Thinking of starting a magazine-style blog with multiple contributors? Managing multiple writes is very different from starting a blog on your own. Read on for tips on how to get your first contributors.
1. Develop your blog concept and its brand.
Put in the work to develop a blog name, concept and goals before you approach writers about contributing. Make sure to have a description ready to go and an elevator pitch wouldn’t hurt either. Bonus points if you set up a website with a few posts you’ve written yourself.
2. Approach your network.
It’s always easier to develop stronger relationships with people you already have a connection with. Take a few minutes to think about your friends and colleagues. Do you know anyone with knowledge of the topic your blog plans to cover? Does anyone post lengthy and particularly interesting Facebook statuses? Does your circle include a blogger or someone who already contributes a column to a publication? These people might be a good fit for your first contributors. Make a list of 5-10 people you would be happy to have write for your blog. Just remember that it’s best to keep your list to people you know have an interest in writing.
3. Contact the people on your list.
If you know you’re going to see someone on the list soon, you could ask about contributing in person and then follow up with an email. For people you won’t see in the near future, compose personalized emails asking about their interest in contributing to your blog. While you could just write a stock email and send it out to everyone on your list, you show true interest if you take the time to personalize the email. It’s also helpful to tell the person why you admire their writing and how you think contributing to your blog will benefit them.
4. Give people time to respond.
After you’ve sent your emails, give people time to consider what you asked. You may receive quick responses from many of your contacts, but some people may need more time to think about if they can currently handle additional responsibilities. Time can creep by while you are waiting for a response. Just remember that people can get busy and need an extra few days to reply to personal emails.
If you haven’t heard from someone in about two weeks, it’s okay to send a follow-up email asking if the first one was received and if there are any questions you can answer, etc.
5. Don’t take ‘no’ personally.
There are many reasons why someone may not want to contribute to your blog, many of them which have nothing to do with you or with your blog. Some of the people you contacted may be unable to take on any other commitments. Others may just be starting off writing and feel shy about putting their work on the web. It’s always good to keep the door open to collaboration. Even if someone says no at first, offer to let them guest post at a time they feel ready to in the future.