Everyone loves to talk about how ‘content is king‘ and that the only way to really grow your blog is to have great content – well, while that’s not something that I disagree with, I often find that the phrase is flaunted far too often without any practical advice on how to consistently create awesome content.
I’m going to talk a little about how I go about running successful content marketing campaigns through building a solid content team. I’ve done this for clients that I have worked with across multiple niches, as well as within my own blogs, Find My Blog Way included.
There are a lot of reasons where building a content team can have its benefits, and it doesn’t need to cost you a fortune either. Here’s a few reasons why you might want to build a content team:
Having a team of content creators behind you can dramatically increase the amount of resources at your disposal. Having multiple content writers and designers at your disposal can not only help you write more content, but it can improve the overall quality of your posts.
By working with a team of people that have experience within your niche, you can take advantage of their social media following, email subscribers and personal contacts to increase the reach of your own content. For example, I work with a team of travel writers on my personal travel blog and am able to tap into their personal social media following with all of my content.
Having a consistent voice throughout your content is important, but adding a little diversity to your writing style and including other authors can be great. Get other people’s perspective on subjects and implement their ideas and strategies.
Content creation can be incredibly time-consuming. Having a team behind you to take some of the weight off can be a life-saver, especially if you’re on the move a lot.
When I mention the term ‘content team’, I don’t mean a ‘one-size-fits-all’ in-house content writer. I usually work with a group of freelance writers or experienced blog owners within my niche – this means that I can tap into the online authority of the writers and increase the viral potential of my content in the process. This leaves a lot of opportunity for link building – here are a few quick ideas:
There a loads of link building opportunities that will arise once you have put your content team together. The only questions is, “how do I go about building my team?”
The first thing that you need to decide upon is the criteria for a ‘good’ content writer. These are the typical attributes that I look for within any candidate:
There are lots of places that you can then look to find content writers, for example, oDesk, iWriter and Fiverr.com. Having said this, I prefer not to advertise it as a ‘job’, per se. Whenever I’m sourcing content writers, I will look at it as a mutually beneficial relationship between both myself and the writer – I will always try and help my content team to promote their own content as well.
To find candidates for my content team that fit in with my criteria, I use the same kind of research techniques that I would use to find link targets. The first of these is through Followerwonk:
Followerwonk is an awesome tools to use in order to find great content writers from within your niche. It can also be amazing for link prospecting, but that’s a whole article in itself!
The first step is to go to the ‘Search Twitter bios’ tab within Followerwonk – this allows you to perform search queries that look for information within Twitter bios. For this example I’m going to look for travel writers.
In the screenshot above, you can see that I’ve searched for anyone who has ‘travel writer’ within their Twitter bio. I’ve then specified that I only want to find users within the UK – this doesn’t need to be specified but you might find it useful to have your team close to you.
Lastly, I’ve written ‘http’ in the URL field – this will only search for users that have a URL within their Twitter bio, which means that I can take a look through their blog to get an idea of the type of content that they write. As well as this, I can also scout out a few link opportunities within my list by looking at some of the domain metrics associated with the writers’ blogs.
The next step is to download all of the search results to a .csv file, which Followerwonk allows you to do with a click of a button. Now that we have all of our data within a spreadsheet, we can drill down into the data a little easier.
The first thing that I do with my list is filter out any users that aren’t regularly active on Twitter. I only want content writers that are active and engaging on social media, so to do this you will need to go to Data>Filter (within Excel) and filter the ‘Last Tweet’ column to show only users that sent a Tweet within the last two months. This is a pretty effective way of filtering either inactive users or users with irregular posting patterns.
Next, you will want to sort the remaining users by ‘Social Authority‘ – a metric used by Followerwonk to calculate the kind of authority that a user has on Twitter. This is a good metric to use as a starting point for finding reputable writers. You can then take the top 20 users from within your list and mark them as potential candidates.
Tip: I always take a look through my shortlisted candidates’ blogs to get a better feel for the type of content that they write. I will then upload their site to BuzzStream so that I can quickly pull off their contact information (to be used for reaching out to them).
If you don’t think that Twitter is the best (or most relevant) metric to base social authority within your niche, then looking at authoritative members of established communities and forums within your niche can be really useful. Just remember that someone doesn’t need to be a content writer by trade to become part of your content team – authority can go a long way!
A perfect example of this is within the online marketing industry. If you’re reading this article then it’s highly likely that you’ve heard of Moz. Well, Moz have a page on their site dedicated to listing the top members within the community. This is the perfect place to start looking for influential writers within the online marketing niche. Another example is Inbound.org, who use their influential members list as a core part of their community strategy…
This doesn’t just apply to the online marketing niche. Most online community sites will have some kind of community ranking system in place to encourage their users to engage regularly – you’ll just need to do a little research here.
Now that you’ve gathered a list of targets, it’s time to reach out to them and get them on board. One thing to remember here is that nothing is for free – having said that, there are a lot more ways to incentivize your team than through just cash payment. Here’s a few ideas:
The above examples work great if you have resources in the form of designers, coders or you’re an authority within your niche. If not then it’s likely that you’re going to have to pay for their services – prices vary depending on the niche and the work involved but you can negotiate this with the writers themselves.
Tip: Offer your writers bonuses for quick turnaround times and give them tips for really good work – this will help build your relationship with them and make them much more receptive to future ideas.