Become Famous Like Oprah. Publish Collaborative Blog Posts.

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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.

Warmly
Nicole Dean

Nicole Dean
Nicole Dean is on a Mission. To Help Busy Online Business Owners, Specifically Bloggers, Writers, and Infoproduct Sellers, to Build Sustainable Online Businesses that Help them Reach their Financial and Lifestyle Goals while Making both the Web and the World a Better Place. And, Hopefully Having a Lot of Fun While Doing It.
Nicole Dean
Nicole Dean
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Comments

  1. About a month ago I came up with the brilliant idea of creating collaborative blog posts and I though I was really clever by inventing something that hasn\’t been done yet. You have beaten me by about a year (or 2) but sadly you seem to be the only person who has written and tried out this concept. Multi Authored articles are common in academia and academic journals but in blogging, not a whisper.I have been trying out blog post collaboration as an alternative to guest posting and have had very positive feedback from readers and enthusiastic participation with bloggers I have invited to contribute. My connections are all small business owners with a blog attached to their business so finding the time to write for our own blogs is hard enough and the thought of writing a guest post is near on impossible. Enter the Collaborative Blog Post! I asked people to contribute about 100 words to a post I was writing and in return they get a massive (free) plug on my website. The idea of only having to write about 100 words is so much more attractive and doable for busy small business owners and I think its crazy that more bloggers haven\’t taken on this concept.It\’s early days for me but so far my little experiment is working out really well. If you know of others who are doing this, please let us know because I can\’t find anyone out doing it.

  2. Hi Nicole,

    I think you have a great point here! Getting readers to get involved with the discussion doesn’t only make your site look lifely but as well as keeping a good level of social engagement :)

    Keep the writing up and thanks for sharing!

  3. Nicole, you are not kidding when you say you care about what’s in it for them! Even in this post, you peel back the layers of what you do and show exactly how it’s done and WHY! That way anyone reading your material can learn exactly what to do. I love that!

  4. Great advice and tips! I see collaboration going on all the time in a fitness niche I’ve bought products in. I can see how this would work beautifully!

  5. These are may be the top factors of blogging and bloggerazzi ! –
    Start a controversy. Just remember not to cross the line.
    Start a contest. Make sure to end it too.
    Give away free goodies. People love them.
    Write about other bloggers to interest their visitors to read your blog. Keep it positive.
    Dress up your blog often (By dress-up I mean tweaking the design)
    Interview other bloggers and post the interview.
    Write about your personal life sometimes.
    Ask questions to your visitors.
    Share some secrets.
    Celebrate your birthday with your visitors. Think of innovative ways for doing this.
    Celebrate your blog’s birthday too.
    Write something funny or disgusting. (Don’t make it a habit)
    Make a bumper sticker with your blog’s name and stick it on your car. (Just make sure you drive often)
    Write an e-book and distribute it to your visitors for free.
    Introduce a commission based affiliate program.
    Tell your visitors about your latest fad or obsession.

  6. Nicole, Even though I like this idea in general (and am now pretty convinced I’ll be doing it on my own new blog), I do have a question. I have read elsewhere that sometimes guest posts turn people off because they are following the blog owner for their insights, teaching etc and guests kind of interrupt that in a way. Your thoughts on that issue?

    • Cheyl,
      I hope I am doing this right.

      I know I am not Nicole but my thought would be if you follow her format with adding your thoughts as the last expert your readers will always be getting information from you but will also be getting additional information of others.

      As I said just my thoughts,
      Dr. Clyde

    • Hi Cheryl.

      I don’t often accept guest posts on my blog unless it’s a dear friend who I respect. I’m usually traveling or ill when I do it – so they step in for me.

      The difference with collaborative posts is that you are the “main” expert in the group – the one who brought together the amazing people, and you also anchor the discussion at the end, sharing your insights and opinions, too. So, really, if your readers weren’t interested in the others, they can scroll down and just read your part. (Which I would hope they wouldn’t do, but in a time crunch they can, of course.)

      In my experience, doing collaborative posts since 2010, it’s increased my credibility and my people love it. But, of course, everyone’s business is unique. Try it and see what the response is.

      Warmly,
      N

  7. Great Post,
    So many bloggers and online entrepreneurs have this me-me attitude towards running their business. They don’t seem to realize that running an online business is NO different from running an offline business – you need other peoples help.

    Collaborating with other bloggers and influencers in your niche will definitely add value to you and your brand. Thanks for the powerful insights Nicole, enjoyed reading this article!

  8. Nicole,
    I have followed the links in this article and will be leaving a comment on 1 or 2 other posts and making a purchase as well.

    As always your information (yours or collaberated) is great news for others in the market and trying to make a decent and honest income online.

    Many Blessings,
    Dr. Clyde

  9. Love the approach, Nicole! Plus I discovered a really cool new site because of you (aka: this one!). :-)

    Collaboration yields greater fruits, better ideas, and a wider audience, I definitely have to do more of this myself!

  10. Nic, one of the things I like about your Expert Briefs posts is we get to see different opinions.

    Can’t wait to see how you re-purpose them :)

  11. Great ideas. I am curious as to if you compensate the other authors for their posts in your book or if they are compensated by the promotion. I have a couple of books that I am considering using other authors in, but wanted to make sure what is the appropriate way of handling this.
    Blessings,
    Deborah H. Bateman-Author

  12. What an outstanding idea Nicole! You not only provided a great suggestion but showed us exactly how to implement it.

    Back in the early days of internet marketing it was all about crushing the competition. I never felt comfortable with that. Your approach to collaboration is much more gracious and creates a win win for everyone.

    Looking forward to collaborating with you in the future!

  13. Huge believer in the collaborative approach Nicole. Thanks for this thoughtful and super helpful post. I’ll be sharing it!

  14. Such a smart idea, and I love that we get the collective wisdom from everyone, too. I totally, 100% agree that the new and successful business model is one that includes collaboration.

  15. I just love this Nicole! And I recently put this very same strategy to good use on my own blog as well. Collaboration is the key to success…

    • Thanks, Ellen. There’s definitely a lot of built-in profit potential in this content strategy. I’m just so thankful for my friends. They make business so much more fun – and profitable.