If you’re struggling to find the time to build or maintain a business blog yourself, you may need some outside support. Here’s my step-by-step guide to engaging freelance support for those who have never done it before.
Don’t put it off any longer – decide once and for all whether you will be able to find the time to populate your business blog yourself. If you decide you can, be sure to set some time aside each week to make it work for you on a consistent basis. Don’t make your blog a one or two post wonder! Treat it with the same importance you treat any other aspect of your business. This can be difficult because there’s no deadline as such, like there is when you file your accounts for example. But consistency is key, so if you decide you don’t have the time to do your business blog justice, move on to step 2.
Approach one or more copywriters and ask some of the following questions., depending on how much support you’re looking for and what you need to know to put your mind at rest.
When you have spoken to a couple of freelance copywriters, hopefully, you’ll feel more confident in appointing one. If it gives you additional peace of mind most freelancers are used to working on a trial basis or even on a one-off basis, so you could start small and build up. You’ll still need to pay them for their time, even if you’ve agreed to a trial run, but explain you need to feel confident with how the process is going to work, so you’d only like to commit to a small number of blogs before confirming a long-term agreement. In the long run, it is worth engaging someone to supply copy consistently. They’ll get to know you and your business better than if you use several freelancers or start and stop with the same writer. Ask them to drive the programme though, to put ideas forward for content, research material and write content. If they are supplying a consistent number of blogs for you each month you can also agree a fixed price per month. This means you know where you stand and are only paying what you can afford. It’s also a good way to protect you from hidden extras or uncertainty if you pay by the word, or by the hour.
Once you have a copywriter in place, view them as part of your team. Just as you might work with an external accountant for their specific expertise, a copywriter is there to deliver hassle-free content that will boost your profile. They should want what’s best for your business and to help you succeed, so answer their questions and give them the information they need. A little input upfront should make the long-term process much simpler and hassle-free for you.
Once they have the information they need, your copywriter should be able to draw up a Content Plan for you to approve. This will be a list of suggested topics that you have come up with between you, laid out in a month-by-month or week-by-week plan. I often find as soon as this plan is in place, clients can see how the whole process is going to work. They relax because they can see they have full visibility of what I’ll be doing for them and when. There are no ethereal promises that are easily broken – the plan is there in black and white for all to see. Of course, things change, and all parties need to be a little flexible – perhaps you’ll decide to launch a new product or service and you want your blog to focus on that, or your copywriter might bring a new event or trending topic to your attention that you want to comment on – but if that happens, the plan should be updated, so everyone still knows where they stand.
Once you get to this stage in the process, you should be able to take more of a back seat and let your copywriter do their job. You know what they’re writing about and when they’ll be writing it, so the next you should hear from them is when their e-mail pings into your inbox with a draft blog for you to approve. You might have some feedback at this point with some changes you’d like to make, but in time, it’s not too much to expect your copywriter to learn your voice and deliver content that is right first time. Most copywriters will have a set number of edits they’re happy to perform on any one piece of writing at any stage in the process anyway, so if a bit of to-ing and fro-ing is needed upfront, you don’t need to pay any extra to get it right. Hopefully, they’ll be reliable into the bargain, and you’ll come to know when to expect the latest blog in your inbox. If there’s a good time for you to set aside in your schedule to check a post, let them know and ask that they work to that deadline each week, or each month.
Depending on your up-front agreement, the post may now be in your hands to upload, or you may give written approval for your copywriter to upload the blog post for you. It’s worth putting it in writing – even if just an e-mail that says ‘post approved’ to protect yourself and your copywriter. If your copywriter is also taking responsibility for accompanying images, make sure you get these sent to you at the same time as the copy to make it as hassle-free for you as possible.
All that’s left now is for you to sit back (or continue dashing around at the rate of knots running your business) and enjoy seeing your business blog grow and become a genuinely useful source of information for your existing and future customers.
Copywriter of smart, engaging blogs. For businesses that understand the importance of a great blog, but struggle to find the time to give them the attention they need. I offer a proactive approach to deliver fresh content.