Should You Team Up?

Filed as Features, Guides on August 10, 2007 4:59 am

As a bit of a departure for my posts here I thought I would mention something I have been thinking about as I write posts for The Blog Herald.

You will have noticed this blog is a multi-author blog. In fact it is one of the first blogs to have set a trend that is becoming more common; single author blogs that evolve into multi-author blogs.

What tends to happen is a hard-working blogger will grow a blog to a level of success then bring in new authors to help with the workload. In many cases it is a wise move and I expect before the year is out many more popular blogs to do the same thing. If the alternative is to give up or post very infrequently then most people would agree it is the right thing.

There are many benefits to a multi-author blog:

  • Reduced workload
  • Safety net for when you are absent
  • More ideas, experience and expertise
  • Mixture of styles
  • Increased posting frequency
  • Maximised income

It’s not always the right thing, though. There are some downsides

  • Multiple authors who don’t work as a team
  • Logistical and management headaches
  • How to split revenue and proceeds
  • Editorial decisions
  • Overlapping topics and duplication of work
  • Who is in charge? Who should get credit?
  • How is the exit plan affected?

Where it works best is with blogs that have a clear, strong leader and where content and not a personality as the main draw. For example blogs such as this one and Techcrunch. Initially this blog was quite personality-driven but quickly and relatively painlessly moved passed that point.

On the other hand my own blog would be quite difficult to move to a multi-author format. It is named after me for a start, and secondly the blog is partly differentiated by the person behind it.

People do not realise how much a part personalities play in blogging. Even now people credit Brian with all the content on CopyBlogger even though we have been blogging as a team for a little while now.

How to move to a multi-author format

The best way to move from a single author to multiple authors is to test the waters. Invite likely guest posters and see what the reaction is. Over time you can reduce your input from dominant to one of many. While your co-authors are blogging under the title of guest you can still reverse the decision with no lasting harm done.

Have you made the move to a multi-author blog or are you considering such a move? Anyone made the move then reversed the decision? Share your thoughts in the comments …

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  1. By Tom Clarke posted on August 10, 2007 at 5:39 am
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    Good article. We’ve found that running a multiple-user blog basically needs one person to take charge of posting schedules, sub-editorial work and so on. We also have a system whereby an editor emails the whole team before starting work on a post. This helps us avoid working on similar topics and it allows the senior editor the chance to say no to a post before much work has been done on it.

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  2. By Franklin posted on August 10, 2007 at 1:53 pm
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    Chris,
    Good article. One question, do you have any tips for improving communication between authors?

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  3. By Chris Garrett posted on August 11, 2007 at 4:10 am
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    @Franklin @Toms comment above about emailing the whole team is a great start. At previous times we had a private members only blog/forum/wiki setup based on Drupal and Writeboard etc. Skype and internet messaging are very useful.

    The key is to not just be a group of people who all post on a blog because they have agreed to, a cohesive team who actually know, like and respect each other will have far more success.

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  4. By Lenticular Postcards posted on August 13, 2007 at 1:24 pm
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    That sounds great if you already have a lot of active commentors who could reasonably be expected to include some who might want to post.

    What if you are bui,lding up several blogs on different topics? Would it make sense that someone whose writing is up to snuff and with perhaps some other skills could support the same kind of effort? Even a more fully structured editorial team?

    Reply

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