The 14 Step Editorial Guide For External Content Creators
Are you planning on having external content creators write for you blog?
Great! But wait…
Have you send them some guidelines to follow?
Luckily for you, we have something to help you do just that!
In this blog, we’ll outline the 14 key guidelines you need to include when you are communicating with external content creators, helping you to prevent possible disputes and issues further down the line.
- Keep in mind, you’ll need to already have a blog page on your website to follow this blog successfully.
- By the end of this blog, you will know how you can prepare a solid framework which you can use to send to guest content creators, so that they have a clear understanding of what would be expected if they do decide to write content for you.
- This is a framework which you can send out to multiple external content creators and it’s something you can also return back to in the event that there are any disagreements on what we originally decided on.
Aims For Your Site
By beginning to implement aims for this, you will enable guest creators to write content which is fulfilling the guidelines that your business has in place. You might find it beneficial to create aims which are connected to different phases of your sales funnel like this for example:
- Top of the funnel – then the purpose of the content will be to gain attention from the target audience.
- Middle of the funnel – targeting users on your website who haven’t engaged with the content and so the purpose of the content is lead generation.
- Bottom of the funnel – if you have a healthy inflow of leads already, then you will need to convert these users through your content.
In the event that you have prospects who you would like to retain or work with in future, then you will benefit from creating content which has a purpose of educating viewers.
Tools & Resources
Decide if you’re planning on providing guest creators with any tools or resources which they can use to boost their content even further. For example, do you have any content analysers that you use to access the reading level of the content – are you trying to keep the content in more basic terms so that it can be understood by the majority of people with ease?
You might also find it beneficial to the guest creator to provide them with examples of what you’re looking for – i.e. is there a specific style of article which you find to be more favourable? If so, then let them know this would be a great place to get inspiration from. You might even have some blog content on your website that you would like them to follow the example of so they know what type of direction you’re looking for.
Process of Submission
You’re going to need to outline some key details to guest creators – i.e. how long after they submit the content will it be viewable on the website? Through you doing this, you’re going to help guest creators know the process that your organisation has and the standards that they are going to need to meet to be successful.
So, now you’re going to need to list out some areas of your niche you’d like to cover and would be useful for guest creators. You may find benefit in getting an expert in your niche to write a blog post on a specific area that you are not as strong on, or do not have extensive experience on.
You’re going to need to pinpoint just who your ideal prospects are and why are they interested in the content that you provide? By giving your guest creators this information, they will be able to create content which is of interest to that specific area of your market to grab their attention.
You’re going to need to outline your approach towards search engine optimisation, this is so guest creators are going to know what approach to SEO they can take when writing content for your website. It might be wise to let them know that you could make alterations to the content that they have written to make it more SEO-friendly.
You will need to outline how imagery can be incorporated into the content – you will need to let guest creators know whether you’d like them to send the imagery across with the written content or if you are planning on choosing the imagery themselves. If you let guest creators provide an image of their own, what license will they need to have?
You’re going to need to decide whether it is long-form or short-form copy, ensuring that you make it crystal clear to the external content creators exactly what you need from them.
Is A Biography Section Needed?
It is important to keep in mind that some guest creators may like the idea of having a bit about them on your website once they have written some content for you, as it gives them more exposure. Not only that, it can have positive effects for you too, as it gives you a prime opportunity to start building up backlinks for your website.
If you have overall styling rules when it comes to your blog content, then your guest creators will need to be aware – i.e. is there a specific tone you want them to use that is in-keeping with your brand’s image?
Will Content Be Paid?
You need to make it crystal-clear in your guidelines whether or not you pay guest creators to be featured on your website when they write content for you. If you do pay them, what are your terms – i.e. is it based on the results you get or a lump-sum that you pay?
Policy For Re-Posting
Does your business have a re-posting policy – i.e. if the content has been posted elsewhere, are you happy for it to be on your site, or does it have to be completely brand-new content? It is key to keep in mind that being willing to have content that is already posted as a blog elsewhere on your own site could have negative effects on your SEO (it could result in you being flagged for duplicate content).
Policy With External Links
It is key that you have set boundaries in terms of what can and can’t be done in relation to links – i.e. can external links be included within content or just some details about the author.
If you do allow links to be included through your website, then do you have any nofollow or dofollow structures in place? By providing instructions you will help the guest creators to understand what type of links they are able to include within the content that they write. In the event that you would not want any links to be included, then you will need to let guest creators know that no links can be used at all, and so they will not gain the SEO benefits from writing content for your website.
Issues Relating To Copyright
You’re going to need to take into account copyright problems – i.e. are guest creators able to take the content that they write for you and use it across multiple websites, or can they use bits and pieces of content which will refer back to your original blog post?
This is all information that you will need to take into account, so that you know it has been made clear in the agreement if you are the owner of the content and so hold the copyright rights for the content.
You’re going to need to take into account what approach you’re going to use in the event that you find the content someone has submitted to you is actually ripped from another website/source – what steps are you going to need to take to resolve the issue?
Thanks for reading!
We hope that you found this checklist useful and that it will help you towards creating a basic framework which you can supply to guest content creators to help them ensure that the content that they create for your site is both compliant with the relevant legislation as well as to the standard that your organisation requires.
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