Time for Team Blogging?

Once a blog becomes successful, or at least starts getting busy, you soon realise there is more involved in professional blogging than just writing. I was thinking this morning about all the hats a pro blogger has to wear in the daily blogging routine. Here are some “blogging hats” that I came up with …

  • Entrepreneur – the ideas, the vision, motivation and drive
  • Salesperson – brings in the advertising, sponsorships, does the deals
  • Bookkeeper – keeps the numbers in check
  • Editor – controls the output, checks and amends for quality, final decision on topics
  • Researcher – investigates stories and information for articles, gathers facts
  • Writer – does the actual writing, possibly based on the researchers gathered materials
  • Designer – keeps the blog looking great, formats posts so they look their best
  • Organiser – admin, project management, to-do lists, calendars, diaries …
  • Tech Support – backups, fixes things when they go wrong, hosting, software upgrades, modules, ad serving …
  • Mentor – impartial wisdom and advice, been there got the t-shirt
  • Network manager – for when the enterprise grows from one blog to many, someone needs to run the farm

I think it would be fair to say that it is a rarity that one person encompasses all the qualities required to an excellent degree. I can get by in most areas but my designs will never win awards, I can sell but find it daunting and bookkeeping? Well maths has never been my strongest point …

In the “Beermat Entrepreneur”, Mike Southon and Chris West proposed that any business, as well as the Entrepreneur requires four “cornerstones”. These cornerstones have backgrounds in technical, delivery, finance and sales. If you see your blog(s) as a business (and you should if you want to be “pro”) then these roles do directly relate to hats a blogger needs to wear.

This says to me that as professional blogging matures there will be more and more team blogs. Blogs will become more akin to online magazines than online diaries. Note I say “team blogs” rather than “multi-author” blogs. While these blogs might well have multiple authors, the distinction I make is there will be essential team members who do not post.

Part of the success of Performancing, and Threadwatch before it, in my view is the element of editorial control.  Writers might come and go but providing the “vision” is consistent  the blog remains on form.  Then there is the business side.  While it might not be visible right now there is very much a business side. It is very important for any business to be well run in the “back office”.

Of course there will always be solo efforts, and they will probably still do very well some of them. I can only see blogging getting more complex, more business-like, and taking more ground from the mainstream media juggernauts.

Perhaps now is the time to put your team together?

8 thoughts on “Time for Team Blogging?

  1. Wow, that really is a comment gap (March 9 until August 25).

    But the time is good to remind everybody that now is the right time to start the projects or write the schedules for the busy times to come soon 🙂

  2. This list makes me very aware of what I could get myself into if I headed down the blogging for money/employment road. Already I fill many of these roles in running two personal blogs and overseeing my wife’s blog.

    But at the point of popularity, when you need to “keep up appearances” on the items in your list, that’s when it turns into a real job, and you’d want to be earning off it!

  3. Chris, excellent post. I feel you’ve proved my hypothesis that a properly run professional blog has to be run like a magazine, with the EIC (Editor-in-Chief) at the helm, managing editors, contributors, and non-content staff.

  4. I agree about needing a single leader. Committees are fine but in the end you need one person who makes decisions and has clear leadership (and I mean leadership not management). While it is not vital the leader be a blogger, it is nice to me if the leader leads by example and exemplifies the qualities they expect from others. If you look at the best blog networks they do tend to have decent bloggers at the helm and set the tone and standard for the others, the examples where this isn’t true might point to future problems (mentioning no names) …

  5. Evaluating team members and matching personalities is a greater challenge than matching skill-sets. Three things come to mind:

    1. The core members of the team should be able to cover for the peripheral, part-timers when they slack off. This means that the team leader (or leaders) should be all-rounders with skills in selling, editing and writing, and not necessarily design and programming.
    2. The team has to share the same vision and commitment to their cause (whatever the cause might be). If one of them is looking for quick bucks while the others are in for the long-haul, the friction might put the brakes on the success of the blog.
    3. Democracy is for the weak – one team member should have clear authority over everyone else. This doesn’t mean that no one else gets a say – I personally feel that decision-making should be reserved for the team leader (although team involvement and discussion is crucial).

    I wanted to touch upon this topic in my earlier post on blogging partnerships, but got sidetracked. Thanks Chris for raising this topic again.

    Maybe we can set up a channel on team blogging on Performancing? I would definitely like to see Performancing start being more of a community and promote blogger cooperation.

    As an aside…too bad the domain teamblogging.com is taken

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