- An expertise that your target market is also interested in. For this project, my target contributor was social media strategists, authors, agency owners and speakers.
- Have a larger following that you do. This is crucial. So many times, when people are starting, they think they can only work with people who are also starting. It’s not true and this works best if your contributors have a good sized loyal following so go for the big fish.
- Introduce yourself and let them know how they know you. Here’s a trick. Reach out to them on Twitter first to warm up the email.
- Set a timeline. If you are going for the big names in the industry, know that they are very busy and need a long lead time. Outline your timeline in the pitch. I highly recommend giving them 3-6 months notice.
- Clearly explain what you want from them and how it will benefit them and the readers.
- As big names come onboard, include that list in the email.
- Kindly follow up: Some people will respond right away or maybe their assistant will respond. Be gracious.
Starting a blog can be frustrating. You know the benefits: pull marketing, putting yourself in front of your target audience frequently, positioning yourself as an expert. Even with all of those benefits, blogs take a good amount of time and when your are starting, it’s likely that your traffic is low.
So, here’s what to do. Start a collaborative blog series.
A collaborative blog series is where you invite a group of people to contribute content to your blog. This works because you are inviting their fans to come to your blog to read what they’ve contributed. The graph at the top of this post is a little proof.
This graph shows how many people visited my blog each day for two months. See those peaks? My contributors’ articles were posted on Wednesdays. Every peak is on a Wednesday. That’s good, right!
Here’s what to do.
Formulate Idea: What is the current content of your blog? What are the “holes” that are outside of your expertise? What else would help your target audience?
Here’s an example of how “Ideas Worth Stealing” was created. My blog was focusing on a social media tip that readers could put in action in a weeks time, but I really wanted to dig in and showcase strategies that were actually working. I had case studies of my own, but thought it would be much more valuable to ask other exerts in the industry what is working for them.
Identify Contributors: Ideal contributors are people who have these two attributes.
Draft a pitch: Invite internal community: Once your list of contributors is confirmed, let everyone know who else is involved. Put them all on a twitter list and send the link to the group in an email.
Here’s a sample email.
Subj: A social media collaboration…with serious potential
You don’t know me, but I follow you on Twitter and think what you are doing is spot on!
I’m Katrina Padron and I’m a enthusiastic Social Media Strategist who focuses on connecting businesses to their ideal clients. For the past couple weeks, I’ve been creating an idea for a collaborative blog series on how social media and online marketing experts use social media for their business, geared especially at small and medium sized business owners.
The series is titled, Social Media: Ideas You Should Steal? I’ve been looking for 8 partners—to make this blog series as powerful as possible for everyone who reads it.
I’ve seen a lot of your blog posts and I think you would be perfect.
My vision (the quickie version): I host a blog series on my websitekatrinapadron.com and 8 experts write 1 blog post giving their best social media strategy that the readers could implement. You would be perfect for an article about messaging or just a cool idea that worked. Each Wednesday a different contributor would be featured and we would encourage our fans and followers to read the post and promote it any way we could. At the end of the series I would turn the collection into an ebook and give each contributor the file for the ebook.
I’m open to pulling apart different ideas, but that’s a place to begin.
I am reaching out to social media experts this week and so far I have confirmation from Lori Ruff and Mike O’neil: The LinkedIn Rockstars, and Victoria Gibson: The Facebook Ad Queen.
And if you’re open to it, I’d love to discuss the details.
Encourage sharing: The morning that each post is scheduled, send a friendly reminder that it is going live today. Ask for their support. Give them pre-written tweetables and ask for them to share across their networks.
Thank them. Send handwritten thank you cards.
I’d love to help you more. In the comments below, let me know what you are currently doing and I’ll brainstorm a few ways you can work a collaborative series into your plans.