8 Steps to Creating a Successful Multi-Author Blog for Your Nonprofit

JH Blog 8.24.11 Feature
08.24.2011By

 

Photo by Geoff Livingston

One of the biggest questions that nonprofits have when starting a blog is “How can one person possibly continue to publish interesting articles?”

The answer to this question is, you don’t. And this is precisely the reason why many nonprofits like Oceana and The National Wildlife Federation have multi-author blogs. (The other great reason to have multiple authors on a blog is that you get a wider variety of opinions and ideas which your readers will love.)

But how do you effectively manage a multi-author blog?

Eight Tips for Managing a Multi-Author Blog:

1. Create unity with shared goals and guidelines. The most important factor will to creating a successful multi-author blog is to have a very clear goal. You need to be clear about what your blog’s message is, what you want readers to do once they read a blog post, and what the mission of the blog is. The more specific and inspirational your goal is the better.

2. Create author guidelines. Authors should be clear about the keywords you want to be targeting, word length, and format of the blog. An example of the guideline would be: “Posts should be no more than 300 words. Each paragraph should have no more than 2 sentences. An image should open the blog post. Posts should end with a question.”

3. Assign one editor. You want to assign one person to be the Editor of the blog. The editor should have editing rights to all blog posts, and should have the ability to publish all blog posts. The editor is also in charge of the blog calendar, and reporting back to all authors on results (post views, back links and other stats).

4. Allow appropriate access. You want to use a blogging platform that allows for various levels of user rights. In WordPress for example, there are 5 different roles from administrator all the way down to subscriber. Authors should be set up as either Contributors or Authors. The editor should be set up as either editor or administrator, depending upon whether the editor is also the blog administrator. These various users roles help create unity among all authors, and prevents someone from breaking the blog.

5. Stay organized with a calendar. Each author should be assigned the same time every week for publication of their blog post. Like you, they are also very busy. Assigning a consistent publication time, allows them to better prepare their blog post. If you’re using Word press for your blog, you’ll want to use the editorial calendar plug-in (Watch this video for more info.)

6. Stay unified with a Facebook Group. To keep all blog authors up to date on topics and other issues, create a Secret Facebook group to share important information. (These groups cannot be found in searches, and non-members can’t see anything about the group, including its name and membership list.) Authors can share topic ideas with each other, notify the editor when the draft is complete, offer praise and encouragement, and give valuable feedback to each other.

7. Report back to each blogger. As with most endeavors starting is easy, but continuing is difficult. Authors need constant encouragement and feedback on how they’re doing with their blog posts. The editor should be sending an occasional e-mail of thanks, as well as useful feedback in the Facebook group. (Facebook users can be tagged in comments.)

8. Keep Bloggers Engaged With Friendly Competition - Another way to keep authors motivated is to create some friendly competition. In the Inspiring Generosity Facebook Group, Ifdy (the editor) posts Google Analytics stats in the Facebook group each week. What’s occurred naturally within the group is a sense of friendly competition, which motivates everyone (Alex always has the highest numbers).

Multi-author blogs can be very successful, especially if you include some of your biggest fundraisers. Following these 8 tips will increase the likelihood of success and enjoyment for everyone involved.

How do you manage your multi-author blog?

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  • mindofandre

    Fantastic advice!! And just in time for my own thinking around doing the same for my blog. I’m past the point where I can keep up with all the fantastic things going on in health innovation and really want other perspectives on various topics that now are included in the content area. Thanks for writing this John! SUPER helpful.

    • http://johnhaydon.com/ John Haydon

      Andre – So glad it was helpful! In your case, you can invite other authors as a way to create partnerships, and create more exposure for your blog!

  • Anonymous

    Fantastic advice!! And just in time for my own thinking around doing the same for my blog. I’m past the point where I can keep up with all the fantastic things going on in health innovation and really want other perspectives on various topics that now are included in the content area. Thanks for writing this John! SUPER helpful.

    • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

      Andre – So glad it was helpful! In your case, you can invite other authors as a way to create partnerships, and create more exposure for your blog!

  • geofflivingston

    Hey, I won last week. :P

    • http://johnhaydon.com/ John Haydon

      You certainly did, Geoff. ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Hey, I won last week. :P

    • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

      You certainly did, Geoff. ;-)

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    GREAT advice, John. We should try that over at 501MP! :)

    I like the mix of letting people have their own voice but having only one editor. That allows for a great mix of diversity and consistency. 

    • http://johnhaydon.com/ John Haydon

      We have one editor on this blog, and it certainly keeps everyone organized!

      • http://vizify.com/ifdyperez Ifdy Perez

        Ha, thanks!

  • http://FundraisingCoach.com marcapitman

    GREAT advice, John. We should try that over at 501MP! :)nnI like the mix of letting people have their own voice but having only one editor. That allows for a great mix of diversity andu00a0consistency.u00a0

    • http://johnhaydon.com John Haydon

      We have one editor on this blog, and it certainly keeps everyone organized!

      • http://twitter.com/ifdyperez Ifdy Perez

        Ha, thanks!

  • http://amysampleward.org/ Amy Sample Ward

    Great post, John – I totally agree with these tips! I would actually go further on the calendar topic: There are organizations I’ve worked with who have created an actual calendar (in gcal or whatever system they use internally already) to post their topics so that they can still have the flexibility of writing about timely topics, and just sticking to a certain number of posts each week or month. The first to put it on the calendar and claim that news story wins! :)

  • http://amysampleward.org Amy Sample Ward

    Great post, John – I totally agree with these tips! I would actually go further on the calendar topic: There are organizations I’ve worked with who have created an actual calendar (in gcal or whatever system they use internally already) to post their topics so that they can still have the flexibility of writing about timely topics, and just sticking to a certain number of posts each week or month. The first to put it on the calendar and claim that news story wins! :)

  • http://jeffhurtblog.com JeffHurt

    John:

    Great post that can help nonprofit orgs get their hands around how to do this.

    I would add one more point to your list. Encourage diverse opinions and even those that may disagree with the organization from time to time.

    Allowing diverisity of thought can lead to some great threaded discussions. Those that read the posts also see the organization as being authentic and transparent. I’ve seen some associations even seek out controversial thought so as to present a variety of views on a specific subject. 

    Encouraging divergent thought is a healthy thing to do and can actually strengthen the organization.

  • http://jeffhurtblog.com Anonymous

    John:nnGreat post that can help nonprofit orgs get their hands around how to do this.nnI would add one more point to your list. Encourage diverseu00a0opinions and even those that may disagree with the organization from time to time. nnAllowing diverisity of thought can lead to some great threaded discussions. Those that read the posts also see the organization as being authentic and transparent. I’ve seenu00a0some associations even seek out controversial thought so asu00a0to present a variety of views on a specific subject.u00a0nnEncouraging divergent thought is a healthy thing to do and can actually strengthen the organization.

  • http://www.communityorganizer20.com/ Debra Askanase

    Wonderful post – tagging and saving this one!!

     I have both managed a multi-person blog and written for one. I found that the key to a blog thriving rather than surviving is tip #3 – assign one editor who can feel comfortable keeping everyone on track. I also love @JeffHurt:disqus ‘s tip about getting diverse opinions. Along with diverse opinions comes a diverse audience. Lastly, I’d add one other: regular blogger meetings. In addition to a private group to share ideas and encourage each other, regular meetings (once a week, once a month, once a quarter, whatever is best for the group…) creates a sense of shared responsibility like no other.

    • Socialmediascraps

      Maybe a Google+ Hangout to chat w small groups of contributors? Would help humanize the team effort and help create that sense of responsibility you mentioned.

  • http://www.communityorganizer20.com/ Debra Askanase

    Wonderful post – tagging and saving this one!!nnu00a0I have both managed a multi-person blog and written for one. I found that the key to a blog thriving rather than surviving is tip #3 – assign one editor who can feel comfortable keeping everyone on track. I also love @JeffHurt:disqus ‘s tip about getting diverse opinions. Along with diverse opinions comes a diverse audience. Lastly, I’d add one other: regular blogger meetings. In addition to a private group to share ideas and encourage each other, regular meetings (once a week, once a month, once a quarter, whatever is best for the group…) creates a sense of shared responsibility like no other.

    • Socialmediascraps

      Maybe a Google+ Hangout to chat w small groups of contributors? Would help humanize the team effort and help create that sense of responsibility you mentioned.

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  • http://www.twitter.com/socialscraps Joanne

    Thanks for the great post. I’m working on a project at work where I’ll b managing several teams of bloggers. I need all the advice I can get. This post was so helpful and I’m bookmarking it for sure.

  • http://www.twitter.com/socialscraps Joanne

    Thanks for the great post. I’m working on a project at work where I’ll b managing several teams of bloggers. I need all the advice I can get. This post was so helpful and I’m bookmarking it for sure.

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    Hi! Great post! Is there a WordPress plugin to accurately count unique views of each post or author posts? thank you

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