Where do bloggers get their content?
Hint: They don’t write everything from scratch every week
As an entrepreneur (in health and wellness—or any industry) with a website and blog, it’s easy to take on All. The. Things.
- Website? Check.
- Copywriting? Check.
- Graphic design? Check.
- Social media? Check.
- Program creation? Check.
- Client work? Check.
- Customer service? Check.
- Accounting? Check.
- Blogging? Check.
When you see All. The. Things. it can be very overwhelming, to say the least. #BeenThere #DoneThat
There will be a point where you will either:
- Neglect one (or more) of these,
- Burn out (temporarily), or
- Give up altogether.
Don’t neglect your blog (or vlog or podcast)—here’s why
Your website is your home on the web.
Not a landing page. Not a sales funnel. Not social media. (Put up your hand if you know someone who’s been randomly put into “Facebook jail?” Or saw a huge drop in reach when the Instagram algorithm changed? Exactly!).
And if you really think about it: What’s the point of social media, advertising, and SEO anyway?
The purpose of your online content is to build relationships and get people from your website onto your email list (or maybe even one step farther into your calendar to discuss working with you)!
That’s it . . . (from a business and marketing perspective, at least). Your website is where you house all of your content and intellectual property. It’s your place to shine and impress readers to build that “know, like, and trust” factor with them.Your website is where you house all your key content and intellectual property. #Website #Blog #ContentMarketing #IP Click To Tweet
And your blog is your main content marketing platform.
By regularly publishing valuable content on your blog and promoting it to invite people there, your content will speak for you to incentivize readers to opt into your email list.
And you don’t even need to blog every week anymore! In the past few years, it’s become clear to me that quality content beats quantity of content, hands down. I’ve now come to think it’s better to have an amazing piece of content that perfectly reflects your brand, positions you as an expert, and markets your products and services once or twice each month, rather than OKish content every week or more.
So, where do bloggers get their content?
Let me count the ways…
Where do bloggers get their content?
You essentially have four ways of getting a regular supply of quality blog posts. You can:
- Create your blog posts from scratch yourself
- Invite guests to contribute
- Use done-for-you health articles
- Outsource to a writer
I’ve listed them in order of monetary cost. Creating your own blog posts from scratch will cost you your time, but not money. So, you need to decide how valuable your time is when it comes to creating your own posts. (More on this below.)
You can save a ton of time and money by asking guests to contribute (but, please do it the right way!).
Buying done-for-you blog posts is inexpensive and just takes a bit of time to customize and publish.
Hiring a writer is definitely the most expensive, but if you hire a reliable one who really jives with your brand, each post may only need a quick review and then a copy/paste onto your blog for publication.
Let’s go over each of these.
Option #1: Create your blog posts from scratch yourself
This works exceptionally well if you love researching, writing (or recording), and editing, and you’ve committed to the time it takes.
PRO TIP: If you want to outsource this, you don’t have to outsource the whole thing! You can just outsource parts of it, like the research and/or editing and/or uploading.
This does not have to be a huge time-consuming chore, but you will need regular chunks of time to do this well.
Here’s what can help you:
First of all, you can re-purpose the content you already have (more on that below).
Second, if you want inspiration on what to write about, here is a very comprehensive list of health and wellness blog topic ideas.
PRO TIP: Use these ideas to help you plan out your blog editorial calendar in advance so you don’t have to worry about what to publish week after week.
Third, once you’ve chosen your topic for your next post, you can research it efficiently before you write it up.
Why re-purpose your content?
I highly recommend re-purposing and updating content you already have as a key strategy for your blog! So, look at your older blog posts (maybe 1+ years old) or program content and see if it could use a slight update. Then, publish it with a new date and promote it as though it’s a new post. Voila!
By re-purposing your older content with a fresh, new look you are:
- Becoming more “findable” in search engines (the more you share and promote your on-brand expert content, the more opportunities there are for people to find you). This helps more people get to know you.
- Consistently iterating your core messages (when your ideal clients see the same message multiple ways, it will become abundantly clear what your branding and position are). This helps your ideal clients get to like you.
- Establishing yourself as an expert in your niche (if you always talk about your niche only, you become the go-to person for that niche). This builds your following of people who trust you.
Publishing quality on-brand expert content helps more people get to know you, like you, and trust you. Period.Being consistent with quality on-brand expert content helps more people get to know, like, and trust you. Period. #BloggingTips #ContentMarketing #KnowLikeTrust Click To Tweet
Option #2: Invite guests to post
This is super-popular!
And often done wrong… 😬Inviting people to guest post is a super-popular way to get blog content! And it's often done wrong... 🙁 #BloggingTips #GuestPost #HealthBlogging Click To Tweet
If you want guests to contribute to your blog, especially if it’s unique content (i.e., it’s not published elsewhere, for example, on their blog), you need to make it worthwhile for them.
In the past, I’ve happily contributed guest posts on many blogs (for free); but, not all of them have been beneficial. Some of that effort was a total waste of my time. In retrospect, I seemed to have picked up their slack, rather than getting any meaningful benefit (like more email subscribers). #GuestPostersRemorse
Don’t get me wrong—if you have a hobby blog, and want to volunteer to create content for other blogs, by all means, go for it! I’m talking about online business owners who strategically use their blogs as content marketing machines to build their business in the limited time they have without burning out or giving up. Please don’t waste their (our) time.
PRO TIP: If you’ve been asked to guest post, run through this little checklist to make sure it’ll be an investment in your biz, and not just picking up someone else’s slack.If you've been asked to guest post, run through this little checklist to make sure it'll be an investment in your biz, and not just picking up someone else's slack. #Blog #GuestPost #Blogger Click To Tweet
Here’s how to invite guest posts on your blog the right way
- One option is to exchange guest posts. This way you write for them and they write for you. And this works best if you’re new to each other or have about equal numbers of readers. This is not the majority of how guest posts are done, so read on…
- Make sure you agree in advance if you want the content to be unique, or if it can be republished (i.e., syndicated) on another site. Honestly, if someone is creating content for you for free, you should not require exclusive access to the content forever.
- Does your blog reach the people who the guest wants to reach? This is one of the biggest problems I see. People agree to create content for someone who has a different audience than they do. Your target audiences should be similar and include people who are looking for both of your products/services. And, whoever has the larger audience has a bit more clout in asking for a guest post without reciprocating the offer because it’s going to put the guest writer in front of a larger audience than they themselves have. Whichever of you has more readers has a justifiably easier time asking someone to write for them for free (for exposure to a larger audience). Please don’t ask for guest posts from time-strapped hustling entrepreneurs for your 14 readers. #TruthBomb
- When it comes to the post itself, agree on a topic/title, and maybe some basic stuff like approximate word count, SEO keywords, etc. But remember: these are the writer’s words, not yours. Please don’t edit their work substantially or without permission. A general rule to respect writers and other content creators: If their name is on it, use their words!
- Make sure you agree in advance to a deadline that leaves time for publishing (and extra time in case things don’t work out). Remember, when you’re accepting a guest post without payment, you should work with your contributor’s deadlines.
- Make sure you give the writer credit, and at least one obvious link back to their site (e.g., a “backlink”). Some guest posters have remorse about spending so much time creating an awesome and unique piece of content, only to have their link hidden beyond the bottom of the post, after all of the related posts and advertisements. Others have had their links placed on another page entirely! This may be A-OK for a paid writer, but not a guest! 🙁
- Never expect someone to ghostwrite for your blog for free. Just don’t. This means, whoever write the article gets full credit. They are appropriately listed as the author. They are not a “ghost.”
- Publish on your agreed date, and promote their post at least as much, if not more, than you promote your own posts. Tag them in your social media posts and thank them publicly. Make their efforts worthwhile and be proud of the work they put in for your audience.
If you do things this way, and things work out, you will have a happy guest poster, who may very well agree to contribute to your blog again.
Option #3: Use done-for-you (white labelled or PLR) blog posts
Done-for-you (DFY) articles are pre-written and are a very inexpensive way to get high-quality content without paying a professional to create something just for you. DFY articles are not custom pieces written to your specifications (more on hiring a writer in option #4), instead they’re products that you buy a license to use and can then customize and brand them as your own.
DFY health articles are a GREAT way to get high-quality content for those times you just can’t do it yourself.DFY health articles are a GREAT way to get content for those times you just can't do it yourself. #DFY #DoneForYou #Blog Click To Tweet
DFY health articles save you time, money, and frustration
- Time because they’re already done and are instantly downloadable
- Money because you don’t need to hire a writer/creator
- Frustration because you’re not paralyzed or starting from scratch or stalling on building your business using content marketing.
As a creator of DFY health content, I honestly recommend that you consider any DFY products to be 80 percent done (not 100 percent). Of course, you can copy/paste, hit publish, and be done with it. But that won’t help you grow your biz! That’s content, not content marketing.Consider any done-for-you content to be 80% done (not 100%). Of course, you can copy/paste, hit publish, and be done with it. But that won't grow your biz! That's content, not content marketing. #Blog #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet
For tips on how to do this, see my post on customizing DFY health articles.
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Option #4: Outsource to a professional writer
Hiring a good writer, be they a “ghost” or a by-lined author on your blog, is a big investment. But, if things work out, then it’s a huge responsibility off your shoulders, and a huge leap in terms of developing quality content for your unique business.
First, you need to find a writer who’s a good fit, for the right price. This can be tricky if you don’t know someone or can’t get a personal referral.
How much do writers cost? It depends on what you want.
- What kind of research do you want? (Better = premium.)
- How long are the posts? (Longer = premium.)
- How long is the commitment for? (One-off = premium.)
- Are they a “ghost” or will their name be on the posts? (Ghost = premium.)
- How quickly do you want the work done? (Rush = premium.)
- Will there be other responsibilities like maintaining an editorial calendar, extra edits, creating images, uploading the posts to your blog, meeting with you, creating social media posts to promote the blog content? (All of those = premium.)
How to hire a writer for your blog
You *may* (i.e., not always) need to:
- Create a style sheet or provide some sort of guidelines on how you want your brand to be represented
- Post a job ad or google to find freelance health writers (or insert your own industry)
- Review the writers’ portfolios
- Narrow your list down to a few people and interview them
- Maybe pay for one “test” post from the top two or three to see how that goes
- Review the posts (and provide comments in a timely fashion if you want the writer to go back and make changes)
- Get the final version of the posts to publish on your site (along with the image, clicks to tweet, etc.)
How to work with a writer for your blog
First, go over your style sheet and see if the writer has any questions or concerns.
Next, agree to the full scope of work.
- Exactly what content do you need to be created (blog article, images, social media posts, etc.)?
- Will the content be created from scratch or will the writer edit/update other content?
- How big is each item (e.g., 500 words? 1,000 words?)
- What are acceptable sources to cite (e.g., studies themselves, or approved websites)?
- How quickly will feedback be turned around for a final product?
- What will be the schedule/cadence? Who will update the editorial calendar?
- Who will promote the posts once published?
- How frequently will you meet and for how long?
PRO TIP: Any time a writer puts in time over and above the actual research/writing/editing is a price that is over and above their writing fee. That means if you hire a writer to write words, and you also want to meet with them monthly, that meeting should be billed in addition to the words you’re investing in. Negotiate this at the beginning!
Also, agree on a smooth process whereby you can review and comment on the original document (e.g., Google docs works well for this). When do you have to get comments back to the writer? How many edits do you get? Usually one; sometimes two.
HOT TIP: “Ghosts” are not obliged to promote posts without their byline on them. It’s reasonable to ask a listed author to promote the posts to their followers, although, their followers may not be your target market anyway, so this may actually be promoting their services to your competitors.
Then, agree to a plan, a price, and a payment schedule so you can get booked into their calendar.
PRO TIP: You will likely need to pay the writer in advance of the work being done or delivered. This is especially true when the total will be less than $1,000 or the contract is for less than three months.
When your writer asks questions, reply as soon as possible. When they are “on a roll” and “in flow” working on your stuff, and if you’re available, reply ASAP. After they submit work to you, provide comments in a timely manner. And, if for some reason you aren’t paying in advance, pay immediately upon receipt of the invoice!
PRO TIP: If the writer’s name is on the piece (i.e., they’re not a “ghost”) then the fee may be ever so slightly discounted from a ghostwriting fee, but you also have much less authority to edit their words.
If you actually want your writer to turn your blog content into real content marketing, then keep them up-to-date with your products, services, and promotions so they can tie them into your posts. Or, take it upon yourself to customize their (ghostwritten) posts to do this.
PRO TIP: Don’t be surprised that writers, especially new ones, raise their rates at least once (or twice) per year.
There are lots of places that bloggers get their content.
You can create everything yourself (costs the most time, but the least money). You can invite guests to post (the right way). You can use done-for-you pre-written content (but please customize it). Or you can hire a writer/ghostwriter (costs the most money).
It’s up to you!
The main thing is to ensure you’re publishing excellent content on your blog/vlog/podcast to build your “know, like, and trust” factor, and get people to visit your website and sign up for your email list!
Signing off and toasting: To getting quality content for your health blog to market your business.
Over to you
How much of your content do you create yourself? What’s your guest posting story? Do you purchase and customize DFY posts? Want to hire a writer?
I’d love to know (in the comments below)!
Originally published February 2018, updated with even more awesomeness April 2019 and April 2021.
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I’m Leesa Klich, MSc., R.H.N.
Health writer – Blogging expert – Research nerd.
I help health and wellness professionals build their authority with scientific health content. They want to stand out in the crowded, often unqualified, market of entrepreneurs. I help them establish trust with their audiences, add credibility to their services, and save them a ton of time so they don’t have to do the research or writing themselves. To work with me, click here.
Excellent article (as usual) Leesa! So much of what you say here resonated with me because I have had a fair share of icky guest posting experiences where I felt “used” and misled. However, in hindsight I should have also done my homework and dug a little deeper to make sure that the website I submitted to was attracting traffic – the right kind of visitors – and that the owner was promoting content.
Sounds like we’re both talking from experience! #liveandlearn And now we’re so much wiser. 🙂