When hiring a blogger, how can I ensure that they maintain my brand image?
I know that blogging is valuable and I'm definitely not a great writer, but nobody knows my product better than me and I am scared of outsourcing for that reason. How can I make sure that a blogger will represent my product in the way that I want?
Here's what I do to make certain my clients and I are "on the same page". I sit down with them and talk to them about how they got started, their business philosophy, what THEY think their brand is. I offer scenarios and ask how they would handle such and such. This gives me a solid base to represent them with their values. Then, I write a handful of blogs - usually short with only 1 paragraph 'pontificated'. I ask them to review them and make notes while tell me what they like, don't like, etc. I revise those after that and do another 'proof' by the client - if we are in agreement, the first few blogs are done and posting is all that is necessary ... depending on the schedule the client wants (daily, weekly, twice-monthly) and the cost they'll bear. IF local (I do a lot online via e-mail and phone calls [I have to hear the passion in their voice for what they do] also) then I go into their business and video tape what I can, especially a sit-down with the client to offer me a constant reminder of their values, concepts and philosophy. Finally, you need to be clear about what topics and subjects to AVOID!
very simple hire me and i can ensure you that i mentain your blog brand image,Try it
Give them some homework. Let them first read several existing articles to understand your process/approach.
They need an accurate and comprehensive understanding of your business and its products.
You could put together topics, words, or themes that fit your company's messaging to start. The more you give them to help them create, the greater the chance of getting a good representation of your product.
a thorough briefing is usually all that is needed, then just editorial parousal before the subject is uploaded. Until trust is gained, I would expect that a client would want to see the work before it was published.
If you don't like something you have read, why not chat to the author/blogger to find out why they have written what they have, perhaps, although it doesn't look brand 'friendly' to you, you may like their point of view after a conferral
Hope this helps and good luck!
When a new client hires me for a project my first step is to see they’ve created a brand positioning statement.
A brand positioning statement defines four key areas:
Target Audience: Demographics/psychographics.
Brand Essence: Is a two to three word phrase (typically in the format “adjective adjective noun”) capturing the “heart and soul” of the brand.
Brand Promise: A two to three sentence paragraph that defines differentiating benefits the brand promises to deliver to the target audience.
Brand Personality: Describes the traits and characteristics your brand posses.
The brand positioning statement serves as the bible of your brand. It defines who you are and what makes you unique. Your writer should be able to review and have a clear view of who you are and what you do.
If you don’t have a brand positioning statement, your writer should start by asking you a series of questions about your audience, brand personality, unique selling proposition, competitive advantage, etc. I call it an intake session. And while it may take some time and thought, it saves time, stress and multiple rewrites.
Hi Lynn - I think you have received some excellent advice here.
For my team, we have final edit authority to ensure that our brand is consistently portrayed and our language is consistent. We, too, have outsourced some of our writing, but do so with local college students and interns. They have the flexibility of writing for a company for their portfolio, but we can have one-on-one interactions with them during the editing process. It has worked well for us since we often maintain those relationships and invite them to freelance for us. We know they are vetted. and confident they understand the product and parameters.
Our other go-to is finding freelance bloggers who specialize in specific areas. We're a small PPC company, and while there is a lot of knowledge here in house, only one of us was an English major. But, there are plenty of freelancers that understand the product and the industry, which we're happy to pay premium for. They are vetted and come with a following.
Lastly, if you know the product, and you can write about it, you may just need an editor. I am not a fantastic writer per-say, but we have someone who is an excellent editor. I am now learning from her how to be a better writer too.
Best of luck!
I would suggest performing a Google search and research their background and read their posts to gauge their writing style. After that you can narrow down your list and have a conversation. My first blog resulted in me landing on CNN within 6 days of launch. I'm happy to offer a 30 minute conversation to help you. ~ Chrishan
Set standards for them and routinely check out what they're posting to ascertain that your brand image isn't getting compromised. They're essentially an extension of you and your business, so they need to know it just as intimately.
My opinion might seem a bit contrarian, but I have the experience to back it up. You indicated that this need is specific to blogging, that said, blogs are valuable for their organic nature and not professionalism. The value you'll bring to your blog as the product owner will spawn real, organic conversations with your audience and bring great value to both parties. You'll get to understand what motivates your customers, and thats worth the time. Once you scale your operations you'll have more than enough training material for an employee who is as passionate as you are in the value of your brand.
You can go with 2 methods.
1. If you are familiar in doing promotional activities then just get a content from highly professional content writer or write a content of your own and send to editorial review. Update your blog with regular post.
2. Hire a blogger who has highly talented by analyzing their portfolio, also meet in person and explain them about the nature of job and the type of content your are expecting and check whether he/she meets your need.
The best way to do this is you writing the content then sending it to an editor who "makes it pretty" and then either you or they post it on your blog.
Check references first. Read some of their blog posts. You get to review the article before it posts.
You give all the information that you have about your products point wise. There are creative writer who can do these job better..
Yes, certainly there are people who can handle to your brand image
You should maintain a final edit option. The blogger sends you his blog copy or content, you edit and publish. Out sourcing is a fantastic method to perform that what makes you uncomfortable. Never ever give up your editing and publishing finalized content.
I recommend you create a document which clearly distills your brand, your target persona, language etc. From that document you create a brand manual which serves as a guide for anyone who needs to do work for your brand. Use this guide to start the conversation. Also find work you like to give them direction. Take it slow establish an approval process so you retain control.
I would agree with portions of several of the comments here. As a SMB owner, it's important to manage the direction of your online presence to the extent that the brand and voice are consistent with your desires.
Rather than hiring someone to outright do the work for you, it's best to start out collaborating. You want to minimize the time you need to spend on the project yourself, but a combination of writing and editing is needed until your blogger can work successfully on their own. Either you write and they edit or the other way around for your first few posts together.
Some additional suggestions:
• Start with ground rules and expectations.
• Find posts from others in your field and assign your blogger to write on those subjects as well.
• Provide headlines for your blogger to write articles around.
• Give your blogger existing content (your content or someone else's) wish them to emulate.
You should ALWAYS review the material before it is published. Or have someone do it for you. If for no other reason that more eyes mean less typos. If you can't afford to hire someone to do it for you then you have to do it yourself. If after a while he/she is on track, has proven him/herself, then trust he/she will continue. At some point in time, you have to trust people to do what you hired them to do. If you don't, then don't hire him/her. Otherwise you're known as a "micromanager" and will soon lose that blogger. A good manager trusts his or her people to do their jobs and gets out of their way. A good manager's job is to set priorities, remove roadblocks, make the team's life easier. Not do the individuals' jobs for them. If you don't trust him or her to get it right, then why did you hire him or her?
you need to have a published creative brief that defines your core value proposition, competitive advantages, key tag lines, and value-add headlines.
Something like this: richardhurn (dot) com / Message_Platform.pdf
This is the most common fear of SMB owners. That's true - no one knows your product better than you. Now, it depends on who you hire as to what you get with your blog articles.
Hire cheap writers from sites like Odesk.com and Elance.com, and there's going to be much more back-and-forth, misunderstandings, and the like. Those people typically do writing as a secondary career and charge low rates because they don't understand the value their writing offers your business.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have corporate writers who specialize in doing the writing for the really big brands out there. Their stuff is spot on, but they cost big $$$ too.
In the middle are plenty of freelance business bloggers and writers who do just this. They all have websites and work remotely. Check out their websites, and you'll get a feel for how they write and if that fits your site well. One may work locally if you live in a large metropolitan area.
They all have some sort of onboarding process where they have you fill out a questionnaire and they talk about your business with you a little before starting.
To protect yourself, and most freelance writers do this, work out an arrangement where you pay them to do 2-3 articles to see if they're the right fit. Don't get too upset if the first one doesn't get it - there are different writers out there with different talents.
Just Google terms like freelance writer, freelance copywriter, professional business blogger, business blogger etc....
Be prepared to pay a decent monthly rate because just like anything else, you get what you pay for.
When you find the right fit, hold on to that person for a long time. Good contractors are hard to find in any niche, including blogging.
That should put you on the right track...good luck as you search!
Hi Lynn! OK, I'm going to give you the 30,000 foot view to your post, the big picture. I truly mean this in the nicest professional way.
The very first assignment you have is to create a legitimate business plan. This is a real document that outlines your vision, knowledge, cost of doing business, pricing,production,delivery, the competition and literally a host of other business items to assess. In looking at your questions I don't see a clear focus. If you do not have a clear focus of what needs to be done and in what order you will apply the 'shotgun' approach and nothing will get done as it needs to.
Contact the local S.C.O.R.E. chapter and meet with them first. It is free and it will help you focus. The comments from everyone are legitimate and very nice, and people want to help, but you don't need a blog to start a business initially.
Are you going to be making your items yourself? How fast is that? I know there are fast knitters, but how will you load your production pipeline to fulfill orders?
Just asking about a design service/software, machine, indicates the ducks are not in a row.
S.C.O.R.E. is a good resource to help you focus, so is your local Chamber of Commerce. They will also have resources.
Lynn, asking about a blogger is question 1, 793 on your 'to do' list of 9,003 things that need to be assessed/addressed.
There are also books at the library on drafting a business plan. It's NOT easy, it takes time, and if you don't want to do it...well, if you fail to plan...then plan to fail.
Hope this helps, contact me if I can help. Best of luck! Mike