How To Build an Online Destination Through a Multi-Author Blog
Why a Multi-Author Blog is a Powerful Asset
I’m excited to share with you my interview with Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, a popular and wildly successful multi author blog with more than 250,000 subscribers. Social Media Examiner is the world’s largest online social media magazine. In this episode, Mike shares the value of building a multi-author blog and how it can have an amazing impact on your business.
Why Consider a Multi-Author Blog
Most businesses with a blog older than one year know that the biggest challenge is consistency of publishing relevant content from subject matter experts that are willing to contribute with enthusiasm. Businesses have learned that investing marketing efforts in social media, while very productive, is investing in “rented land.” As social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have evolved their business model, they’ve made it harder to reach people without paying for reach.
A multi-author blog is a destination. Did you catch that? It’s a DESTINATION. By creating a destination with highly valuable content from multiple authors, you can capture the almighty email address from visitors. Once you have an email address, you own it. Of course, people can unsubscribe. But, with a compelling content strategy, you dramatically improve your ability to build a sustainable and valuable asset. In the short run it’s a lot of work to build your asset (the list). In the long run you can have a huge and valuable asset that can be leveraged in so many profitable ways.
A multi-author blog is another way to say that your business is a publisher. In the past we had to pay other businesses – other destinations – with an audience to reach them for our purpose. But, when you are a publisher with a media property you can build your own proprietary audience. Not only can you reach your audience, but if you are interested, other businesses are willing to pay to access your audience. Businesses who think like a publisher achieve destination status with their media property, provided they have a solid content strategy and a consistent publishing schedule.
Mike suggests to start by looking inside your company to determine who can write on the topics that are important to your customers. Identify those people as assets to your media property. Alternatively (or additionally), look outside your company for writers, even if you need to pay a modest fee per article. To be sure that you have a solid content strategy, ask your customers what are they most interested in learning about. Once you understand their greatest interest, write about that. For example, the 2014 Social Media Industry Report formulates Social Media Examiner’s editorial calendar for an entire year.
When Mike first launched Social Media Examiner, he had relationships with high profile people in social media. He asked several of them to write just one article per month. When others saw these high profile people participating, others wanted to become part of it. Today, over 100 writers contribute to Social Media Examiner. Most do it because they want to be in front of the SME audience. Everyone wants exposure. Even some people from competitive sites are willing to have a coopetive relationship for the exposure. Consider that people are motivated by being recognized. And, people also want to be part of something that’s growing.
Once you build an audience, you can do anything in your business. In Mike’s case he has two very successful platforms that are directly attributable to Social Media Examiner’s multi-author blog. Social Media Marketing World has become the industry’s largest social media conference after just two years. Mike also conducts the largest online social media conference called the Social Media Success Summit. Both conference formats are money makers. And, Mike’s Social Media Marketing podcast has become a top 10 marketing podcasts on iTunes and one of my favorites. Mike admits he is considering bringing on outside sponsors for his podcast.
Another venture Mike has launched (he calls it his passion project) is My Kids Adventures. This venture is not directly related to marketing, as the name suggests. But, his audience has provided the platform to launch this destination multi-author blogsite and a forthcoming podcast.
We also discussed two other examples of multi-author blogs. Workshifting by Citrix is comprised of external writers as well as Citrix employees who contribute articles on topics pertaining to working anywhere, anytime. Another example, as I’ve previously covered on our video channel is the EMC Community Network, where customers and partners contribute content and engage with each other, resulting in a vibrant community of 280,000 professionals with a common interest in big data management.
On this episode, Mike and I also discussed some of the findings in the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report…Listen to the podcast to hear why Facebook and LinkedIn rule as the top two social media sites for marketers and what Mike has been screaming from the rooftops in his response to my “one thing” question.
A multi-author blog may or may not be right for your business. If you’ve never before considered expanding your corporate blog to multiple authors, including external authors, I hope my interview with Mike Stelzner has given you something to think about. Share your thoughts on this topic through any of the social media share buttons at the top. Use #sbeshow and / or tweet me at @bernieborges.