As you may have noticed State of Digital is a group blog. Which means that its not just one person writing all of the content, but many more. On this site we have a few of the best bloggers in the business producing great content just for you. There are many group blogs out there and running a group blog seems easy. After all, you don’t have to produce all the content yourself, and with a bloggersteam like we have it should be easy as hell. Well…: wrong! Yes, the fact that great content comes from the different bloggers is the absolute plus for this website. It makes or breakes the success. But to get to that success you need to lay a good foundation. And if you are blogging for business it can even be hardere. In this post I’d like to share with you some tips on how to run a group blog. Based on my experience here and on Searchcowboys. I know, it’s not about search, but I hope it will benefit you.
Tip 1: Communicate with your bloggers
As said in the introduction: the bloggers make or break the success in a group blog. If you don’t care about your bloggers don’t start a group blog, just do it on your own. And if you do have that group of bloggers be sure to communicate with them. Let them know what you are doing with the blog, ask them for their input. Get them involved. An involved blogger will not only write more often, they will also write better content. Plus, remember: you are working as a team and teams need to communicate to keep improving. There are many ways you can communicate with your team. Send group-emails, chat with them and meet up with them if you can. Just make sure they know who you are and that you care about your team.
Tip 2: Create a schedule with deadlines!
Probably the biggest challenge you are facing when running a group blog is to get the bloggers to write and especcially to get them to write what you want. In my experience the best thing to do is not to wait until they produce but to ask them to produce at a specific time. Yes, deadlines. It sounds like a ‘real’ newsroom like this but it is the best way to work. Make a schedule in which every blogger has a deadline (at least once a month I would say) on which date he has to produce. And be sure to remind the bloggers of the fact they have a deadline. If you are strict they will produce at the times you want and you will be sure you have the right content on those days. Plus they won’t go ‘in each others way’ and each blogger will have the same time to be in the spotlight when their posts go live.
Tip 3: Make agreements on who owns the content
If you run a blog and you have multiple bloggers writing for you, you might want to be the full owner of the content. Well, I’m sorry, but you’re not. Every blogger can put up his content and take it down whenever he wants to. Legally he owns his own content. Unless… you make an agreement. If you decide you want to be the full owner of the content you have to make a contract with the bloggers which states they will hand over all the rights to the content to you. You will then own the content. In some cases this is a good way to go, especcially if your a blogging for business with you company for example. For other blogs (like State of Search) it could be less interesting. What you can do however, is agree with the bloggers they will not post the exact same article on other places (including their own blogs) so you won’t run into duplicate content issues.
Tip 4: Do live blogging and sent bloggers to the conferences
A very good way of getting attention for your blog if you are writing for a specific industry is to cover conferences in your industry. For State of Search its clear: we cover search and social media conferences. The fact that we do, gives us some attention world wide and it gives us the chance to meet up with those in the industry who can then spread our word. But there is another benefit in covering events: you get to give back something to your bloggers. With a press- or bloggerspass around their neck you can sent bloggers to the conferences they would otherwise have not visited because they couldn’t afford the tickets. Its a fun trip for them too! By sending your bloggers your are giving them something back. Be sure on one thing though: create a schedule for which articles you want written on a conference. When you do get these passes you want to make it worth while for the conference organizers to actually give you the passes. So produce!
Tip 5: Think well about who can blog for you
A group blog means multiple bloggers. Sometimes you see blogs in which they ‘let everybody in’ just because that way they think they will get as much content out as possible. This usually backfires. Its very important to think about who will be blogging on your group blog. First of all you have to think about the right amount of bloggers. You don’t want just two or three, you want more, but if it becomes too much, bloggers will become more anonymous and people won’t be recognizing the bloggers. This will not benefit your brand. Make sure there are just enough bloggers to get you the content you want and enough to give everybody the attention they need. Second you have to look at what the bloggers are like. I’ve seen it too many times that bloggers either just want to write for you to get those links back to their sites (I recently saw one who put a link back to their company site on the same term every post the blogger made, that is horrible) or the ones who write one article and then dissapear. Be sure that the bloggers you pick are dedicated to your blog (they don’t have to only blog for you but they must be ‘part of the team’ so must have the feeling they belong with you) and that they are dedicated to their job.
Tip 6: Give them a profile page they will link to
Why do bloggers want to write for you? There are a few reasons. The most important one should be that they want to be part of what you are doing. That they love what they are doing and want to share that with the world on your blog. But bloggers are also in it for the attention. Blogging can get you pretty far (look at me, I’ve gotten where I am by blogging) and bloggers need to have the idea that they get enough attention. Next to having their posts on the homepage, one of the best ways to give them that attention is to give them a profile page. Let them get their bio in, show the world what the blogger is all about. Create that place where people can find all the information about the blogger they need. Be sure that a reader can reach that page from every post the blogger makes! With the bloggerspage you will have multiple benefits. Next to the ‘stage’ you are giving your bloggers its a good place for linkbuilding. Many will refer to the blogger by using the bloggerspage. Check your backlinks and you will see you will get links back to the bloggerspages more than you think. Finally the bloggerspage is the page where you should put in links to the bloggers personal sites. That way they are sure of having the links they want and they don’t need to put in the links in their posts.
Tip 7: Be flexible but remember: its your blog!
The last thing you should remember when running a group blog is that you have to be flexible. If someone doesn’t make that one deadline, don’t kick him out right away (do it the second time 😉 ). And be sure you are flexible with your content. Make room for your bloggers when its needed and also move them aside when its needed. After all: it still is your blog, so you call the shots. It’s actually just like running a company ;). p.s be sure to check out the profile pages of our bloggers 😉