on our desks. Devoting the time to develop quality material that will entertain and inform potential customers is no small feat.
Given these realities, many companies are losing their way with content marketing. Here are a few signs your blog is in trouble:
Hundreds of new blogs are born every day, but I’m willing to bet hundreds of thousands are on life support. “I don’t have the time” is the number one excuse people use for putting blogging on the backburner, and if you are already struggling to get results from your content, it’s easy to just skip a week. Then, that week turns into two weeks. Soon, your blog is only getting updated once a month or every couple of months.
Once you have reached that point, your blog is effectively dead. You can always bring it back to life, of course, but not unless you’ve put a new system in place, with a renewed commitment to serving your customers with good information.
Your teams might have a ton of knowledge and experience to share with the online community, but unless you can harness those ideas into clear communication, many readers will pass it by.
Every company has a mix of abilities when it comes to writing. If you have a few skilled scribblers on the team, that’s a bonus, but you may find a good writer does not necessarily mean a good blogger.
Blogging is different from other types of writing, and how well the writer understands these differences can impact the results. People often assume they can write great posts simply because they have a few writing skills, but inexperienced bloggers often miss nuances that make all the difference.
One mistake I see all the time is large blocks of text on the page. People don’t read web pages like they do printed articles, at least not until you’ve truly captured their interest. Instead, they scan the page, looking for something that stands out, like a compelling sub-header or a cool image. People are much more likely to read your stuff if you present it in short, easy digestible paragraphs with strong headlines and visuals.
Content marketing can make you a lot of money, but only when a smart, coherent strategy is in place. Every post should support a broader campaign that has clearly defined goals, lead generation offers, and a sales nurturing process that guides a visitor down the path to becoming a customer.
Blogging is an important part of the process, but by no means the only one. Whoever writes your content should understand the purpose each post has in the buyer’s journey, and sculpt the language to achieve those ends.
Despite the advantages of hiring a professional agency or freelancer to manage your content, you will face a few important considerations when you go down this road.
We’ve shared ideas about content marketing costs, and I can tell you bloggers are all over the map when it comes to rates. Some get paid by the word, others by the hour.
Companies often hire freelancers that undersell their services, and discover that bargain pricing comes at a high cost. You will get words on a page – guaranteed – but you will likely spend a lot of time editing each piece, adjusting the brand voice, making factual and grammatical corrections, and fixing other issues.
We charge $250 per post with an average length of 600-900 words, a price that includes time spent researching, writing, and editing our work. Some bloggers charge much less for their time, and there are good reasons for this. Some are decent writers, but poor business people. They don't charge what their services are worth, and consequently struggle to growing their businesses. Other writers often lack the experience of managing a full content marketing strategy, which ensures your posts will look and sound the same as every other article on the Internet.
Most bloggers have the basic skills to get the job done, meaning they will include keywords in the copy and submit their work with (hopefully) few spelling and grammatical errors.
We even had one freelancer that counted the number of times she used keywords in the copy and left a total at the bottom of the post, as if this somehow increased the value for the reader.
The Internet is saturated with blogs today. We now have a glut of publishers who are just going through the motions of writing simply because they want SEO benefits.
Using keywords in an article is not hard. Writing interesting content is.
If you want your blog to stand out, your writers have to strive for creativity and originality. They won’t be able to accomplish this all the time – bloggers repeat and share ideas from others as a matter of practice, especially in the marketing space. Yes, that includes us. – but if you don’t see a consistent effort to inject some unique perspectives in your blog, you could probably do better.
You are outsourcing your blog to save time and boost productivity. If you have to spend too much time correcting the same mistakes, if you have to remind your writer of the audience’s goals again and again, if you find the resulting articles stale and uninspiring on a regular basis – it’s time to move on to a different hire.
Freelancers who come and go, and getting a consistent output of quality work is challenging. Content marketing agencies can often provide more stability and consistency to your blog, which takes on even more importance when it comes to brand voice.
This is an important part of content creation that should not be ignored. Every brand has a distinctive “voice,” comprised of the core values, attitude, and language the company uses to build relationships with customers. Establishing the voice requires consistency and focus in your blogging, something that’s difficult to do when you are constantly recruiting new ghost writers.
Hiring a quality agency or blogger that will serve your organization in the long term is the best way to keep the voice consistent without requiring lots of coaching and editing from your team.
Outsourcing your blog can help your organization in many ways – it takes the burden off your plate and puts it in the hands of a professional, but hiring the wrong agency or freelancer can result in wasted time and money. Take some time to review your best candidates. Look over their work and, more importantly, ask them to demonstrate ROI from other campaigns they’ve managed. Bloggers that can prove they’ve made money for other businesses are the ones you should be talking to. Let the others create static for all the world to ignore.
We have a culture problem in the workplace today, and it's causing us to miss great opportunities.