We received a submission through our contact form this week from a competing blog writing service. Granted, they saw our awful News Guru blog and offered to help (its our other company blog, one that we realize does need help), and we don't blame them for the offer or the method in which this particular service (which shall remain nameless) offered their help. We do take issue with the blog writing service they offered, as well as some of the answers in the FAQ.
We're a competitor, if not a direct competitor (we offer the exact same service, although we offer additional content marketing services). We couldn't help but take a look at this competitor and how they offered blog writing. Although their blog writing service is a great rate ($79/month for four blog posts per month, or one per week), we don't think it really provides what businesses need from a blog writing service. Here's what they need, and ought to look for, in a blog writing service:
- At Least Twice a Week Publishing - Once a week isn't a bad start for business blogging. However, best practice dictates that two to three times per week is optimum. Actually, the more the better, as long as your not putting quantity over quality. In fact, businesses with websites that have 401-1000 web pages get six times more leads than those with 51-100 pages. The more often you blog, the quicker you get there. At once a week, it will take you seven years to get to 401 pages, and that's presuming that you have a few pages already for your products, services, about us page etc.
- When Coming Up with Blog Posts, You Need to Consider More than Keywords - Yes, business blogging is a great way to rank high for your keywords. But, if ranking high is what you want, you are only getting half the picture. The other half is doing something with that traffic, you know, turning them into leads and paying customers. To do this latter aspect, you would have to add a call to action to these blog posts you're purchasing, or pay someone else to help with your lead nurturing and inbound marketing by having them create calls to action and offers to tag onto blog posts. Yes, you do need substantial, quality traffic to get there, but once you get there, the next step is turning that traffic into leads.
- You Need to Write about Topics that Speak to Your Audience - Sometimes, there are topics that don't fit nicely with any keywords you're trying to rank for, but would be of relevance to your target audience. This could be breaking news, or common questions your sales team gets from potential customers, or topics involving keywords that prospects are using to find you, but you're not necessarily trying to rank for, or even topics that your competitors are writing about. A blogger who is dedicated to your blog or company can account for those things and write posts that address those topics and delivers value to your audience. How are is a crowdsourced blog post writing content supposed to know what your potential customers want to know?
- You Need Room for Experimentation - What if you want to try something new with your blog, say take a survey? Or, live blog an event? Or, run a contest? Or, publish a photo essay or an infographic? Although if you're outsourcing your blogging to a blog writing service, you may not be in any mood for experimentation. However, what if you want to try something to see if it works. Or, better yet, what if your blog writing service thinks that a survey would be great for the brand and the blog, since its worked well for others by providing great blog post ideas and really engaging the audience to comment and to share.
- You Need to Promote Posts - You can't just put the posts up every week and that's it. You need to promote them too! How else are people going to know that you've written something worth reading? How else are people going to know that they ought to subscribe to their blog? If you think that writing for your blog is time consuming, then you probably don't have the time to promote the posts in your email newsletter or on social media. Does the blog writing service you choose do some promotion, even if its for an additional fee?
- You Need the Other SEO Aspects - Making sure you have the keyword in the title, the URL, and a couple times throughout the article is good, but that's not all of the SEO components that are necessary to have your post rank high for its keyword. Including a photo (with your keyword in the alt tag) is important. So is writing a meta description. Formatting is great too, such as bullets or subheadings. Cranking out the blog posts helps, but just having the content isn't enough.
We'll cover some of the answers to the FAQ in later posts. They're good questions that come up a lot from our target market, but we would offer different answers based on our blog writing philosophy. Our point here is that if you just want blog posts, that's one thing, and our competitor may be a good fit for that. However, if you want a business blog that actually generates leads and positions your business as a thought leader in your industry, then maybe someone else (hint, hint, nudge, nudge) may be a better fit.
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