I recently came across a question on Quora which got me thinking about what content marketing, specifically blogging, really consists of. The question was something like, “how much will it cost me to hire a writer to write a blog post for my business?”
There were a few responses with answers containing prices ranging from $20 up to the low 4 digits. In my opinion none of the answers were correct because the question was fundamentally flawed.
When you write a blog post, or hire someone to do it for you, the actually writing of the words is only part of the task. You can get someone to write words for pretty cheap, even if those words are well formed. But business blogging isn’t just about the words. It’s about fulfilling a specific strategic objective. Your blog post is the tool to achieve that objective.
Here are some of the things that need to be included in the creation of a blog post:
1. Content Marketing Strategy
Before you write a single word, you need to have a content marketing strategy and understand what role your blog post will play in it.
One of the main reasons for blogging is to display expertise and thought leadership. If that’s the case then you’ll either have to write your post on your own or provide a hired gun with a lot of information that they can integrate and mold into a well written post. In either case you’ll have to invest a decent sized chunk of time, which you need to include in your total cost of blog post. Paying someone a petty sum to write something that you’ll use to reflect your expertise is a very bad idea (don’t you think?).
You also need to make sure you understand who your target audience is and write your post in a voice that speaks to them. Depending on your audience and subject matter, this can be quite challenging and require a higher caliber of writer.
Hiring a bog writer without having your content marketing strategy (at least for that post) clearly in place is like throwing money at a problem without having a solution. You’ll have a lighter wallet but few results.
2. Call To Action
Every blog post you create should have a call to action directing the reader to take the action you want them to take. While you can always append a CTA to the end of a post, the ideal is when the entire blog post pushes the reader towards that CTA. Crafting a blog post that does that isn’t so easy. I doubt the $40 posts will make that happen.
Every piece of content should take SEO into account. Keyword research and usage and titles need to be included. Even if the strategic goal of the blog post isn’t about driving search engine traffic, you never know when you’ll rank at the top for long tailed keywords.
If you’re object is to market your products or services to real life people (as opposed to appealing solely to search engine), the quality of your blog posts need to be superior. This is especially so for B2B companies. People can tell the difference between well written original expert content and the stuff banged out by amateurs writing for bus fare. When I see that type of low quality content I do 2 things: lose respect for the company posting it and bounce as fast as I can.
There’s a good reason why professional consultants and agencies charge a relatively heft sum for creating blog posts: they provide a lot more than just the writing (which hopefully is superior). They include a content marketing strategy, CTA’s, SEO and a high level of expertise.
The only way that I believe you can use lower priced blog writers is if you need a rough draft of words to work off of to save time. But you still need to do the heavy lifting of strategy, SEO, CTA’s, sharing your expertise and editing and polishing before you can share your post with the world. Or you can pay a fair price for someone else to do all of that for you.