A very bold statement coming from a business blogging company, but one that we have to make. We came across a blog post that compared a business blogging service with a professional blogger, ultimately concluding that a business blogging service is a much better solution. Although we agree that a business blogging service can be a great asset for any company, we disagree with the presentation of this concept. The way the concept was presented seems to absolve the company that needs services from any problems that might arise when working with a professional blogger. That any problems that happen when working with a professional blogger is the blogger's fault and never the company's. Here's what we mean.
Does the Blogger Understand What Needs to Be Done?
"They tried a few different avenues to get the posts, including hiring a blogger who did an OK job, but wasn’t always focused on the right subjects."
If the professional blogger isn't focused on the right subjects, then the company who hired that blogger should take the time to guide him/her. Of course, if the blogger doesn't follow the suggestions or improve, then the blogger needs to go. However, this presentation makes it seem that if the blogger isn't doing a good job, there isn't anything the company to do to fix this, which isn't true.
A company can resolve this problem in a couple of ways:
- Providing the professional blogger with the right subjects to write about, at least in the beginning. If a specific angle can be advised, then do that as well (i.e. instead of just saying write about business blogging services, say that s/he ought to write about how they are cost effective, or how they can save a company time, or why they are needed).
- Explain to the professional blogger what you hope to achieve with these blog posts. This will give the blogger a better idea of what would be the right subjects. The right subjects would differ if your goal is to educate the customer base, versus the goal of creating quality content to boost search engine rankings.
- Tell the professional blogger that those were the wrong subjects and why they were wrong. This is crucial because if the company can't do this with one professional blogger, then any problems that happen with future bloggers or with a business blogging service will be as hard to resolve. If they don't know it's wrong, then they are going to presume that it's right.
If the blogger isn't writing about the right subjects, then make sure that you have made it absolutely clear to the blogger what are the right subjects. Expecting them to read your mind or to get it right without any guidance or consultation is asking for too much.
Are You Holding Your Blogger Accountable?
Bloggers are human beings, who have lives that can get in the way to writing your blog posts. They could easily have other clients who may demand something at the last minute, or yes, they may not be the most professional of bloggers. However, because they are human beings, this doesn't mean you can leave the blogger alone and forget about the entire business blogging effort.
"At first, this blogger lived up to the hype. They received timely blog posts with great material that made their company look great. However, like what often happens when hiring a blogger, inconsistency reared its ugly head. It wasn’t long before that blogger started not posting on time. With a little reminder, of course, the blogging would start up again…only to stop once more."
This issue makes us wonder if the company is doing enough to hold the blogger accountable and to keep consistent contact with him or her. Did the company ever ask why the blogger was being inconsistent? Did the company fall behind in getting the posts published, or in responding as to whether or not the post was good, leaving the blogger a little hesistant to continue work? Did the company let it happen a few times, allowing the blogger to think that it was okay, only for a cursory reminder to take place? Before blaming the blogger for being unprofessional, or getting bored with the topic, the company does need to double check operations.
We once had a client who wanted blog posts twice a week, but each blog post first needed an outline that had to be approved by the client, and then a final version that also needed approval. We had no trouble keeping up with such a schedule, but our client wasn't at all responsive when we sent our outlines and final versions. We didn't know if the client was satisfied with our work, or even if the posts were getting published on the twice-a-week schedule this client wanted. However, the client still wanted us to keep up with this schedule, even though the work was piling up and we didn't want the client to come back and tell us that the previous 12 blog posts were not what they wanted. This doesn't necessarily make us a bad business blogging service, even though we could have vetted the client better before taking them on, and perhaps could have created a standardized process for delivering posts. It does illustrate how it's not always the blogger's fault if things start falling behind.
Business Blogging Services are Great
They really are, but our point is that if a company/client isn't doing everything right on their end, that only makes the job harder for the business blogging service or the professional blogger. A business blogging service isn't going to solve anything that's going on behind-the-scenes with the client. Great work can't be delivered if we don't know how our client defines "great work" if we don't know exactly what they want and what they don't want (which we can't know unless we are told). If a company is having problems with their professional blogger, then a business blogging service might not necessarily be the answer.