5 Things to Do When Hiring Remote Writers
Running a company in the digital age requires a solid digital marketing strategy. With the rise of the gig economy all around the world, more often than not companies opt for hiring remote writers rather than in-house ones. Not to mention the unforseen pandemic events which led many to be unsure on what the future hold for remote work. Many believe that, now more than ever remote writers have more opportunities than in house ones. Whatever the reasons are, remote work does have its advantages on both sides, which is why it’s becoming more and more popular these days.
However, a few issues can arise when hiring remote employees that can impact both the productivity and quality of work. In order to prevent that, we’ve brought you five ways to ensure your writers are all set to work outside the office.
1. Clarify Your Organization’s Vision
When launching a company, your goal is to build a recognizable brand name that leaves a lasting impression on your customers’ minds. The first step is to have concrete company values and goals in mind. In turn, your writers’ role is to communicate those values and goals through every piece of content they produce. In order to ensure you and your writers are on the same page, have a nice, long talk with each one to make sure that your corporate goals are clear to them and there are no misunderstandings. Create a clear mission statement and check whether a writer agrees with it.
Next, you need to preserve a consistent brand image in every post published on your website. It doesn’t matter if you’re hiring five or thirty remote writers, depending on your company’s needs, it’s important that they communicate your brand’s values consistently. This is where you should consider writing a brand style guide that will dictate their tone of voice, writing styles, use of online resources, the way they link back to internal/external sources, etc. Your brand style guide needs to be written in a simple and understandable language and be easily accessible to everyone in your remote team.
2. Create an Editorial Calendar
As we’ve mentioned above, consistency is the key to any solid brand presence. Your target audience expects you to publish blog posts regularly and, at the same time, maintain the quality. Every month, you should set clear goals. You should know who you want to target with your blog posts, what niche you want to discuss, and what kinds of content you want to create.
Schedule a monthly meeting with the writers, explain your goals for the next month, and ask them to make a list of the topics they’d like to write about. Then, create Google Doc to map out your monthly content creation strategy. It should include details like:
- How often you will publish new content on the blog.
- How many blog posts you want to create monthly.
- What kind of content you want to create – articles, infographics, comprehensive guides, etc.
- A solid time frame for each blog post – when it should be written by, when it should be proofread, and when it is supposed to be published.
- Audiences – emphasize in a sentence or two the audience each blog post should address.
- The author of content – each piece of content should be assigned to a certain writer.
Talk to your writers about their preferences. Some of them like to write shorter articles that could be perfect for your link building efforts. On the other hand, some of them prefer writing long-form, data-backed guides that would provide lots of value to your blog visitors. There will certainly be those that enjoy packing lots of boring data and stats into easily digestible infographics or develop catchy newsletters.
3. Build Bonds Among Them Creatively
Creating bonds between your remote writers is critical for your business’ success. This is the only way to build your corporate culture on the principles of mutual appreciation and understanding. When it comes to building relationships between virtual employees, you need to be creative. For starters, hold regular weekly, monthly, and quarterly check-ins. Why not schedule a group call on Skype to collect employee feedback and help them get to know each other?
You could also encourage your remote writers to get together and work together for a while. If you still don’t have physical offices, you could book a coworking space for such purposes. As The Executive Centre emphasizes in their recent blog post the relevance of the flexible workplace industry, such arrangements may benefit remote teams on multiple levels. This is an opportunity for them to meet their fellow writers in person and collaborate with them on various interesting projects.
You could also consider choosing some more informal settings, such as throwing a huge corporate party, going on a team-building vacation, or holding a talent contest for your writers to get to know each other. Sure, if you’re just starting off and you cannot afford such events, you can always encourage them to connect on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat. The idea is to make sure your remote employees connect on some level, regardless of their location, culture, interests, backgrounds, etc.
4.Equip Them with the Right Tools
When hiring remote writers, you need to ensure that they have the right tools and equipment to get their job done faster and more efficiently. For starters, consider time-zone and communication problems. Time differences may have an immense impact on your overall workflow and productivity. Time shifting is usually necessary to encourage better collaboration and real-time communication among your remote writers. To get the most out of your communication efforts, invest in the right set of tools. Start with some basic collaboration software like Skype or Slack that allow immediate communication between your team members.
Then, invest in the right project management tool like Basecamp, Trello, or Asana. These tools let your employees communicate with each other, share documents, and give real-time feedback. Project management tools also increase the overall workflow transparency. You will be able to create multiple projects and lists, choose what writers you want to add to these projects and assign tasks effortlessly. Above all, you can track your employees’ overall performance.
You will also need to provide your remote writers with content creation tools, such as:
- BuzzSumo, which is perfect for finding the hottest industry topics.
- Canva, which has everything you might need to create gorgeous visual content.
- Yoast, which is the most popular WP plugin that does most of the SEO work for you, from keyword optimization to technical SEO.
- Google Analytics, which helps you monitor your blog posts’ performance.
- SEMrush, which makes keyword research simpler.
5. Manage your Remote Team Strategically
Building an effective team of remote writers is just half the job done. The other half is proactively managing the team. One of the most important steps towards that goal is transparency. Be honest with your remote staff members and know what they can expect of you. When hiring a writer, let them know what their roles and responsibilities are and how they will contribute to the overall corporate culture.
You should also set clear goals and let them know where they stand compared to your expectations. Send them detailed weekly or monthly performance reports to help them understand what mistakes they’re making and encourage them to fix them in the future.
Most importantly, ask for your writers’ feedback. Hold regular check-ins, send out surveys, schedule in-person meetings with them – anything that would encourage them to share their voice. No matter if they’re dissatisfied with their work-life balance or they want you to invest in a new tool they need, try to meet their expectations and prove you value their opinions.
Hiring remote writers is no easy task. You should focus on building a user-centric strategy and hire people that understand your brand and its mission. Be honest with your writers and include them in the decision-making processes. You should foster strong relationships between them and help increase their productivity by providing them with the right tools. Most importantly, you should also track their performance and tweak your management strategy accordingly.