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Should You Outsource Your Blog? 5 Questions to Consider

Running a blog is a lot of work.

You have to continually feed it new content, keep up with WordPress updates, maintain your hosting account, moderate comments, respond to readers… dozens, maybe hundreds of little tasks. And then there’s promoting and monetizing your blog, which is even more work.

It’s hard for anyone to manage, and the larger your blog grows, the worse the situation becomes. That’s why it’s good to prepare in advance for blogging eventualities you might face.

One of those eventualities is the question of whether you should write your blog posts, split up the work with guest posts or staff bloggers, or outsource blogging completely. There are pros and cons to each of those approaches, and here are some questions you might want to consider:

1. Your Relationship With Your Readers.

When you blog, you need to build trust, bonds and relationships with your readers. They grow to know you and like you, and they can’t wait to read your next post. Some become die-hard fans that rave about you or comment all the time. Great!

Not so great if you’ve personally branded yourself. The problem with personal branding is that you’ve built up a readership who wants you and you only.

So you worry: what will happen to your blog if you outsource your blogging?

Well… it depends.

If a blogger like Dooce or Naomi Dunford decided to outsource their blog, their readers would probably revolt. Their personalities are such a large part of the blog that it would be hard to get their readers to accept anyone else.

So if your blog is already big and established, and you have thousands of loyal readers, it could be tough. There’s a good chance you’ll lose some readers if you hire staff or start adding guest posters. Fans will read their work politely, but it’s really you they want. It will take time, a good plan, and weathering rumbles from readers until they accept it.

No one likes change, but eventually things will settle down. They’ll hang in there, especially if you’re still active with posting now and again, and if you hire a blogger whose style and tone matches your brand personality. Make sure the blogger also provides similar-quality advice, info or entertainment as you’ve been giving.

Of course, all of that only matters if you have an audience. What if you’re just getting started?

The truth: it’s a lot easier. You can build your blog around posting awesome content, rather than one particular personality. It won’t matter where the content comes from; as long as it’s awesome, your readers will be happy. And that leaves the door open for you to hire other writers.

Which leads us to the next question:

2. What Type of Blogger Do You Need?

You can’t just hire anyone who has a fair hand. You need to find a blogger who fits with your business brand, its mission, and the level of knowledge your blog provides. Of course, this blogger also has to be able to fit in with your goals and get results.

So you need to find the right blogger. Here are some questions to think about before bringing someone on:

  • Does the blogger have the knowledge for the job?
  • What’s the blogger’s writing style and personality like?
  • Does that style fit with your business and brand?
  • How long have they been blogging?
  • Do they have proven results?
  • How experienced and skilled are they?
  • Can they help you achieve your goals?

Note that I didn’t mention, "How much do they cost?" We’ll get to that in a bit.

First, though, recognize that outsourcing blogging comes down to basically trusting someone with your business reputation. You’re not just shoving off a task – you’re giving someone permission to represent you and your business. This means that person needs to be able to maintain your credibility (or enhance it), please your readers and get them talking, and generally make your life better and easier by freeing up your time and becoming an asset to your blog.

A blogger who just writes well but who can’t make you look awesome?

Meh. Pass.

One who can fire up your audience, get them raving about your business and shows loyalty to helping you succeed?

Well now. That’s gold.

3. How Will You Compensate Them?

Good bloggers don’t work for free, but they don’t always want money, either.

Some prefer marketing exposure. Others want a link to their blog. Or republication rights. Or a barter arrangement.

Everything’s negotiable, and everyone wants something different. They definitely want something for their efforts, though, that’s for sure.

So, decide what you bring to the table. Can you send them traffic? Build their credibility? Help improve their search engine rankings? Recommend their products and services to your readers?

You need to have something to offer in exchange for a blogger’s work (and you’ll probably need more than $10 and a link), so figure out what you’re prepared to give in return for what the blogger brings to you.

In general, the more you give, the more you get.

Pay $10 for a blog post without offering anything else in exchange, and you’ll probably get a bad headline, sloppy grammar, and ordinary ideas, none of which would do much to build your blog. At the other end of the spectrum, some bloggers will do everything for you, including editing, polishing, getting photos, and promoting it to generate traffic. You’ll pay a lot more, anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per post, but you’ll be getting a lot more for the money, too.

For a fee, some writers are even willing to let you take credit for their work. Let’s talk about that next.

4. Should You Hire a "Ghost Blogger?"

No, it’s not a sordid, dirty word. Ghostwriting means someone writes on your behalf and you present the work as your own. The President does it with his speeches. Nothing wrong with that.

But it’s controversial, especially when it comes to blogging. Some feel it’s dishonest. Others feel that there’s nothing wrong in hiring someone to help write and share your knowledge with your audience. There’s no rule that says you must slave over writing posts if you absolutely can’t stand it, don’t have the time, or just don’t want to.

Smart entrepreneurs don’t do that. Why should you?

Here’s another argument: if your writing skills aren’t up to snuff, and you might be potentially damaging your credibility and sales, and if hiring staff bloggers or guest posters dilutes your brand and also damages your credibility… why wouldn’t you hire a ghost blogger?

People with average writing skills often hire ghost bloggers who turn their notes, audio files, thoughts and outlines into great posts. Same knowledge – just someone else writing. And very often, it’s the knowledge that your readers care about, not who puts it into words.

So ghost blogging may be an option for you, especially if you don’t like to spend time writing, can’t write well, aren’t seeing the results you want, or want time to develop other areas of your business. There’s nothing wrong with it, no more than there is hiring a chef for your restaurant.

5. What If It Doesn’t Work out?

Every time you make a change in your business, there’s always the risk it might not have been the best decision.

So let’s say you hire a blogger, work with a few guest posters, or decide to hire a ghostwriter. After a couple of months you realize that you’re not getting the results you wanted. Maybe traffic is down or your audience has shifted or sales have dropped.

Don’t freak out. It happens. All you need to do is adjust.

Unless you’ve completely trashed your business reputation, you can always change your blogging strategy. You can go back to blogging yourself, hire a new blogger with a different personality, get a ghost blogger to write more posts for you… whatever works. Take a look at Copyblogger, who went from a tight team of bloggers to multiple guest posters and back again.

No matter what you decide about outsourcing your blogging, you’re never stuck and committed forever. A blog is just a marketing tool that you can play with and test, adapt to your needs and measure for effectiveness as you go along, just like any other form of marketing.

And don’t worry – eventually you’ll hit on the solution that works best for you.

  1. Yolanda Facio Sep 27, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Some months ago I was given the name of a copywriter who the referrer said was good enough to emulate them and gave some examples. I was impressed to say the least. Although I have not yet considered a ghost writer, looking at a few examples of the ghost writer’s ability to emulate the referrer had me floored. I would not have known the difference. It certainly opens the door for outsourcing.

    It definitely comes down to finding the right mix for you and your blog.

    Good stuff. Thanks.

    • James Chartrand Sep 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm

      Being able to mimic voice is a rare quality – and a valuable one, as you’ve seen!

  2. Few business owners or even bloggers realize just how complicated managing and promoting a blog can be.

    There is a reason a large percentage of the top blogs have multiple authors – time. Everything takes more time than you wish and there is ALWAYS more you could be doing IF you had more time.

    More people working on the same site is one of the few ways to provide more time for promoting and content creation.

    There is one drawback that many are NOT going to like about this new interactive media – you have to interact! And that is very time-consuming.

    • James Chartrand Sep 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm

      You’re very right that running a major blog is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. Finding ways to create that time so you can create new, awesome stuff for readers is important!

  3. Christine Livingston Sep 27, 2010 at 11:26 am

    So far I’ve played with having a VA do behind the scenes WordPress and newsletter set-up stuff, and guest posts. Both have worked pretty well.

    I guess it depends on your business and what you’re trying to achieve. For me, relationship is fundamental, so I want to keep – for now at least – in the driving seat of the interactions around the connections I make. How and whether I upscale this for the future are core questions. What your post has made me realize, James, is that I don’t need a perfect answer and that experimenting is cool.

    • James Chartrand Sep 27, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      Aye, experimenting IS okay. If you think about how young blogging really is, and how it’s still evolving and developing… well, quite honestly, everyone still has plenty of room to figure out what works best!

  4. Neil, what’s your strategy for KissMetrics? What you guys doing?

  5. Mary Flaherty Sep 28, 2010 at 7:11 am

    I looked at more than 250 business blogs when I did some research for a recent post. (Talk about spending a lot of time on a blog post!) It was not a pretty sight. Hundreds of abandoned blogs. Started, no doubt, by business people excited about the potential benefits of blogging, but not prepared for the heavy lifting.

    I’m going to share this post with everyone who asks my advice about blogging — before they start a blog!

    • James Chartrand Sep 29, 2010 at 4:41 am

      Very true. It doesn’t take long (about 3 months) before many people abandon their blogs – and many of those are businesses!

  6. Isn’t getting a Ghost-writer a kill-the-real-meaning-of-blogging thing?

    I agree presidents do keep Ghost-speech-writers, but the president’s speech isn’t his blog!

  7. I always love it when small business owners tell me that social media and blogging are great because they’re free! They sure are… if you value your time at ZERO. I guess that’s why most small business blogs are abandoned after 2-3 months… it’s amazing how hard it is to invest time in stuff that’s free.

  8. Samantha Dublin Jul 12, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    If you are planning to outsource somebody for your blog, might as well get the whole package. There are outsourcing firms out there that specializes in Internet marketing that you can take advantage of.

  9. Matt John Canty Sep 27, 2012 at 5:27 am

    If you could write an excellent blog on your own then i see no point in outsourcing it. But blogging is such a time consuming task for me that it’s better to outsource it to someone who’s an expert in writing.

  10. Great read! You’re right, use your blog as a tool to see what works and what doesn’t. You must be able to adapt and change for your audience and stand out from the others. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Nice post. I had an offer for partneship from a guy who already had tech blog. I have no time to write, want to spent most time on programming, but I didn’t accept offer yet because it is not clear to me should I sign some contact before or not.

  12. Good article, but to be honest I don’t think it is a good idea to outsource your blog, if you have established some relationship with your readers. In case you do it, you become the next blog spreading low quality content, just because Google said that they liked new content. And not doubt you will loose your readers.

  13. Sanjib Biswas Sep 10, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Good article it is very important that how we build a communication with our readers through blogging. So keeping this in mind can we gain more visitors through blogging into a Bpo site and another question is can we then convert that traffic to customer?

  14. Pakistan is the third biggest outsourcing country in the world. Infact Pakistan has the most favorable IT atmosphere. Pakistan has:

    1. One of the largest mobile subscribers (110+ m), Consider developing mobile products. The internet usages is around 5m and increasing rapidly.
    2. International standard IT Institute producing IT graduates with latest skills and innovative ideas.
    3. 3rd biggest freelancer workforce.
    4. Cheapest Internet rate.
    5. Cheapest labor rate in the world.

    The list can be extended but the point is Pakistan cannot be ignored as outsourcing country.

  15. Ratko Ivanović Dec 17, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Love the article. Especially the ghost writing bit. The author part there is up for discussion (as people are sensitive in terms of them being the real author), but on the moral side, I love that you simplified the notion. There are a lot more parts that define a blog and its articles, than just who the writer is for a specific piece.

    On that note, would like to add two things. I think it’s crucial if you have a well established blog, with a known structure, tone, etc. -> define it all, so anyone who’ll write can follow the guidelines for each piece. This will make the screening of new bloggers easier as well.

    And the other thing – a good blogger or content writer should posses great grammar, language, the ability to present the info to the target audience and a good grasp on style and tone. You can add such a person to any blog, personal or business and they’ll be able to produce the manner of quality you request.

    So there’s a middle ground there – you can always provide info (which makes your blog special) as well as a draft of the content, and have the blogger fine tune it for production. You save a lot of time in the process and get a really good product.

  16. Outsourcing a blog is not the best option. Blog is very personal, and YOU should be only person to write on it.

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