My choice to open my blog to contributing writers was a goal I held from the start of my blog. It was always my mission to have a collaborative approach. That requires some pre-planning so all writers are on the same page with what to expect.
My blog, The Stay-at-Home Mom Survival Guide, is written for stay at home moms, teachers, and moms looking to find balance in this busy season of life called motherhood. I started my blog when a few friends were feeling very lost as stay-at-home moms. A light bulb went off in my head that #1: I have always felt motivated to be a stay-at-home mom, and #2: I could definitely try to encourage other moms who were not feeling so motivated.
The blog was born.
Because there were so many moms I admired, and who set a great example of how to love their life as a stay at home mom, I naturally wanted to share as many encouraging stories on the blog as I could. I wanted these moms to share their unique stories.
The problem was these personal friends of mine had their own lives, and had no interest in blogging.
So, I shelved the idea, but never forgot it.
Flash forward 4 years, and I thought of creating a Complete Go-To Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms. I wanted to create a collaborative resource including many stay at home mom bloggers. It was a way to connect SAHM bloggers on the internet and widen all of our audiences.
After organizing a group of stay at home mom bloggers to contribute to a blog hop series called the Complete Guide for Stay-at-Home Moms, my desire for adding contributing writers on my blog became a focus again. This time, I asked established bloggers. All the moms I asked said yes!
What worked this time was my approach and plan for inviting contributing writers to join my team. These are my tips for running a contributor blog.
Running a Contributor Blog
Stick to a Series
When readers know what to expect, they become loyal. At times during my blogging journey, I have not been consistent with content and schedule of posting.
Running a contributor blog works best when the contributors write for a series. This makes their appearance more special, and readers know that each week the writing will be from a different blogger.
That adds consistency AND excitement about what could come next week. The transition for readers’ moving from reading you all the time to accepting new bloggers is a little easier. Readers know that the writers they connect with most will be back again another week.
Look at Your SEO Focus and Delegate the Work
My blog traffic primarily comes from my kids activity pages. That is my main draw, but that is not all I like to write.
I want my blog to offer a variety of topics related to motherhood.
My plan was that the contributing writers would keep sharing encouragement (Mom Motivation Mondays series) and Homemaking Tips (Homemaking Tips Tuesdays series). I would focus my time on creating new kids activities to feed that pageview draw.
Pay Your Contributing Bloggers
I was making money from my blog. I didn’t know whether my pageviews would increase or decrease when I added new writers. What I did know was, I was not comfortable earning money from my blog while publishing the work of other writers without paying them.
We will all have different starting pay schedules, but what I do is pay a flat rate for the blog post, and I add a 10% bonus of ad revenue for the week their post is published. This also is incentive for the guest blogger to share their guest post on social media which increases the reach of their post and my blog as well.
Decide if You Want Just Writing or Graphics Too
I still do all my graphic creation. It’s important for me that the title images all follow a theme. That was not on my mind when I started blogging, but I became more focused on the aesthetic aspects of Pinterest and Facebook the longer I have been a blogger.
I pay my contributing writers accordingly: They are sending me a text document and not creating any graphics for their post. I am putting in that work.
If you have your contributors create graphics for their posts, your time spent on scheduling their blog posts will be less. I will be moving in this direction soon. It’s a great task to offer your VA if you have one.
Set a Payment Schedule for Paid Contributors
I have a payment schedule for each contributor. I pay them one week plus 2 days after their post publishes on my blog. Each contributor knew this when they signed on to write for me.
A simpler option is to set a date each month (1st, 15th, 30th..) when you pay all contributors. Whatever you choose, keep it consistent.
Be Up Front about Your Editing Process
When I started running a contributor blog, I made a goal to have each scheduled a week ahead of time. It was my hope to read, edit, and send the post back to the author to receive their feedback on any changes with plenty of time to schedule the post ahead.
This did not work in the house of a busy work at home mom!
There are contributors that understand that you are the gateway to their post getting published. They entrust that you will edit the post to make it better (if needed) and to incorporate key words.
Be up front with all of your contributors about how you will handle the editorial process.
-Will you edit and publish without them approving the post first?
-Will you edit and get their approval, possibly needing to delay the publish date?
-Will you publish as is without reading through the post before publishing?
These are all possible options for you depending on how well you know your contributors and their writing style. It also can depend on how much time you have to spend editing. (Another great reason to hire a VA!)
Develop a Sense of Team Work
I created a Facebook group just for my blog contributors. It was my hope that it would foster connection between all of us.
I also regularly share blog posts from my contributors’ personal blogs. Their posts are the first ones my VA schedules into my social media postings. I want this to be a beneficial collaborative experience for all of us. Generally my contributing writers have smaller blogs than mine (not always the case, but I tend to look for bloggers who could gain the most from being added to my group of contributors), so this group can help their writing gain exposure as well.
Incorporate Other Home-Based Businesses
My blog is not my only income stream. I also am an essential oils educator and share many DIY ideas for using essential oils on my blog. It helps me use the platform of my blog to increase the reach of my Young Living Essential Oils business and the growing organizations of my downline members who choose to pursue the business side.
As my Young Living members reach out to me about pursuing the Young Living business opportunity, I invite them to be contributors on my blog. It’s a win-win!
This is a way that the leaders in my business can utilize the blogging platform to grow their own personal businesses. Because their organizations are linked to mine, it allows my business to grow as well.
Establishing a blog is an asset no matter what your business pursuits.
Running a contributor blog is a very rewarding step in the blogging journey. It’s wonderful to use a platform that I have grown to share the perspectives of many great bloggers while also helping their blogs-and businesses-grow.
What are your thoughts on running a contributor blog? Is it on your list of blogging goals?