I work with a lot of writers from around the world. That statement never fails to fill me with wonder, even after all this time. I am not limited to correspondence and work with those who are in my local area. I can find top notch talent to hire or collaborate from every country on Earth.
From the United States, to Europe, to South Asia, I have a team of trusted content creators that I have had the privilege of doing amazing things with.
When I first started expanding online to find content marketers outside of my country, I will admit I was a little nervous. It seemed like such a huge undertaking. First I had to find them and then we had to come up with a way to collaborate and manage those teams from a remote location. Could it really work?
The answer is: yes!
Not only does it work, but it can be seamlessly integrated into any content marketing strategy and I have found my most solid content marketing teams have been ones that span across continents. Because I am not limited to geographic location, I have my pick of talented creators that are just as passionate about the work as I am.
Find Your Team Members
Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t real work involved with finding and managing the perfect content marketing team. I can honestly admit that of the dozens of interviews I have conducted, I have hired less than ten percent. It was important to me to find content marketers who were reliable, dedicated, creative, passionate and able to internalize and visualize the brand. You won’t find that just anywhere.
So that is your first step: building your team. Where do you find them?
My first step is going for those I have worked with before. Networking and connections are important in this business and chances are you have a handful of marketers, writers, editors, videographers, podcasters, graphic designers, copywriters and others that you have met over time. It is also a smart idea to ask for recommendations around your current friends and social media groups.
Other sources are sites like Upwork (yes, you really can find quality contractors there, if you are willing to pay the industry standard), remote job boards, independent contractors and community-generated lists like the one we maintain over at MyBlogU.
Remember that freelancers are looking everywhere for gigs, especially long term ones where they can really show off their talents. Spread yourself out to find them.
Bringing The Team Together
Many how-to’s I have seen will suggest having a strategy already in place before you find your team. I agree that you should have some fundamentals established, like the tone of the branding, what you are trying to achieve and some basic ideas. But if you’ve just brought together a gang of top tier talent, why wouldn’t you use them?
Set up a small presentation that they can follow, get them together for a remote brainstorming session and see how the ideas flow. I find typing easier than phone calls: People seem to feel more confident when text-chatting together. It is more liberating. So I like using Slack for keeping my team together to brainstorm and determining further steps:
You will end up with something incredible by the end of it because you will have the creative flow and experience of the team you chose.
From there, you can refine it into something that fits fully into your brand image, as the head of that team. It will also give you a chance to foster a sense of community within that team. They will be working together, after all, and it isn’t as easy to connect across the world as it is seeing one another face to face in an office every day.
These brainstorming sessions should happen at least somewhat frequently. Too many and you will waste precious time. But there is nothing wrong with having a sit down every other week so everyone can discuss where they are in the project and where things are going. In the meantime, they can collaborate as needed.
Having The Tools For The Job
You are going to need plenty of tools to keep things organized. While a lot of platforms have come out in the past few years, I am an old devotee of the classics. For all central communication and planning, I prefer Slack. You can create channels for everything, including different elements of your content marketing strategy.
An example of a channel list might look something like this:
- General Chat
- Video Content
- Blog Content
- Weekly Editorial Calendar
- Social Media Posts
- Leaves of Absence
This is very similar to a channel list that I had for a team Slack not long ago, which helped us to remain organized. It also allows you to open individual chats which can help with one on one collaboration, something that is very important since a good content strategy will incorporate all elements of those genres, not separate them. There are many more productivity tools helping business owners to keep teams together, so you may want to do some digging.
Another tool I always include my remote team in is Text Optimizer which is a semantic analysis platform driving content ideation and research. I find it doing the best job prompting my team to write more indepth content as they are forced to cover related concepts and entities to achieve a higher score at Text Optimizer:
I always ask my team to score a minimum of 70 in Text Optimizer before submitting a piece for publication.
Another must have tool is a style guide and a writing checklist. I cannot overstate how much you need one and how much your team needs to follow by it. This is the one item I would say you have to have before you get your team started. It should be a requirement that they read through the guide and keep it on hand at all times when creating content.
While editing is a natural part of content, rewriting everything because your team wasn’t on the same page is not. Your style guide will tell them lengths, tone, certain styles of language, imagery, brand colors, how to write descriptions and a lot more. They will be glad to have the guide on hand because it will make everyone’s job a lot easier.
I have found Zenkit a perfect tool for maintaining our writing checklists and mindmaps for developing content ideas.
- Managing a remote team is not easy but building one has lots of benefits, from saving on office space to uniting people with different perspectives;
- To find writers use a variety of tools and resources. Look at your current connections, try Upwork and MyBlogU. Good and loyal writers are hard to come by but it is well worth the effort;
- Slack is a perfect tool to keep everyone on the same page. But there are more tools that help you to build a successful content marketing team, including Zenkit for managing your to-do list and Text Optimizer for content research.
With a little bit of searching and experimenting, you will be able to set up a remote team collaboration routine which will put your company above of competition. Good luck!