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How I Run a Successful Blog Without Writing a Word

This guest post is by Ashkan of iPhoneAppCafe.com.

I started iPhoneAppCafe.com back in 2010 with the aim of making it a profitable blog—a goal that I eventually achieved. However, after my first blogging venture, one thing became clear to me: writing is not actually my greatest strength.

I have always had lots of ideas and I recognize a good article when I see it. But when it comes to actually writing one, it often takes me far too long, and time is something that I can’t really spare because of my day job and other commitments.

So, here was my challenge: how could I approach the blog with a more businesslike attitude and employ the right team to help with the content?

That’s when it occurred to me that I could start a multi-writer blog.

If I focused on what I was good at, which is the design, development, and optimization of the blog (I manage ecommerce projects for a day job), then all I had to do was find writers who would write about what they are passionate about. They wouldn’t have to worry about the other boring jobs that go along with creating a successful site, such as how to setup a blog, publish content and promote it, and so on.

In 2010, the iPhone was still fairly new and everybody was talking about apps, with hundreds of new ones filling up the App Store every month. There wasn’t too much competition from the likes of Android to worry about either! iPhoneAppCafe’s promise was to share each app’s experience and help iPhone users discover great new apps.

How did I get writers for my blog?

This bit was pretty simple: I placed a number of ads on a local classified website and also on the ProBlogger job board. To my delight, what I found was that there are many iPhone enthusiasts who would happily rate and review their favourite apps for next to nothing. I even managed to get a number of people to write for free!

In addition to the standard app reviews, I also came up with ideas for a number of good top-10 lists and delegated the writing to the most suitable contributors.  Some of the lists got shared on social media and did really well in terms of traffic; even today, some of the best ones still get top ranking in Google and generate lots of traffic.

5 keys to a successful multi-writer blog

Hiring authors is the first step, but there are five key elements you’ll need to work on if your multi-author blog is to be a success.

1. A popular subject

Blogging about a topically popular subject will enable you to find passionate writers. In my case iPhone and apps were very popular at the time I launched the blog and still continue to be topical and talked about.

2. An appealing job ad

Create an appealing ad and communicate your vision in a way that involves and includes your contributors. Here are two of the ads I used.

Get Free iPhone Apps By Writing For iPhoneAppCafe

If you love your iPhone and enjoy reviewing apps, then why not apply to join our team of contributors?  You will receive promotional codes for free apps and get the opportunity for your reviews to be featured on one of the foremost iPhone app websites on the Internet!

To apply, simply send us a short (200-300 word) review of any iPhone app, along with a star ranking, the name of the developer, the latest release date, the price and an image caption, (all of which are available from the iTunes store) and a picture or screen shot of the app.  Those who get through will join the iPhoneAppCafe team and will receive free apps, a showcase for their writing and the opportunity to advance to paid article writing!

Get Paid For Writing About Apps You Love

Do you have a certain passion in life?  Can you write enthusiastically about that passion?  Could you use some extra pocket money?  Most importantly, do you have an iPhone?!

If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then we want to hear from you!  There are a few openings in the team at iPhoneAppCafe.com for talented writers who can write reviews of apps that are relevant to what they love.  For example, if you are a teacher then you could write about apps that help educate children; if you are a whiz in the kitchen, then you may want to write about cooking apps.

We are looking for contributors from different walks of life, in particular:

  • Sports people
  • Health and fitness enthusiasts
  • Food critics
  • Photographers
  • Entrepreneurs

If you are interested in earning money to write about what you love, then simply send us a short (200-300 word) review of one of your favourite iPhone app, along with a star ranking and a picture or screen shot of the app.  Those who get through will join the iPhoneAppCafe team and will receive free apps to review, a showcase for your writing skills and, best of all, you’ll get paid £10-£15 to write top 5 and top 10 lists!

3. Create author profiles

Allow each contributor to have a profile containing their contact details. This will encourage graduates and those just starting out to write for free for you in the interest of building up their profiles and CVs. We have had writers who wrote for free and used their profile on our blog to get writing jobs in the tech industry.

4. Select a topic that benefits from multiple viewpoints

As an example, I had a musician writing about his favorite music apps, and a keen globetrotter writing about good travel apps. This goes hand in hand with our blog’s community aspect and the sharing of mutual and individual experiences.

5. Share behind-the-scenes info

Keep your writers engaged by sharing website statistics and traffic figures with them. You can also create traffic-related incentives—something that I experimented with, which gave mixed results.

There were certainly times when I felt the traffic-related bonuses motivated the writers to spend more time in sharing and bookmarking the articles.

What’s your story?

These are the basic strategies I’ve used to build a successful blog without writing a word. What’s your story? Do you run a multi-author blog—or write for one? Share your experiences and tips with us.

Ashkan is the founder of iPhoneAppCafe.com, a community blog dedicated to reviewing and sharing the best iPhone apps. He started the blog in 2010 and got it to 5000 visitors a day within 9 months. He shares his experience on Twitter: @AshkanTalk.

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Comments

  1. Surminga says:

    Wow, great info and shows that even if you are not a great writer you can still turn a profitable blog. I wasn’t the best write when I began working with blogs but found perseverance and constant reading/writing of articles to naturally improve my skills (even helped through my time at University)

  2. Anthony says:

    Stories like this are great to hear Ashkan and very clever indeed. Impressive!

  3. Mike Hemmins says:

    Although I enjoy writing, I like to (at least try) to come up with compelling, original work, which unfortunately takes time. Being able to follow a plan similar to yours Ashkan would make a world of difference

    Thanks for the heads-up…

  4. Ram Shengale says:

    Hey Ashkam, you sound very similar to me. I always come up with great ideas but it takes me too long to write them. Getting other people to write for your blog is a great idea when you are more interested in other technical things than in writing. I found this post really encouraging.

    Thanx,
    Ram

  5. This is the best thing to do for people who want to blog but they can’t write articles… but this can also be difficult for starters who can barely afford web hosting and domain fees, so probably they won’t have any money to pay writers. But if someone is good with budget to invest in his/her blog then this is the perfect guide for them.

  6. Wade says:

    A multi posting blog is a great idea. This will keep great content on your site without having to stress out about having to write great content every day!

  7. samuel says:

    hmn.i have tried it before but i prefer writing my blog myself because of the joy of it.although it is good to run a multi writer blog because it would be getting much more weekly post than single writer blogs.
    thanks

  8. I really like the idea and this is a great impressive story, so it is really nice to hear it from you. I love what you have done and congragulations for figuring this out. Thank you for posting this for us.

  9. Hi Ashkan,

    This is basically how I run WeBlogBetter. I didn’t do any job posting, but in the beginning, I connected with a few bloggers who agreed to write regularly for the site and I continued to build the site to make it appetizing to guest bloggers. I think what had the greatest impact was the few guest posting contests I organized. It brought new writers at a time that I really needed it. Now, that the blog has grown, I don’t have to search for new writers, they contact me now. It’s really a win/win situation, I get fresh content for my site and they get to borrow some traffic and exposure. I like how you roll Ashkan!

  10. “I started iPhoneAppCafe.com back in 2010 with the aim of making it a profitable blog” — I thought these are the types of blogs we *don’t* want crowding the blogosphere, the blogs that are built for monetary gain and lack any sort of passion.

    • Ashkan says:

      @Delwin: I can see how one could perceive it this way. I agree the passion is important for any good blogger at the same time I think it is important to make money from your passion if you want to dedicate a lot of time and resources to it. Although the title says without writing a word which pretty much is true lately but in the beginning I was writing too and I was indeed very passionate and enthusiastic about iPhone and apps. My idea was to find other writers with who were also passionate about this and wanted to review the apps they loved and would recommend.

  11. Tash Hughes says:

    As someone who loves the writing part of blogging, Ashkan, I love your comment abuot leaving the writers to write while you do the other stuff :)

    I like your four tips (I think the good ad is a bonsu but perhaps not so necessary as you can find writers in other ways).

    @Delwin, what’s wrong with blogs that make people money? If you gain value from a blog, why would you not want the writer to get some return on the time and effort that instil into the blog so you get free information? Bloggers who don’t get paid are more likely to get distracted with other things (like earning an income!) and stop blogging. You can be passionate about a topic and still get money for it – some profitable blogs are amongst the best (hmm, problogger is profitable, too…)

  12. Hi Ashkan,
    Finally I have got the idea,right now I am running a news blog in which I share technology news from around the world.I want to add some difference to my blog,so that I can get regular readers.As far as I am concerned,i am running the blog via my smartphone and planning to go for a paid hosting.I am looking for writers who can write for free about startups and apps.where can I find them,please take a look at my blog and give me advice.Thank you.

    • Ashkan says:

      Hi Andrew,

      One way of getting writers is advertizing. You can see the job ads I posted in this article. I think what you should think about is why they would want to write for free for you and what is in it for them!

  13. Ayaz says:

    Hi Ashkan.

    Great article and in my point of view I think mainly its the strategy that you takes in to action when you start your blog and where you set your targets and aims of doing that, that’s certainly helps sticking to the point and achieve your targets as you wanted to.

    Thanks for great advice though.

  14. Adrian says:

    You are right that it is not always easy to come up with original and quality content and the solution you presented might work for a lot of people.

  15. Hi Ashkan,

    I think that you are similar to me! There are many Bloggers who send me their guest post in weekly basis,
    Thanks for the awesome tips here.

  16. Rick says:

    It’s definately a challenge to hold down a ‘day job’ and still provide consistent content.

    Guest bloggers have been a blessing. Today I try to post three times each week with two of these from guest bloggers.

  17. hazalzlen says:

    Thanks for amazing tips but content writing is very important for every successful blog.

  18. Joanne says:

    Hi, I find writing a difficult task for me. I do write for my own blog but it takes a long time for me to comue up with one post. Sometimes I buy articles but some writers cannot provide the kind of content and quality I want.

  19. I do love writing but getting articles for free? That’s something else!

  20. Ashkan says:

    Thanks all for reading my guest posts and good comments. I had such an hectic day in office yesterday (we are launching this new competition called App Idol) so now I am responding to comments :)

    @Ehsan You are very welcome. Glad there were some useful tips for you.

    @hazalzlen Absolutely!

    @lucid dreaming: Yes I was surprised myself that people would write for free. But a young graduate is always after experience and I guess a few minutes writing about something you love is not a bad thing!

  21. Akporugo says:

    @joanee talking about the quality of outsourcing your article it kinda rediculous because not everybody see the true value in it.

  22. Puja Kumari says:

    I have made a classified site.. I want to make it popular.