So far in this series about blogging, we have looked at:
If you think that outsourcing your blog content to professional writers – such as journalists – seems like a crazy idea then definitely have a quick read of part 3 before you continue.
Today, we explore what to look for and which questions to ask when choosing a company to write your blog content. This decision shouldn’t be taken lightly as the quality of the content will naturally reflect on your company.
What to look for in a blogging partner
First and foremost, do they have their own blog? If they don’t, that would suggest to me that they don’t value blogging as a marketing tool and would, therefore, be enough to discount them from my list straight away. Presuming they do, you need to assess the following areas:
Is their blog content high quality ie. well-written and grammatically correct? Does the content add value to the reader and encourage them to stay on the website or is it self-promotional which is likely to turn the reader off? Google is able to identify the quality of content on your website (by analysing how long people stay on there, which pages they visit etc) and rewards high quality websites with better search rankings.
Key question to ask: Is their content written by trained writers, such as journalists?
There is absolutely no point in publishing content which has been copied from somewhere else on the internet – Google penalises this by demoting duplicated content in its search results. Make sure that their content is 100% original as this shows that they value their blog as a thought-leadership (and hence lead generation) tool.
Key action: Paste their content into http://churnalism.com/ to check for duplication.
A regularly updated blog shows commitment on their part to developing their readership as opposed to simply attracting anonymous traffic (readership generates leads, traffic doesn’t). It also demonstrates that they have a good understanding of Google’s Caffeine update which prioritises fresh content in a third of searches (that’s 1 billion per day!).
Key action: Monitor their blog to see how often it is updated – ideally at least twice a week.
Would you share their content? There is little point in publishing content if nobody shares it, after all, you’re going to want to use your blog content to connect with and build your audience on social media. If it’s not interesting, entertaining or doesn’t tell a story enticing you to read to the end, it’s a no.
Key action: Monitor their website and social media sites for shares, +1s and re-tweets.
Other questions to ask
- Do they have in-house writers/journalists?
- What editorial controls do they have in place?
- Can they demonstrate a good understanding of your overall marketing objectives? (your blog must support these)
- How is the cultural fit? (they need to work as an extension of your marketing team)
- Can they advise on blog strategy such as an editorial calendar?
- What analytics can they provide each month?
What about you?
Are you struggling with your blog and considering outsourcing or do you believe that your blog should only be written by your own employees?