Thinking of starting a new blog? What about starting a new blog with multiple authors?
What if you had a blog that isn’t full of only your content?
Well, about two years ago I decided to try this with Thoughtfulmindsunited.com.
I have had my fair share of success along with many mistakes so here are some of the main things I learned about having a multi-author blog.
- Learn to be a Leader: My goal with was to create a community of people not just a blatant roll call of people we call a “team.” With that, I was happy to learn many basic leadership practices that would make my team better and more engaged. After all, they are volunteers, they don’t have to be there nor do they owe me anything
- Plan! Plan! Plan!: With this said, when you gather writers, or any team of people for that matter, they are going to ask you some things along the lines of what is expected of them among many other questions. Plus, with so many ideas coming forth, you need to be sure of where you are going and why so that you don’t get sidetracked and lose focus.
- Clearly State the Goals of the Blog and Continually Share Them With Your Team: For me, this came in the form of a vision and mission statement. It is consistent, simple, and short which makes it easy to share and remember.
- Create Standard Procedures: No, it does not have to be as formal as it sounds; however, not creating some sort of policy can (and will, in my experience) lead to discrepancy of training everyone well. Sometimes you will be training more than one person at a time so creating some normal procedures will help to ensure that everyone gets the same information and is held at the same expectation. Here are some standard procedures I use:
- Create a team handbook that outlines the vision, purpose, and content you are looking for. Also include any boundaries and expectations that you have.
- Create a training process and share it with your team (example: Step 1: Introduction (send the handbook and explain expectations), Step 2: Send in a post and get it critiqed in order to get a feel for the desired content, Step 3: Meet Team Members).
- Clearly State Boundaries and Expectations: Although this piece of advice is sprinkled throughout the post, I cannot tell you how critical this is to get this right when they first come on the team. Life happens and sometimes people will not be able to post on their allotted days but when you have a policy for that it makes it easier to move forward for several reasons:
- Both you and the writer have a clear understanding of what is expected and you can move forward with confidence when the guidelines are not respected.
- It makes it easier to train someone else to take over that aspect of the site: Sometimes, the best use of your time is not to chase team members so you may need to delgate this task to someone else. By giving them these guidelines, it makes it easier for the new person to do the job you’ve given them
- Open Lines of Communication: Make sure that your team knows and feels comfortable coming to you for questions or any problems they may have.
- Show Interest in Your Team Outside of Your Blog: I have found that this goes a long way. I make a point (as much as possible) to show up on their personal blogs by commenting on their posts, or even supporting their new book publicly. This goes a long way because you are earning both their trust and support by showing that you are looking out for their best interests; they are not just some writing machine to you.
- Once you do That, Ask Them to be More Involved in Your Blog- You’d be Surprised by the Reaction: Before you do this, make sure that the area you are asking them to cover fits the area that they are both talented in and enjoy. Afterward, send them a genuine note saying how you noticed their talent in a particular area and could really use their help. I have noticed that a lot of people are more willing to help than I thought.
- Just Because Someone Leaves, Doesn’t Mean That You are in the Wrong: I have had several experiences when someone left the team and when I had to usher someone off. Just know that just because this happens, it doesn’t mean that you are bad at what you do but if at all possible, try to catch the reason why they left so that you can be sure that it was not a fault of yours.
- ASK for Help; Their Ideas are Often Better Than Yours: If you need a new idea or don’t know what to do in an area, ask your team! You may be surprised at how many helpful answers that you’d get.
These are some of the lessons I’ve learned from running multiple authored blogs. What are some of the things you’ve learned from being involved in a multi-author blog (or website)?