I've had a few pleasant surprises of the writing kind this week, and some of them concern -- you guessed it -- ghostblogging. Yes, I've had a few requests, which I'll be happily typing away on in the next few days, and that suits me fine, as blogging for clients was one of my number one resolutions for 2011...cool!
Now, on to the nitty gritty part. There are a number of key considerations that must be worked out between the blogger and the client in order for things to go smoothly. I've highlighted 7 of them here, but I'm sure there are more, and please feel to add more in the comments if you've had this experience yourself.
- Topic: Is the client providing you with the topic, or do you need to come up with ideas yourself? Either way, it's a good idea to create an editorial calendar that both the client and the blogger agree on ahead of time, so there are no content surprises. You don't want to be writing about warm winter soups, when the topic was supposed to be cloud computing, right?
- Frequency: How often will the posts be published...once weekly? Twice? Three times? Keep in mind that published too infrequently won't be effective in growing an audience or subscribers, but publishing too often, such as daily or several times a day, may be too much for you readers, and you might risk losing them. You may have to experiment with different publication schedules to see what works best, and don't be afraid to poll or survey your readers to find out their preferences.
- Audience - Who Are We Writing For? It's very important that the blogger differentiate the client's audience and community from their own. There may be nuances, tonal issues, and language and diction that are highly relevant for the client's audience, that have nothing to do with the blogger's audience and readership. Are there colloquialisms this new audience particularly related to? Topics that ring a bell, or issues they will find humorous or entertaining? The blogger must take into account this new audience and how they want to receive information, and they should do research and ask questions about the client's readers and subscribers.
- Graphics and Links: The client needs to communicate to the blogger if they want links included in the posts, and how many. While links are of course great to have, they are in no way a given. Generally, an experienced blogger will include at least 1-2 links in any given post. Similarly, it's important to define whether graphics will need to be provided. If so, the blogger will need to take the time to research images and make sure they are not licensed and that they are royalty-free.
- Length: The minimum and maximum length for posts needs to be agree upon by both the blogger and the client, with room for flexibility. In some cases, 500 words might be sufficient, while other topics might require a longer word count.
- Fee: There is a wide range in blogging fees, and I have seen pricing range from $25 to $100 per post. One of my new favorite bloggers on the topic of freelance writing, Carol Tice, recently advised her readers on makealivingwriting.com, that a fee of $100 per blog post was an ideal amount to go for. I agree that whatever the final fee is, a flat rate or project rate, is easier for both parties and makes the most sense.
- Is There a Social Media Component: As a firm believe in holistic media solutions -- yes, that's me ---I believe a blog needs to be part of a comprehensive communications plan, and not just an add-on marketing piece being done because everyone is - well- doing it. So, a social media component is very important to blogging, as there is no point putting effort into an endeavor no one is going to see. It should be part of the agreement that either the blogger, or someone on the social media team, will take an active part in making sure the blog posts are publicized through Twitter and Facebook, as well as onto the larger bookmarking sites like Technorati and other avenues, such as blog carnivals and article marketing sites.
Now I have to be moving along, so I can get started blogging! I'll keep you updated on what I learn along the way, and in the meantime, please comment on any other considerations I might have left out. Happy ghostblogging, and may the Force be with you...and me.