Tuesday the Business Spotlight shines on Janice Clark and the Social Media “Help NOT Hype” Show. In keeping with Halloween, Janice is sharing social media horror stories and how not to become one!
Look up the word “haunted” in the dictionary and one of the definitions is to be showing signs of mental anguish or torment.
Mental Anguish and Torment
Does this sound like your social media efforts? I think it’s described many of us at one time or another. Millions of “how to” resources have been released and there seems to be a self proclaimed social media expert on every corner. On those same corners you’ll also find lots of hard working business owners who hand over their hard earned dollars to someone who claims to have all the answers. What happens next can truly read like a horror story!
Welcome to Social Media Tales From Beyond
To celebrate the month of October, I’ll be sharing just a few of the most frightening, blood curdling, terrifying stories that I have witnessed in my years as a Social Media Strategist. I will also be sharing what you can do to avoid the pitfalls that seem to lurk around every corner and save yourself from the horror! As you enter the realm of the unknown (also known as social media) please know that all names have been changed to protect the innocent.
This Blog Post is Haunted
Amanda’s business was growing. Each passing day brought new challenges, new pressures and, above all, the growing concern that she wasn’t keeping up with her own visibility efforts. Like so many others, Amanda had incorporated social media as part of her marketing plan. She was making connections and getting calls but as the months went by she had to admit that she just couldn’t keep up any longer. She decided to hire someone to do her blogging so she could focus on more important tasks.
In the early days, Amanda avidly read the blog posts her new writer was creating. They were good. Maybe not exactly what she would have written, but Amanda knew no one would ever write exactly like she did. They were good and more importantly, they were getting done. As time went on, however, Amanda stopped being quite so diligent in her reviews. The posts were good initially so she assumed they always would be. WRONG!
As time went on, Amanda began to notice a pattern. Her website traffic declined a bit. She wasn’t getting as many followers. The conversations online surrounding her business seemed to be on a decline. But it was gradual and she assumed she was just hitting a bit of a plateau. But like any creature of habit, Amanda continued on.
One day Amanda got a call from a friend she had met online quite some time ago. The friend was inquiring about Amanda’s health, her overall wellbeing and generally expressing concern because just “didn’t quite seem herself” lately. Amanda was a bit confused by this so she probed further. Her friend eventually shared that her initial concerns had occurred as she had been reading Amanda’s recent blog posts online. It seems her once rich and informative posts had gone stale. They seemed soft, unfocused and often were filled with either spelling or grammatical errors. Nothing like her friend was used to seeing!
When Amanda looked into the issue she found that the lady who had originally been writing her posts had started outsourcing the work out of the country. They had started using PLR (private label rights content) in order to save time and most of the posts weren’t even focused around Amanda’s keywords any longer. Many didn’t have any keywords associated with them any longer! Amanda’s voice was gone! It had been replaced by generic information that hundreds of others had paid to use as well. It wasn’t engaging. It wasn’t informative. It wasn’t valuable. Worst of all, it made Amanda look bad! It made her look lazy and uninteresting!
You really can outsource writing quite effectively if you know what you’re doing and are willing to maintain control of the project. Just a few things to remember:
1. Make sure you ask the person you hire EXACTLY who will be doing the writing. If you don’t want the work to be outsourced to multiple people then make your preferences known.
2. Remember that you get what you pay for. If someone is willing to write a blog post for $5 or $10 then just know that you could be headed for trouble. Price is not always a good indicator of how good your writer will be, however, the less they charge, the more articles they will have to write in order to have a profitable business. Do the math. If they need to churn out 300 posts a month in order to make a good living then your content may not get the attention it deserves.
3. Ask if you have the life time rights to the posts/articles you purchase. Some writers will resell similar articles to the one they wrote for you (and sometimes the exact article they wrote for you) after a length of time. Make certain that you are the only person who has ever received this article and ensure that the writer will never sell this article to anyone else in the future.
4. Provide your writer with an editorial calendar. Offer topics to be covered each week and even provide a brief outline of how you want the topic to be covered.
5. Stay engaged in the process. Read every post and edit it so that it maintains your voice before it gets published on your blog. The more you INSPECT, the more you can EXPECT!
6. Be prepared to invest some time in a good writer. Take the time to offer them feedback. Share what you like and what you don’t. No one will write perfectly for you the first time. Allow them time to understand both you and your business. A good writer will value your feedback and your content will improve with time.
As a busy entrepreneur, it’s ok if you don’t have the time to write every piece of your own content. If you enjoy doing it and can make the time, then go for it! Otherwise, be prepared to hire someone good, invest time and energy into ensuring they understand what you want written and how you want it presented. And definitely stay engaged in the process! If you want to avoid the pitfalls of having someone else create content for you, then don’t hand over your voice to just anyone!
Do you ever hire others to create content for you? What’s your strategy for finding good people to showcase your voice?