A collaborative blog is a blog that has more than one contributor, whether it is a company blog or a group of like-minded individuals, more is better. In fact according to Wikipedia “the top ten weblogs listed in N.Z. Bear’s Blog Ecosystem (a popular league table of blogs based on the number of incoming links) “ are collaborative blogs.
This comes as no surprise to me, the more bloggers there are, the higher the number of posts, and the content will be far more fresh and varied. Also each contributor can promote the blog within their social networks bringing further interest and readership.
A collaborative blog can propel your blog to the big time and at a faster pace, with all parties benefiting from each other’s contribution.
Other advantages include less pressures of maintaining the blog, shared stake (dependent on the deal) and varied content for the reader. In fact most collaborative blogs publish a new blog every 24 hrs.
There are three different types of collaborative blogs, if you can think of any more please leave a comment and enlighten me.
A Blog will invite individuals to blog on their site for money or self-promotion. These can include guest bloggers.
A collaborative blog is where a user can register or instantly post. The content is usually approved before publishing or the blogging community police it internally. A sample of such a blog is 9gag.com. Usually contributors do not earn any money from this type of blogging but will often self-promote.
Twitter and Squidoo are examples of social blogging systems, individuals blog about their interests and users within the site can follow the blogs they like, again there is no monetary gain only joy of people listening to you and the ability to self-promote.
The fourth way
To be honest this is my Idea, well more of a business model than a Idea and I am sure a lot of blogs are already working in a similar way, I know we do.
For the purpose of this article, I assume you are using a WordPress site installed on your own or web developer’s server.
This is a blog that is set up by x number of individuals all sharing the cost of the blog creation, hosting and the support for the site. But they also share the benefits, whether it monetary or self-promotion.
Each stake holder has equal or partial control over the direction and also has a share in the benefits of the site, dependent on monetary input, content quality, content popularity, and marketing efforts contributed.
So let’s break this down and see how this would work:
First of all you need to think of the blogs subject matter, your potential readership and their demographics. Also what devices you will need to deploy too (ipad, smartphone etc). Niche markets are easier to promote, as you have a selective target market.
Write down your Idea and start forming a potential marketing plan. Do some research, see what the top blogging sites are doing.
Then find a good Web Designer / Developer / WordPress consultant, and get a quote on how much it would cost to deploy and theme your blog, bare in mind that a standard install will not cover all the functionality required to easily manage your collaborative blog. You will need plug-ins for your SEO, Social Network tools, Collaboration tools, Calendar’s, Metrics Tracking tools, Revenue builders and many other plug-ins dependent on your required functionality.
I won’t talk about these plug-ins or recommend any plug-ins here, I will save that for another post.
Any WP consultant worth his salt will be able to recommend the best setup for your vision. Or you could contact me for advice and a quote.
To give you ball park figure Vine99 can create such a blog for around the £500 – £600. That would include Deployment and plug-in setup, theme design, hosting and email support for the year.
So you have worked out what blog subject and selected your target market, and have a quote in your hand, now you need to find great bloggers to collaborate with and share your vision.
There are several ways to locate potential collaborators, through your social networks, twitter,Facebook and Linkedin. Search blogging platforms like WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and Squidoo , here you will find lonely bloggers. Check out there profiles and blogging styles and make sure they fit the bill, then contact them, show them your idea and see who bites.At the time of writing this post, we are currently developing a system so you can post your ideas right on this site and invite potential contributors to join your blog. Also bloggers will be able to advertise their skills so that you can invite suitable bloggers to your project. So call back, we expect this feature to be ready soon.
Financial setup and income sharing
There are several ways you can finance your blog you can take on the full cost of the development of the blog or you could share the cost with your team in a co-operative manner, the first option could secure you more of the profit, but gives your team a smaller share of the profits. The second would be to split initial development costs, giving a proportional profit pay-out to each blogger.
So your blog is making money but only half the team are pulling their weight, equal sharing income would create animosity within the team and rightly so. It is important to track each blogger’s contribution and reward them accordingly. There is a plug-in that can track the Metrics of each blogger so you can work out a basic profit share based on contribution, but unfortunately at this moment I haven’t been able to find one that will truly show an accurate contributed value.We have decided to make it priority to make a plug-in that will track each blogger’s work and the value they bring to the site. This will be shown as a league on the dash board, with estimated earnings. We are hoping this plug-in will also encourage competition and ultimately improve your site revenue potential.
Every democracy has a leader and as the creator you should take that role, the key to having a harmonious collaborative blog is to outline the ground rules and rolls of each contributor. There should be a written document laying out what is expected from each blogger and an agreed code of conduct.
I recommend taking an editor’s role and vet each blog before launch. Do this until you can at least be sure of the subject matter and quality control.
Use Calender plug-ins and collaborative project management tools and voting systems, so the team can keep in touch and make decisions. Have a plan you all agree on and act on it as a team.
Everyone is responsible for promotion, educate your team in what needs to be done, use the teams social network to get the word out and generate inbound links. Now this is the true power of collaborative blogging, use it wisely, and may the force be with you.
So that was a brief introduction to collaborative blogging and its advantages to all involved. We at Vine99 see huge potential in these types of blogs and see it as a great way to start an online business for a small investment with little risk. So what are you waiting for? Go on, make some friends and start the next big thing.
Watch out for our ‘Ideas Boards’, ‘Blogger’s CV pages’ and our ‘Profit Sharing Metrics Plug-in’ all coming soon. I will also continue sharing my thoughts, advice and experiences on collaborative blogging.Meanwhile please leave a comment on what you would like to see here or any features you would like to see in the plug-in. Also, you are welcome to contact me at Vine99 for any advice on blogging and its technologies.