Developing an Authority Site – Populating the Website

content-is-king1Now that you have a website, you need to contact a few people and have them write blogs for you. This is simple; put out the word, and you will be inundated with people wanting to write blogs for your site. If you believe this, I have some oceanfront property in Kansas that I would like to sell you. Unless a person can see some benefit for writing for a website, they will not write.

The benefit may be money you pay the blogger. It may be a following you have which will allow your blogger to reach people she has not reached before. It may be that she sees great potential in what you are doing, and she feels that by getting involved, in a few months she will see a reward.

You have a choice, you can develop the website so you have a following, or you can pay between $100 and $500 for people to write blogs for you. Since you are going to need twenty or thirty blogs before you start getting much of a following, you are talking about $2,000 to $15,000. If you have that kind of money to spend, you do not need this blog, so it has been nice knowing you.

For the rest of us, we need to start developing. The concept tugs at one’s heart strings, so there is a possibility of getting a person who is interested in being part of the development; but with the armadillo juggling site, I’m not likely to find anyone to blog for me unless I have my checkbook handy.

Write ten long blogs, each from 3,000 to 5,000 words. I would love to write blogs that long, but for many years I have written devotions for our church, and we have a limit of 400 words. My blogs stop at 400 words, and I have to kick them to get them up to 800 words. Occasionally I can entice 2,000 words out of an idea.

Write a blog introducing yourself. Write a blog explaining why the concept of your blog is important to the reader. Don’t tell the reader why the concept is important to you. The reader could care less. Your writing style should convey to the reader that you have a passion for the subject.

Write thirty 300 to 500 word blogs. These should be responses to the ten long blogs.

To help populate your site, you can get some of your friends involved. Send some or all of your ten long blogs to friends and ask them to respond to one or more of the blogs. When the time is right, they can post their response on your website, or they can send it to you and you can post in on your web site for them.

If you have friends, like most of us have, they mean well, but they delay and never get it done. For them, draft what you think they would say and send it to them. Ask them to edit or rewrite what you wrote for them. I used to work with an attorney who could do a beautiful job of rewriting my drafts, but she could never get started on writing a document on her own. Others will comment that the draft is OK. Some will delay and never get back to you.

You need three or four guest blogs to run on your site. Before you can find the guest bloggers, you need to do a little work.

Hopefully you have a file of bloggers you would like to write for your site. If you don’t, now is the time to start developing your list. Every time you read a blog by an author whom you think would do a good job writing a blog for you, add her to the list. Every time you see a FaceBook or other social media post from someone whom you think would do a good job writing a blog for you, add her to the list. Every time you read a book or article, you know the drill by this point.

You need to write guidelines for the blogs that are written for you. If I were to ask for a blog for the left-handed armadillo jugglers blog and not specify content, someone would probably write a blog as to why I should wear Nike running shoes. Don’t ask me how I learned this. You also should include preferred length. Will you accept a blog they have written and posted somewhere else, or will you accept a repost? May they use the blog as a blatant promotion of their site or their products? You will want to furnish contact information and a photo of them at the bottom of the blog. To be sure you have this information, you need to ask for it. Having a well-organized document will go a long way towards convincing them that you are a professional and that your website will be run in a professional manner.

Before you contact the potential bloggers, you need to write a sales letter. Explain the concept of your website and what you hope to accomplish. Be honest. If your contact list consists of three people, admit it. Offer to write a guest blog for them in return for them writing a blog for you. At this point it may be difficult to get them to write a new blog for you if they have a large following and you do not have a following. If they can remember what it was like trying to build the first 1,000 opt-ins for their website, then they will be more likely to respond favorably.

Now, put your package together for guest bloggers. Send individual e-mails to each. You might want to start out sending five or ten invitaions per day until you get enough responses. Do not discard your list. If you are asked to remove a name, do so, but otherwise save it until you have more traffic on your site and then contact the people again. Truthfully saying I have a mailing list of 2,000 is more interesting than I hope to have a mailing list of 2,000 but currently have 3.

You also need to draft some e-mails. Some of these will be automatic response e-mails that welcome people who opt-in to the site, and to people who send comments to the site : “thank you for your comment; as soon as we review and approve your comment, it will be posted.”

On the day you launch your site, you need to send e-mails to all people on your personal e-mail list who would be interested in looking at your site. Encourage them to let their friends know about your new site. Once you have people opting in, and you are posting a blog each Tuesday, you probably should be sending them an e-mail on Thursday. Initially this e-mail can tell them what the next blog will cover, but eventually this e-mail can be mentioning items you have for sale.

Get all of the above done before you establish your launch date.

Prior to your launch date, you will probably want to post several of the blogs and several responses on our site. That way, on your launch date, you will have a history that people can look at, rather than just having one blog posted.

The big day has come; you have launched your site and by the end of the day, only one person, a friend who is always there to help you, has opted-in. Don’t despair; wait until next week when we will be talking about Social Media and using Social Media to draw people to your site.

Hopefully, next week will occur in 7 days. As I write this, I’m packing for a trip to Haiti; and if I do not get the next blog written before my plane takes off, next week will take place after I return from Haiti. If you organize your life and schedule your activities, you will never have to write and apologize like I just did. Remember, do as I say, not as I do.