Creating blog content that drives revenues for your business requires a specific skillset. You need writers, a graphic designer, and an editor. As you might not need a full-time editor, hiring a freelancer could be the best solution. Here’s how to hire a freelance editor for your business’s blog.
If you haven’t hired an editor before, you might not fully understand what they do and why they are essential to growing your content marketing efforts.
Unlike hiring a freelance writer, an editor requires a different skillset; and one that can be hard to find.
As we explore how to hire a freelance editor for your blog, we’ll discuss:
- What they do
- How an editor is different from a writer
- Where to hire one from
- What to pay them.
Why does your blog need an editor?
An editor is the glue that holds all of the moving parts of your blog together. They are responsible for setting the direction, hiring (and sometimes firing), ensuring there’s an editorial calendar that the team sticks to, and maintaining a consistent tone across every article.
Hiring an editor might seem like an unnecessary expense if your business only has a small team, yet one will ensure you publish new blog posts regularly, have the right processes in place, and allow you to focus on running your business.
You probably don’t need a full-time editor, just someone different from whoever writes articles for your website.
What’s the role of an editor?
What confuses many people when I suggest hiring an editor is a lack of understanding. Before you can learn how to hire a freelance editor, you need to know what they do and how they help you reach your content marketing goals.
An editor’s role is to set the tone and the overall direction of the business’s blog using the goals and KPIs set by the business owner.
They are responsible for creating a house style guide that ensures a consistent tone regardless of the writer. Also, they are in charge of the editorial calendar for the year. It’s down to the editor to deliver on the marketing goals set at the start of the year.
As a leader, the editor has a budget that’s tied to an estimate of the cost of running the blog. It’s up to them to ensure they maximize the budget by hiring smart and managing costs.
Hiring (and firing)
Running a business blog involves more than just writers. You probably need a graphic designer to find and edit photos and create illustrations. Also, you’ll need someone responsible for uploading and formatting posts to the blog.
Occasionally, you’ll need a web developer to ensure everything looks up to date and the website is secure. You might be able to take care of WordPress updates but it’s worth working with a professional to keep the website fresh,
SEO is another resource worth investing in, whether you hire a consultant or add a team member. Spending on SEO also involves buying tools such as SEO Powersuite.
Finally, the editor also can fire non-performers. If you’re working with freelance writers from Upwork, it could mean you don’t order from them again. However, it could mean sacking an employee.
By far, the editor’s biggest role is ensuring a consistent tone across the entire blog and correcting any mistakes, including spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Anyone can check their writing using Grammarly, but a great editor will bring your words to life.
How does the editor work with the team?
The editor is there to lead the team. They are there to set tasks, solve problems, and ensure deadlines are met. It’s also their job to encourage team members in their professional and personal development. On top of this, they’ll continue to write some articles, usually on the trickier topics.
Is it easy to find a good editor?
As with other creative roles, finding the right editor for you can be difficult. Due to the mix of skills needed, you typically can’t ask any old writer to step up into the editorship.
It’s worth looking for a writer who has a deep understanding of the English language and appreciates the intricacies present in English. They should be able to spot and fix mistakes and suggest changes.
They should understand how to build a keywords strategy that enables the website to rank for the business’s key topics. It’s also worth them understanding the basics of WordPress or whatever CMS the website uses.
As a manager, you need someone who can work with creative people who need a gentler approach.
The ideal editor exists and has a good mix of skills, most of which have been honed over many years. They continue to develop their skills and are happy to mentor their team to improve performance.
Should you hire an editor or a writer first?
Which came first; chicken or egg? We still don’t know! It’s the same when considering who to hire first.
There is a simple solution. You might want to start as the blog’s editor and hire writers. In this situation, you would remain in charge of building the keyword plan, polishing articles, and ensuring you exceed your content marketing goals.
However, if you’re already busy running your business and have the budget, you might want to outsource the entire process to an editor who can create the right structure and hire a team to work with them. Of course, this will be more expensive but allows you more freedom.
A third option is to start as the editor, build out processes and hire the team members while looking for or training someone to take over the role in 6 months. By the time you’re ready to hand it over, you’ll be up and running, and have a better idea of who to hire for the role.
I recommend this option to the majority of my client as it allows them to start a blog in the right way, yet have a time frame to hand it off to someone else while refining the job role. When they hire an editor, the role and responsibilities are clearer.
How much should I pay a freelance editor?
Unlike a freelance writer who might have a set price per article, an editor is a more fluid role that’s harder to pin down. So you’ll need to think about paying differently.
I’d encourage you to hire them for at least a half-day per week on a generous amount. Doing so will ensure they have plenty of time to manage the team, build and maintain the editorial calendar, and take care of the admin tasks.
If you pay your editor per hour, they are likely to undercharge as it can be difficult to calculate the exact number of hours they spend or rush through tasks as they attempt to minimize their cost to the business.
Of course, your editor is working with a budget. So there is a need to manage costs. However, how you treat managers does trickle down, so it’s worth being fair and paying them accordingly.
Even if you end up paying your editor 50% more per hour than your highest-paid writer, the investment will be worth it as they will be under more pressure to deliver a good return on the cash.
How to hire a freelance editor that will grow your blog
Unlike working with freelance writers, it can be tricky to know how to hire a freelance editor for your business’s blog. A good editor has a wide skillset that includes people management, creative writing, SEO, and formatting. They are more than a writer!
As with hiring a new staff member, it’s worth starting with a 3 or 6-month trial. Before hiring anyone, consider spending a few months doing the role yourself and building out the process and template needed. So when you hire an editor, they can hit the ground running.
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