Think about where you want your site to go. Do you want it to grow? Do you want it to become a household name? What is your plan for that? How do you plan on using the 24 hours in your day to make that happen? How many of you are parents? How do you successfully juggle work at home and running a blog that you want to get bigger? Do you plan to do that all by yourself? I hope not. I hope not. If you look at most of the “big” blogs, how many of them are run 100% by themselves? I’ll give you a hint: almost none. Even if they’ve got a solo voice, there’s stuff going on behind the scenes you don’t see. We need help. We’re all human. And the beautiful thing about the blogosphere is that there is NO LIMIT to brilliant, beautiful people out there who want to help grow your blog. They want to help because they want to be part of something bigger. Or maybe you’re one of those beautiful people who want to be part of something bigger. If you want to grow - be it for financial, emotional, or professional reasons - I GUARANTEE you’ll be able to grow better and faster if you work with other people.
Collaboration and curation are two of the most powerful ways to work with other people to grow your site and your brand - and also to be part of something bigger than what you could do on your own. What do these words mean?
Collaboration simply means ‘something created by working jointly with others.’ A collaborative effort means it’s people, not a person, that works together on one project. A collaborative site is a site run by multiple people. This can mean many things, but for the most part, in the scenario of today’s topic, it usually means a blog that has more than one author and/or editor. Two sites that are good examples of this are SpanglishBaby.com, Ana Flores’ site, and SimpleLivingMedia.com, my network of sites. Ana’s community site is about raising bilingual and bicultural children and is a joint effort of her and her co-publisher, Roxana Soto, along with five contributors and a forum moderator. My network is five sites organized by myself, along with four other editors overseeing different channels (Aimee Wimbush-Bourque, Jamie Martin, Nicole Bennett, and Kara Fleck), an ad manager (Mandi Ehman), and a little over 25+ contributors.
Curation is simply a fancy word for “news judgment.” Much like the curator of an art museum, curation is “the selection, preservation, maintenance, and collection and archiving of assets.” In the blogosphere, this is specifically digital assets. You may already do this - how many of you have a regular feature on your blog where you link to posts, articles, and other finds you enjoyed and think your readers would like as well? TikiTiki is an example of a curated site -- Carrie and her colleague Marta gather the best posts in their niche, which in this case is a lifestyle blog for acculturated latinos - 2nd, 3rd generation. They ask permission to repost a post, giving full credit and links, and they also take submissions.
What are the basic benefits of having other people join together at one site? There’s strength in numbers. Because all these people have a vested interest in the same site, they’ll help spread the word on their own individual blogs and in social media. They strengthen and solidify your message - when one message is being espoused by 30 different people, readers start to take notice. And yet in all the gray areas that fill your one message, different contributors can share their specific opinions and diversify the “gray areas.”
Benefits of curation are that you become the ‘go-to’ place for good finds in your niche - almost like a one-stop-shop. It then increases your authority in your niche because you know all about that world and where to find the best stuff. It’s also an excellent networking tool because once news of your site (and therefore, your authority) spreads, others in your niche will want to work with you. You’re scratching their back, so they’ll be more likely to scratch yours.
This is what the blogosphere is NOT. It isn’t a group of bigger bloggers, with smaller bloggers on the outside with a impenetrable wall between the two. This wall is finite, so it stays the same size. There’s only so much room for growth, and you have very little chance of getting in. This it NOT how the blogosphere works.
This is more indicative of the blogosphere. Blogs of different sizes continually entering the world, and as they enter, the world grows. It’s not a finite space - it grows as more people enter. In other words, there’s room enough for everyone.
When you collaborate and curate, you work with each other towards a common good. When you ask others to be part of your site, they’re helping you spread your vision. When you work with others, YOU get to be part of something bigger.
In my network, I have five sites, each one run by an editor as I mentioned earlier, and with 25+ contributors. Each of these contributors have their own sites.
One prominent example is Katie, who writes for Simple Organic, but also contributes regularly for Simple Organic. Here’s an example of her work.
One example on Spanglish Baby is an article written by Suzanne, a regular contributor.
This is one example of a curated post on Tiki Tiki, written by Veronica Gonzales-Smith of Muy Bueno.
Katie Kimball runs KitchenStewardship.com by herself, but she often collaborates and curates. In her real food face-off series, she rounded up and interviewed a number of bloggers, then posted the interviews as a series -- this was a form of collaboration because it was original content on her site, provided by someone else. She also curated a number of posts for a spring cleaning series, making her one post a one-stop shop for this particular topic. 10 weeks, 10 different hostesses
Katie Kimball runs KitchenStewardship.com by herself, but she often collaborates and curates. In her real food face-off series, she rounded up and interviewed a number of bloggers, then posted the interviews as a series -- this was a form of collaboration because it was original content on her site, provided by someone else. She also curated a number of posts for a spring cleaning series, making her one post a one-stop shop for this particular topic.
Ultimately, the benefits of collaborating and curating far outweigh any negatives. Blogging is about community. If you have big goals, don’t be afraid to look around. Work together. Share the love. There are LOTS of practical ins and outs to collaboration & curation, and we want to spend the rest of the time parked at the how-to behind these two things. I’m going to ask these women different questions according to their expertise, and then we’ll take questions at the end.
Katie, tell us about your experience with sharing link love, and what that means to you, success-wise.
Ana, how did you find the contributors to your blog? What’s your criteria? (answer) Katie, how do you find people to collaborate with in your series? (answer) (I’ll share that each of my editors’ hand-picks their contributors) benefits - more control over quality content, you’re not offending people. Katie, what’s your criteria for choosing where to contribute?
Ana, do you pay your contributors? Why or why not? (answer) (I’ll share that I now pay each of our contributors - wanted to honor them as writers, contributing to my company and my vision) Katie, are you paid? (answer) (I’ll share that no one is considered an employee of SLM, just a freelancer) Ana, does this mean your writers are your employees?
Carrie, talk to us a bit about how you find your content. Scoop.it, storify.com
My group, Simple Living Media, has its own private staff site, with a Style Guide, editorial calendar, agreements to sign, buttons to use, and a directory of contributors and their contact info.
Carrie: you can’t grab an entire post or photos for curation
Use your time here NOW.
To download this Power Point presentation as a PDF file, or to grab a simple document with our collaborative notes, head to this URL.
Collaboration & Curation “ Teamwork is so important that it is virtually impossible for you to reach the heights of your capabilities … without becoming very good at it.” -Brian Tracy
Collaboration & Curation Collaboration and Curation
Collaboration & Curation collaboration (col·lab·o·ra·tion, n): something created by working jointly with others
Collaboration & Curation curation (kyoor•ey•shun, n): the selection, preservation, maintenance, and collection and archiving of assets (digital)
Collaboration & Curation strength in numbers: • spreading the word on additional blogs & social media • solidify one main point of view • diversify opinions across the site
Collaboration & Curation spreading the news: • adds value to your site because you're the go-to place for good finds • increases your authority in your niche • excellent networking tool with other voices
Collaboration & Curation Jamie Martin Steady Days Katie Kimball Kitchen Stewardship Shaina Olmanson Food for My Family Emily Carter The Pilot’s Wife Sandy Coughlin The Reluctant Entertainer +25 others