The following article is a guest post from Chris C. Ducker from VirtualBusinessLifestyle.com on outsourcing. Chris actually owns an outsourcing company based in the Philippines Live2Sell.
For the blogger that wants to start taking their blogging a little bit more seriously, and perhaps even turn it into a full-time business opportunity for themselves, you have to look at the ins and outs of blogging and the requirements on your time as a would-be entrepreneur. As you all no doubt understand from working through all the great posts here on Robb’s fantastic site already, there is more to blogging in a professional way than just writing good content – although that is ‘up there’ with the best of them!
I’m going to leave experts such as Robb to give you the ins and outs of professional blogging because I am personally not even a professional blogger myself. However, what I do know is outsourcing and working with virtual staff. And as someone who has been involved in the outsourcing business for 10 years, and has trained literally thousands of outsourced and virtual staff members within that period of time, I have come to know their strengths and weaknesses better than anybody else that I know of.
So my intention with this post is to break down the individual components of being a professional blogger in relation to working with a virtual assistant or a team of virtual staff. The five main areas are researching, writing, posting, managing and then marketing. We’ll break these down one by one and I will show you exactly how you can utilize working with virtual staff in relation to each of these tasks to be able to produce a more professional and admired blog, and one that gets moving, fast!
Preliminary Content and Contact Research
When you sit down to think about writing your next blog post, a lot of things go through your head. Have I written about this before? Has someone else written about this before? What angle should I take? Do I know enough about the topic that I’m writing on? The fact of the matter is that you will have to research every blog post you write in some way, shape or form.
You can work with a virtual assistant to produce online research for you on a number of different topics. In fact, I’ve worked with VAs to research everything from individuals (I even had my assistant do some research into Robb before he actually ended up designing my blog!!!) to businesses, to processes, systems, suppliers—the list is endless. Whilst using a VA for research, you should put together a very clear task understanding as to what you require from them. Make everything as concise and as clear as possible. For example, if you’re researching the history of donuts, you don’t necessarily need to know every single flavored donut that’s ever been created, but you need to know exactly the origin of donuts, who is responsible for the first ever donut made, and then perhaps some of the major players in the market place now in regards to manufacturing and distributing donuts around the world. So try to be as concise as possible, but don’t clip your VAs wings too much when it comes to the research side of things because this creates the bulk of the article itself.
Writing Articles For Your Blog
A lot has been written online in regards to outsourcing blog writing. As a blogger myself I find it almost impossible to imagine the idea of somebody else writing my posts for me. However, through working with my assistant, having her research several blog posts that I’ve written before in the past ( just as with the donut example above) a lot of what is researched and presented to you, can actually be used in some way in the actual post itself. So although the idea of outsourcing the writing of your blog post is a fantastic one, I don’t think it’s one that you should think about across the board.
If you intend to do a lot of article marketing and blogging on sites that aren’t particularly affiliated with you, or have your name on them, then yes, by all means this is where a good quality copywriter virtual staff member can definitely help you out.
Posting To Your Blog
I use WordPress as my blogging platform as do many, many other bloggers out there. When it comes to actually posting your blog post, there’s more to it than just copying and pasting some text from your word processor software. You have to create hyperlinks, there’s a certain amount of design that comes into it in terms of using subtitles and placing images in the right area, using correct captions and so on.
It will usually take me around 30-45 minutes to get a post ready to be published in WordPress if I do the work myself. Now, 45 minutes is a big chunk of my day, time which could be spent doing something more profitable for me as an entrepreneur. So I absolutely believe that you can use a virtual staff member to post the content for your blog instead of having to do it yourself. I would suggest however, that you don’t just let them immediately start publishing articles on your most important blog, but instead maybe let them try playing around with ideas and concepts of their own (by having them create their own blog -I’ve done this and works GREAT!) and then guide them on the way you like things done, before going ‘live’ on your own blog.
Managing Your Blog
Managing your blog is another very time consuming task. And this includes everything that I’ve mentioned already and more! One of the most time consuming parts of the management period of most professional bloggers is moderating the comments and pingbacks created by their readers and followers. For example, your virtual assistant can filter out all spam that arrives as your blog becomes more and more popular. And this one task alone will free up a lot more time for you to spend replying to the more legitimate and engaging comments that you’ll receive.
Give very clear instructions to your virtual assistant managing the comments and pingbacks side of your blog as to what goes through and what doesn’t go through. And then simply put one hour a day—if that’s what’s required, sometimes it might even be less—to be able to quietly reply and comment to your comments directly, when the time is right for you.
Marketing and Promotion of Your Blog
Marketing your blog is right up there… Along with Promoting it. It’s probably the second most important part of working on a blog, in terms of being a professional blogger, than anything else. And there are many ways to be able to utilize a virtual assistant to help you perform the tasks, some of which are incredibly time consuming. We’ll break it down and just look at a few.
Firstly, social networking and bookmarking. Going to sites such as Digg, Stumbleupon, Buzz etc, etc. this is extremely time consuming. Tweeting out your latest links on Twitter, sharing your links on Facebook and other link-sharing and networking websites are also extremely tiresome. Your virtual staff can do all this stuff for you.
You can also use the exact same assistants to go through your entire back catalog of blog posts and start linking them internally from one post to another. You can get them to start putting together ideas for newsletters—this is a great way to be able to promote your blog and build your blogging subscriber numbers. These are all things that a VA can do for you online without any ‘voice’ required in any way. If you’re uncomfortable with them writing and liaising with other bloggers directly, for example, then simply write some template emails for them to be able to send on your behalf and then they can let you know once people start getting back to them.
And as we know, SEO is not only about the way that the site is optimized itself on-site as well as off-site, but it also includes everything from pay per click management to article submissions to link building, and so on – particularly if you are already monetizing your blog with your own products, for example. All of these tasks are extremely mundane; all of these tasks are, for the more creative person, extremely boring. And they can easily be outsourced to a virtual assistant who has absolutely no problems at all working on these 8-9 hours a day, from the comfort of their home to be able to market your blog and get your name and your message out there to the masses.
The Bottom Line
Bottom line, writing great content is the bulk of what you should be working on personally yourself in relation to your blog. So, if you’re thinking about becoming a professional blogger in whatever industry or niche that you’ve picked, seriously consider working with virtual staff to be able to grow your blog as well as focus on the message of the blog itself.
There’s nothing worse than clicking and landing on a new blog for the first time and seeing a mixed message. Having good quality support around you will enable you to focus on what you really wanted your blog to be from day one. Plus, as things evolve you’ll be able to retain that focus to be able to make sure that the blog itself becomes its own entity and drives its own readership—meaning that you can continue to focus on writing great content, producing fantastic podcasts and shooting awesome videos for your audience.
Chris C. Ducker is CEO of a 200+ employee Outsourcing company based in the Philippines and an entrepreneur at heart. He has appeared in several International publications, including Entrepreneur Magazine, the Outsourcing Periodical and was recently featured on the cover of Globalization Today. Chris is an advocate of entrepreneurial mobility and author of the FREE eBook “Saving the Day, the Virtual Way”, which is available for download at his blog VirtualBusinessLifestyle.com.
Follow Chris on Twitter to stay up-to-date with his projects and activities.