One of the quickest ways to grow your blog and reap the results of a regular posting schedule and large library of content is to bring in additional writers to work on your project.
Whether you are building a content-based website, such as a news or magazine style site, or you are using content marketing to bring visitors to your blog in order to sell more of your products or services, getting some help with content creation has many benefits.
Working with additional writers can help you publish more content and give you back time to work on the things you do best, such working on your business rather in it. However, this approach is not without its pitfalls and extra workload.
In this post we will share some advice and tools that can help you take the next step in your business and start working with multiple authors and contributors to grow your blog exponentially.
How to Find Writers for Your Blog
When it comes to finding writers to work on your blog, you have two main options: seek out writers or wait for them to come to you.
The first option gives you more control over the type of writer you will end up working with as you are approaching potential candidates, rather than waiting for interested parties to find you. The best method for finding writers in this way is to look at other blogs on the same topic as your website, and then approach the writers via their author bios, which are usually located at the end of their posts.
The main benefits of this approach is that you can verify the quality of the writers work, work with someone who is experienced in the role of freelance writer and who also has knowledge of the field you want them to write about.
An extension of this approach is to perform a web search for freelance writers, in order to find the websites of those offering this type of service. A good freelancer website should contain examples of their work, client testimonials, and information on their areas of expertise, allowing you to see if they might be a good fit for your vacancy.
The second option is to put out a call for writers and then work your way through the applications to find the right candidates for your project. This could be achieved by posting a job listing on a freelancing website, adding an announcement or write for us page to your site, or using social media.
The main benefit of this approach is that you won’t have to go looking for writers. However any time savings might be negated by the workload involved in sorting through the applications. Another benefit of seeking applications from interested writers is that the candidates are actively seeking work and may be keener to get started, have a window in their schedule, and could be more open to negotiation on rates.
Things to look for and consider when selecting a writer for your website include:
- Do they have experience writing content for other websites
- Have they created their own blog and produced content that is popular
- Is their written content up to the standard you would like
- Do they have a social media following to promote the content they write for your website
- Are they familiar with the platform you are using (WordPress, etc.)
When looking for members to join your publishing team, you aren’t just limited to hiring writers. To really outsource the entire process, and free up even more of your time, you may want to hire an editor to oversee your writers. You could also hire additional assistants to promote the content, upload posts, and create additional content such as featured images and infographics.
Getting the Content You Want
Once you’ve hired one or more writers to join your team, the work doesn’t stop there. In order to keep a consistent voice and style across your blog, even when multiple contributors are working on it, the more instructions you can give them the better.
Creating a style guide for writers to follow is a good way to instil and maintain uniformity. This can be as simple as specifying a post length, what size images to use, and where links should open, through to detailed instructions covering, formatting, spelling, abbreviations, prose, and much more.
While too many guidelines and rules can be frustrating for writers, not giving them any direction can result in unsatisfactory contributions and lots of editing work on your part. As a freelancer writer for hire myself, it’s always nice, but not that common, to get feedback on work submitted so that we know we are on the right track (or not).
Content Scheduling and Workflow Management Plugins
After hiring a writer and giving them the instructions and guidance necessary to succeed, your next task is to streamline the content creation and management workflow. While email can suffice, at least in the early days, keeping communications outside of the inbox and in WordPress, can help everyone keep track of what has been said, by whom and when.
Using a content scheduling system can help you get a good overview of what posts are due when, and on what date they will go live. Many of these tools also include email alerts for instant notifications of when action is required from contributors.
Edit Flow: Free Content Scheduling and Collaboration Tool
Edit Flow is a free WordPress plugin that makes it easier to manage a multi-author blog and schedule content. Editors and writers can communicate within WordPress to discuss specific posts, while the scheduling calendar gives a good overview of what content is scheduled for when, and whether it is ready to go live or not.
The email notifications and custom post statuses make it easy to keep track of outstanding tasks and quickly see where each piece of content is in the creation cycle, from draft to publication.
CoSchedule: Content Marketing and Social Media Editorial Calendar
CoSchedule is a premium option for managing your team of content creators, but with a $10 monthly price tag and a free 14-day trial, it’s worth taking a closer look at.
The features of this WordPress-friendly service include a drag and drop editorial calendar for scheduling posts, and an integrated social media content creation and scheduling facility. When a post is written, the author can also craft the social media message that will be sent out according to your own schedule. This allows authors to complete both the content creation and social media promotion at the same time, rather than waiting for the post to go live before being able to write their social media post.
CoSchedule includes internal messaging tools for communicating with your team inside of WordPress. There is also the ability to publish deadlines for contributors with reminders to keep them on track.
Giving Writers Credit with Author Boxes and Contributor Pages
One incentive lots of freelance writers will look for when considering whether to join your team is exposure for their own projects and services.
As well the byline naming the author, a common way to offer this is to allow contributors to insert one or two links into their author profile on your website. These links often point back to their freelance writing portfolio, their services or product page, or their own blog.
While some WordPress themes, such as the responsive DW Trendy theme, include author info boxes, there are a number of plugins out there that can add them to a theme, or enhance the existing provisions for giving your authors a credit.
WP Author Box
WP Author Box is a plugin for adding or upgrading the author boxes that are displayed at the end of each post on your site. This plugin comes in both free and premium varieties, allowing you to add a basic author box to your site at no cost, or pay for a more feature-rich alternative.
Both options look very professional, with the premium version giving you more control over how the author box will look on your site.
If you want to make it as easy as possible for your contributors to display their bios and links to their personal projects, then this plugin is a good choice.
The free Co-Authors Plus plugin gives you the ability to credit multiple authors for a single post. This is a simple but effective way of dealing with the issue of displaying author bios on collaborative posts published on your blog.
This plugin also includes the useful feature of allowing you to add an author profile to your site without creating a user account for that author. This can come in handy when working with writers on a one-off basis, or when accepting guest posts without wanting to hand out access to the dashboard of your website
Adding a page to your website that lists all the contributors to your blog not only presents another opportunity to credit your writers for their work, but also helps your visitors find the other great content on your site.
By using the free Authors Page plugin you can display a list of the profiles of users with a certain role, such as contributor, on a page in order of the highest number of posts. Authors Page works in conjunction with the WP Biographia plugin, which is also free, and handles the users’ biography content.
Monitoring User Activity
One final issue you might want to think about is keeping track of what the users on your site are doing when logged in. While you can easily restrict access in WordPress by using the appropriate user roles, in some cases, in order to give authors enough access to do their jobs, you can expose yourself to some risk in terms of access to content publishing and other areas of your site.
By installing the free WP Security Audit Log plugin, you can keep an eye on everything that is happening on your WordPress site. Alerts are generated when certain actions are performed on your site, allowing you to investigate them to establish the user intention.
The logs are easy to read and it’s an easily implemented security measure that could save you a lot of trouble down the line.
You should now have all the information you need to start hiring writers to join your content creation team, manage those new writers effectively, while also ensuring they get the credit they deserve for the work they carryout.
As there are only so many hours in a day, seeking the services of a content writer can help you accelerate the speed at which your blog can grow and reduce the amount of time you have to wait to see results from your content marketing strategy.
If you have any questions about finding writers, working with multiple authors, and giving them access to your website, then please leave a comment below.