You know you need a corporate blog, but you’re not sure how to get started. Or maybe you started a blog a while back, but your last post is from a year ago, because no one in your firm has time to actually write. If this sounds like you, it might be time to call in the big guns. Yup, I’m talking about a blog ghostwriter. But before you shell out your hard-earned money, read this article. I’ll talk about the pros and cons of outsourcing your corporate blog, and some considerations to keep in mind.
Let’s Start with the Advantages of Outsourcing Your Corporate Blog
When I talk to my clients, time is the most frequent reason I hear for outsourcing their corporate blog or other content marketing. As one of my clients said, “you get caught up in your day-to-day business, and blogging becomes one of those permanent things on your to-do list.” Hiring a professional to take care of your blogging alleviates worry because you know the job will get done, on schedule.
Like many things, writing is a craft and a skill, and some people naturally will be better than others. It can be hard to maintain a high quality of writing and content on your corporate blog, especially if you have multiple staff members contributing to it. Outsourcing your blogging assures that the blog will maintain a high, consistent level of writing that is relevant to your subject area.
Besides being a great writer, a professional blogger should also offer expertise in the areas of content marketing, SEO, and social media. Remember that blogging is only one piece of the content puzzle—to be found, and heard, by your audience, you need to be engaging on multiple channels. (To learn more about content marketing, check out our blog on that topic).
Now for the Disadvantages
Cost is probably the single biggest reason against outsourcing your corporate blog. However, it might be more affordable than you think. Prices will vary dramatically inside the industry, with large marketing agencies tending to charge the most for blogging or other content marketing services, and single freelancers charging the least. There is also a huge spectrum of quality and service offerings available among providers, so be sure to determine exactly what you need before you begin looking around.
The last point I’ll make about cost is this: if you track ROI over time, the number of leads you attract through corporate blogging could very well make blogging one of your most affordable and effective marketing expenditures.
Is it cheating to hire a ghostwriter? Shouldn’t I be doing my own blogging?
Authenticity is the second most frequent concern of CEOs who are considering outsourcing their corporate blogs, and the answer to this question is personal. But for me, ghostwriting falls into the same category as speech writing. Of course, everyone knows that the president and other politicians do not write their own speeches. However, the president is very involved in the writing and editing process of his speeches, and his name—and reputation—is attached to the final product.
Ghostwriting is very similar to speech writing in this way. I work closely with my clients to understand their subject matter and to match their style and tone. My clients are involved in the editorial process, and when the final product comes out with their name on it, they truly feel that they “own” the content. And that brings me to the next consideration.
3) Subject Matter Expertise
Obviously, a professional writer will never be as much of an expert on your industry and business as you are. If you decide to get outside help with your corporate blog, you must make sure that the writer is capable of understanding the subject matter. How do you make this determination? Simple: ask to see samples of their work. Their work should demonstrate that the writer has the ability to understand and relay complicated subject matter.
There are also advantages to hiring a writer who is not a subject matter expert. Remember that your clients might not be as highly educated on your subject matter as you are. For that reason, it’s often helpful to have an outside writer who can help translate complicated industry language into clear, easily digestible prose.
How to Find the Best Corporate Blogger
When I hire writers to work for me, I have two simple criteria:
- You must be a great writer.
- You must be very smart.
In my opinion, it’s far less important that a writer has written for your industry before. Of course, that’s always nice. But a smart writer should be able to handle any subject matter you throw at them after a little research and a conversation or two.
So before you hire an outside source, look at samples of their work. Ask to see a variety—not just articles written about your industry. If you’re hiring a marketing agency, realize that they might have multiple writers on a project. Ask to see samples from the specific writer who will be handling your account. Make sure you like their tone and style. And see how quickly they respond to emails and phone calls. Remember that this will be an ongoing relationship, so you want to find someone who will be easy to work with over the long term. Choosing a great writer the first time around will save you from major headaches down the road.