Blogging can add immeasurably to interest and activity on your website, but that’s only if it’s done well. If the content is irrelevant or superficial or detrimental to what you offer, the blog will hurt more than help. How can you tell whether a blogger for hire will be the right one for you?
Think about what a bad blogger sounds like: Careless language, no structure, bad grammar or punctuation, superficial or irrelevant text, a topic that wanders, or paragraphs whose writing style doesn’t match. They can sound like they don’t know their subject, or like they do, but don’t know how to express it in lay language. Or they can just be ranters.
A blogger can also be good on one site, but bad on another. They can have great writing skills, but know nothing about your topic. Or they can have both, but not respect your topic—like an environmental activist writing blogs for a Monsanto site. The writer might have a great time, slipping in sarcastic remarks or subtle disses here and there, but Monsanto would probably not be served well.
The way to hire a blogger whom you know will serve you is to check their background carefully. You want someone who writes well, who knows your topic, and who is interested in and supportive of it. Here is what to look for:
- Writing samples that show a writer’s familiarity with good grammar. Match the style with the writer’s self description to make sure the language matches—that they didn’t just upload someone else’s sample.
- A writer’s work history to see if they know your industry at all. What is there that indicates interest in your products or services, or perhaps antagonism that might prevent them from wholeheartedly supporting you?
- The fields they chose to study in school (a major or minor for any degree they have). Although they may not have work experience in that field, that they chose to study it shows interest and familiarity.
- If nothing you can find relates to what you want, but you think they might be good and you can’t find anyone else, then ask why they bid on your job. They might have a good friend or family member in that field. Or it might be one they have long wanted to know about and would be happy to research.
Let’s say you don’t want to search through bid after bid, and risk still finding no one. You can browse through writers’ backgrounds or conduct a site search for relevant keywords, then invite those writers to apply. On some sites you can ask applicants to include specific information in the bid or you can put out a “casting call” to ferret out interested writers, then do your background checks. If you find good writing skills, respectful tone, and interest in your product or industry, you will generally have found the right blogger for you.
Susette H is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.