by Nicole Dean
One of the best things that I’ve done in the history of my online business is to collaborate with my “competition”.
Why would I want to do such a thing?
The answer is simple, really. My friends and I all reach a similar audience. Plus, if we are in a profitable market (which, hopefully everyone reading this is), we are all reaching buyers who will buy many different products, not just one. Therefore, by showcasing each other, we have an opportunity to create more “raving fans” who, even if they do not buy directly from me, may shout from the rooftops how amazing I am.
That’s worth something to me.
Even more importantly, I have been watching the business owners who are not embracing this concept of cooperation. Their concept of keeping the whole piece of the pie to themselves is driving some of them right out of business.
Let me give you an example of a market where people are consistent buyers.
Let’s say that that I’m in the diet industry. If you’ve ever had 5 to 500 pounds to lose, you’ve probably purchased more than one exercise video or diet book. Am I right? I, myself, have more exercise video DVDs on my shelf (ranging from Hip Hop to Belly Dance) than I could possibly do in a month. Lord help me if I tried. I would probably hurt myself.
Yes. If you’re in a market that is profitable, then you are reaching people who will buy over and over (and over) again.
This website is an example of my point.
The Future of Ink is a collaborative project where Denise Wakeman and Ellen Britt hand-picked those of us who have been inspirational to them in the area of Digital Publishing. They didn’t just create this site as a blog where the two of them were the only two featured experts. They gathered other experts to make this project really something special. And, I think they’ve succeeded.
You don’t have to fear competition. There is greatness to be had if you share the love.
The question then is “How?”
One of the ways that I showcase others while building my own credibility is by publishing an ongoing series on my blog called “Expert Briefs” since 2010. I ask several of my colleagues who I respect one single question for each post. I then compile each of their answers into a pillar style blog post. I end the blog post with my own answer to the question plus a wrap-up on the topic.
Why on earth would I feature all of those other people on my blog on a regular basis?
1. It’s a relatively easy way to write a blog post. I simply send an email to my contributors on a weekly basis. That email includes a link to the latest post and the questions for the next ones. My Virtual Assistant compiles the answers into a blog post draft. I pop in and add my thoughts and hit the “publish” button. Then I promote the post, of course. And, I repeat the process for the next one.
2. It’s hugely popular. While my readers enjoy my blogs posts, they love Expert Briefs. They still to read what I think about the topic, but they also have the opportunity to peek into the amazing minds of my friends. That’s pretty huge, in my opinion. Heck, I look forward to reading my own blog, so there’s got to be something pretty special there.
3. I get to be Oprah. Have you ever heard of a lady named Oprah? Of course you have. Well, Oprah got famous by showcasing other people. She surrounded herself with fascinating people, and therefore became fascinating herself. I always say that fame and perceived expertise is like cooties. You catch it by being in close proximity to someone else who has it. The collaborative blog post style can help you to “catch” the exposure that your friends already have.
4. It’s just good karma. What is better than creating some extra love in the world?
How Do I Pull It All Together?
I will use my latest post “How to Get People to Promote You” as an example. Here are the steps that went into it, so you can do it, too.
1. Ask the Question. I sent my contributors an email in which I asked “What’s the #1 thing someone can do to get your attention so that you’d consider promoting them?”
2. Compile the Responses. I received ten responses to my special email address that I use just for Expert Briefs. My virtual assistant checks that email account every week. She logged in, found the responses, and created the blog post from those replies. Then, she notified me that the draft was ready.
The intro of the post draft looked like this:
3. Write your Anchor Section and Publish. I logged into my blog, found the draft, and read through the responses, noting which points I thought were especially important and whether any important points were missing. I then drafted my response at the end of the post and scheduled the post to publish.
My part looks like this:
4. Notify Contributors that the Post is Live. On the day that post published, I notified the contributors that it was live, asked them to share it in any way they felt comfortable and sent them the next question.
5. Promote your Post. Of course, with any blog post, you want to promote it. So, I also sent it to my readers and also shared it on social media.
Is There an Easier Way to Do This?
Yes, there are definitely ways to automate this process. I choose to do the posts manually because I’m going for a more intimate approach to building relationships with a core group of individuals. Plus, I’m picky about who I have on my blog.
However, there are two ways you can simplify or automate this.
1. Use a program like Blog Stampede. Mike Michalowicz, the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, offers the opportunity for his readers to contribute to large collaborative posts on his blog on a regular basis. He automates the submission process through Blog Stampede. I haven’t personally used it, but it seems to work really well for him.
2. Set up a form on your site and ask contributors to add their responses there. There is a really powerful plugin for WordPress called Gravity Forms that can pull the responses into individual blog posts. If you wanted to avoid having responses come through email or you prefer having each contributor’s response in a separate blog post, this could make your life easier.
The Final and Very Important Piece.
The final piece to this story is that, after you publish a few of these collaborative posts, you will have plenty of fabulous content that you can repurpose in your business.
In each of my emails that goes out to my contributors, I include a disclaimer that states that I am free to use the content that was submitted in other ways beyond the original blog post, without compensation, as long as the contributor is credited as the source. I do just that.
In fact, my next book on Amazon was created in large part, from content in my Expert Briefs series.
So, yes, over 50% of my book was written by other people. Three of our contributors at the Future of Ink are even included: Kathleen Gage, Denise Wakeman, and Kristen Eckstein. And, I couldn’t be prouder.
Do you do collaborative posts on your blog? Please share your experience.
Also, if you have questions, please ask. I will be answering comments personally.
I’ll see you soon in my next post.
Latest posts by Nicole Dean (see all)
- Become Famous Like Oprah. Publish Collaborative Blog Posts. - October 29, 2012
- Got Guest Bloggers? How to Streamline your Guest Posts - September 21, 2012