Blogging 101: Cobloggers

Are you thinking of inviting another blogger to join your site?  Are you not sure where to start or what you should be looking for?  Are you concerned about some of the issues that can arise from having multiple authors contributing to the same blog?

Here at Brewing Up Books, we’ve always had at least two full-time bloggers, as well as several highly overlooked part-time bloggers, such as our humor writer, Julia.  We’ve picked up a few tips and tricks along the way regarding finding cobloggers, establishing reasonable expectations for both yourself and your fellow cobloggers, and interacting with individuals who are 1,000+ miles away.

Should I find a coblogger?

This is a highly subjective question and, undoubtedly, the most frequently asked.  Unfortunately, we don’t have a definitive answer for your specific scenario because there are a multitude of personal factors that contribute to a decision of this magnitude.  For example, you have to take into account your ideal frequency of blog posts per week and whether you will be able to single-handedly maintain this posting schedule.

Cobloggers can introduce a variety of attributes to your blog – they bring with them a unique voice and perspective, as well as a slightly different set of talents and preferences.  Keep in mind that a reader who favors a particular genre will likely write a large number of posts pertaining to the genre itself or books within said genre.  Therefore, if you would like your blog to solely emphasize Young Adult novels, don’t pursue a coblogger who identifies Adult or Erotica as their favorite genres.  Similarly, if you want to expand the content on your blog to attract a wider audience, you may want to seek a coblogger with vastly different reading preferences from your own.

How do I recruit potential cobloggers?

Most bloggers ask that interested individuals complete an electronic application, such as a Google Form.  Common fields often include name, email address, age, time zone, sample reviews, reason for interest in the position, etc.  You can view the Brewing Up Books application form here as an example.

What should I be looking for in a prospective coblogger?

Whenever Brewing Up Books has recruited additional bloggers, we have always emphasized the following traits:

  • Reliability: Can you trust this individual to act in the best interests of the blog and to uphold its principles and values?  Are they easily accessible and responsive to various means of communication (ie. email, text messaging, Skype, etc.)?
  • Writing Ability: Are the sample reviews and the completed fields of the application reflective of the caliber of writing that you would like to be portrayed on your blog?  And, although this may seem obvious, are they fluent in the language in which they will be required to write posts?
  • Organization & Time Management: Will they be able to dedicate a sufficient amount of time toward the blog each week?  How timely were their responses to your communications (emails, text messages, etc.)?  If you are already utilizing or wish to implement a posting schedule, will this individual be able to adhere to it and ensure that their posts are written and published on time?
  • Reputation: Have they made a name for themselves in the book blogging world, either positively or negatively?  They don’t have to be an Internet sensation, by any means – they can fly completely under the radar and ultimately serve as an excellent coblogger.  Take a look at their social media, Goodreads account, past or current blogs, etc. to assess how they interact with others.  As a coblogger, his/her reputation and communications with peers can directly impact the reputation of your blog.

As a general rule of thumb, if you begin to seriously question if a candidate would adequately fulfill your envisionment of a coblogger, you may want to look elsewhere.  It is unlikely that these doubts would be unfounded, regardless of whether you are consciously aware of the rationale behind them.

Once I’ve selected a coblogger, how should we communicate to ensure that we’re both on the same page?

Many bloggers elect to use email and Skype (or Google Video Chat, as an alternative) as their primary forms of communication with cobloggers.  Text messages and phone calls are another option, but this can get a bit tricky with international cobloggers.  If you are lucky enough to know your coblogger(s) in person and live relatively close to one another, you can always interact face-to-face.

There are also a variety of applications and websites that allow you to organize and file various conversations by topic.  The Brewing Up Books cobloggers mainly rely on a free communication website and Android/iTunes app known as Slack due to its convenient organization methods through the use of various tags, folders, subfolders, etc.  Messages can be sent to all bloggers, or to one or two specific recipients to which the content pertains.  Slack allows us to send unlimited files, images, videos, sound recordings, and PDFs to one another, and we certainly take full advantage, irrespective of whether those pictures we send at 2 a.m. actually pertain to the blog.

While I absolutely love blogging with Kenzie, and we’ve both had very positive experiences, enlisting in the help of a coblogger is not always the best decision, and it will not elicit beneficial results for every blog.  Turning to a coblogger for assistance is equivalent to sharing your private workspace, and it can be a difficult transition for any blogger.  The most accurate comparison I can establish is to that of finding a roommate: personality is everything and some matches simply aren’t meant to be.  Some individuals are very set in their ways and tend to prefer an isolated living environment in which they do not have to make compromises or cede to the requests of others, and the same can be said about bloggers.

Regardless of your current blogging situation, there are always other alternatives to seeking a coblogger, the most common of which are co-reviewers and guest posters.  Unlike cobloggers, who commonly have full-reign of the material that they post, co-reviewers contribute only reviews to the blog.  Guest posters publish content less frequently than cobloggers and co-reviewers and are not considered full-time authors on the blog.

There is significant leniency regarding the “job descriptions” of each of these positions, and they can be easily tailored to suit the needs of any blog.  Consequently, if you’re about to embark on a search for individuals to fill any of these roles, ensure that you clearly state your expectations regarding posting frequency, content, etc. to avoid strained and unpleasant interactions down the line.

Does anyone have any additional reflections on their personal experiences, both positive and negative, regarding cobloggers?  Is there any advice that you would impart upon a blogger who is considering venturing into the realm of coblogging?

Feel free to post any questions you may have about how we orchestrate coblogging behind the scenes, how we select cobloggers, etc. and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible!
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I am a freshman in college and an avid reader/reviewer, horseback rider, and graphic designer.  Since a young age, I have fostered a love of reading, beginning with my forays into the Nancy Drew series.  I’ve branched out significantly in my reading tastes since then, and my favorite genres include young adult, romance, mystery, and thriller.  I’m constantly trying to expand my horizons, however, so I do dabble in other genres.  While I’m not reading, I volunteer at a hippotherapy center and a veterinary clinic, practice agility with my dogs, play piano and guitar, and sketch.
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