If you’ve ever hired a blogger (or 20), you’ll know that it’s not an easy task to get the type of blogging work that you want out of your new people. This is especially the case when you’re an experienced blogger yourself – the urge to micro-manage may be too great to allow you to train your blogger(s) properly.
So what methods / strategies do you use to train bloggers?
Currently I’m using a combination of strategies to bring bloggers up to speed. The first step is to help them find their blogging voice, their personality. To be blunt, it’s just like real life – if you’re an interesting person (a good story-teller), people will enjoy listening to what you have to say. On the other hand, if you’re boring, people will nod their heads politely.
As a blogger, the anonymity offered by the Internet allows our nasty sides to come out and people are far less charitable online when you’re boring (or anything other than a rock star). The key to be successful as a blogger is to develop a unique voice and style – and to polish and keep improving it.
The second step is to build consistency. Quite often you’ll bloggers who either have trouble coming up with stuff to write about day after day, get bored with blogging after a while or whatever reason, tend to take their foot off the pedal. I tend to give writers a lot of room here, because everyone’s blogging rhythm is different.
It’s best to start slow and then build things up, but only to a point where you think you can comfortably sustain it in the long run. I have a tendency of blogging in cycles – 10 posts per day for 2-3 days and 1-2 posts for the rest of the week. Encouraging the habit to a) write regularly and b) spread out your articles is an absolute must if you want someone to take over blogging for you.
The third step is to get bloggers to understand the marketing / promotional side of blogging – what flagship content is, what linkbait is, how to encourage conversations on your blog, how to write great headlines, how and when to focus on quality over quantity (and vice versa), how to use social media sites, why you should link back to your old articles, etc etc. There’s a lot of ground to cover here and this is perhaps a lifelong education.
The fourth step is to help them learn the technical aspect of things. At the start, all they’ll need to know is the basics – comment moderation, how to write / edit posts, using categories, future posting, uploading images, adding links / images into posts, etc. But as time goes on and when you want your bloggers to take over more aspects of your blog, it would also pay to get them interested in theme editing and plugin usage – so that theoretically speaking you can go off for a month-long break and you wouldn’t need to worry about your blog as your hired gun would be able to take care of any problems that pop up.
Why would someone stay if they learn all this? Because not everyone is driven enough to start a new business from scratch – to most people, if you give them excellent terms + plus profit sharing and the freedom to do what they want on the blog (within certain limits, of course), then they will stick with you for life. Bloggers, just like people, need room to grow, so you have to continuously train them and give them more space at the same time.
So, once again…what methods do you use to train your bloggers? Any specific strategies that you’d be interested in sharing?
10 Articles Every Blogger Should Read At Least Once
6 Ways Blogging Differs From Other Types Of Writing
These two articles (list of articles in one case) are a must-read for all my bloggers. Can you add anything to this list?
Hire a blogging consultant!
It’s so easy to get distracted or lose focus. People can get disillusioned, too, so managing expectations without disheartening people is important. New bloggers have that “okay, what do I do next?” syndrome. A good roadmap helps.
There’s so much to learn when you first start out. I think my content was pretty good, but I know my titles were horrible, until I learned why they’re important. My blog partner pointed me towards some articles that helped, and I definitely continue to learn.
Have you thought about organizing a series of blog “classes” that could actually just be a series of your and others’ articles, in the order it would make sense to read them. Maybe content, headlines, being interesting, seo, etc. Crucial first, then fine-tuning.