Don't Do It Yourself

Decisions to Consider Before Hiring a Staff Writer

This is a guest post from Daniel at Sweating The Big Stuff, where he writes about spending wisely while maintaining a high quality of life.  If you want to guest post, check out my guidelines here.

I had a staff writer for nearly a year. I did it because I was too burnt out from posting 4 times a week and needed a break. It was exhausting and I simply couldn't think of enough topics to write about. My issue wasn't one of having enough time to write. It was not having enough ideas to get my mind going, and I wanted to focus on other parts of my online business.

As a result, I hired a staff writer, and each week I would get a great post without having to lift a finger. It was very convenient! For the first few months, it was great, I paid a little bit of money and saved myself from going insane. I didn't get any reader complaints, so I figured I had made a good decision.

Then, prices started to rise. After a trial period, we agreed on a $5 increase from our low rate. No big deal. Then, I gave another $5 increase because I knew that my writer could be getting more money elsewhere and I figured we had a good thing going. Suddenly, I was paying over $100 a month for posts, and it sort of crept up on me!

It had spiralled a little out of control and suddenly I was paying more than I thought was worth it. The problem was that I knew I was paying a lot, but I never set a goal for the staff writer and hadn't put much thought into what I was hoping to gain from this experience.

Think About Why You Want Someone To Post For You

Are you lazy, do you not have the time? Are you looking for superior content to what you're producing? Do you want traffic from the staff writer when they link to their posts each week?

I never really thought about it, I just wanted content and apparently I was willing to pay a premium for it. The problem is that I love having content on my blog, but having more content did not equate to more advertising, higher click rates, or higher Adsense earnings. So I was paying a lot but getting rather little in return.

Know Your Goals

My goal should have been to attract visitors and to keep my current readers happy. But I never asked my readers if they liked my staff writer! What if I lost readers because of it? On the flip side, what if I was gaining readers because of my staff writer? When was the right time to end our relationship?

I never had a problem with the content my staff writer produced. We got along great, and I'm happy to refer more work to her whenever I can. I stopped having a staff writer primarily because I quit my day job and started self-employment. I felt that with more time, I could write the posts I needed.

There are lots of pros and cons to having a staff writer. The important thing is to know what you're getting yourself into and lay out objectives before jumping in. By doing that, you'll have a clear vision of what you're looking for and your goals are more likely to be met.

Editor's Note: I currently use a staff writer for a couple posts a month on another blog. I find it takes off some of the pressure to consistently produce new content. I like to use a portion of my ad revenue to pay for the staff writing.  However, even if ad revenue didn't cover the cost, the extra content helps me attract new readers and keeps my blog relevant to the search engines which should increase ad revenue in the future.