When it comes to blogging, one of the key pain points is getting content. As a business owner, it may be hard to delegate time for yourself or your employees to write quality content for your blog vs. work on revenue generating projects. And when it comes to content, we’re not talking about just any content, but content that people want to read, search engines want to crawl, and social media users want to share. In today’s post, we’re going to look at the different ways you can attract quality writers for your blog.
Finding Guest Bloggers
One of the first things you should try when you look to increase the content on your blog is including guest bloggers to help you out. Guest bloggers get a lot of benefits by writing for other sites, including yours, such as exposure to a new audience, the chance to build their authority, and the ability to build quality links back to their own blog or website.
If your blog is just starting out, it might be harder to find guest bloggers as many would prefer to write for blogs that are more established with a built-in subscriber base and domain authority. You will have to convince potential guest bloggers that they will be getting a chance to get into your blog at the ground level and create pillar content that will be referenced back to frequently as the blog continues to grow. It’s always a bonus if you have a good reputation and online audience to start out with so that guest bloggers will know they will get some promotion from your end as well.
How to Create Guest Blogging Guidelines
The easiest way to attract guest bloggers to your blog is through the creation of a guest blogging guidelines page. On this page, you will share details including the following.
- Your impressive blog stats. This is where you tell people the best stats about your blog including the number of subscribers (RSS and mailing list), social followers (Twitter, Facebook, and Google+), domain authority (get it by searching for your domain at OpenSiteExplorer.org), and other stats that others would find impressive.
- Your audience’s interests and demographics. Let potential guest bloggers know what kind of audience you have – what topics they are interested in, their age group, their location, and any other applicable information that can help the guest blogger decide what content to create.
- What topics your blog covers. Make sure you get content that fits your blog by specifying what topics you want guest bloggers to cover in their submissions.
- What level of content you need. Specifying that you want a specific level of content (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) will help ensure that you don’t receive content that is too simple or too complex for your target audience.
- Content originality. Chances are, you don’t want content that has already been posted elsewhere. Be sure to specify that you want original content, and let guest bloggers know if and when it is alright for them to repost the content they submit to your blog. If they are allowed to repost, make sure to include the stipulation that the content was originally posted at your site with a link back – it’s a great way to build additional links to your blog from the guest blogger’s site.
- Post formatting details. Do you want your posts to be a certain word count? Include a particular number of images? Include headers, bolded text, and resource links? Be sure to specify exactly what you want so you get just that.
- Post submission requirements. Do guest authors need to submit their posts via Word or Google Documents? Do they need to run topic ideas by you first? Let potential guest bloggers know.
- Community rules. Guest blogging isn’t just about content. Do you normally reply to all of your comments? Make sure guest bloggers know to do the same.
- Self-promotion rules. One of the main reasons people submit guest blog posts is to promote themselves. Be sure to lay the ground rules on whether guest bloggers can include links to their own website within the content or only within the author bio, how many links are alright to include, and what kind of anchor text is or is not allowed.
- Disclaimers. There is always the potential for argument about who owns the content, what can be modified, and any monetization of the content once it is submitted. Be sure to include a disclaimer that you have the right to modify the content once it is submitted to your site at your discretion and that any revenue generated from the content belongs to you.
Some great examples of guest blogging guidelines include the following.
- Kissmetrics – Kissmetrics does a great job describing the value of guest blogging and even includes a testimonial from a satisfied guest blogger who received great results from their guest post.
- Smashing Magazine – Smashing Magazine specifies what they want from guest bloggers before they submit a full post plus extensive details about the topics they cover.
- Copyblogger – Copyblogger defines their blog’s content as useful, relevant, and well-written. These are also the guidelines they want their guest bloggers to adhere to.
- ProBlogger – ProBlogger gets into the nitty gritty and specifies everything from exclusivity, topics, voice, formatting, length, editing, and byline rules.
- Social Media Examiner – Social Media Examiner only wants established authorities who have demonstrated quality writing skills. Their guest post guidelines let potential contributors know that they will need to be evaluated first.
Last, but not least, be sure that you do a little keyword optimization on your guest blogging guidelines page so that interested guest bloggers can find it in search. Some keyword phrases that are searched often by guest bloggers looking for opportunities include the following. The number in parenthesis shows the estimated global monthly searches for these keywords as determined by Google AdWords Keyword Tool.
- write for us (74,000)
- become a writer (60,500)
- become a contributor (2,400)
- guest post guidelines (880)
- guest bloggers wanted (1,300)
- be a guest blogger (14,800)
- guest bloggers needed (480)
- writers wanted (18,100)
How to Find Guest Bloggers
If you don’t want to wait for guest bloggers to come to you, you can always try finding them first by doing the following.
- Find people who guest blog often. If you follow some of the top blogs in your industry, you’re likely to start seeing some of the same names popping up upon them. These are people that like to guest blog to build authority in their industry and gain exposure across the web. Find their website and send them a personalized email saying that you’ve enjoyed their writing on Blog A, Blog B, and Blog C and invite them to write for your blog as well.
- Do a Twitter search. Lots of people like to share their latest guest post with phrases like my latest guest post. Search this and related phrases on Twitter to see guest bloggers in a variety of niches, or include additional keywords to further narrow the results down.
- Try blogging forums. Sites like MyBlogGuest allow blog owners to look for guest bloggers based on niche and also allow them to post in the forums that they are seeking guest blogging contributors.
What to Look for in Guest Post Submissions
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to accept every post that is submitted to your blog. You will want to make sure the content meets the quality standards of your blog by reading it thoroughly and checking for a few key things.
- Is the content original? Be sure to grab a sentence or two from the post and Google it. You might be surprise to find the post has been used before – sometimes dozens of times or even hundreds across article directories.
- Who is the author? Background checks shouldn’t just be for employees or potential dates. Google the name of the post’s author to see if they are legit. If you are only looking for industry experts, for example, make sure your author is one and not just another “freelance writer” who mass produces articles for almost any industry.
- Where does the author link to? Check the resource links throughout the post as well as the author’s own bio link. Make sure they are all quality resources and websites that your audience will be alright with visiting.
Finding Freelance Writers
If you’re not having luck with finding guest bloggers, or you need more content than they can regularly provide, then you might want to consider hiring freelance writers to regularly produce content for your blog.
What You Pay is What You Get
When it comes to freelance writing, rates are generally all across the board depending on several factors including the content topic, writer’s level of expertise, and the writer’s authority in the niche. Generally, you will get what you pay for. Sure you can get content for $15 an article, but is that the type of content your audience will be interested in reading and, more importantly, sharing on social networks? As with most things, the more you pay, the higher quality you will receive.
Bloggers vs. Freelance Writers
Another thing you will want to note is the difference between bloggers who are paid to write blog posts and your standard freelance writer. If you are looking for someone to keep up with community around their blog post, you will want to look for someone who is an experience blog post writer – not just a copywriter or an article writer, but someone who knows how to deal with comments and will also socially support the content they have written. Otherwise you might find yourself dealing with lots of comments on your blog, Twitter, Facebook page, and other areas where you share your content that you will have to manage on your own.
Ghostwriting vs. Giving the Author Credit
There are two ways you can handle content from a freelance writer. The first option is to give the writer credit for their work. There are several advantages to doing this, including:
- The writer will be responsible for what they write. Be sure to include a disclaimer in each post that the opinions expressed are the writers and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoints of your blog or business.
- You can take advantage of the writer’s authority. If you hire a freelance writer based on their popularity, allowing them to take credit for their work means you can boast the fact that you have industry experts on your blog to hopefully pull in some of the writer’s fans.
- Your blog content will not look like it is paid for. Giving your writers the option to include an author bio will make your paid content look like a guest post. This means you will have more of a chance at attracting free content from other guest bloggers in exchange for the bio.
The second option is hiring a freelance writer as a ghostwriter. This means that you will pay for the content, but put your own name on it. The advantages to doing this includes:
- You will get credit as an authority. If part of your business strategy is building yourself up as an authority, then having your name on the content will further boost your reputation as a thought leader in your industry.
- No one has to know you pay for content. If your business is based on the ability sell content development, then you might not want others to know you aren’t creating that amazing content on your own.
- You can use the content any way you choose. Assuming you have agreed with your freelance writer, you can use the content they create beyond just your blog posts. This includes repurposing it as an eBook, course, or other monetizable package.
How to Find Freelance Writers
Just like guest bloggers, if you are openly searching for freelance writers, you will want to announce it on your blog. You can create a page similar to a guest blogging guidelines, except make it freelance writing guidelines instead.
You should also take a look at posts on other blogs in your industry. You might find some author bios include that the contributor is also a freelance writer. This makes it simple to find out if a freelance writer is qualified to write the kind of content you want for your blog and see that their content is appealing to a similar audience.
Another way to find freelance writers is through post ads on job boards and freelancing sites such as the following.
- ProBlogger Job Board – The ProBlogger Job Board is where bloggers looking for jobs and companies looking for bloggers to hire meet. You can post a job for 30 days for only $50.
- Mashable Jobs – If you are looking for a writer in the social media and online marketing industry, you might want to try posting on Mashable Jobs. Listings are $199 for 30 days.
- Mediabistro caters to people looking for jobs in journalism and online content. 30 day job postings start at $297.
- Blogging Pro Job Board – This job board is similar to the one at ProBlogger, but with a bit less traffic. Regular listings are free – featured listings are only $25 for 30 days.
- Contently – Contently helps publishers (that’s you!) connect and commission work from top writers in your industry. You can browse freelance writer’s portfolios and also use their platform to manage your writers & content strategy.
- Freelancer – Freelancer is the world’s largest outsourcing marketplace empowering entrepreneurs and small businesses with the ability to find content writers who are ready to work.
- Upwork – Upwork is used by more than 250,000 businesses including names like AOL, HP, and NBC. Find the right writers and post your job listings.
This discussion on Inbound.org also has a good list of freelance writers.
Managing & Paying Your Writers
In order to establish a strong relationship with your writers, you will want to make clear guidelines with them about due dates, topics, and payment. This way, you can make sure that quality content is always coming in at the pace you need it and that your freelancers are informed and happy.
Some great ways to manage your writers include through the use of the following platforms and tools.
- Backpack – Backpack allows you to have an online intranet, group calendar, and overall virtual office organizer. It is a great place to share topic ideas, assignments, and other relevant news between you and your writers.
- Contently – As mentioned earlier, this network not only allows you to find freelance writers to develop content for your blog, but it also allows you to manage topic ideas, assignments, and payments for your writer in one system.
- Kapost – This content marketing platform allows publishers to manage their content writing process from ideas to completed assignments and payments. It is used by networks such as CBS, Mashable, and Verizon.
- Google Docs – Not ready to invest in a platform for your content management? Use spreadsheets to share topic ideas, forms to get feedback from writers about post ideas and crowdsource content, and use documents to share content back and forth.
Establishing an Editorial Calendar
No matter where you get your online content from, whether it is guest bloggers or freelance writers, be sure to create an editorial calendar. It can be an open calendar that just lists what dates you want posts on particular topics, or a very rigid one that is specific to which topic will go live on a specific date by a particular writer.
You can use Google Calendar, Outlook, or even plugins such as the one pictured above – the WordPress Editorial Calendar that allows you to have a calendar in your WordPress dashboard accessible to your editors and writers. No matter what you choose, having an editorial calendar will help you make sure that you are publishing content at the pace you need without falling behind.
Do you use guest bloggers or freelance writers to help you keep up with quality content production? What other tips would you suggest?