Are YOU the bottleneck in your own business?
Does writing blog posts always get pushed to the bottom of your to-do list?
Do you feel like someone else could create content much more efficiently for you?
Or do you ever wonder whether there are some tricks or processes you could use to speed up your writing flow?
In this episode, I’m sharing 5 ways you can outsource or speed up your writing process so that you can publish more content and grow your audience as quickly as possible.
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Erica: This week, I thought I’d pop on and talk about something that came up during the office hours. Call for my SEO made simple course this week, and that is how to publish more blog posts when you realize that you are the bottleneck for your own business.
Maybe you just keep pushing blog, writing down the to-do list and it never seems to get done, or you realize that you’re actually pretty slow at writing and feel like someone else could create the content more efficiently for you. Or maybe you have the time, but you’re wondering if you’re really maximizing it as best as possible. So today I’m going to talk you through five ways you can outsource or speed up your blog writing.
And this podcast is brought to you today by my affiliate link for Thrive Market. If you’re not familiar with Thrive Market, it’s a website where you can sign up for, I think, around $5 a month. And you can order a whole bunch of unique groceries straight to your doorstep. And they carry a lot of grocery items that might be hard to find locally, like lots of fun snacks and items that have smaller list of ingredients for people who may have special dietary needs.
And I’ve used Thrive Market a lot during the pandemic, especially at the beginning when things were out of stock everywhere, it was a lifesaver. And they used to just carry shelf stable items, but they’ve since expanded into frozen goods and even wine. And in fact, I recently subscribed to their quarterly wine box and really loved getting different seasonal wines delivered that I can try and like expand my palette a little bit.
Not just the same, you know, few varieties that you would find at the grocery store. And honestly, man. Thrive Market was a huge, huge help while I was following a dairy-free diet for a bit while breastfeeding. They carry some of my favorite dairy free goodies. Like those unreal coconut bars. Amy’s dairy free burritos.
And chomps meat sticks at way cheaper prices than the grocery store or Amazon. And now that the pandemic precautions are a little more relaxed, I’ve actually found that I kind of like grocery shopping online so much so that I only go to the actual grocery store. Maybe like once a month, these days.
It’s just so easy to shop quote unquote, quietly on my phone while breastfeeding or while my son’s playing. And I’m just sitting in there in my pajamas. You know, if you’re interested in checking out Thrive Market, I have a special affiliate offer for you. If you head to the unconventional rd.com/thrive and sign up for a new account, you will receive 40% off your first order.
Which it could be, you know, crazy savings. If you plan that out strategically. And I receive $40 in store credit. So it’s a win-win right. And that’s the unconventional rd.com/thrive. Highly recommend checking it out and taking advantage of that 40% off savings. Especially if you have certain pantry or frozen items that you like to buy in bulk.
That’s the unconventional rd.com/thrive. All right. So back to the topic at hand, speeding up your writing process. I’m going to share five ways to outsource or speed up your writing. I’ll walk you through them one by one, and then recap at the end. So method, number one, this is hire a freelance writer.
This is the solution that many people’s minds go to first. If they feel like they don’t have enough time to personally do it all. And this can be a really good solution for people who have a budget. It’s probably the most expensive option, but it’s also the most hands-off and my longterm goal for a lot of my sites.
Is to have a team of freelance writers eventually as well. So it is a great goal. And when you’re hiring, you can decide whether you want your content to be ghostwritten, meaning someone else writes it, but you are listed as the author on your site. Or if you want to hire a writing team perhaps, and feature them as experts on your site, which can be really beneficial for your eat expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
If you hire actual experts in your niche. And if perhaps you’re searching for a nutrition writer for your site, you might be able to find some good connections in the free Facebook group called RDS, who write. That’s a good place where nutrition writers hangout. Or if you’re looking for a food blogger to create content for you, I would recommend checking out the free Facebook group food bloggers central. That’s my number one spot to go for all things. Food blocking specific.
And pay rates for freelance writers are all over the board. And this is just for writing. This would not include any image creation or photography or anything like that. But rates for just writing can range from anywhere like 5 cents, a word to a dollar, a word. So as the person hiring, you can set the rates at whatever you want, but obviously the more you can pay the higher quality applicants you’ll likely receive.
And I don’t have a ton of experience outsourcing, but I did pay someone. To write for my membership site back in the day and the accompanying blog that went with that. And I have also worked on the flip side where I was freelance writer for Healthline in the past. So I can share my experience with that as well.
So let’s start with my experience working as a freelancer for a large company. I think. That was a helpful place for me to think about how I would go about setting up structures when I hired a writer. So I kind of took my experience working as a freelance writer for a larger company. And recreated that framework with the way that I went about hiring and working with writers on my site.
So I was a freelancer for healthline.com. Shortly after they got acquired a years ago by. They used to be called authority nutrition, and they got acquired by health line. And I got hired right around that time. And as a freelancer, legally, your person hiring you, can’t tell you hours to work or make you do anything. That’s part of the perks of being a freelancer.
So it’s a very flexible gig. And this is generally how it worked. The company would send over a list of maybe three to five blog, post ideas, just like titles. That’s something I could write about. And each was accompanied by how much that article would pay. And it wasn’t always like this, but
This is just how it was set up. For a bulk of the time I was writing for them, they used to just have a flat rate for all articles. But then they came up with this tiered structure. There was like three different levels of payment, depending on the length of the article and the difficulty of the topic.
And I would say on average, across the board, I got paid maybe around 40 cents per word. But that’s just an estimate. It wasn’t literally paid specifically by the word. It was more like, you know, this type of post should be around this length and pays this much, blah, blah, blah. And there was different tiers.
So level one, for example, would be a blog post that was maybe under a thousand words and required very little research and just some expertise to answer.
Level two is more like 1000 to 1500 words. It does require some research, but it’s somewhat basic. Like what is XYZ, nutrient type of post. And then level three was the longest category up to 2000 words, probably somewhere between 1500 and 2000. And that would be the highest paid article. And that would be topics like a diet guide or health benefits of XYZ food, or supplement overviews.
And once the topics list was presented to me, I could pick as many as I was interested in. And there were no deadlines to submit your work. We could write as many or as few articles as we wanted. And again, I don’t know if this has changed. This is just how it was when I worked for them. So on average, I wrote one to two articles a week.
And sometimes when people are getting into this freelancing world, they’re like, oh, well, how long does it take to a freelancer to write an article? Personally, it would take me about three days and I wasn’t like literally working eight hours a day on this, but just chunks of time throughout three days.
Keep in mind. I usually I was, this was before I had kids. I was living with my now husband, then boyfriend at the time. So we are usually home together. So maybe we’d be talking. The TV was on not like super duper focused, a hundred percent of the time. But these were highly, highly researched posts with sometimes like a hundred references on the longer one. So.
Th the three-day timeline isn’t necessarily how long it would take someone that you were hiring. I think it’s unlikely that you would need to hire someone to create those types of in-depth posts on your site. You could probably find good keywords in your niche that are a little more colloquial and less researched based.
Especially if your target audience is lay people. But generally the way I went about it was the first day of quote unquote, working on the article. I was just picking out which topic I wanted to write about that day. I would Google the topic to see who is already on the top page of the search results.
I would actually skim through or read through. Each one of the top 10 articles and kind of jot down notes of what they were covering so that I may try at least matched, you know, who’s already ranking. Then I would do my own Google scholar slash pub med search on the topic and add things to the list that maybe other people who are writing about it missed.
I would also add any additional information that I might know just from being an RD. I might comb through some nutrition books. I have to see what other points I might’ve missed. And generally my goal here was to have a really solid outline. Of what I’d like to cover in my article. And as a freelancer, we had to get our outlines approved before we started writing. Because obviously they don’t want you to go down some like weird direction with the article. That’s not matching what they wanted.
And have to redo it. so you have to send, you had to send in your art or your article outline, basically for approval before you started writing. And the outline was just kind of a list of the headings that you were planning to include in the post. If you joined my SEO made simple course.
You could understand more about what that means, but basically there’s different levels of headings in WordPress and whatever platform, honestly, that you’re on. H1 would be your title. H2 would be the main sub sections. H3s would be subsections of those main sections. And you would just outline which type of heading each one was and send it in for approval.
And once it was approved, you were allowed to start writing the post. So once I got the approval, my day too, was just kind of fleshing out that outline. I’m doing some notes, linking to research articles I wanted to talk about and perhaps starting to write it. And then day three was wrapping up the writing of the article and adding in any extra citations as needed. And then once I was done with the post, I would send it in to the team.
And they would reply with any edits that needed to be done. Once those edits were done, I’d go in and number all the references and then submit that final copy. And I’m not sure what happened with the workflow after that, since it was out of my hands at that point. But eventually, maybe a month or two later, my article will be posted on the site.
And once I was done with an article, I would then submit an invoice. And then be to pay me paid via direct deposit. Maybe like a month later. So if you are looking to hire a freelance writer, you could set up a similar workflow for your own business. And this is a good segue because eventually I stopped freelance writing and was focused fully on my own businesses, which at the time included a functional nutrition membership site.
Where I publish content to help practitioners in the functional nutrition niche. I published that. Published new content twice a month. And I also had an accompanying blog. Which we put out articles, I think about once a month at that time point. With the goal of trying to attract new readers and people who also might be interested in functional nutrition, who would want to join the paid membership site.
And so when I stopped freelance writing, I was focused more on the unconventional RD brand and that membership site. And I was able to then hire my own freelance writer. And I did not have the same budget, obviously. It’s helpful. So I was not able to hire someone to write unlimited number of articles for me.
So, this is how I set it up. My membership site at the time was bringing in several thousand dollars every month in revenue. So I was able to pay a good chunk of that to my freelancer for help creating the content. And the content was heavily researched and really needed to be the highest quality possible. So I tried my best to pay well.
I was paying $700 per post and there were two posts published per month. And then I would do the editing and give feedback and all that as well. So there was some work on my end, but not as much as writing the whole thing from scratch. And then I also needed assistance at some point, creating the blog hosts, but unlike the content for the membership site, those weren’t always guaranteed to rank or bring in revenue to the site.
Again, I monetized mostly by gaining new members for the membership site, but also via Amazon affiliate links, which at the time was bringing in, I think, around like $300 a month or so. But my budget was smaller. So we settled on a tiered payment structure based on how many active members the membership site has.
And so basically. It was almost like a dollar, $1. Per member. In increments of 25. So when I hired my freelance writer, I think I had like 175 members. And these members were paying anywhere from. I think around 11 to $15 a month. To be in the membership site, depending on when they signed up and what, whether they say at the annual membership or, or monthly.
But I was able to pay my freelance writer $175 per blog article when I had 175 members. And then it went up in increments of 25. So once we got to 200 members, I’d pay her $200, et cetera. So there was an incentive there to create really good posts because the better they performed, the more people would get to join the membership site.
Which would mean higher payments for blog posts in the future. So our original plan was I could afford up to three posts per month, but then at the end, I think we only ended up doing like one post per month because. With that. Plus the content for the membership site ended up being quite a lot on our plates.
And that worked really well. But not too long after we started working together, I did decide to shut down that business so I could focus a hundred percent on the unconventional R D brand. So I’ll never really know where it could have gone. But in the end. I was getting about half of our new members every month in the membership site, directly from blog posts that ranked on Google. So I had calls to action.
In those wild posts to like, Hey, check out our membership site. And about 50% of the new members that we would get in any given month said that they found us through Google. So in some hiring a freelance writer is an obvious win. If you have the budget to pay for it. And you have a clear plan on how that content will directly boost the bottom line in your business.
Whether that be getting lots of traffic in order to make money through display ads. Writing articles that entice people to click your affiliate links, sponsored content sales of digital offerings, getting new clients, joining a membership site, whatever. If you’re still at an earlier stage of business, you can definitely still invest, but it will probably take you longer to recoup your investment.
If you don’t have a steady stream of income and a plan
for how the content ties into it all. And don’t forget to follow best hiring practices. When you start working with someone, definitely send them an independent contractor agreement to sign. If you’re looking for one of those, there’s a website called businessese.com. I can link to that in the show notes.
If you’re interested, just go to the unconventional rd.com and find this episode and I’ll put a link there. They have a, this is a website created by a lawyer who works with online businesses and bloggers. And she has a content contributor contract on her website that you can purchase. And that would be a really good starting point. If you don’t have a template right now.
And you can pay your writers via direct deposit biweekly. That’s what I used to do out of my business banking account, which was relatively simple to set up. You just need to get that information from the person you’re hiring. So that you can do the direct deposit. But you can also do PayPal, mass payouts as well. If you wish.
Which has relatively low fees for you as the payer. Make sure you get a w nine form as well. If you’re in the U S so that you can issue them a 10 99 tax form for all the payments you gave them. However, if you do decide to pay them via PayPal, you actually don’t need that form and you don’t have to send them 10 90 nines because PayPal is going to be the one sending you the tax forms. If that person reaches a certain payment threshold.
And if you don’t quite have the budget for freelance writer right now, There is a second option that could still help you speed up your writing for a slightly lower cost. And method two is hire a research assistant. So, this is actually something I did while freelancing to help speed up my output. I noticed that my biggest hangup when writing articles was going down 50 million pub med rabbit holes.
It start writing a sentence. Then read an article I wanted to site. And then that would lead me to another article and another and another. And then suddenly I’m reading about something only tangentially related to the topic at hand and you know, 30 minutes have gone by. So to help me avoid this, I decided to hire a research assistant.
Which essentially was someone to help me with the research and outline portion of my writing process. So kind of the day, one stuff that I talked about earlier, And I paid that person 25% of what I was earning as the freelance writer. And I would send the topic to my research assistant. So the title essentially of the blog post, she would then do all the research and outline what she thought would be good topics to cover for the post. And then I would approve it.
And then she would give me bullet point detailed research to mention in each section of the article, basically a list of links to relevant recent citations, plus summaries of the main findings of each so that I could easily talk about them and reference them in the article. And then I would take that really beefed up outline essentially.
And write the post. And this helped so much when I have a clear direction for an article, it can, I can usually bang it out pretty quickly. It’s just the planning and the researching that usually sets me in because I find everything so interesting. So easy to go down a rabbit hole. And I wanted to make sure, obviously when I was hiring someone for this position,
That they were really, really good at researching and that I trusted their decision-making when they were reviewing the lit. So as a part of the hiring process, I actually had the final round of applicants do the research for an article that I had already written for Healthline, but that hadn’t been published yet.
So I had already done the research for this topic. I knew what, what main points I chose to highlight in the article? Based on my review of the literature. And so I could compare what they submitted to what I did when I was writing in the post. And that helped me find someone whose brain sort of worked in the same way as mine.
And that I could trust that they would do a really good job with the lit review. And hiring out this step basically saved me a whole day of prep work. So that I was able to publish content more consistently. And if you’re on a budget, keep in mind that hiring out portions of the writing process to someone else is always an option. Whether that be like I did hiring out the research portion and the outlining portion, you could.
Out outsource the SEO optimization. You could outsource the writing. Perhaps you team up with someone for one specific task, and that helps save you a lot of time and it’s worth the expense for you. So think about what’s your weak point in the writing process? It might not be the same as mine and maybe, you know, partner up strategically with someone.
So that you kind of cut out your bottleneck. If that makes sense. Method number three is free, but much more time-consuming. And that is working with interns and students to create content for your website. So you can team up with university internship programs to become a preceptor and X steps, accept students for their elective rotations.
But one of the things you can teach them during the rotation is how to create content that performs well on the internet. Since this is a vastly different skill and academic writing and bonus points. If you know enough about SEO to teach them some of those skills as well. And this option is technically free, but it does take a lot of time to train interns.
And come up with your systems for working for students. Or working with students. So, you know, maybe don’t undertake this necessarily for a one-off thing for a few weeks. In my opinion, I think this would have the biggest payoff. If you worked with a lot of students and you had a lot of systems in place so that it was pretty streamlined.
And standardized with what the, the student would get out of it and, and how you’re helping them and how they’re also helping you. So eventually you can probably have things pretty streamlined where you have almost like a curriculum that they’ll go through while being your intern that will teach them to create a well optimized blog posts.
But it will likely take a good amount of work on your end to get to that point. Not to mention that many programs only have a few weeks for elective rotations, which is probably only enough time to train somebody. And then have them create, maybe it just a few posts before the cycle begins again. And you would start with the new intern.
And plus after the intern creates the content, you would definitely still have to edit the work and then also give them feedback to help them learn. So in the end you might not find this saves you that much time. It’s just sort of depends on the type of work you’d like to do. Perhaps this sounds great because writing is the part that you struggle with and you’d much rather just edit other people’s work. For example.
Whatever works for you. The main goal obviously is just to do something that helps get more consistent content out for your business. Method number four is accepting guest posts. And this is something I haven’t personally done much of, but it can be a viable way to get free content added to your site.
That was created by other people, essentially with guest posting people submit a post to be published on your site. In exchange for a backlink usually the person writing the post is another blogger who wants contextually relevant back links from other sites in their niche to help boost their own domain authority and help them rank better in the search results. The other person may pitch you a guest post idea, or you can give them some suggested topics, and then they will write the post and most likely include a link to their site within the content somewhere in a natural way.
That makes sense. Or at the very least you would link to their site from the author box on your post. Although Olink within the actual content is always more valuable. So guest posting is usually a win for the website owner, since you probably don’t really need to do much. If the submitted article is really low quality and you’re not happy with it.
You can just say, okay. No, thank you. I, now that I’ve seen this, it doesn’t really quite fit.
But, you know, hopefully the person who submitted it is reputable and it’s a great value add to your site and for your audience.
Just be sure if the guest posts submission is from someone who’s a little random make sure that you’re not diluting the quality of the content on your site. And everything is alignment and in alignment. And everything is in alignment with your brand and all that.
I’ll give you an example of a guest post I excepted many years ago on the unconventional R D site. A fellow RD, Katie Proctor. Reached out and asked if she could publish a guest post on my site about how to connect with brands at Vinci. And this is an example of a great collaboration because yes, my audience of unconventional RDS who are interested in working with brands would love more information on that topic. And it’s an area of work that I don’t personally have much experience in. So it’s a wonderful collaboration.
Katie had previously worked for brands. So she knew exactly what they were looking for when meaning people at conferences and these days, Katie is actually running her own RD influencer network that connects brands with dietitian, bloggers, and social media influencers. So having a post from her on my site that could lead people to discover her business. And of course also help boost her domain authority was mutually beneficial.
Now, if you’ve been blogging at all, you probably have received cold guest posts, inquiries via email from people you have no connection with and who may not even be in your industry at all. 99% of the time, these emails are just copy pasted templates that get mass sent out to website owners, and they’re just spam.
Most of the time legitimate guest posting opportunities will come from actual connections that you’ve made. Either online or maybe even in person. So accepting guest posts could be a viable option for getting more content posted on your site, but it’s unlikely that great guest posting pitches will just fall into your lap.
You may have to do some networking online. Let people know you’re accepting guest posts and stuff like that. Some people even include information about this in their about page or the frequently asked section frequently asked questions section of their site. Or they even have a right for us area in their footer with more information on how people can submit guest posts.
However note that if you were in the beginning stages of blogging and your domain authority is under like maybe 30. People may not want a backlink from your site. Very badly. You may only get submissions from other early stage bloggers. If you wanted to explore this as an option, you could always connect with other food, nutrition and wellness bloggers within the private Facebook group. For my course, SEO made simple since you know, all the people in there at least have some good SEO knowledge and know how to create a valuable guest post.
If you’re not yet a student or you want more information about my course, good SEO, waitlist.com. Enter your name and info, and you’ll get some information in a few weeks about the next enrollment. You could also try posting these opportunities in niche, Facebook groups like dietitians and on the blog or the one for food bloggers, food bloggers, central that I mentioned earlier.
In some accepting guest posts is probably more like a nice added pop of content. Occasionally rather than something reliable that you could expect to receive every single month, but it can still be beneficial when done correctly. And finally method number five is a way to speed up your writing process without hiring someone or working with anyone else.
And that is using AI tools to speed up your writing process. I’ve talked about this before on the podcast, but the AI tool that is most popular right now is called Jasper. It will cost you maybe around a hundred dollars a month. If you want to use it to create long form content like blog posts. And it can help you generate content faster than you may be able to write it from scratch.
If you want an example of how this works. Go back and listen to episode number 73 of this podcast, where I talk about six digital marketing trends to watch in 2022. I walked through an example of how Jasper works and read out an actual example of some texts that Jasper wrote. Keep in mind that Jasper the AI tool does not work for all content types. If you write super research, heavy content, or you’re a recipe blogger, it’s probably not a great fit for you.
If, however, you also publish things like listicles or more wellness type content that doesn’t require extensive citations, it could help you turn out a few more of those types of articles each month without as much mental effort. It can also be helpful for writing intros, outros, social media, captions, and email subject lines, especially when you’re having major writer’s block.
I’m a Jasper subscriber myself. But to be honest, I haven’t really used it for much yet. They had a special deal a while back that I couldn’t pass up. So I’m basically subscribed just in case I want to use it in the future. But I will definitely keep you up to date on how I am using AI in my business. And I might even have our friend Krissy Carol, come back on the podcast and talk more about this in depth as well. Since I know she’s a huge fan and has even spoken at conferences about this topic.
So those are my five tips for outsourcing or speeding up your writing. I’ll recap them real quick for you here. Method number one was hiring a freelance writer. Method number two, hiring a research assistant. Method number three, taking interns or students. Method number four, accepting guest posts and method. Number five, experimenting with AI tools. I hope that was a helpful chat. Again, these are the types of things we discuss every single month.
Inside my course, SEO made simple, which teaches food, nutrition, and wellness bloggers, how to develop an SEO strategy that will bring lots of traffic to your website. So you can use that to build the backbone of your online business, and whether you aspire to build a content based business monetized with ads, affiliate links, and maybe sponsorships, or you aspire to use your blog as a lead generator for your online products or services.
SEO is a critical piece of the online business puzzle. If you want to learn more. Head to SEOfreebie.com to download my free roadmap that shows you the key components of a winning SEO strategy, and exactly how SEO fits into your online marketing matrix. And as always, I hope you have a great week.
Erica Julson is a registered dietitian turned digital marketing pro. She has over 12 years of experience blogging and building online businesses and has taught over 900 wellness professionals inside her signature program, SEO Made Simple.