Want Blog Traffic? Then Collaborate on the Content

By: Marilyn L. Davis

“I have always believed in the power of collaboration. Early on in my professional career, I realized that you can’t develop all the competencies you need fast enough on your own. Furthermore, if you don’t collaborate, your ideas will be limited to your own abilities. As a result, you will not be able to serve your clientele and thus can’t achieve the anticipated impact.” ― Vishwas Chavan, Vishwasutras: Universal Principles for Living: Inspired by Real-Life Experiences

 

When It’s Only One Writer’s Ideas, Thoughts, and Words

alone at keyboardMost blog owners share what’s important to them, how they view life, write about their area of expertise, and use language that is particular to them. Their website evolves, but it’s still singular to their viewpoints. And that’s fine, after all a personal blog is well, personal. The writer has the option to write about whatever they like, and not worry about reader’s opinions on the topic.

Eventually, if the writing is sound, they will attract an audience.  Granted, that’s not always the case, but for the most part, writers tell their truth as they see it and that’s what a reader gets – that singular writer’s truth.

However, I hear from too many other bloggers on FB, Google + and Twitter that they know they’ve published a piece that they didn’t think was stellar simply to satisfy the idea that each of us should produce a minimum of three posts per week, or two a day, or one every four days, depending on which internet writing expert you follow. While I admire many of the writers mentioned in the post, I question whether or not, a team effort isn’t a better idea for us at Two Drops of Ink.

Alone I Can’t, Together, We Can

Scott and I have other jobs. Scott is also in school and getting ready to go to England. I’m a program director at a men’s facility with 55 recovering residents. We’re not complaining about our other workloads, after all, those jobs help pay the bills.

But we’re torn, because each of us feels a responsibility to our readers to give them interesting, engaging, and informative posts and individually we can’t do that on a daily basis.

When we looked at collaboration, it simply made sense. Plus it satisfied our philosophy of providing a platform for new and seasoned writers. By creating an award-winning site, we knew we could attract diversified writers, poets, and essayists. We’re glad many of them have become Monthly Contributors, to expose their writing, but on a self-serving note, it takes the pressure off me to produce.

When we collaborate with guest contributors, everybody wins. I know that reads cliche, but it sums up our philosophy.

good morning let the stress begin

How Can You Find Collaborators?

If you’re writing a blog by yourself, do you sometimes wish you had other competent writers helping you? Then my question is what’s stopping you from asking others to do guest posts, or when you follow another writer, see about an exchange.

I was approached by Craig Stratton on Linkedin about a year ago who asked me how I started my other blog, From Addict 2 Advocate. He was thinking about starting a blog and wanted some advice. I asked him if he wanted to dive into the deep end of the pond or get his feet wet first. He understood my southern analogy and started writing a monthly post. Now, he writes for my blog and has started his own, C.W. Stratton.

We support each other’s efforts and don’t feel competitive. We’re both genuinely excited to let people know that recovery is possible and writing from our different perspectives means that we will reach diverse populations who can relate to one of us more than the other. Some people think it’s risky to promote other writers and jealously guard against any mention of other people. What a shame.

When a writer doesn’t get concerned about who the messenger is but is focused on the message, collaborative writing works.  Furthermore, when everyone is making the effort to produce quality posts, no one feels embarrassed to promote one another.

Our Philosophy: Support, Encourage, and Promote One Another

support peopleWhen there’s a collaborative effort, one person is highlighted one day, and the next, it’s another member. Ultimately, it’s the site that gets exposure for both of the writers.

What invariably happens, is that people are  at the site and may be attracted by another title. If you look at WordPress statistics, you can see where you had “X” number of visitors. You can also see how many views you had that day.

When your views exceed visitors, that means that people read more than one post.

Some days, I don’t have a new post, but every day I have views. I’m grateful that one of my co-writers initially drew the readers to the site that day, but that one of my titles caught the reader’s attention, and that something I wrote attracted them as well.

Find Another Writer – Today

lost found searching

It’s not complicated. There are individuals who share your opinions, interest you, or you admire. Reach out to them. You have nothing to lose in this gesture. Find Facebook or Google + groups and you might be surprised at the response when you create a call to action to submit.

From a Facebook group that I belong to, Two Drops of Ink benefited by publishing posts from Olga Mecking, Christopher Fox, Ilona Fried, and John Gyorki. Their posts did well.  We gave them exposure. We drove traffic to their websites listed in their bios.

We in turn offered our readers yet another perspective on writing and in many cases, it would not have been a viewpoint that Scott, Lydia, or I had thought of, so it was educational for us as well.

Double the Rewards

When readers know that they will be exposed to various viewpoints, they are more likely to visit a site. When you break down your statistics, you can see where your audience comes from and what they are reading. I often write about memoirs, from various perspectives on the craft. But I’ve also created a couple of memoir pieces as well. All of those posts do well. We thought about our readers liking these and decided to create a call to action specific to memoir to entice other writers to submit. The responses were outstanding – and our readers thought so too, judging by the number of views.

Probably in gambling terms, this is doubling down, knowing that a particular topic garners hits, we then maximized on the efforts by creating an opportunity for others to write about the topic. 

We know what our readers like and we make the effort to give them those kinds of posts, regardless of who wrote it.

Make Room in Your Niche

Should I get jealous of another writer who does well writing about memoir? Only if I’m foolish, and I try not to be that.  If you’re afraid that someone will write a “better” post than you did about your topic, consider these:

“A knotty puzzle may hold a scientist up for a century, when it may be that a colleague has the solution already and is not even aware of the puzzle that it might solve.” ― Isaac Asimov, The Robots of Dawn
“That’s why I’m a proponent of collaboration. It’s not because working together feels good. If it felt good and the results were mediocre, then collaboration wouldn’t be worth the effort. Collaboration is valuable because it helps us transcend our individual limits and create something greater than ourselves.” ― Bob Sullo
  1. Would we be visitors to the moon without collaboration?
  2. Would we learn new truths without collaboration?
  3. Could we change any social injustice without collaboration?

Most certainly not, so if it works for science, education, and social change, it works at Two Drops of Ink.

 

Still uncertain about the benefits of dividing the writing or a guest post? Then think about sending us a submission and see what kind of traffic you get.  You know I’ll be appreciative of your efforts.

 

Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

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16 comments

  1. Nice post Marilyn! I think as a writing/blogging community we need more articles like this. I find that collaborating can take some of the control freak-ism out of my writing endeavors and free me up to grow in the wider community of artists around me.

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    • Hi, Donnie. Control is an illusion; collaboration is a better reality. She smiles. Community support and feedback feel better than going it completely alone any day. Thanks for commenting.

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    • I appreciate your concerns, especially if you’ve had an unfortunate experience elsewhere. I understand once bitten, twice shy. However, not knowing what the experience was, it’s difficult to comment specifically on the issue. What I can guarantee from a published guest post with Two Drops of Ink is that all of the team will promote it on various social media platforms, and provide links back to your own site or other publications.

      We committed to creating a collaborative writing site and that takes cooperation and respect for other writers, our readers and ourselves. We’ve done that by writing posts that people like yourself read and comment on, and then we’ve nurtured relationships with our guest writers. As I said in the post, we recently added Michelle to our team, so I’d encourage you to give us an opportunity to show that we are genuine and not part of the crowd.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Michelle. I’ve said it in other comments, but I’m thrilled that you are a member of the team. I look forward to your next post.

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    • Hi, Richard. So glad you commented. I know you have created exceptionally good blogs, and you seem to be able to fulfill that balancing act required to be the sole writer. Alas, I have not reached that point in my development. She smiles. However, I’m writing with people I respect here at Two Drops of Ink and on From Addict 2 Advocate, so it’s all good.

      Good to see you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, John, thank you for commenting. Scott and I made our decision to publish new writers because we both believe that there is a lot of talent that never gets a chance to be read. I laughed once and told him that I feel like a “proud Mama” when someone I’ve brought to the site gets a lot of hits – like you.

    You are a wonderful storyteller, John. While I know your posts are memoirs and true, you still impart the “what happens next” curiosity in readers, myself included,and that’s a hallmark of a good storyteller.

    Again, thanks for being such a loyal follower as well as contributor to the site, but more than that, thank you for becoming a friend.

    .

    Like

  3. Well said, Marilyn!
    Because of this site and the team at two drops of ink. I have learned so much. While I am still working on my website, you can be sure I will add all of you and your blog links to help drive traffic to them. I, like all of you, have a job to pay my bills to. So I can understand the pressures you all feel (I’m glad you admitted all of you work because I thought all of you never rested or slept). The biggest reason why I come here to learn and engage is that of the honest sincerity I get from here and the kindness of your time to help without payment of any sort. Because of that, my goal is to help you all succeed over myself. For me, that is a win-win! I know what I do is small compared to what others may contribute, but eventually my little-attained goals add up to the greater whole to help others. The team spirit all of you represent is felt by me and I am sure by others. So I thank all of you for your hard work!

    Liked by 1 person

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