Running a successful blog is hard work…
It’s a proven tactic to grow your business… But it makes you want to tear your hair out sometimes.
There is nothing better than that feeling when you hit publish on a new blog post. It goes live, your traffic spikes and the leads start rolling in.
All you want to do is sit down and write another post.
But then you start coming down off the traffic high…
Your next draft is still just a bare bones structure and you can’t find the inspiration to get started.
It doesn’t take long until your website traffic plateaus, and you’re back at square one.
Weeks go by – but you keep putting it off.
The blogging rollercoaster isn’t a fun one. It’s petrifying, riddled with anxiety and a vicious cycle.
But you’ve seen the results – so you need to accept all that bad stuff and knuckle down.
Or maybe you don’t?
It doesn’t have to be like that. Instead of doing it all yourself, you can hire someone to manage your blog.
Let me share a story…
When I first started Blogger Sidekick I needed content. My clients had a big appetite and I was just one person…
So I went to the content store.
I tried all the big online copywriting services. (I’m not here to throw stones, so let’s not name them)
But despite some big promises, I ended up paying upward of $100 per article for crap.
Skinny content. No personal touch. No imagery. No examples.
I would end up rewriting the whole posts myself.
It was like banging my head against a wall. No one seemed to get it.
This type of content was effective 15 years ago.
But today? You can’t get away with mediocrity. If you’re going to blog, do it properly.
Create awesome, epicly resourceful content that people are desperate to read. Standout from the clutter and make your voice heard. Grow your business, be a thought leader.
Don’t accept crap.
I quickly figured out that outsourcing blog creation from start to finish was hard to do.
Instead of banging your head against the wall with copywriters, you should consider hiring a blog manager.
What is a blog manager?
Blog management is divided into two major categories – (1) content and (2) technical.
The type of blog manager I’m talking about is someone who can coordinate the whole content process for you and guarantee quality.
They look after the frontend of the blog. Everything that you see, read, watch or hear on the blog is under their control.
Your blog manager is in charge of content creation, promotion, optimization, and editorial calendar management.
They also make sure your blog plays by Google’s rules – the SEO factor.
Basically, the blog manager is the person responsible for overseeing the overall functioning of the blog, and making sure you get the results you desire.
[Example – HTG]
Recently, How-To Geek, better known as HTG, crossed a billion pageviews.
Lowell Heddings, the founder, owner, chief content creator, and server admin for HTG talks about his “nine year long overnight success” and how, in order to move forward, he hired the current editor-in-chief of LifeHacker to create new content.
In short, Lowell hired a blog manager.
If you’re thinking about hiring a blog manager, the following qualities will help you make an educated decision about what’s important.
1. Aligns with your purpose
Your organization has a purpose. Is your blog manager aligned to that purpose?
Your blog manager must be someone whose skills and interests align with your organization’s goals and aspirations. They must be interested in what you do and appreciate what you’re trying to achieve as a business, so they can help you get there faster.
If you clue your blog manager into the greater cause you are trying to pursue, they can actively advise you on how the blog can contribute to that journey. Every blog post will anchor to that purpose, and progress it.
To sum it up, your blog manager needs to be aware and appreciate where you are heading as a business.
For example, consider the HTG case I mentioned above…
Whitson Gordon, the new editor in chief, is a person who believes in HTG’s philosophy – which is (I’m guessing) understanding the root of a problem and then solving it. It is quite easy to see how Whitson (a tech enthusiast) would appreciate where HTG is heading as a business. It’s a win-win.
2. Know your business
Traditional businesses do not consider, or in most cases aren’t aware of, the benefits a blog can bring to their business.
But online or digital businesses know better. Or at least, they should.
More than often, blogs are considered a separate function to the main operations of a business. A good blog manager will have a complete understanding of your business. They will know every nook and cranny of the service or product you’re selling.
Who is your ideal customer? Where do you typically find them? What information do they need to make a purchase decision? What are the benefits of using your service? How is it different from your competition? These are some of the questions your blog manager should be able to answer.
If you can arm your blog manager with the information they need to immerse in your business and understand it from the inside out… They can create content that will initiate, inspire and influence your customers to buy what you sell.
For example, consider the email app CloudMagic. TIME Magazine voted it one of the best email apps available.
If you closely examine their blog, you will notice how each category is fine-tuned to deal with various aspects of the app. From user-stories to app integrations and new product features. The CloudMagic blog manager clearly has a good understanding of the whole business and is delivering messaging based on that understanding.
3. Across your whole funnel
Your blog’s primary role is to drive leads into your sales funnel with great content and high-converting lead magnets.
However, a blog manager’s duty should not stop there. They should have a clear understanding of your entire sales funnel right from awareness to acquisition.
With the complete information of the sales funnel, your blog manager is much better equipped to structure the blog copy, plan promotional activity and test multiple opt-in forms.
Here’s what a typical content sales funnel looks like (thanks to Digital Marketer);
An average blog manager only believes they have influence over the top of the funnel (TOFU) content, and a good one will push the boundaries to think about the middle of the funnel (MOFU).
But if they can understand how your entire sales process works from top to bottom, they can create content to help prospects make informed decisions every step of the way.
This is what a mind-blowing blog manager will do for your business.
4. Offer insights, not just projects
Good editors do not necessarily make good blog managers. Why? Because, it’s easy for someone to come in, control your content calendar and edit your posts. This isn’t a unique skill set.
But a great blog manager is someone who understands and appreciates where your business is headed as a whole. They are there to serve your needs, not simply complete a task.
You’ll know you have found a good one if they take risks, and question your decisions when it’s appropriate. This isn’t to say that they are out of line or abrasive… It’s just that they understand your business so well, PLUS they are experts in creating and proliferating content. So they advise you, offer insights and improve your content strategy – rather than just editing content.
5. Service is in their blood
Apart from the basic responsibilities, there are tons of annoying tasks that a blog manager deals with.
For example, trashing spam comments, reporting a minor theme issue, picking up broken links etc. Your blog manager needs to make sure all the dots are lined up.
An ideal blog manager isn’t reluctant to go the extra mile and do everything it takes to get you the results and impact you are looking for from your content strategy.
No task is too small, because they don’t attach an ego to doing the work that needs to be done. They are there to serve you, your audience and the greater goals of your business.
When you’re assessing potential blog managers, ask them what “service” means to them. Find out if they are truly dedicated to fulfilling this value, rather than just talking about.
If you’re unsure, check with their previous clients, colleagues or employers.
It’s like the age old test… Would they open the door for you, or would they expect you to do it for them?
6. Work towards outcomes, not deadlines (but still meet them)
A blog manager’s job is to ensure that the best possible article is delivered on time. They understand that the true way to gain a visitor’s trust and turn them into a customer is to deliver great value.
This requires a lot more effort than simply proofreading a submission and hitting the publish button. A blog manager doesn’t leave a stone unturned when it comes to research, rewriting a boring paragraph, trying out multiple images or optimizing the heading.
They need to work closely with freelancers, editors, internal contributors and guest authors to suggest changes and get the final article ready before the deadline.
However, they are not afraid to take risks and make serious decisions when the time comes. For example, if the team doesn’t deliver good content within the stipulated time, they will find another way to meet the deadline without giving up on quality. Even if it means rewriting the content themselves.
The quality of a great blog manager lies in how they coordinate and motivate the team to guarantee consistent delivery of quality articles, while meeting the proposed deadlines and growing your brand in the process.
CoSchedule is a helpful tool for creating accountability around your publishing schedule. I’d highly recommend this is in your blog manager’s arsenal for meeting deadlines and delivering quality.
7. About value, not money
The original discussion with your blog manager should be about YOUR needs, and what it will take to get you where you want to be.
Alarm bells should go off if you start to get in a dollars and cents conversation.
As soon as the dialogue shifts to “hours on the clock” or “cents per word”, you’ve lost sight of what really matters.
If you can find the right blog manager they will ask questions like;
Where do you want to be? What is your big goal for the blog? What does success look, feel and smell like?
Once they know where you want to go, it’s up to them to advise you on how to get there – this is there expertise, and why you are hiring them in the first place.
Once you figure out where you are going, and how quickly you want to get there, then you can start to talk money. But by this stage, money isn’t really a factor anymore because you have found someone that will move your business forward.
A conversation about value is a long-term one, it’s a partnership – NOT a moment-in-time project that will contribute nothing to the sustainability of your marketing strategy.
A good blog manager gets that this stuff takes a long time, and asks you to commit to a partnership that is based on value, not money
8. A blogger themselves
The best blog managers are bloggers themselves.
They’ve been through the whole process – hours of hard work, disappointment, determination and perseverance. And they’ve come out the other side with a clear understanding and process for what works and how it applies to your unique situation.
A good blog manager has first-hand experience in creating consistent, high quality content and building an audience. If you’re unsure, check out their website or get your hands on some of their best content.
Does it pass your quality test?
9. Understand quality content
Some people just have a knack for writing and an eye for quality. If you want to take your blog to the next level, your blog manager needs to be one of these people.
They should deliver the best possible content every time they hit publish.
In today’s online landscape people are less likely to accept mediocrity.
15 years ago you could create a 300-word blog post with a few dot points and the traffic would start flowing.
But today things are different.
Your content needs to be resourceful, definitive and extremely helpful to your readers. It needs to be packed full of visuals, nicely formatted and easy to read.
If you turn up with bulky paragraphs, boring ideas and no images – no one is going to care. If your blog manager doesn’t get this, hire someone else.
Are you still unsure about what makes for high quality content?
Check out Boost Blog Traffic (BBT).
Glen Long, the blog manager for BBT, is meticulous in how he edits guest posts and delivers feedback to potential contributors. It’s because he understands the value proposition and greater purpose that BBT is serving, and he is dedicated to progressing that cause.
10. Speak in blog language (not academic language)
The most effective communication occurs when people can understand what you are saying – not when they get confused and want to leave your site. That happens when you speak in plain, simple English. Follow the KISS rule – “Keep it Simple, Stupid”.
This does not mean you don’t explain your stuff in detail. Take as much space as you need. But at the same time make sure it’s easy to read.
For example, Seth Godin is a master at delivering messages in a way that his audience can understand.
If your blog manager is more attuned to writing essays than talking to humans, they might not be a good fit.
11. Bug you for content
You are hiring a blog manager to get more out of your team, and grow your business. So it is their job to pester you for content and make sure everyone is holding up their end of the bargain.
If your organization has a long list of in-house contributors desperate to write for you… That’s awesome.
But most don’t.
Sometimes it feels like pulling teeth trying to get a blog post from your sales team, or the customer service guy.
Hiring a blog manager is an effective way to outsource this responsibility to someone you trust, and get them to proactively follow up blog articles.
They are accountable to the publishing schedule, but now YOU are accountable to creating the content on time.
So if you’re not ready to be held accountable, don’t hire a blog manager.
12. Are proactive – blog ideas are stocked for months
Once people start appreciating your blog’s content, they are going to start expecting more. A lot of blogs start off with a bang and ultimately crash to the ground when they run out of content.
The last thing you want is to build nice momentum and then all of a sudden fall off a cliff.
But don’t get consistency confused with regularity in this case.
I don’t care how many times you publish content every month, but pick a schedule and stick to it.
Most people will come up with a blog post idea on the run, write it and then hit publish.
This way of approaching it is flawed in so many ways… Not only is your strategy all over the place, but it’s riddled with risk.
What happens if you don’t have the time to focus on coming up with a new idea every week?
By planning content for months into the future, it reduces the risk that you will miss a deadline, and your writers will know what they are accountable to do and find the time to do so.
13. Have a creative edge
- Humans process images a thousand times faster than text.
- Infographics generate twice as many shares as compared to traditional content.
- The header image you choose for your post plays a vital role in the click rate.
The bottom line is that visual content is a key ingredient to a successful blog.
A good blog manager understands color psychology, has an aesthetic sense (or appoints someone from the team who does) and ensures that blogs posts are engaging by using a variety of relevant images.
One of the best examples of creative storytelling and enriching visuals is the design and typography used at Copyblogger.
14. Have meticulous attention to detail
Typos, grammatical errors and broken links have the power to instantly degrade the quality and authority of your blog, no matter how useful the content is.
A blog manager must have a keen eye for intricate details. Ideally they would screen each blog post several times, plus get other people to glance over them.
The best way to test this in a potential hire is to present them with a test.
Send them an article with some deliberately places errors, and ask them to come back with their insights.
15. Can manage a team
The basic responsibilities of any manager is setting well-defined goals and defining the tasks required to achieve those goals. Organizing, coordinating and developing the qualities of a team.
Things are no different for a blog manager. Despite often being overlooked as a requirement for such a digital role, people skills are essential.
This involves being a team-player, interacting with the team on a regular basis, and communicating the objectives you are all pursuing.
16. A die-hard networker/relationship builder
The more effective your blog manager is at meeting people and developing mutually beneficial relationships – the better it is for your brand. This will inevitably help you amplify your reach and presence.
For example, if you are trying to build high quality backlinks to your site and your blog manager is well connected with a group of other bloggers or freelance writers, your link building efforts will be far more effective. This significantly improves your blog’s reputation and traffic over time.
Another example that will have a more immediate effect is if your blog manager is well connected on social media… If they share your content it will quickly amplify it’s reach and get more eyeballs to your website.
On top of external relationships, a blog manager must build real relationships with each and every member of the editorial team (and the other relevant teams) in order to understand how they tick and get the best out of everyone.
17. Gets email marketing
Email marketing is often considered the holy grail of digital marketing. It’s an evergreen source of on-demand, targeted traffic with advanced tracking features.
Your blog manager must be well-versed with writing email copy, but also understand the power of email as a sales and marketing tool.
For example, email broadcasts that follow every blog publication are a great way to get some fast attention for your content. You should trust your blog manager to take charge of this process.
Neil Patel uses this strategy on his personal site NeilPatel.com.
Here’s one of his regular emails;
I’d be very surprised if Neil actually sent these emails himself. He uses a very specific pre-determined formula for each email that someone else (perhaps a blog manager) could execute for him.
This way he has the same impact, with more of his time back.
18. Know how to amplify content (Not just on social media)
A blog manager is also responsible for the blog’s content promotion.
Derek Halpern from Social Triggers uses the 80/20 rule, suggesting you should spend 80 percent of your effort promoting your blog’s content and 20 percent of your effort creating it.
The genius of this tactic is that no one is ACTUALLY doing this… Lots of people talk about it, but not many take action.
If you genuinely take this advice and apply it (like we have here at Blogger Sidekick) you will be surprised at how rapidly you can grow an audience.
You need significant effort to get your content found by your readers. And not just any reader – people who you know will benefit from what you have to say. (And buy what you have to sell)
Figuring all of this out is an important task and one of the major responsibilities of the blog manager.
One way to amplify your content over time is to make it evergreen – relevant today, tomorrow and next year. That way you can actively promote it well into the future.
19. Can work with your content management system (CMS)
It might seem like a no brainer, but your blog manager needs to know their way around your CMS.
Whether it’s popular ones like WordPress and Joomla or premium ones like HubSpot and Rainmaker, or something entirely different. If they’re not familiar with the platform you use they won’t effectively deliver content to your audience.
All these platforms have their nuances, and can take some time to get used to.
Do they know how to optimize images? What about opt-in forms or popup boxes?
The more your blog manager knows about your CMS, the more work you can offload to them and save yourself a bunch of time.
21. Understand on-page optimization (SEO)
Organic search is the ultimate long-term strategy for generating web traffic.
Even though the big search engines are starting to favour high quality content when ranking articles, there is still a necessity to communicate with them in a language they understand. This is where on-page optimization is an important skill for your blog manager to have.
On-page SEO ranges from keyword density all the way to internal hyperlinking and user experience.
Yoast SEO is a great WordPress plugin for optimizing a big proportion of these factors for every post.
Here it is in action;
22. Actively spin your internal spider’s web (internal linking)
Internal linking is one of the best ways to build on-page SEO. Not only does it increase content visibility but it helps your site get indexed faster and ramp up SEO points (Google likes interconnected sites).
As you build a library of blog posts it’s important to maintain a habit of linking them to other relevant content on your site. This helps with user experience and search engine ranking.
However, you need to ensure that you don’t link to dead (deleted or renamed) articles. Broken links play a reverse effect on your site.
A good blog manager will regularly update internal links across all articles as new ones are published.
You could spend an enormous amount of time coordinating a team of freelancers to get similar results, or you could bite the bullet and hire a blog manager to grow your digital presence.
It’s not easy to find someone with all of these qualities, but if you can, there is no price you can place on the value it adds to your business.
What have I missed… What qualities do you consider important for a blog manager?
BONUS POINT: Understands growth metrics (and tracks them)
(Thanks to Jenny for adding this little gem in the comments. I felt compelled to include it!)
Your blog manager needs to have a process for measuring the success of your content strategy.
How does your blog activity generate new prospects, qualified leads and bottom line revenue?
More specifically, what metrics should you be measuring to make sure you are deliberately pursuing these very important goals?
If your blog manager genuinely cares about your business, they will get a deep understanding about what success looks like for you. Once they know what success looks like, they will find a way to measure it and regularly report back to you on progress.