When I bought my 5th blog a few years ago, it became clear that I could no longer write and manage all my blogs on my own. Running a single blog well takes a lot of work (writing, promotion, ad management, etc). But running multiple blogs *well*, on your own, is borderline impossible.
The fact is that to run a good network of successful blogs, you’ve really got to work with other people. But finding the right people to work with isn’t nearly as easy as it seems. Below I list the qualities that I look for in online partners:
- Timely and Reliable (your blog can’t sit around for weeks, unattended)
- Long term commitment (you can’t be in the business of finding new writers every month)
- Capable and Productive (lots of people will show interest, but it’s the rare person who can actually make it happen)
- Passionate and Invested (find people who know their stuff, love their stuff, and enjoy telling other people about their stuff)
So that’s what I look for. But how do I find people who meet these criteria? Well, there’s really no panacea, but there are a few things you can do to find the best fit for your needs.
If you’re looking to get a blog started, and care more about the first three items on the list (as well as cost-effectiveness) then I’ve found no better solution than WordContent. They are eerily precise with the timing and reliability of their posting (reliability is priceless in the online world). And they are always there, ready to work when you call on them. The only thing you are really missing with WordContent is number 4 on the list. My strategy has been to use WordContent to build about 50 blog posts, and then to turn the blog over to someone with a genuine interest in the topic.
Here I should put in the disclaimer that WordContent is owned by Splashpress Media, the same owners of Performancing. However, I should also note that I was happily using WordContent long before I had any other relationship with Splashpress whatsoever. Right now, WordContent is putting the basic infrastructure in place for my latest Poker Blog.
So based on experience, I find that you are best off going for reliability and consistency at the beginning when you’re just starting up a blog. But pretty soon (3-6 months), you’ll want to find a real expert to take over your blog. How do you find a real expert whose still reliable and consistent? That’s a problem I struggled with for months until I hit up on the ultimate solution.
This is what you do. Post an ad on Craigslist describing the blogging position and the terms, along with a request that applicants email you with a simple cover letter explaining why they should get the position. I usually get about 30-50 applicants per Craigslist posting. You might also consider posting your position in the Performancing Blogger jobs forum.
Once you’ve gotten your 30-50 applicants who actually took the time to write a cover letter, email them back with a link to a 5-10 question application form carefully designed to weed out the half-hearted and the posers (see the link above for an example).
Of the 30-50 initial inquiries, you’ll probably get about 60% of them to fill out the application. But this is good because it filters out the lazy people from your applicant pool. Read through the applications and sort them into three folders: 1) definitely not 2) maybe and 3) definitely.
If you’re lucky, you’ll only have 5 or so applicants in the “definitely” folder. If that’s the case, you can move on to the next step. If not, you need to identify about 5 “finalists.”
This is where things get fun. With the five finalists, you offer them each $25 to participate in a one week competition where they each get to post “live” on the blog. This lets you get to see them actually doing the job, and proves to be invaluable in selecting your blogger. I’ve run this competition about 5 times now, and without fail, each time, there’s one blogger who sticks out from the rest.
I know that it seems like a long, convoluted process, but in the end, I’ve found that it’s the best way to find a blogger who’s dedicated and passionate while bringing a level of expertise and personality to the blog.