Where do bloggers get their content?
Hint: They don’t write everything from scratch every week
Originally published February 2018, updated with even more awesomeness April 2019.
As online health & wellness entrepreneurs, 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–here’s why
Your website is your home on the web.
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?
TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND GET PEOPLE TO YOUR WEBSITE AND ONTO YOUR EMAIL LIST!
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.Your website is where you house all your key content and intellectual property. #Website #Blog #ContentMarketing #IP Click To Tweet
By regularly publishing valuable content on your blog and promoting it to get people there, your content will speak for you to incentivize readers to opt into your email list.
But, not everyone has a stash of blog posts ready to publish every week!
Not even me! #Transparency
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 them yourself (from scratch … or not)
- 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. 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 needs 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 own blog posts (from scratch … or not)
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 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.
Why re-purpose your content?
I highly recommend re-purposing and updating content you already have as a key strategy for your blog! By re-creating a core message in a new format, or with a new story, or in a new way, 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 and you demonstrate your reliability by being consistent, it will become abundantly clear what your branding and position is). 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.
Being consistent with quality on-brand expert content helps more people get to know you and trust you. Period.Being consistent with quality on-brand expert content helps more people get to know you and trust you. Period. #Blog #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... 🙁 #Blog #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.
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. #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 the right way
- The fairest way 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 also gives you both the opportunity to “backlink” to each other, which is nice from an SEO perspective. 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.
- Does your blog reach the people whom the guest wants to reach? Your target audiences should be similar and include people who are looking for both of your products/services. And, if you have more readers than they do, it’s easier to ask someone to do this for free for exposure to your (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 to a topic/title, and maybe some basic stuff like approximate word count, SEO keywords, etc. But remember: these are their 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, as a guest, you’re not paying them, so it may not be a priority for them).
- 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.
- 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 blog posts
Done-for-you (DFY) articles are pre-written and are a very inexpensive way to get high-quality content without paying for your own custom ghostwritten pieces (or creating them from scratch yourself). They’re “whitelabelled” products that you can use as your own, and customize and brand as your own.
DFY health articles are a GREAT way to get blog content for those times you just can’t do it yourself.DFY health articles are a GREAT way to get blog content for those times you just can't do it yourself. #DFY #DoneForYou #Blog Click To Tweet
- Save you time because they’re already “done” (well, 80% done – see below).
- Save you money because you don’t need to hire a writer/creator.
- Save you frustration because you’re not paralyzed or starting from scratch or stalling on building your business using content marketing.
They’re “80%” done because you really should customize them before publishing.
I honestly recommend that you consider any DFY products to be 80% done (not 100%). 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
Here are some tips to customize DFY health articles:
- First and foremost, make sure the topic is right for your niche. If you specialize in digestive health, why would you publish articles on pregnancy nutrition or athletic performance?
- Add your voice, style, and quirks. Edit it as though your business and audience depends on it (because it does)!
- Add a personal story, a recipe, a video, images, tips, downloads, etc.
- Make sure everything in it aligns with your brand and core messages.
- Always include your own calls to action (CTAs) like email subscriber opt-in forms, social sharing buttons, and links to other related posts on your blog.
- And, pleeeeease change the title. 😉
Option #4: Outsource to a writer
Hiring a good writer, be they a “ghost” or a by-lined author on your blog, is a huge investment. But, if things work out, then it’s a huge responsibility off your shoulders, and a huge leap in terms of developing content for your custom, unique, expertise over time.
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, social media to promote the posts? (All of those = premium.)
How to hire a writer for your blog
You may need to:
- Create editorial guidelines for your blog
- Post a job ad
- Review a bunch of portfolios
- Narrow it 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 & provide comments in a timely fashion
- Get the final version on time 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 editorial guidelines and see if the writer has any questions or concerns.
Next, agree to the full scope of work.
- Who will be creating/updating the editorial calendar?
- What will be the schedule?
- Who will be promoting the posts once published?
- Will you be meeting with them monthly? Quarterly?
- 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. 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–that’s it.
HOT TIP: “Ghosts” are not obliged to promote posts without their byline on it. 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.
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.
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 their name is on the piece, and they’re not a “ghost,” then the fee may be slightly discounted from a ghostwriting fee, but you also have less (a.k.a. NO) 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, current & future promotions, etc. 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 (albeit, much can be re-purposed). 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.
It’s up to you!
The main thing is to ensure you’re consistently 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 content for your health blog for consistent content marketing.
Over to you
How much 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)!
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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.