A 2021 study by SEMRush found that marketers’ biggest challenges were generating traffic, quality leads, and content that resonated with their audiences.
What was the solution? Improve content quality and focus on SEO.
And guess what…
You’ll need to hire the right blogger to achieve both of these things.
The blogger you hire becomes the cornerstone of a good content marketing strategy, so if you don’t know how to hire a blogger who’s effective, 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 when they don’t see results.
In this post, I’ll take you through the most important things to consider when hiring an effective blogger for your company.
The exact role and responsibilities of the business blogger you hire will vary depending on the size of the company, your team, and your company’s resources. That said, I’d like to give you key points to include in any 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.
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…
Now that you know how to attract and hire a blogger, 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 won’t disappoint you.
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. The blogger you hire must be obsessed with measuring the impact of their content and know how to plan ahead.
Good bloggers realize success takes time and they’re willing to stick with it. Most businesses that “fail” with content marketing give up after only a few months, even though if they had stuck it out, they would probably have seen results.
If you want to hire a blogger, it’s likely because you’ve discovered how difficult it is to consistently create quality content. The effort involved is an easy thing to underestimate, but any blogger you hire should be well aware of it and be prepared to see the job through.
Grammar mistakes are just as good at making your company look bad as they are at making great memes.
When hiring a blogger, consider installing the Grammarly Chrome extension to easily spot any mistakes in their cover letter or work examples. Here’s a list of things to look for:
Poor grammar is an instant credibility killer. Your blogger and editor must know their vocabulary and verb agreements. This is especially true if they’re the same person because editing your own writing is so difficult.
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 from 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.
Business bloggers will have at least some knowledge and passion for your industry, so their writing comes across both fluent and enthusiastic. Google’s algorithm can tell the depth of someone’s understanding of a topic based on the words they use in their content.
You may consider hiring someone who doesn’t have industry knowledge. Perhaps you think they’re a great fit for your company culture, you love their enthusiasm, or you’re impressed with their writing style.
But, by checking their industry knowledge ahead of time, you know how much input they’ll need from you or your team to get them up to speed.
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.
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. You can learn a lot about how someone ticks when you can watch them think on the spot.
Source: Ko Marketing, November 2021
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:
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 this report published by ZenMedia right before the turn of 2022, long-form content is still one of the more powerful B2B content marketing tools. The right blogger will know how to create a compelling thesis that will delight both humans and the search engines.
Writing for an online versus offline audience 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:
Even if your blogger is more right-brained than left-brained, they can only be effective if they understand 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.
Remember, the reason you’re learning how to hire a blogger is that you need results.
According to Marketing Charts, creating personalized content campaigns that engage buyers is something that half of all marketers struggle with. (In other words, you’re not alone!)
Source: marketingcharts.com, September 2021
That means the blogger you hire won’t just be a great writer; they’ll understand how to tailor content campaigns to your audience to encourage them to engage with your brand.
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.
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.
Bloggers who are experienced in an industry often have developed networks within that niche. This isn’t always the case, but when it is, outreach and promotion of your content can be way more effective.
If a blogger doesn’t have a network, that doesn’t mean they’re not worth hiring. But the concept is worth knowing so you can weigh it as a potential factor.
At the very least, a blogger should have an understanding of content promotion strategies.
Create an assignment for your potential blogger hire to test them out before you hire them. The sample article will help you understand the blogger’s strengths and weaknesses before you hire them.
Some bloggers will have better writing skills, and others may have greater industry knowledge or strategic thinking. Knowing this before they start a full content campaign gives you the best chances of onboarding your successful candidate so they can find their stride quickly.
If you want to turn your content marketing up a notch, you 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.
Joel Widmer is the Founder & CEO of Fluxe Digital Marketing—a content marketing shop that helps smart businesses create, produce and promote their content through a unique one-on-one interview process. When he’s not working, Joel can be found trying new restaurants with his wife, son, and daughter.