The Secrets Behind The Biggest Group Writing Project of 2008

With over 1500 participants, The Ultimate Blog Party 2008 was the biggest group writing project of the year. 5 Minutes for Mom co-founder Janice Croze tells us how it happened.

Jacob Share 1) What were your goals for the Ultimate Blog Party 2008?
Janice Croze Our goals for the Ultimate Blog Party 2008 were to:

  1. Strengthen the online mom community by facilitating friendships within the “momosphere” and getting exposure to participating mom blogs.
  2. Promote mom-owned stores and sites through prize sponsorship
  3. Have FUN – we wanted participating bloggers, readers and sponsors to have fun at the party
Jacob Share 2) What did you plan on doing to achieve those goals?
Janice Croze To achieve these goals, we needed to spread the word about the party and get people involved. To kick off the buzz for the party, we had a design contest for the banners and put the word out for sponsors to get involved, etc. Fortunately, due to the viral nature of such an event, the promotion happens organically and come party time, tons of bloggers were ready to party!

For 2008, we brought on a fellow WAHM, Pamela from http://www.happypandababy.com/ to coordinate the sponsorship/prizing. She was critical to the organization of the party! (We are thrilled to have her working with us again for this year’s party, the Ultimate Blog Party 2009.

Jacob Share 3) Did everything go according to plan? If not, what did you need to do to improvise?
Janice Croze Yes – everything went according to plan. (Oh except with our server, but more about that below…) The only other problem is that we were so busy running the party that Susan and I didn’t get to visit enough participating blogs. This was so frustrating for us – but there are only so many hours in the day!
Jacob Share 4) How did you get so many prize sponsors?
Janice Croze We just put out the offer and people came! I don’t think we recruited any… I think they just all came from word of mouth. But my memory may be failing me…
Jacob Share 5) Did you achieve your goals?
Janice Croze Yes – the UBP 2008 was a great success and we are looking forward to 2009!
Jacob Share 6) What worked and what didn’t? Or put differently, what would you do the same next time and what would you do differently?
Janice Croze This year we are on a private dedicated server. Last year, just as we were about to press publish on the party post, our site crashed. We were with a HORRIFIC hosting company who didn’t bother to help us. We were up ALL night waiting. We begged them to just restart our server, but they didn’t get to us for hours. It was the most frustrating, agonizing experience of our online lives.

Needless to say, as soon as the party was over, we switched hosting companies. We are now with liquid web and they are fantastic!

Other than that major crisis, the party was great. We loved having the design concept as a contest and we are going to do that again this year.

Jacob Share 7) What surprised you the most about how the Party played out, in a positive and/or negative way?
Janice Croze We are always just so thrilled that the momosphere is so supportive and has so much fun with The Ultimate Blog Party.

When we first had the idea to do a huge blog party in 2007, we had no idea how successful it would be. It was an instant hit – not because of us, but because of the fantastic mom bloggers out there who love to blog and meet other bloggers! The momosphere is an incredible, supportive, friendly place – the perfect place for a party.

Jacob Share Thanks for your time and insight, Janice.

Take away lessons

  1. Publicity – create buzz with a pre-project contest.
  2. Promotion – if you have a big, active community, word of mouth should suffice.
  3. Workload – get a volunteer to help out.
  4. Technology – make sure you have reliable web hosting with good technical support.

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