Hiring Bloggers: Let Your Blog Speak Well of You
One of the topics covered in the How to Hire a Professional Blogger For Your Business session at Blog World Expo dealt with how important it is that your blog set an example if you want to be hired as a blogger. It was interesting to hear the speakers also add that if you want to hire bloggers, you better clean house as well.
The hour-long seminar featured Jim Turner of One By One Media Social Media and Professional Blogging Consultants, Gregory Go of About.com Guide to Online Business, Will Chen, editor of Wise Bread | Personal Finance and Frugal Living Forums, and Darren Rowse of Problogger. As part of this series on What Do Need to Know About Hiring a Professional Blogger and Being Hired, I want to address the issue of how to ensure your blog sets a good example and speaks well for you to help you be hired as a blogger and if you are interested in hiring bloggers.
Want Bloggers? Show Them You This is a Good Place to Blog
If you are looking to hire bloggers for your blog or blog network, you must set an inviting example.
Your blog or blog network must speak well of itself. It needs to be clean and clear in its content representation, with every element closely tied in with the overall theme and content including design, ads, blogrolls, graphics, pictures, titles, headings, and words. It needs to send a clear message of its purpose and goals.
A blog without a clear purpose sends a lot of messages to potential employees or freelancers. It says that you don’t know what you are doing. You want to send a clear message of your blog’s purpose so the blogger can evaluate the site and determine if they see a place for themselves in your blog.
If the reason you are hiring a blogger is to fill in a missing gap in your blog’s information, content, and resources, ensure that the other elements are strong and can hold their own so the blogger feels they have room to maneuver within their area of specialty on your blog or blog network.
Your blog or blog network must also be friendly and open. Bloggers enjoy working in an environment that opens the doors of communication rather than closes them. This means open comments, open conversations, easy-to-find contact information, and various avenues of contact available such as Twitter, Skype, and instant messaging.
Overall, your blog or blog network must have a history. If it is new, then it should have references in your contact and about information about past blog experience and history. Bloggers want to work with the hottest new ticket in the virtual town of the web, but they also want to work with someone who can be trusted to pay them consistently and fully because they have a professional business history and aren’t another fly-by-night company.
People want to work with people who care. Does it show on your blog or blog network that you care about your bloggers, contributors, and readers? How? While many new bloggers will work in a sweatshop environment, serious bloggers want to feel like they are a part of something.
Gregory Go of About.com Guide to Online Business said early in the seminar, “It’s important that a blogger does not feel like they are a partner in your business. They are an employee and their continued employment is based upon their performance.” Later, he amended that by saying that unless you make your bloggers “feel” like they are a partner on the blog, they won’t participate as fully as you may wish. “They have to feel like they are a part of the team and being heard. You have to set up a system for feedback that acknowledges their input.”
There are a lot of scams out there, blogs and blog networks looking to hire bloggers for little or no money, sometimes in exchange for revenue sharing programs, incentives, self-promotion, ads, trade, and other non-monetary rewards. Serious bloggers looking for professional blogging gigs want to avoid those, so ensure you showcase your professionalism, clear purpose, and history to prove you are great to work with.
I Want a Blogging Job
If you want to be hired as a blogger, blog. Your blog is your resume. Let it speak well for you because it speaks volumes to a potential blogger employer.
It must represent your blog content and specialty – every design detail.
Your blog must show a history of consistency and perseverance. Anyone can blog, but it takes a special person to blog day after day after month after year. The content must keep flowing. The words must be there. They must convey your message and intent across time.
Blog networks and bloggers looking for experts will be looking for a history of expertise and experience on your blog, no different than they would your resume. How long have you been blogging? How often do you blog? They want someone who knows how to deliver content over and over again, without fail. They are looking for a history of consistency and determination.
How do you deliver your message? How much of your blog content is related to the subject they need? How do you cover the subject they want to hire you for? Do you cover all aspects, the pros and cons and commentary? Or do you take one side? Do you only write reviews or do you document features and information about products and services? Do you use humor or serious analysis in your blog posts?
What’s your writing style? Do you just teach or do you sharing the learning process with your readers? Are you a very social blogger? Do you use Twitter, Facebook, Pownce, and other social networking services? Are they integrated into your blog? The blogger or blog network might be hiring you for your social expertise as well as your ability to blog. How do you show them you can do both?
Do you monetize your blog? How? The choices you make in advertising can say a lot about the type of blogger you are and how you make decisions. If they want to pay you per post, then your experience writing pay-per-post style blog posts tells them that you should know how the market works. If you include high quality, content-specific ads, then they know you’ve done your research and understand that related ad content works better than any old ads. Bloggers and blog networks want you to help them make more money and the more you understand about the monetization impact, the better your chances.
Your Social Shows
Just as you should vet a blog or blog network before working for them by searching the web to find out what others are saying and blogging about them, so blogs and blog networks scan the web to find out what others are saying and blogging about you.
Your social shows. Like a twisted Miranda Rights statement, everything you do and say on the web can be held against you. Make sure that everything you do online speaks well of you and your blog and your potential to be hired.
A potential blogger will check the entire blog as well as research the web for referrers and references to the blog and blog network. What will they find? Does all or most of the online references and resources speak well of your blog?
“Taking something off the Internet is like taking pee out of the pool,” said Jim Turner of One By One Media Social Media and Professional Blogging Consultants. “The past can impact you financially in the future as an employee. Employers are checking out what they’ve done in the past. The past speaks for the future as it sets a standard of behavior – people are likely to repeat themselves.”
The author of Lorelle on WordPress and the fast-selling book, Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging, as well as several other blogs, Lorelle VanFossen has been blogging for over 15 years, covering blogging, WordPress, travel, nature and travel photography, web design, web theory and development extensively as web technologies developed.
I can attest to this — after blogging for nearly 8 years, nearly half of them devoted to my community-hyper-local blog, I got hired as the “online content producer” for one of the local TV stations. All of the people that I interviewed with – the GM, the news director, the internet sales chief – told me that my blog had been an effective resume.
And so now, I have the job that I have dreamed of for years — online content production for a major media outlet.
I’m still sorta pinching myself.