Thinking of running a group writing project? Here’s what you need to know to make it a blogosphere hit.
Choose your topic wisely
The best topic is one that’s related to your blog and is accessible to as many bloggers as possible. Perhaps most importantly, you want a topic that will result in a final entries roundup post with potential for success on social media such as Digg or StumbleUpon. If bloggers can sense that in advance from your topic, they will jump on board in hopes of sharing in the successful final list. For that same reason, choose an original topic instead of trying to repeat the success of a past group writing project.
Have a beautiful official logo
Find, make or have made an official logo for the group writing project. Encourage participants to use the logo in their entries but frankly, the more attractive the logo, the more bloggers will find a reason to display it on their blog whether in promotion, as part of their project entry or ideally, both.
Pick the best time
If you want your group writing project to be THE group writing project of the moment, choose a 1-2 week period where your project will compete with the minimum number of projects. It just so happens that a great way to judge this is by using the Group Writing Projects Calendar here on the right in the sidebar.
Another factor might be if your topic is related to current events. If so, you’ll want to time the group writing project accordingly for maximum effect.
Prizes always help increase participation and like any contest, the better the prize, the better the buzz. However, few blogs have the resources to offer their own prizes of great quality, so reach out to companies, websites and other bloggers who can offer a prize that you think will be a major attraction to your group writing project AND for those companies / websites / bloggers. After all, you need to convince them why they should sponsor your project. Plus, you’ll want them to get a great return on their investment so that they’ll sponsor you again.
If you were thinking of offering prizes on our own, consider instead what you can offer to attract sponsors, whose contributions in turn will attract more participants.
Involve other bloggers
Bring other bloggers on board as soon as possible. Many reasons for this:
- Get feedback about your topic
- Create anticipation
- Generate participant interest
- Discover promotional partners
- Find potential sponsors
Make a list of at least 50 bloggers – in your niche and out – that you think would be interested in your group writing project for one of the above reasons. Here’s roughly how you should break down that list:
- 5 A-listers / big bloggers – These bloggers rarely participate in group writing projects unless they’re running them, but there are still 4 other reasons above to contact them.
- 10-15 B-listers / midsize bloggers – in all odds, these bloggers are the ones most likely to effect the success of your group writing project.
- 30-35 Small bloggers – these bloggers will almost surely respond and are more likely to participate since they stand to gain the most.
Simply being able to make this list of 50 bloggers will give you a good idea of whether or not there’s an attentive audience for your group writing project. You may even want to run a joint project with some other bloggers to increase the reach for your project.
This is the most under-used tactic for group writing projects as most creators only begin promoting with their announcement post, giving participants little time to discover the project and less time to react. The earlier you make public your group writing project intentions, the more chance bloggers will have to get involved.
For example, a great side benefit of a call for sponsors is that since it’s done in advance, the call will also create anticipation for your group writing project. Another idea- an announcement post for a project beginning a week ahead gives you the opportunity to use a project “kickoff” post as well.
Everything’s in place, now it’s time to…
Blog the announcement post
Explain the rules, describe how to submit an entry, provide the deadline, detail the prizes and thank the sponsors if there are any. Show off your project logo and incite participants to use it. The announcement post should make a blogger jump to get involved, and the initial comments will be a good indicator of that.
Don’t hesitate to rewrite the announcement with improvements as you start promoting.
Promote your group writing project
Use social media. Email bloggers that you haven’t contacted already, follow-up with others that you have. Mention it on pertinent forums. Leave comments wherever relevant. Submit your project to Group Writing Projects so that we can blog about it for you, and then promote our announcement as well, bearing in mind the simple logic that any interested blogger who sees the announcement here will automatically click through to your blog. You get the extra promotional benefit without the sometime-penalties of submitting your own site to social media.
Participate in your project
Time your own entry to appear approximatively half-way through the project period so that it can also serve as a reminder that the project submission deadline hasn’t passed yet.
Your entry shouldn’t overshadow other participants or try to win any prizes. In fact, you should be ineligible for the latter. The true goal for your entry should be to raise additional interest in the project by drawing in yet more bloggers.
Compile the final entries list post
When the submission deadline has passed and the entries are in, it’s time for the grunt work of compiling the final roundup list of the participating posts, choosing your prize winners and blogging it all in a useful way that social media users will appreciate. Don’t just dump links on a page. Take the time to make the list readable and pleasing to the eye. If you can imagine a creative, unusual but functional way of presenting the roundup list, even better.
Promote the final entries post
This might be the single most important task for you as the group writing project creator. Why?
The final entries are from the bloggers who “converted” for you, the people who came through in your time of need. The success of the final entries post is your way of thanking them. If they get traffic or other benefits from the group writing project, they’ll remember the positive experience and be more apt to help you again next time.
The final list of results is often more valuable that the project itself in many cases. Put differently- you may want to promote the final roundup list as much or more than you promoted the group writing project itself.
All that’s left to do now is to guest post here on Group Writing Projects about the secrets of your achievement :)
- Lay the groundwork for success
- Keep an eye towards the future at all times
- Follow up and follow through
This article is part of PureBlogging’s How To Group Writing Project, discovered right here on Group Writing Projects.
--Jacob Share, Professional Blogging Consultant and THE Group Writing Projects Expert