Have you ever considered building a blog with multiple authors?
How would you manage them?
What kinds of plugins would you use? Is it even worth it?
In this blog post, I'm going to be sharing my experience with turning Become A Blogger into a multi-author blog.
Why Multiple Authors
Since it started back in 2008, it has grown to be the largest online Social Media Magazine in the world.
How did this happen? Well, it was partly because it has some of the best content submitted by over 90 writers. There's now new content there on a daily basis.
Now – imagine trying to do that all yourself. It's not impossible, but it would take a whole lot that the average person, myself included, is not able to do.
You see – QUALITY content is king, and the more you are able to create that kind of experience, the bigger your blog can get.
By leveraging the efforts of others around one common goal, amazing things can happen.
Ok, now lets get into the steps for managing your multi-author blog.
Constructing Your Editorial Guidelines
One of the reasons why multi-author blogs fail is because of the lack of consistency of quality from one post to the next. The best way to avoid this is by having very detailed editorial guidelines.
In these guidelines, you should answer the following questions:
- What type of content are you looking for (how to articles, list posts, etc).
- How do you want your articles formatted?
- How long should the articles be?
- How should they deal with images (where to find, copyright, etc)?
- How should the articles be submitted?
- Anything else that goes along with what you are trying to accomplish.
By doing this, you will increase the chances of having content that suits your blog and that has a relatively consistent quality.
Of course, there will be differences between the voices of the individual authors, but the general flow will be similar.
Finding Great Writers
This is extremely important. Just because someone wants to write for your blog doesn't mean that they should be writing for your blog. You want to make sure that they are good writers and that they meet your standards.
For Become A Blogger, we created a Writers Application Form for anyone to apply. However, we check them out thoroughly to make sure that their content is in line with the goals we have for this blog. If they are, then we're happy to have them join our team. If not, then… well… you know …
Promoting Those Writers
When deciding to start a multi author blog, you’ve decided to build something that’s not about you (well, not you alone). You’ve decided to share the wealth.
If you have people creating quality content for your blog (and remember that quality content is King), it’s only fair for you to find ways to give them exposure.
The best way of doing this is by taking advantage of the author bio box at the bottom of their posts (see the bottom of this post for an example). There are many themes that have a setting that allows you to display the author bio box at the bottom of each post.
In that box, they can have a short bio, a link to their blog and their social media profiles. For some themes you might need a little help, and I’ll talk about that in the Plugins section below.
There are other things you can do to help promote them more, like featuring them in different sections of your site like on your about page and in specific, relevant posts (like this one).
Here are the writers who have contributed content for August. Go ahead and follow them. They are cool people 🙂
- Carlie Hamilton
- Website: http://www.sproutspire.com
- Twitter: SproutSpire
- Facebook: SproutSpire
- Gary Korisko
- Website: http://www.rebootauthentic.com
- Twitter: RebootAuthentic
- Facebook: RebootAuthentic
- Carey Green
- Website: http://www.christianhomeandfamily.com
- Twitter: withCareyGreen
- Facebook: ChristianHomeAndFamily
- Ahmed Safwan
- Website: http://www.tostartblogging.com
- Twitter: ahmedsafwan10
- Facebook: tostartblogging
- Allan Dubon
- Website: http://www.allandubon.com
- Twitter: allandubon
- Facebook: dubon.allan
- Cynthia Sanchez
- Website: http://www.ohsopinteresting.com
- Twitter: OSPInteresting
- Facebook: OSPInteresting
The Article Approval/Submission Process
Before having your writers submit their articles, it’s a good idea to have them submit the title for approval. You (and/or your editorial manager) know what content is on your blog and you know what the other writers are working on.
You don’t want multiple writers writing similar articles and you want the articles to be about topics that are congruent with your message. Once the titles have been approved, they can begin writing.
For the submission process, you can create accounts for the writers and have them submit the article like they would do for creating a post for their own WordPress site.
However, you want to make sure that they can access ONLY the features that they need to submit the articles using the Advanced Access Manager plugin below. This will make it so that they can't publish the post. They can only save it.
Plugins To Make Life Easy
When coming into this process, I knew that I should be able to find WordPress plugins that would make this process easier. Well – I found and tested out MANY plugins for managing various parts of the process. Here are the ones I settled on:
This plugin is the most important because it manages most of the process.
It allows writers to submit content, and then for the editors to go in and fully interact with the writers by giving comments/feedback, asking for more info and basically communicate with then.
What's awesome is that you can manage all aspects of the process all from within the WordPress dashboard.
It also allows you to setup an editorial calendar, and do a number of other things that I don’t use. It’s powerful and very convenient.
When you create a user account in WordPress, the user has access to more features than they need. I’m not one for giving out access to my blog unless I have to.
This plugin allows me to specify, in detail, what each user should have access to.
For the writers, all they need to be able to do is add posts and edit their profile (bio, etc). I use this plugin to block every other feature.
As I already mentioned, we have extensive editorial guidelines for our writers to follow. This plugin allows you to have a checklist right below the post editor to remind writers about important points. Here’s a screenshot of the checklist I have for Become A Blogger.
By default, WordPress allows users to add a few details about themselves. However, it’s very limited. As I already mentioned, I want my authors to be well promoted, which includes links to their Social Media Profiles and recent posts.
This plugin allows them to add all those details to their Become A Blogger profile to be featured at the bottom of their posts and it will look something like this:
Email Marketing For Multi-Author Blogs
I’ve said it many times before, your email list is your most important asset when it comes to your online business. If you are building a multi-author blog, one of your main responsibilities is to get as many people to consume the content as possible. One of the best ways to do this is by using RSS to Email.
RSS to Email
This is a very simple way to have your blog post sent directly to your subscribers via email. I’ve chosen to have it send out a crafted excerpt for each post with a link back to the full blog post.
A very easy way of doing this is by using the Blog Broadcast feature in Aweber, which is the autoresponder service I recommend.
I also got my tech person to design an email template that 1) matched the design of the blog and 2) encourages sharing as shown in the following picture.
Provide a valuable resource
Of course, if you really want people to subscribe your list, it’s best to provide them with a FREE valuable resource, which can be an eBook, PDF report, eCourse, video course or anything else that your audience would really love.
For me, I chose to give away my Blogging Business Simplified course, which is a course that was previously only available to premium plus members as a part of a $497 package, which is no longer available. You can get access to it FOR FREE by signing up right here if you haven't already done so:
Your Job As The Blog Owner
Alright, so you have your editorial guidelines, writers, they are producing quality content according to those guidelines and your blog is setup to manage everything. Now you can just sit back and relax, right? Absolutely not.
Your job is to work on building traffic so that your writers get the exposure they are looking for and your audience gets the value they are looking for. This is not an easy, overnight process. It takes consistent effort. Here are a few of the things I'm doing and will be doing in the future:
Making sure EVERYTHING is shareable
By EVERYTHING I mean my blog posts (using sharing plugins like Digg Digg) AND emails (this was custom coded into the template). I use clicktotweet to generate easy tweetable links and I create large, informative images for the top of each post to attract pinners to pin them on Pinterest.
I also decided (with much encouragement from Michael Stelzner) to install the Disqus commenting plugin. This not only allows users to comment using their social media accounts, but they can also share than comment on their social networks automagically, driving traffic back to the blog.
Be a sharer
For this new direction, I plan on being more active on social media. This will be a major part of my strategy moving forward.
Here's a nice strategy I came up with. For every article, we come up with a minimum of 3 things to share during the day.
This can be a link to a relevant article somewhere else, a quote/tip from the article with a link back, or anything else that's relevant to the content for that day.
This will be posted on my social media networks, and I will also ask related questions on the Facebook page to engage you there.
Be Interviewed on Podcasts
This is something I'm starting to do regularly. I turn down interview requests regularly because it has not been a priority. However, with this new direction, I will be focusing more on being interviewed. I'm also actively going out there to seek out interviews. If you'd like to interview me on your podcast, check out my interview page.
I will be doing lots more in terms of getting the word out there, so stay tuned because I like to share everything!
It takes A LOT to manage a multi-author blog. However, the benefits far outweigh the costs. If you are able to really get it off the ground, it really helps you to build something that is bigger than yourself.
I'm excited about this new journey, and I hope that by sharing this with you, you are able to explore the multi-author model even further at some point along your blogging journey, or maybe even now. Lets change this world one blog at a time and lets do it BIG!
Today's Question: Do you see having a multi-author blog in your future?