Passive Income Case Study: Content Strategy - Stevie Tee

Passive Income Case Study: Content Strategy

Ok so this is the fifth installment of the Passive Income Case Study, where I am taking you through the steps I go through to set up a new niche site. So far we’ve discussed:

Niche Selection Part 1
Niche Selection Part 2
Setting Up a New Website

Today I want to move onto content strategy. Now I know in an earlier installment of this Case Study I may have said that I intended to do all the work on the content for this site myself, and I fully believed that when I wrote it. However, writing content takes a lot of my time, especially when there is research to be done – as there is in this case. I know a damn site more about the Orient Express now than I did before I started this project, but actually sitting down and converting that knowledge into prose that is both informative and engaging will take more time than I actually have. So instead I have decided to head over to odesk and hire myself a writer.

I’ve used Odesk to hire what I call project based virtual assistants many times so I have a portfolio of good writers to call upon, but in this case I won’t be using them Insead I will take you through the process I use when hiring somebody new.

Start by visiting Odesk (affiliated link), and registering an account. It’s been a while since I went through the registration process, but it is quick and painless. At some stage you will be required to associate a credit/debit card with your account, but I don’t think you have to do this straight away. The registering of your card details is important because obviously it allows you to pay the people you are hiring.

When you are ready you can post a job. Because this is website content we are interested in I naturally choose the ‘Writing and Translation’ category and the sub-category ‘Website Content’. A short but succinct title will do, such as ’6 Articles Required for Website about the Orient Express’. This immediately informs the prospective contractor as to the nature of the Job.

What I then tend to do is leave Odesk for a moment and head over to Google docs where I open a new document and start writing up exactly what I want from the Job: See here for the document I am using for this job:. I mark the document as publicly available on the web, but don’t typically include any information about the URL the articles will appear on.

Then back to Odesk and I will post something like this in the actual Job Description:

Looking for a talented writer with VERY STRONG English writing skills to provide xx articles on the subject of whatever.

The articles should be a minimum of xxx words.

Please supply a sample of your writing with your application and please note I may ask for a further sample (no more than paragraph) based around the actual topics I want you to write about. If you can not do this please do not apply.

The Article Topics can be found here:
!Link to Google Docs!

Here is the link to Job posting

This is fairly explicit and hopefully lays out exactly what I am after so if applicants are still interested they know what they can expect from the Job. I always make it a fixed price contract and for content that I will feature on my own sites (as opposed to articles being written for back-linking purposes) I tend to offer $6-$10 per article with minimum of 500 words. The more money you offer the better quality candidate you receive.

Which leads us nicely onto the next section: sorting through the candidates. Now the thing about odesk is this. There are many writers on there with a less than perfect grasp of the English Language, so you need to make sure that your chosen contractor is up to the task – that is why I always add the caveat of requesting a sample paragraph for the niche they will be writing in – this gives me the perfect opportunity to assess their writing style. As mentioned above, the more money you offer the more likely you will find someone with a firm grasp of English grammar so try not to go in too low if you can help it. Depending on how attractive the Job offer is you can receive a flood of applicants. I tend to apply a default filter, looking first for Native English Speakers – this includes Americans, Canadians, Australians etc, but also the Filipinos are a decent option as well, since they learn English from a very young age and will work cheaply. I like the personal touch, so tend to avoid anyone who claims to run a business employing staff members to write the content.

You can hire as many writers as you need for the job, or you can pick one and close the advertisement. There is what odesk calls a work room where you can keep track of the writers who are currently engaged on the project so you can send them messages where appropriate.

Thats the basic process I use to outsource the task of writing, but in addition you should attempt to come up with some sort of structure for the content. I like to build my content around ‘hubs’. A hub is essentially a single page or post in wordpress from which you will link to a number of related posts or pages of content. Structuring your site this way allows you to easily link to the ‘hub’ from the sidebar or the header of your site, effectively creating a global navigation which means that no matter which page you are on you are never more than 2 mouse clicks away from the most important content on the site.

As far as the Orient Express goes, there are a few different services that a visitor may be interested in, these are the Northern Belle, the British Pullman or the Venice-Simplon Orient Express. I can create 3 hubs for these and each one will in turn link out to the specific routes that each service will take. This ‘siloing’ of the important content will hopefully generate potential traffic from the all important long tail – which as any marketer will tell you always converts better than the bolder more general terms.

So that’s it. By the time this post goes live, I should have the first of the hubs up on the site so you can get a flavour of what I am talking about. I contacted red letter days affiliate team and they have graciously provided me with a couple of bespoke banners for the site as well as an exclusive 5% discount code – which goes to show that “ask and you shall receive” is still a motto to live by. You will also notice that it has a logo. Now I did debate whether to do a blog post about the logo, but to be honest I have a graphics designer that does these for me. She’s cheap and she’s worked with me for a few years. If you are drop me a line I will provide you with her contact details – just don’t keep her too busy is all I ask :)

Next time I will talk about the link building strategy I hope to employ, but until then I have other sites to work on, enjoy ;)

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