In thinking about what I’ve learned in this past year of blogging, I also thought about my stint with the Blood-Red Pencil, a group blog (or “grog”) run by professional editors. It’s a really diverse mix of manuscript editors and writers who pool their talents to help readers improve their writing as well as gain a peek into the publishing process. The editors were also encouraged to use the Blood-Red Pencil as a platform to help grow their individual businesses.
Although I enjoyed participating in the group blog, I had to bow out early this summer due to client workload. It was a valuable experience and one that I would definitely do again, especially if I found the right group.
Here’s what learned from being a group blogger.
Expectations should be clear.
- One of the lessons we learned with the Blood-Red Pencil (BRP) is that we needed to tell prospective members what they were required to contribute each month. When I first started, we had a pretty full roster and always had content. As schedules, business and personal matters demanded more attention, we found ourselves with a shortage of posts. Several individuals began posting multiple times per week to keep our daily content goal – but it was not sustainable.
- So, as a collective, we decided that each member was responsible for two posts per month. A pretty small ask, especially when you were allowed to use posts from your own blog (as long as they were at least one month old). From then on, all new members were told of this expectation up front and were required to deliver on their commitment within a certain time frame.
A group blog is, well, a group effort.
- While many of the BPR members were exceptionally dedicated and provided extra content during lean times, one person in particular carried the heaviest load. She was the one who kept bloggers accountable and on task. She also approved postings, supplied our analytics and encouraged us to promote the blog.
- If you form a blog as a group, these responsibilities can – and should be – spread out among all the members. A blog with daily postings (seven days a week) is a heft responsibility. It takes everyone committing fully be successful … and to stay sane!
- One of the reasons I left the BRP was that I could not help with promoting the blog like I knew I should. Just providing my two posts per month was not enough and I couldn’t stand the thought that others were carrying extra work because of me.
- The subject and content of the blog is extremely important – and so is experience. One of the interesting things about the BRP was that it included a range of skills levels, though most were established professionals. The “newbie” of the group used her inexperience to create a fun and educational advice column, with her posing questions to the seasoned editors. With a group, it’s important to either set requirements for skills or know how each member of the blog can best contribute.
- While the BRP also featured posts from writers who were learning about editing or had industry-specific insights to share, I was a bit of an anomaly. I’d done some manuscript editing but had zero experience with self-publishing, which was an extremely popular topic for the BRP editors. Most of my editing work was with corporate products, including training manuals. It was a bit of a stretch from the posts my fellow editors were crafting about fiction and mystery manuscripts!
- As my days were filled with branding and marketing projects, it was harder for me to write editing-centric posts that would truly add value to the Blood-Red Pencil. It was hard to say farewell, but I still enjoy keeping up with several of the editors I met through the blog.
A group blog can be a great experience and benefit to everyone involved. I hope to do it again some day. If you are interested in group blogging, you may want to read ProBlogger’s Let Me Show You Inside a Secret Blogging Alliance.
Although the seven people in the “alliance” kept their blogs separate, their support of one another is similar to what I experienced with a group blog.
Do you have experience grogging or have tips for successful group blogging? Please share in the comments. The floor is yours!