I have a blog that has been around for what will be five years this summer. It started on MySpace (I know… I know) and eventually moved off of the site onto its own domain. For years I created content five days a week but lately I just can’t churn out the content that I used to be able to. Not wanting to downshift because the site has continued to grow in traffic and subscribers I decided to go bring in more writers.
Honestly I thought it would be really easy, I would just be able to take a few days off while other bloggers took the reins. While bringing in other writers did alleviate the workload for me there was a new set of challenges that I should have expected but didn’t even think about.
1) Backlash from long time readers- I thought there would be some small push back but I received a lot of nasty e-mails and instant messages from people that I didn’t even know were reading. People get used to a certain voice and drawn to a blog for that voice, when that voice is altered and change comes about it doesn’t go over well with some.
Every blog writer is going to be different, while I could have tried to find someone with the same style and sense of humor I knew that his or her voice would still is different. However, I figured if I found them entertaining so would my audience. That wasn’t how things went.
Over the years I have dealt with a lot of criticism, that is what happens when you write something for public consumption, you eventually get used to it. But when people write you personally and attack a decision that you made with such bile, it does feel like a punch to the stomach.
I know I lost some of my readership by bringing in people that had different styles, sensibilities, and senses of humor. But sticking to my convictions and knowing I was making the right move helped me overcome the stomach punch.
2) Stepping on each other’s toes- Since my blog is primarily a humor and pop culture blog I didn’t create an editorial calendar for the site. It was kind of pointless to do because the subject matter doesn’t really lend itself to something so regimented. You can’t try to organize humor.
This freedom helped make the writers feel open to write about whatever they want. The only problem is that sometimes people beat me to the punch on a topic I wanted to cover. While I might have lost out on writing something that I thought was a comedic winner I had to subjugate my ego and learn to get over it. At least 9 times out of 10 they took the topic in a direction I didn’t expect and probably did a better job than my original idea.
3) Favorite kid syndrome- Once and awhile if I think we really have a winning post that is getting a good response I will give it a push on social media sites. It depends on the post, how much time I personally have, and if I think it lends itself to be pushed on social media. (While I could probably leverage social media on every post I don’t want to submit things that are below a certain standard, unlike some bloggers with a strong social media profile.)
The issue with this is a blogger puts something out there and wants the same push that another blogger may have received. Their content might be wrong or maybe I don’t have the time to help give it an extra push. This creates a little friction and frustration with the idea that I could possibly be playing favorites.
The blame for this lies squarely on my shoulders for creating this situation and not relating people the right way. (Because adding writers leads to managing people, no matter how much you don’t want to look at it that way it is exactly what it is.) I haven’t educated these writers on social media and what it takes for a post to take off.
In the end the question is, “Would I do it again?” Without giving it a second thought I would, I think bringing in other voices has added different points of view to my site and helped grow the site in a direction I wouldn’t have been able to take it. While initially I think I took a small hit from bringing new people on board over the long term the benefit significantly outweighed any initial issues.