The answer would most likely be a yes, especially if you’re a blog manager.
Bloggers come and bloggers go. Just like in the traditional print industry, a painful transition can be brought about when the editor in chief of a magazine leaves to pursue other things. This can lead to a discombobulating series of events, especially when the EIC had been hand picked from the day the title, focus and market of the magazine was conceived.
Adel Gabot once told me that you can tell whether an editor in chief has a full grasp over his magazine when you turn the pages and see the content reflect his or her personality. Such editors such as Tim Yap of Super!, Pam Pastor of 2bu!, RJ Ledesma of MANUAL, as well as the boys over at C! Magazine are good examples of this. Passion driven, personality fueled.
So then the big question mark: what happens when the EIC leaves the magazine, taking with him all the personality and direction he set up throughout the many months, years and yes, even to the very point of taking the entire magazine staff with him?
The publisher is stuck. The staff becomes confused. Morale is low.
In the new media publishing business, can the same be said? As a blog manager of over 17 sites and counting, the hardest part of the job is finding the right writer for the right content. The more specific the niche, the harder it is to find a competency-fit blogger for the job. And here’s why: One of the main differences between professional bloggers and journalists (and this is never highlighted) is that bloggers have that extra task of plotting a the direction, voice, and focus of his site. This is what differentiates a good problogger from a so-so one. It’s true to also say the same for journalists, as the more discerning writers eventually get promoted to editors. What makes the problogging job seem easier is the casual tone of writing as compared to the journalists’ more formal tone.
So when a problogger leaves the networked owned blog, the blog manager of the network has to find a new writer through word of blog, personal recommendations, advertising, and email blasts. A new blogger eventually comes who is fit to take over the content. Now here’s the thing. There are several things happening between the time the original blogger leaves and the time the new blogger makes his first few posts:
- obviously the community readership will feel a lull and traffic will most likely come from keyword searches, recommendations, and SEO, but not from a “community anticipation” for the next post
- the community will feel a reset in the blog, as the new blogger will try to catch up with what the community has been following for several months; this will also highly depend on how engaging the previous blogger was
- the community will compare the old blog EIC with the new blog EIC’s engagement and competence especially when the niche has a high fanboy rating (i.e. Macintosh ,lomography, certain sports blogs )
Of course the saying that “you are not a dollar bill, you can’t please everyone” holds true for most of what I’ve already mentioned here. As a problogger who wants to take over an existing blog that belongs to a network, here are some tips to follow as you are waiting for your pending application:
- Read the headline and description of the blog. It usually contains information on the blog’s focus and market.
- Find out how many writers have written for the blog and if allowed, find out why they left. The usual reason for leaving network owned blogs would be because of time / priority related issues. Can you REALLY commit time for this?
- Check if the writers were able to build community in the form of comments, linkbacks, and the like. Find out if they were actively participative in the internal discussions of the network. Can you be highly participative too?
- Compare your knowledge and experiences to the content made by the predecessor. Can you at least match that level of competence?
- Don’t reinvent the wheel. You probably have insights that have already been talked about by the previous guy. It would be good to unearth these and add / affirm or negate them.