How to Start A Multi-Collaborative Blog – Ep. 008 Sandbox To Success

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In episode 008 I will give you the quick low down on everything you need to know about running a multi-collaborative blog.

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Hey, it’s Katrina from Thinking Outside the Sandbox and How to Start A Mom Blog. Today I want to talk to you about building a multi-collaborative blog. On the STS Podcast, we rotate between talking to small business owners and bloggers. Today will be mostly for bloggers, but small business owners will find a few take a ways too. If you aren’t familiar with Thinking Outside the Sandbox, it’s a multi-collaborative, multi-author, or group blog… depending on what you like to call it. For us, our contributors are a part of our team. Between Thinking Outside the Sandbox and Thinking Outside The Sandbox Family, we have a total of about 24 contributors, and two owners; myself and Cat Clutch.

Why Did We Choose A Multi-Collaborative Blog?

In 2012 when we started Thinking Outside the Sandbox, we wanted somewhere where bloggers and small business owners could go to find information and support. Between Kat and I, we knew a lot… but not everything. We are huge proponents of “teamwork makes the dream work”, so we had the idea to bring in multiple people who were all experts in their own fields.

How to Start A Multi-Collaborative Blog

You can pay people to do guest post, or have regular contributors. Our contributors submit 1-2 post monthly, and are mostly paid. When we began, we weren’t able to pay. It takes a while to build up your income. In the beginning, we contacted people who found incentive in the promotion and having their name attached to their article. After about 1.5 years, we were able to begin paying people (although we were still not getting paid ourselves).

The work that goes into a multi-collaborative blog takes a lot of time. For many years I was putting in an additional 40 hours on top of the 40 hour job I was working. Regardless, your team is the heart and soul of your blog. Your team is the center of your operation. We wanted to make sure they got paid first. Subsequently, we are giving ourselves a wage each month now.

What Are The Benefits?

More Knowledge

More Ideas – We have a private Facebook where we communicate, build relationships, and brainstorm between our collaborator team.

What Are The Cons?

You never quite know what your contributors will come up with.

It takes a LOT of time

Kat and I take responsibility of most of the sponsored material on our site, as it can be difficult to manage this through contributors.

Billing takes time. We now have our contributors invoice.

Money – You are dividing the pot, and must be sure to sustain your contributors. We call ourselves an income sharing blog, as we try to share any extra income amongst our bloggers.

We do give small bonuses or raises when we do exceptionally well, but it’s important to plan ahead for the months where your income may not be as high.

Tips and Tricks For Establishing

Have expectations – We have new contributors sign a contract. They sign an honorarium, as they are not employees.  It is stated in the contract that they will always have written credit for their work, but it is the property of Thinking Outside The Sandbox. We own the content. We also don’t post about fitness, drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, drugs, or any illegal activities. Set expectations on when contributors get paid, and when work is due.

Expect Turnover- While we don’t have a lot of turnover now, you can expect more turnover when you aren’t paying your contributors.

Show Appreciation – We make sure we reach out to our contributors in a monthly video to show our appreciation often. I also use this video as an opportunity to teach them tips and tricks to help them be more successful both on our blog and in their own blogs.

Know your contributors – By knowing their strengths and weaknesses, you are able to help your contributors, particularly if they are having a hard time coming up with topics. You can suggest post in the areas they excel at. Maybe they’ll use your topic ideas… or maybe it’ll just help get the creative juices flowing.

If you have a tips and tricks for starting a multi-collaborative blog, I’d love to hear them! Be sure to leave them below.

Thanks for listening to the Sandbox to Success podcast, with your host: Katrina M. Thom. If you like what you just heard, leave us a message at ITunes or Stitcher.  We would also love to hear what you have to say. Use the hashtag  #totspodcast to connect with us on twitter. Don’t forget to check out the show notes, which can be found at Join us next time for another edition of the Sandbox to Success podcast. Have an AWESOME day!

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