10 Tips to Find a Freelance Blog Writer Who’s a Good Fit

find a freelance blog writer good fit

You know that content marketing is worth it. But boy do you find it hard to keep up with the constant, ongoing need to produce new content. And good content at that.

You’re not alone. In a survey of over 1,000 content marketers, Curata found that creating enough content on a regular basis was the second biggest challenge marketers named. Writing useful blog posts that are well researched, accurate, and substantial takes a lot of work. And internal marketing teams can quickly get overtaxed.

One possible solution is hiring a freelance blog writer. Freelance bloggers who know content marketing and SEO can deliver content that’s well written and crafted to meet your business goals. But finding a good freelance blog writer is hard. And what’s even harder—and just as important—is finding a good freelance blog writer that’s a fit for how you work.

Why Fit is So Important When Hiring a Freelance Blog Writer

In years of working as a freelancer, I’ve learned that finding and working with new clients is a bit like dating. The first few interactions, including early assignments, are often a test in compatibility. When a client and I aren’t compatible in our working styles—even if I like the business or my main contact there is really nice—it won’t be a good working experience.

Taking the time to find a content marketing writer that’s a good fit for your company’s preferences and goals, instead of just one that’s a good writer, will make your life easier in a number of ways:

  • The process of working with them will go more smoothly.
  • You’re far less likely to deal with multiple rounds of edits.
  • You won’t have as much stress from dealing with minor conflicts or misunderstandings.
  • And by getting it right from early on, you can save yourself the trouble of having to start the search all over again after a failed start.

How to Find a Good Freelance Blog Writer

Before you can find the right blogger for you, you need to figure out where to find a good freelance writer to begin with.

I get it, it’s hard. And if you’ve tried job boards like Upwork and Fiverr, you may be feeling hopeless after getting a flood of responses from writers that don’t look very good.

That’s because job sites like those are full of low-paying gigs, so experienced writers who are picky about finding good clients mostly don’t bother with them.

1. Start with referrals and recommendations.

Before you go to any online options, start asking around. Between networking events, conferences, or even past jobs, most marketers have plenty of other friends in the industry. One of them probably knows a good writer or two. Send out some emails or LinkedIn messages. If you’re in a good professional Facebook group or Slack, ask there.

If you already have a freelance blog writer you’re working with and have realized it’s time to find more, ask them as well. Freelancers often know other freelancers. And most of us like helping each other out when given the opportunity, especially if it also helps out a client.

2. Pay attention to bylines on blogs you like.

If recommendations didn’t do the trick, think about the blogs in your industry you like the most. Pull up some of the posts you like and scroll down to the bottom to see if there’s an author bio. If the writer is a freelancer, often it will say so right in the bio and it may even include a link back to their website. For example: this is what my bio looks like on one client’s site.

If there’s a name, but not a bio, do a few minutes of sleuthing to see if you can find the writer on Google or social media. Freelancers usually have both a website and a social presence, and provide information that makes getting in touch easy. And if the person you contact says they’re overbooked or isn’t interested in the type of project you offer, you can go back to #1 and ask them if they have any colleagues they can recommend.

3.  Search on LinkedIn.

This is one of the exact things the professional social media networking site is for. When you search the site for freelance bloggers, you’ll see writers who are connected to people you know first. That means you can vet them by seeing who you know in common and checking with your shared connection to see what they think of the writer.

Their LinkedIn profile will share some information about their qualifications and experience, and may even include some writing samples. I recommend also looking for a link to their website and reviewing the information there before contacting them.

4. Try good, ‘ol Google.

If those steps haven’t yielded the results you want, time to turn to the main place we all go to solve our problems. Here’s the thing to know about using Google to find a freelance blog writer: you may have to do some digging to find the websites of freelancers.

If you do a search for terms like “freelance copywriter” or “freelance blog writer,” you’ll find a lot of results that are either the aforementioned low-quality job boards, or resources on how to become a freelance writer. There are two main ways to get past this issue:

  • Be willing to do some scrolling and clicking to the next page to find the writers’ websites (they are there eventually).
  • Get more specific in your search terms. If you search by niche (“B2B tech freelance copywriter” or “ freelance finance blogger,” or narrow it to locals (“austin copywriter”)  sometimes you’ll get to writer pages faster.

One benefit of this method is that you can trust any writer that shows up in your search knows something about content marketing and SEO. Another is that it gets you straight to the writer website, where you can start checking out their samples and qualifications.

5. If all else fails, create a job ad on a high-quality site.

All the other tactics on this list will help you find writers that already have an established reputation, which is why I put this one last. This one puts you in the position of having writers come to you, which means you have to do more work in going through the applications you get and vetting each one.

But while I warned you away from a few job sites earlier, there are some that are a few notches above Upwork and Fiverr for finding qualified professionals. Most of these will charge either a one-time fee for the posting, or a subscription cost for joining the platform.

If you’re local to Austin, Freelance Austin has a job board to consider as well.

If you go this route, take some time to write a job ad that provides information about the type of work you need a writer to do and the budget you have in mind. Providing project details will save you time from fielding writers that specialize in a different type of work. And with so many freelance job ads that pay pennies, making it clear you have a real budget will affect the quality of applicants you get.

How to Vet Freelance Blog Writers for Compatibility

Hopefully, you now have a number of freelance content writers to consider. Now you need to figure out which of them is a good fit for your business needs.

1. Clarify your process first.

Before you can find out if they’re a good fit for how you work, you need to know how you work. If your team is new to hiring freelancers, then take some time to work out what your ideal working situation looks like. What are your typical processes for planning, creating, and publishing content now? What would be the most seamless, natural way for someone new to fit into them?

If you come to your search with a good idea of what you’re looking for, both in terms of skill and working style, you’ll know the right questions to ask to determine fit.

2. Review their samples.

Don’t skip this step! Before you hire a writer, confirm that you actually like the way they write. That seems obvious, but if you have a big list of names, it could get lost in the shuffle. Look at the writing samples on their website. Make sure you check samples from a couple different clients, so you can better see which aspects of their style and skill are theirs versus that of an editor they work with.

3. Pay attention to what their website says about how they work.

Freelance copywriters don’t want to spend a lot of time fielding clients that aren’t a great fit either, so often they’ll provide some information upfront about how they work and the kind of clients they’re looking for. See if there’s anything on their website that conflicts with the process and preferences you outlined in step one. If so, better to move on to the next person on your list.

4. Come to your first call with questions.

Once you know what you want in the relationship and have taken time to learn what you can about them, set up an interview call. Come prepared with a list of questions you have about how they work. Some of the questions in my list for copywriters will work just as well for those looking to hire writers.

Preparation will make your calls more efficient and make sure you cover all the bases you want to in the time you have. One thing to be aware of: it’s OK to ask about price on a call, but many freelancers will avoid answering straight away and instead send a proposal in writing after the fact. That’s normal, and helps us avoid misspeaking off the cuff before we have a chance to think through the details of the project. Don’t be put off by it.

5.  Treat the initial project as a trial.

Even if you do all this right, there still may be compatibility issues that come out during your first assignment or two. For that reason, it’s often best not to start with a long-term commitment, but instead to stick with a first assignment before deciding what the ongoing relationship will look like.

Be aware that the freelance content writer you hire will probably be doing the same thing though. Don’t treat it merely as a chance for them to to prove themselves to you. If you like their work, you need to prove yourself to them as well.  A good freelance relationship is a partnership with a fellow professional, and things will go better if you approach it that way.

If you need a freelance blog writer right now…

You just happen to be on the website of one. Take a look at my writing samples and some details on how I work, and get in touch if you think we might be a good fit.  

How to Write When You Don’t Have the Energy

Unfortunately, this is a personal subject for me. For the past three years, I’ve dealt with a thyroid-related issue that causes me frequent fatigue (less so now that I have the right meds). On top of that, I’ve had many days where my brain was foiled by allergies (a bigger deal in Austin than the word “allergies” communicates to most people). But I run a business based around writing and I’ve had to keep it up on the bad days as well as the good.

Photo by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash

Photo by Xavier Sotomayor on Unsplash

Over time, I’ve become used to keeping my work going when my brain and body just want to curl up in bed and avoid anything that requires mental energy. And writing takes a lot of mental energy. Yet, somehow I still meet my deadlines.

Some days I’m amazed that’s the case, but apparently I’ve figured something out that works. Suspecting that there are others that struggle with similar issues or different ones that affect your productivity in similar ways, I’m sharing what’s worked for me in the hopes that it might work for you.

It’s unlikely that every item on this list will be useful for every person reading it. But if you find that even just one thing here makes a difference, then that’s something.

  1. Re-shape your to-do list based on priority.

Most of us start off each day aiming to do more than we absolutely have to get done. A lot of the time, that ambition serves us well and helps us stay productive. But some days it can feel like a burden pressing down on us making it harder to get anything on the list done.

When you’re having an off day an overwhelming to-do list isn’t doing you any favors. Carefully review the list and figure out which items on it can wait. You need the sparse energy you have for the writing that has to get done today. Move that to the top of the list, do it first, and then do whatever else you can manage after.

  1. Analyze where your energy goes.

This one’s personal, and extremely useful over the long term. Every person’s going to have different types of work and activities that require a lot of energy from them, while others require less. When you deal with any kind of issue that causes you lower energy levels for certain days or periods of time, knowing how to re-shape your calendar based on the amount of energy you’ll have available is a useful skill.

This is valuable even if you don’t struggle with depression or illness – tracking how your energy levels relate to the work (and play even) that you tackle each day can help you plan your weeks more efficiently. You can minimize tasks that require a disproportionate amount of energy for the value they bring to your work.

For instance, I’m extremely introverted. Adding a networking event into my day is going to use up a lot of the energy I have for work that day, even on a good day. So I know to be strategic in when I plan to attend social events, and know when to forego those plans when the energy just isn’t there. Figure out how the typical tasks you have to deal with in a week compare in this regard so you know which ones to cut down on to conserve the energy you have.

  1. Leave wiggle room in your schedule.

If you’re freelance like me, that will mean leaving money on the table. Sorry.

But when you can’t predict what your days will be like, you have to plan your life in a way that anticipates at least some bad days.

This isn’t a tip that will help much if you woke up this morning feeling fatigued or depressed for the first time, but if it becomes something that happens at all regularly, then you have to start planning on it. Worst-case scenario, if you have nothing but good days for a while, that extra wiggle room gives you time to tackle all those tasks that tend to get put off to later when you’re busy.

  1. Use a social media blocker.

Seriously, it helps. When your brain wants to be focusing on anything but the thing you know you most need to be doing, it can fall into the well of endless social media messages. That’s probably not the only distraction in your life you have to grapple with, but it’s one you can do something about.

I use Focus. It costs a small fee, but it’s probably improved my productivity enough to cover its cost several times over. When you genuinely want to be focusing and your brain won’t cooperate for whatever reason, getting a message that reminds you of your good intentions the moment you go to pull up Facebook can be a helpful reminder to get back on track.

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  1. Give work out breaks a try.

I get it. I understand if you’re looking at the computer screen right now feeling so tired or overwhelmed or beat down by life that this is likely the last piece of advice you’ll want to hear.

It’s counterintuitive when it feels like you have so much to do and not enough energy to do it to take time out of your day for exercise. But I’ve found that it sometimes kick-starts my brain and gives me a couple of hours of productivity afterward. It might not do the same for you, but it’s worth a try.

  1. Watch what you eat.

Pay attention to insensitivities or ingredients that regularly make your drowsy or distracted. I know having a carb-heavy lunch brings my productivity down in the afternoon, for example. How people react to food varies, so saving carbs for dinnertime might not make a lick of difference to you. But do some experimenting with cutting certain ingredients out for a period of time to see if you see any difference. Or start making notes of how you feel throughout the day and what you ate so you can see if there’s a relationship.

Changing your diet won’t make something like a thyroid problem or depression disappear entirely, but cutting out something that makes you feel a little bit worse will help you feel a little bit better. When you’re starting from a place of feeling crummy, that little bit of difference can help.

  1. Try supplements or herbal teas.

Look, for all I know it may be the placebo affect, but I’ve found this tea helps when I’m really struggling to focus. And making tea out of fresh ginger (I add in some mint and lemon or lime) seems to help with headaches or allergy-induced brain fog. Ginseng or gingko supplements work for some people. B-12 or vitamin D supplements may work for others.

Your doctor can run some tests to see if you’re low on any supplements that are good for energy and brain health. And you can try out some different options to see if something works for you.

  1. Give yourself a break.

The inspirational stuff you see on social media or in productivity articles for people that don’t have illnesses/depression/whatever you’re dealing with right now may be good for other people, but they can make those of us struggling to finish the bare minimum feel rotten. Know that it’s ok not to hold yourself to someone else’s standard when you’re having a bad day (or week, or month).

Feeling stressed out and hopeless won’t help you get the things you need to done. Do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up what you accomplished today is less than you’d hoped.

 

I’m not a doctor or medical expert, so if you’re dealing with something that you think may benefit from talking to someone who is, don’t let this post be a substitute. Getting the right meds made a huge difference in my ability to get work done without having to lean on these tips and tricks quite so often. But having a few more tricks in your bag besides to help out when things are hard doesn’t hurt. I hope these can help you get through the writing that has to get done today and that your tomorrow is better.

 

 

 

 

Should My Content Writer Be a Subject Specialist?

hire a content writer

Anyone that thought content marketing was a fad a few years ago is scrambling to catch up now. Businesses working to ramp up their content marketing efforts will inevitably need to hire someone for writing help, whether a full-time employee or a freelance content writer. Whichever route you take, you’ll find yourself faced with an important question: should you hire someone that’s an expert in your industry, or focus more on writing experience?

If you can find someone that has both, then you’ve hit the jackpot. But you may have a hard time finding that person, or find that once you do they’re either out of your price range or fully booked up.

If you do have to choose, which route should you take?

The Pros of Hiring a Content Writer That’s a Subject Specialist

When your hire someone who already has experience in your space, you’ll face less of a learning curve in getting them up to speed on the industry and audience.

They’re probably already following the top publications and blogs in your industry and will therefore have an easier time spotting trends and recognizing newsworthy topics than someone new to the space. They’re also likely to already have valuable contacts in your industry they can use as sources or contact about collaborative opportunities to strengthen your content and promotions.

And you know they’re interested in the subject. Someone who’s bored by what they’re writing about won’t be as likely to deliver good work as someone who actively cares about the industry or topic area.

The Pros of Hiring a Content Writer That’s a Generalist

If you find a content writer that’s written on a wide range of subjects, it doesn’t mean they’re not an expert on anything, it can mean they’re an expert at being a content writer. Most of the best content writers know how to dig in and do the research to learn about whatever topic they’re covering.

Those research skills are crucial to being a good writer at every stage in the process – even subject specialists need to know how to do research in order to produce quality content – generalists simply put them into use in overdrive in the first few months of working with a client in a new space. While a generalist content writer will never gain the level of expertise in a subject that, say, someone with a PhD or 10 years of experience would have, you’d be surprised at how quickly a good researcher can get up to speed on the main knowledge and topics needed to write content on the subject.

In addition, while a generalist content writer may be learning about your industry from scratch, they’ll likely already come to you with knowledge of writing in ways that are optimized for SEO and well formatted for the web, and come equipped with the adaptability required to learn about new subjects and audiences as they go. That adaptability also lends itself to staying on top of and responding to factors that shape trends in content marketing, like updates to the Google algorithm or new technologies that come onto the scene.

And sometimes a content writer that’s not a subject specialist will still have some experience or familiarity with the subject you need. Everyone’s got friends and family members that do different types of work than they do, and everyone has interests and knowledge that go beyond the things they do at work. Maybe a candidate has no clips related to elementary education, but it turns out their best friend is a 2nd-grade teacher so they have constant access to insights they wouldn’t get from a google search. You’d have to contact them first to find that out.

What to Look for in a Generalist Content Writer

Now that I’ve spent several paragraphs telling you all the great skills and knowledge a generalist content writer could have, I have to clarify that being a generalist doesn’t necessarily mean a content writer will be good at all those things. You have to do a little work yourself to figure out if a content writer you’re considering checks all the important boxes.

For a generalist to be a good content writer, they need to be:

How do you find out if someone you want to hire is all those things? To start, check their writing samples. You can get a feel for how much research goes into their work and how well they seem to know the various subjects they tackle.

Pay attention to the way they format things. Are their blog posts long lumps of text, or do they use ample white space and headings to make skimming easier? Do they turn lists into bullet points and link to relevant sources?

Finally, have an interview (over the phone is usually good enough). On your call, do they ask good questions? Do they pay attention to your answers and seem to get what you’re looking for? Ask them about their process and how they work on understanding the audiences they write for.

More Important: Find a Writer That’s a Good Fit

I’m writing about the question of subject specialist vs. generalist because it’s one that comes up a lot, but personally I don’t think it’s the right question. You should focus on finding someone that’s not only skilled as a content writer, but specifically a good fit for the way you work.

To do that, you first need to question yourself about what your work habits and preferences are:

  • Do you typically prefer to communicate by email or over the phone?
  • Do you usually plan things out well in advance (a month or more), or do you commonly need last-minute work?
  • Do you treat deadlines as set in stone, or are you ok with some flexibility?
  • Do you want someone that you can turn to for more than one type of work? For example, do you want someone who will run your social media profiles as well as write blog posts?
  • Do you want someone who brings their own strong voice to the work, or are you looking for a skilled ghostwriter who can write in the style of your executives?

If you’re a fly-by-your-seat kind of person and you hire a content writer that insists on a clear schedule in advance, then you’re going to have problems. If you prefer all your communication to be over the phone and you hire a writer who considers calls unproductive and insists on email, then you’re going to have problems.

Many potential problems you could have with a content writer can be avoided if you have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in advance and seek out someone that meets those needs. If they’re a good writer and you can establish a positive business relationship that works for both of you, a lot of the rest can be learned as you go.

Navigating the Tricky World of Hired Guest Posting

hired guest postingWith every year, as more businesses start doing content marketing, it gets harder and harder to be one of the brands people find and follow. Building a large library of valuable content on your own website is still an important part of gaining leads and building authority, but it’s no longer enough for most businesses.

You also need to find ways to get your content in front of new audiences. For that, a growing number of brands are looking for ways to get mentions and links on high-profile industry blogs. And freelance writers like me get lots emails from companies hoping we’ll get content about them onto blogs they want to target.

That’s understandable to want, but too often businesses have unrealistic ideas of how hiring a writer for high-profile guest posting works. Here’s a rundown of the main dos and don’ts for hired guest posting.

How Not to Hire a Freelance Content Writer for Guest Posts

I’m sorry to say some businesses and agencies are going about this all wrong. They’re either skirting ethical boundaries in what they’re asking for, or grossly underestimating what’s involved in getting a high-quality guest post published on a popular blog.

Don’t act like it’s one job.

When you’re hiring someone to pitch guest blogs and write a post you’re asking them to do two different kinds of work: writing and PR. While some PR specialists are good at writing, and some writers are experienced in PR, these are two distinct skill sets. Many writers (myself included) will decline the PR part of the work, but you may get lucky and find someone prepared to take on both jobs.

Whatever pricing structure you set up needs to acknowledge the two different types of work at play here and the (often extensive) amount of time that goes into building relationships and sending pitches. You’ll probably need to consider an hourly rate for the PR work, along with a project rate for the writing.

Don’t expect it to be cheap.

In doing research for this post, I came across a job ad looking for “experienced, well-connected bloggers” offering $30-$60 per published guest post. Sorry to break it to you, but you won’t find experienced bloggers willing to write high-quality posts for that amount. And the kind of rushed, low-quality work that might be worth $30 a pop isn’t going to get you featured on the big-shot blogs you want to target.

To come up with a reasonable rate for a guest post worthy of a popular blog, don’t just think double—think 10 times this amount.

I know that’s not what you want to hear, but really high-quality posts—the kind these blogs will publish—take lots of research, lots of time, and lots of work. That’s going to cost you.

Keep your expectations reasonable.

Often a very good idea or post won’t get accepted for reasons no writer or PR person can guess. Maybe the blog already has a post scheduled on a similar topic, or they just decided yesterday they’re moving in a new direction for their blogging strategy. Even if the freelance blogger you hire puts in the legwork, they can get rejected. Understand that there will likely be more misses than hits.

Don’t ask the writer to leverage their own contacts.

Carol Tice recently went so far as to call this kind of writing opportunity a scam. Freelance writers work hard to develop our contacts and earn the trust of our clients. Expecting us to ask those hard-earned contacts for a favor to promote another business just doesn’t make sense in most cases. If a writer sees an opportunity that’s beneficial for both parties – the client and the blog or publication they have a relationship with, then they might feel comfortable reaching out. But don’t demand it or be upset if they turn down that request.

On the other hand, one of the main jobs of a PR professional is developing contacts they can leverage on behalf of their clients. Consider hiring a PR consultant to do what they’re good at, and a writer to do the writing.

Don’t ask for posts that are overly promotional about your business.

I once pitched a piece on a relevant subject for my client to a publication, got accepted, wrote it up and passed it over to the client for review before submitting it. The client went through and added several specific mentions of the company’s product. You probably see where this is going…when I submitted the piece, the editor said “This is great! Except for all those brand mentions. I took those out and now it’s ready to run.”

Very few blogs or publications are going to accept a guest post that’s blatantly promotional. Your piece can’t be all about you. It has to be about something valuable to the blog’s audience. If you don’t get that, you’ll waste a lot of time working on posts and pitches that get no response.

How to Get Hired Guest Posting Right

That’s a long list of don’ts, but that doesn’t mean you  have to rule out the idea entirely. You can hire someone to write guest posts for you in a way that’s legitimate.

Do the pitching and relationship building yourself.

Or hire a PR person for that, as already suggested. Doing all the preliminary work of researching a blog, trying to understand its audience, generating relevant topic ideas, and sending pitches—that’s not writing. When you hire a professional writer to do writing, you get good results. When you hire us for something else that isn’t our specialty, the results will be more mixed.

And as an added note, it especially makes sense to do your own pitching if you want a guest post to go up under your name rather than the name of the freelance blogger you hire.

Be upfront about disclosing your company’s connection to the post.

You don’t get to casually slip in links to your website and hope no one notices. And you certainly don’t get to expect freelance writers to do that for you and risk their reputation in the process. That’s how you lose trust in the online marketing world and alienate the people who could be the best allies for your brand.

Hiring a writer to ghost write guest posts is fine, but will probably cost more.

Some writers aren’t fans of ghost writing. I’ve read some eloquent criticisms of the practice, but I also know a lot of professional copywriters that are happy to do it for the right price. The thing you have to keep in mind though, is if a freelance writer is going to do the hard work of writing a post worthy of a popular blog for the sake of someone else’s business and reputation, the price has to be right.

I know I keep coming back to price, but with good reason. It’s important for you to understand that if you want to take the road of hiring someone to write guest posts, you have to set enough budget aside for it. Guest posting is a competitive arena, especially on the blogs most worth landing a post on. You can’t go halfway on this. If you want to get the benefits of guest posting, you have to be willing to treat it as a serious investment.

Why It’s Time to Re-Consider How You Think About Competition

Austin is a city full of freelancers in general, and freelance copywriters in particular. In this town, meeting other people who do what I do is common. From a competitive perspective, that makes it sound like a terrible place to be a freelance copywriter. In my experience, the exact opposite is true.

Instead of viewing each other as the enemy, we help each other out. I’m part of a freelance referral network that has brought me thousands of dollars in business, much of it sent directly my way by other local freelance copywriters – my so-called “competition.” And I know some of them have profited from jobs I’ve passed on because I was too busy or they weren’t a good fit.

Befriending my competition may just be the best thing I’ve ever done for my business.

How Do You View Your Competitors?

Whenever I encounter clients who insist that nothing they publish can include links or references to their content marketing competitioncompetitors, I usually shrug and oblige, but I always think what a missed opportunity. These are the businesses that share your target audience, and that are probably producing content that would be of great use to them. Is trying to pretend they don’t exist actually going to bring you more business?

If you view your competitors as a threat to the degree that you worry any mention of them could hurt your company, take a minute to analyze why. Is this really a strategic decision, or one borne of fear?

Why Content Marketing Doesn’t Have Room for “Competitors”

The big goal is to provide value to your audience, right? Content marketing is a long-term strategy designed in large part to gain customer trust. You know what makes me really trust a company, if they’re not afraid to admit a direct competitor has done something good.

Whether that’s an impressive piece of content they’re willing to share, or acknowledging that a feature in the competitor’s product makes them the better choice for some customers. Man, I hear that and think: this company is confident in their product and positioning.

Still Skeptical?

All my arguing for this so far has been based on my personal opinions and anecdotes, so I could see someone being unconvinced. But I’m not alone in this thinking. KISSmetrics, one of the top blogs out there in the marketing space, gives tips for growing your social media following that include following your competitors, commenting on their posts, offering to guest post on their websites, and promoting their stuff. But that’s just social media; I argue that there could be a clear value to publishing content that directly mentions your competitors or links to them.

Imagine for a minute that you’re the first person anyone looking for products or services in your industry comes to when they have a question about what to buy. How different would your business be?

Marcus Sheridan pretty much pulled that off with his pool business by publishing content about his competitors – not negative content, just informational stuff. He paid attention to the kind of questions his clients had and he answered them honestly on his website, even when it meant saying something positive about one of his competitors.

If you’re interested in using content marketing to become a thought leader, or even just a trusted brand, then the fear of mentioning your competition has got to go. You don’t have to go out of your way to promote and interact with them (obviously), just be willing to do so when it fits in naturally with your overall strategy. If the product or services you offer are really and truly great, then what do you have to fear?