As a blogger at a blog network, what’s typical is to be split into sections (or niches or channels). It could be by blog topic (such as all the pregnancy and parenting blogs are grouped together), it could be that your blog is simply one of many assigned to a particular managing editor, or it might be that the network is small enough that everyone falls under one main managing editor, or whatever the boss likes to be called.
What’s true of all networks is that within your section, the bloggers and editors can work as a team or not as a team. Having blogged on teams that actually are a team, and teams where you don’t even know each other’s names, I can tell you that the, “Let’s work as a team situation” is absolutely better.
When the editors and bloggers in a channel or niche are on board with teamwork, it’s great. If not, well, it can be frustrating.
It’s frustrating because perks of working as a team can be really nice. Perks of teamwork can include higher page views for your blog, the channel, and the network as a whole, better communication when something goes wrong, or even better when something goes right, overall happiness with your job, more friends, and a more flowing feeling.
Honestly, what’s the point of being part of a specific channel, if you’re really not part of that channel? Many bloggers come to a network after having blogged on their own, so maybe the switch to team player is tough. But that’s a network. If you sign on, you’re signing onto a team, not simply your own blog.
Part one of a good team is whoever is in charge of that team. If you have a lousy editor it can break the entire team feeling. It’s hard to be on board when the boss could care less. I’ve been in this situation and there are some things you can do as a blogger.
- Talk to your editor: Start emailing with questions, ideas for the channel, and even tell him or her that you don’t feel like there’s a team effort going on.
- Rally other bloggers: Ten voices are almost always stronger than one. If you’re not happy with team efforts, contact other bloggers who work under the same editor.
- All of you talk to the editor: I don’t think it’s enough for just you to talk with the editor if there are problems. I’m of that old school opinion that you never go above your immediate superiors head without trying everything to solve it with the superior first. It’s just not cool, and makes you look bad, also it’s just common courtesy.
- When all else fails: Talk to whoever is in charge of your editor. As a final resort you can hang in there and dream about better days, or do something. It’s your job, your page views, and a bad editor can make everyone look worse, so why not do something?
If you have a good channel editor of course skip all the steps above and be thankful. It makes a huge difference. My best editors make my jobs easier every day, while the bad ones have this pesky way of making me want to open that candy store I previously mentioned.
Part two of your team is of course the bloggers in your area or channel, including you. You’re the most important blogger, because you’re the one blogger you can control. Obsessing over what other bloggers are or aren’t doing is your editor’s gig (thank god). If other bloggers are really causing you some trouble talk to your editor, and if that doesn’t work, refer back to tip number 4 above.
What you as the blogger can do to be part of the team:
- Participate in special days and events. For example, if your channel has a “Christmas spirit day” then by jolly, write a Christmas spirit post. If you hate Christmas, blog about that. The point is that you can put your own spin on event days, but try to participate. Big whole area or channel events are good traffic draws. If you can’t make every event don’t feel bad, almost no one makes every event. However, there are bloggers who never participate, and they tend to frustrate the rest of the team.
- Set aside one post a week of link love for just the folks in your channel.
- Once in a while feature another blogger individually in a post. Such as blogger Bob rocks, you should visit him, here’s why…
- Send other bloggers ideas. If I see a news article or post in my feeds that’s not for me but would be perfect for so and so, I take five seconds to send it to them. This is something that can take almost no time on your part. The best part is that people send you ideas back (free topics!).
- Once in a while make an effort to Stumble, Twitter, Digg, or otherwise promote posts from bloggers in your channel. I’m bad about this, because I hate Digg with a fiery passion, and Stumble Upon can be fussy, thus time consuming. What I recently did was add this to my actual schedule – we’ll see if that works.
- If your network has a forum, email list, chats, and other online social networking options, then be sure to participate. To make a difference you don’t even have to participate in all of them, just pick one or two. If no one is chatting on your forum or email lists that are available, go in and just start talking to yourself, ask questions, or suggest ideas, and see if anyone pops up. This works – I swear. At one network we had a very underused forum. I’m a forum junkie and so I kept popping in saying stuff and people came, maybe to get me to quit talking so much – but it worked. For a while it was just me and maybe two other bloggers chatting away, but eventually a whole bunch of the channel joined us and we all became really good friends.
- Remember your co-workers on special days. Such as send e-cards on one or two holidays a year.
- Read blogs in your channel once in a while at least. This can give you a heads up if someone has a post that would fit in a link at your blog, allows you to take a break and just surf, and if you leave comments helps build relationships. I don’t leave comments all the time, but I do try to read blogs at my network sections at least once a week.
There’s a lot you can do to help your team really be a team. I’ve seen channels go up leaps and bounds in page views just because everyone started working together. I’ve seen happier bloggers, and more readers. The perks of teamwork at a blog network cannot be underestimated. You don’t have to be a perfect team member, but if you try to play with the team at least most of the time, it can benefit everyone.
For those of you working at networks, what else can you do to be part of the team? I’m sure there’s stuff I’m forgetting. (yup, it’s late). Let me know your ideas in the comments.
[photo via stock.xchng]