There is a lot written about developing a blog: how to establish your voice, build your readership and get an actual post from your head to the page. Much of the advice is focused on what you can do for yourself, but what about doing this for others?
What about developing a multi-contributor blog where the focus is not on your voice, your readership or your posts and it's more about what you can do for others?
Just so happens that I am the editor of Women of HR, a multi-contributor blog. I've been at this for over a year now so it makes me an expert, right? Not by a very long shot but it does make me someone who has experiences to share with anyone considering doing the same.
My advice focuses on style, voice and detail.
Scan the book shelf to my left and you will see the 2011 AP Stylebook, The Elements of Style, On Writing Well, Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing. Sometimes I follow technical style to a "T" and sometimes I don't. The hard part is overwriting what is etched in my mind. Bad habits are hard to break.
Stepping back from the guides for a moment, take a look at the post on the page. Does it look good? Does it flow? Is it easy on the eyes to read and without any obvious gramatical faux paus? How's the karma? Styles vary and your site's style can either attract or repel your target readers. How's your style?
Women of HR gives others a place to write and let's me be the ying to their creative yang. I do it for community and to develop editing skills of my own. All that considered, the scariest part of taking on the editing of the site was - by far - reviewing other people's writing. Who was I to judge?
One of the most valuable posts I read was from Problogger, How To Assess Blog Content Submissions. In fact, I have it tucked in my Women of HR Moleskine within arms reach all. the. time. The author asks you to see your site "as a product in itself" and seeing Women of HR as a product made editing less about me judging and more about me being the keeper of the voice.
My one major pet peeve? Self-promotion. If it looks like self-promotion, it is self-promotion. Don't get me started.
What does it take to get a post to the page? A little Sunday morning behind the scenes work.
I review the posts, schedule them to offer a variety of topics each week, maintain a submission schedule, prepare a weekly "What's Up With Women of HR" email to our writers, tinker with the site and refer anything beyond a simple tinker to our website designer, Lance Haun.
I aim for having 2+ weeks of posts in the cue so I can sleep at night, plan for 2-8 hours/week depending on how many posts I am editing and much tinkering there is to do and I see photos as a necessity. I start with iStockphoto and when I can't find the right picture, I go to Deirdre Honner. Ready for action?
Putting it All Together
Before we opened the door for post #1, we looked across the social sphere for multi-contributor blogs and took the best of what we liked. I reached out to 2 editors I most admire for the work they've done with their multi-contributor blogs: Jessica Lee, Fistful of Talent and Ann Bares, Compensation Cafe' and their insights were invaluable.
To sum it up in at all up in 25 words or less, if you are considering establishing a multi-contributor blog:
Start with a martini and friends, mix in a community of talent and strength, and stir things up with style, voice and detail. And don't move on to the next nightclub until you stop and buy the domain. Now, if I could turn back time <inside joke>
So, what questions do you have or what tips could you share about editing a multi-contributor blog?
Photo credit iStockphoto