How to Manage a Blog with Multiple Authors
Managing a blog where you are the only author can be a relatively easy task. You are in control of the content quality, post frequency, comments, and design layouts. Once you start to have multiple authors, things start to get a little more complicated. There are things you need to think about to keep the highest quality and standards.
In order to keep those standards it is important that all bloggers are educated on your processes, best practices, and target audience. Similar to training new employees, you will want to train new bloggers to keep your blog running smoothly and efficiently.
Lets take a look into aspects of your blog that should be discussed with the authors of your blog.
Blog Rules & Policies
To make things easier for new bloggers, it may be worthwhile to create a document that goes over the rules and policies of the blog. This will help the blogger gain a better understanding of the blog work-flow and how things are run (every blog is a little different).
Here are some things you should have in this document.
You should have a brief list of things you should not have in your posts. This can include copy-protected content, offensive language, defamation or slander statements, etc…
Especially for new bloggers who are not familiar with the readership, it would be worth it to write a few paragraphs about your target audience and the people who read your blog. This will help the bloggers come up with topics that are catered to the blogs readers.
Probably the most important part of managing a blog with multiple authors is having a clear writing process. Depending on your relationship with your bloggers, each process is going to have slight variations.
Here is a pretty straightforward process you can follow:
- Submit Blog Topics for Approval (to blog editor/manager)
- Approve and Set Due Date
- Write Post
- Submit as Pending Approval
- Edit if Necessary (editor or back to blogger)
- Set Launch Date and Time
- Monitor and Reply to Comments
Provide a summary of how bloggers will be paid. Include how much each blog post is worth, along with a breakdown of pricing if you have tiers for factors like post length or post type. Explain how and when the blogger will be paid. Some blogs will pay at the end of the month, others will pay after each post…it just depends. Some blogs will use Paypal, others will send by direct deposit or check.
Best Practices & Formatting
To keep a consistent format for you blog, it is important that every bloggers understands a few design aspects of the blog. Depending on your blog theme, there are going to be a few variations for the following:
- Max. Image Width
- CSS classes
- Intro Text or Graphic
- Code/Syntax Highlighting
You will also want everyone to keep in mind SEO best practices when writing. This will help with the organic visibility of your overall blog and individual posts.
- Keyword-rich naming convention
- Optimized Title and Meta Description
- Chose the Appropriate Categories/Tags
- Add Alt Tags to Images
- Compress Images for the Web
- Using the Keywords/Phases Throughout the Content
Creating a blog schedule will help you manage the workflow and keep a steady stream of content coming. I would recommend always staying 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule, just in case you fall behind for a week. Also if you have daily, weekly, or monthly topics that you blog about, it will help you plan what will be covered for those posts.
Overall heaving a schedule will help keep everyone on the same page and give each blogger goals to each.
User Access & Setup
You will need to give each blogger their own login, so they can write, edit and manage their blog posts. In WordPress they make it extremely easy to add new users, along with assigning them an access level depending on their role with the blog.
You will want to make sure that every blogger adds their blogger profile. Usually that includes:
- Blogger Profile
- Links to Personal Profiles (blog, social media, website)
Having a collaboration environment can help with a number of aspects of your blog. This can be an area to conduct brainstorming between the bloggers. Everyone can contribute by suggesting different ideas, post themes, and give their feedback.
It can also be a way to make sure that bloggers are not over-lapping ideas or writing about the same topic. If you have lots of bloggers, there will come a time when two bloggers are working on very similar blog posts, so this will help alleviate this issue.
I recently started using Teambox with another blog I contribute to and have found it very useful. Watch the tour video for more information on their project management and collaboration tool.
Having an editor on staff will help keep your content of the highest quality and allow for a pass through to check for misspellings and grammar mistakes. The editor can also ensure that the bloggers are following the SEO best practices and writing guidelines.
It order to keep a good conversation going after a post has gone live, you should encourage the blogger to reply to any comments made. This will entice more people to comment, because they see that there is someone engaged with the community. It will also make the commenter feel good that their comments are being acknowledged. If readers see that the blog is replying back, they will be more apt to leave a comment.
I would also encourage bloggers to sign up for the RSS feed and promote the content that is being produced, even if it is not theirs. By utilizing the power of all of the blogger networks, it can help to spread the word about new posts. Ask the bloggers to help tweet, social bookmark and share new posts.
There are probably hundreds of plugins that can help you manage your blog with multiple authors. Here are just a few to help get you started.
- Co-Authors: Allows multiple authors to be assigned to a post.
- Future Posts Calendar: The calendar will display all of the future posts you have in your queue.
- List Author Widget: Adds an RSS feed for each author in your sidebar
- Pre-Publish Reminder: Displays a checklist of reminders before you publish your post.
- Draft Notification: Sends a notification email to the admin that a new draft has been saved.
- Author Comments: Highlights the author comments