Blogging Strategy: Outsourcing
Outsourcing involves delegating some operations to an external entity, which is usually specialized in managing that operation. Outsourcing emerged on the business world as a method to focus a company’s energy and resources on some core-activities, where most of the value is created, while delegating non-core activities to external suppliers that can execute those operations more efficiently and with reduced costs.
Blogs can be perfectly compared to business entities, and from such analogy we understand that not all blogging tasks are core-activities. Sometime ago I wrote the article “10 Requisites for Professional Bloggers” where I outlined 10 factors that contribute to the success of a blogger. While I believe that every blogger should at least have a basic knowledge of those areas it is not necessary to master all of them. Some people will inevitably have better writing skills while others will have more technical expertise.
Before considering to outsource some of your blog activities you need to carry an objective evaluation about your blogging skills, and identify where the value is being created on your blog. A certain person might be an outstanding marketer but an average writer. In that case most of the value on the blog will be created from the marketing activities and not from the content itself, meaning that this person should consider outsourcing the writing part to a more competent writer.
Alternatively someone might have brilliant writing abilities but no web design skills whatsoever. This person could try to design the blog template by himself, but the result would a poorly designed blog and a lot of time wasted on the process.
If you are not sure about your core-activities or where value is being created on your blog you need to ask yourself the following question: “Why readers come to my blog? What makes my blog different from the other 50 million out there?”Â. Below you will find a list of activities that could possibly be outsourced:
Web Design: this is the easiest activity to outsource given the vast pool of talented designers across the Internet. If you are looking for a professional design you should get in touch with a design studio (The Blog Studio, a sponsor of this blog, is a top notch resource when it comes to blog designing). Alternative you can check Sitepoint’s contest section, where people can create a contest for a particular job. After the job is posted designers will submit their entries and the contest holder will pick the best one.
Content: sometimes a blogger might want to increase the posting frequency of his blog without having to dedicate more hours to it, and the solution is to hire co-writers. Secondly, even if the blogger writes well he could have stronger marketing or entrepreneurial competencies. In that case he should probably focus his energy on creating and promoting new blogs while outsourcing the writing part for people that is specialized on doing that. A good place to find talented bloggers is the ProBlogger Job Board.
Blog maintenance: keeping a small blog up and running is no challenging task. As soon as your blog starts to grow, however, the problems will emerge. They will range from server issues to spam, backup and security concerns and so on. If you lack the time or expertise to deal with the technical side you should consider hiring someone to host your blog and take care of the maintenance. The Digital Point forum has an active market place for those services.
Online marketing: content is surely king, but without proper promotion and search engine optimization even great content might get lost on the Internet. Mastering the basics of SEO and online marketing is not a difficult task, but if you are looking for tangible results you should consider getting some professional help. There are plenty of SEO firms and individual experts across the Internet, and you can also turn to established players like Pronet Advertising or SEOMoz.
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4 Responses to “Blogging Strategy: Outsourcing”
I can see your point. I guess I’m thinking from a different market. I focus on small business solutions. I see blogging as an integral part of the sales cycle. So if you’re a small business owner and you’re trying to use your blog to grow your service-oriented business, you don’t want to oursource writing.
If you goal is a high-powered blog that pushes toward being an A-lister, I can certainly see how difficult it would be to keep up with demands and expectations.
So it goes back to the intention of your blog.
And regardless, I absolutely agree with you on readers accepting a new writer. Vital.
Dawud, for one thing you are certainly right though, outsourcing the content of a blog is no easy task because blogs are personal conversation platforms in many ways. You must ensure that readers will accept the new writers, that their style is coherent with the blog and so on.
Dawud, I think that outsourcing content started to appear when blogs migrated from personal diaries to niche sites providing services or specific information.
Some of those blogs started growing and receiving plenty of attention, but the blog owner alone was not able to keep writing at the pace that readers were able to digest the stuff.
That is a topic I will cover soon, but posting frequency is am imporant factor for certain blogs, and 1 author sometimes is not enough to keep the necessary posting frequency up, hence another reason why people might outsource content.
Some of the blogs that do outsource content (even if they do not call it that way) include GigaOm, TechCrunch, Boing Boing, Coolest Gadgets and so on. Those are also some of the most successful blogs in the world.
I know this is controversial…but isn’t the whole idea of blogging to write your content yourself? Don’t we want to share who we are with our readers? Moreover, don’t our readers want us? I just don’t see how outsourcing blog content is a great idea.
Now having guest writers and even some paid writing once-in-a-while, I can see. But what’s the point of having a blog if you’re not going to actively engage in it?
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