How do you hire a blogger that understands difference between effective content marketing and ineffective content marketing?
Take a look at the chart below from CMI.
Turns out effective companies know what content marketing success looks like. The cornerstone of a good content marketing strategy is your blogger. So if you don’t know how to hire an effective blogger, there’s no way you’ll see content marketing success.
When companies first start blogging, their goal is to consistently publish and share content. This lasts for a few months, until they realize they need a better set of goals and metrics to measure the ROI of the blog, especially if they aren’t seeing results.
In this post, I want to take you through the most important things to consider when hiring an effective blogger for your company.
How To Find Effective Writers: A Blogger Job Description Example
The exact role and responsibilities of a business blogger vary depending on the size of the company, the team and your company resources. However, I wanted to give you an overview of what you should include on a business blogger job description.
Keep in mind this list is only for blogging and doesn’t include full social media, email marketing or marketing automation responsibilities.
- Develop content strategy based on company goals & KPIs
- Develop SEO keyword strategy for the blog
- Create brand voice guidelines for the blog and social media channels
- Responsibility for generating new blog topics based on the company’s goals and content strategy
- Create and manage an editorial calendar for agreed publishing frequency, and keep updated (at least a few weeks ahead)
- Research and write all blog content
- Edit and proofread all content, or send the content to an editor
- Optimize all uploaded blog content for SEO
- Find, upload and optimize images and graphics for all blog posts
- Promote blog content through social media and other agreed channels upon publishing
- Create additional content like emails, whitepapers, infographics, ebooks and case studies as lead magnets, and add resources for other pages on the site
- Create and add email opt-ins to all posts if building an email list
- Generate monthly metrics reports based on company goals and KPIs (usually created from Google Analytics, email list metrics and SEO tools)
- Make suggestions and changes to the content strategy based on insights from the monthly reports
- If using WordPress, keep website and plugins secure and up-to-date
If you’re considering outsourcing blog content, the list above is a great place to start. What you DON’T want is a vague job description that attracts a bunch of unqualified applicants and doesn’t set expectations. Here’s a good example of what not to do in a job description…
Characteristics of a World-Class Business Blogger
Now that you know how to hire a blogger once you find them, it’s time to figure out how to spot them. A good long-term blogger or blogging team possesses a certain set of skills beyond the requirements above. If a potential blogger for your company displays the following characteristics, you can be confident they will not disappoint you.
They’re Goal Driven
Only 44% of B2B marketers are clear on what content marketing success looks like. (According to the 2015 survey by CMI.)
Great business bloggers won’t write a word unless they can measure it against a clear goal.
Creating content for the sake of content is a waste of time and money. Your blogger must be obsessed with measuring the impact of their content.
They’re in it for the Long Haul
Good bloggers realize success takes time and they’re willing to stick with it. Most businesses that ‘fail’ with content marketing give up after a few months, even though if they stuck it out, they would probably start seeing results.
Once you have 21-54 blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30%. (Source)
Their Grammar Is Impeccable
They don’t get their/they’re/there mixed up.
They know to use may vs. might when the outcome is more likely.
And my personal pet peeve: they use active (vs. passive) language.
For example, “The employee filed a complaint.”
NOT: “A complaint was filed by the employee.”
Poor grammar is an instant credibility killer. Your blogger and editor must be well versed, especially if they’re the same person.
They Keep It Simple
A good writer doesn’t need to fill their content with fluff or extra words.
They make their point and move on. They ruthlessly cut unnecessary words out of their own content.
This is one of the biggest giveaways I look for when hiring writers. It’s often the difference between an amateur and a seasoned writer.
They’re Constantly Learning
If I could only ask blogging job candidates one question, it would be this:
What blogs do you read?
The non-serious bloggers will usually answer by listing blogs related to a hobby, mentioning Buzzfeed or saying, “I don’t really read blogs…”
Good bloggers, on the other hand, have learning at the forefront and will quickly list industry-related blogs on writing, copywriting and marketing.
They Work Well With Others
Your blogger will communicate with editors, clients, vendors, members of your company, and blog readers, and ultimately represent your company.
It may sound like a cliché, but this person must be an excellent communicator and problem solver. One good exercise I like to do is have them meet a few other members of the team to see how they interact. Take them out to lunch, see how they act in public, and observe how they interact with your server.
Run a few possible problem scenarios by them and see how they respond in the moment.
They Have a Solid Understanding of Social Media in Business
Anyone’s cousin can do social media, but there’s a substantial difference between managing your personal social media accounts and representing a company online.
Regardless of whether or not your blogger handles your social accounts, they should be aware of these three things:
- The impact of their content across different social channels and audiences
- How to write content that gets clicked on social media
- The difference between educational selling and blatant promotion
They Write for Humans First, Google Second
Good bloggers are driven by an SEO strategy but don’t prioritize it above clear, well-written content. The days of keyword-stuffed posts are gone. The most helpful content wins.
According to a survey by Ascend 2, 72% of marketers worldwide said relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic.
They Have a Solid Understanding of Online Behavior
Writing for online and offline audiences is completely different. If you work with a writer who’s recently converted from offline content, like newspapers and magazines, to online content, make sure they understand how to:
- Incorporate SEO
- Write for short attention spans
- Format for the web (e.g. short paragraphs, subheadings and proper formatting)
They Are Numbers Driven
Even if your blogger is more right-brained than left-brained, they can only be effective if they have an understanding of the analytics that drive the content they create.
Plus, they have to be willing to stick up for those insights when management wants to (suddenly) go in a different direction.
Ask what the goals were of the last projects they worked on and how they tracked them.
They’re Organized and System Driven
Remember, the reason you’re learning how to hire a blogger is that you need consistency.
According to TopRankBlog, producing content consistently is the third biggest challenge for content marketers in B2B companies. (In other words, you’re not alone!)
Your blogger must be extremely organized and driven by deadlines. There’s a lot of pressure to get content out on time, so performing under pressure is critical as well.
They Are Able to Write & Research Fact-Based Blog Posts
Business blogs that do nothing but spout opinions don’t garner thought leadership… or readers.
Good bloggers research and back up any claims they make with reputable facts and data, in the form of statistics, graphics, charts and quotes.
They Generate Blog Topics Strategically
Depending on your goals, there are dozens of ways to generate new ideas for your content, but random guessing shouldn’t be one of them.
Effective bloggers brainstorm blog post ideas based on their blog categories, high intent keywords (SEO), industry trends, prospect and client needs, and company expertise.
If you want to turn your content marketing up a notch, you will have to start looking for an outstanding blogger. Make sure you pay attention to the characteristics we discussed in this post, and make sure they can provide the strategy you need. There’s no such thing as content marketing success without a capable blogger.