Tuesday, October 7, 2008

When is Writing for Another Site a Good Idea?

Have you noticed the proliferation of online magazines and networks lately? When is it a good idea to join one, and when should you stick to writing for your own site?

I asked a few fellow bloggers to help me answer this question from an anonymous blogger and BlogCoach member:

Recently, I've been invited to join some other networks and write for them.

This is something I've struggled with for a while. Should I stick with my little ol' blog, which I've poured my heart and soul into for a while, or look for greater exposure by writing for other sites? Is it good to remain independent, or to join a bigger site? Or is it possible to do both?
As many of you know, I've been a contributor to a new online magazine, Blissfully Domestic, for a month or so. I signed up because I was interested in working with some of the women involved whom I felt were good writers headed in an interesting direction. BlogCoach has received a few hits from my articles at BD. It's not a flood of traffic, but I definitely receive more click throughts than I get from the paid graphic ads I place sometimes on other sites.

Writing for another site has its pluses and minuses. I have an editor at BD (Tsh from Simple Mom), and that's a good thing. Knowing that someone else is reviewing my writing makes me pay more attention to it. I think more about the words I use and the structure of the post. At the same time, I've committed to submitting an article a week and that adds one more item to my to-do list.

Since I've only been a regular contributing writer for a few weeks, I sent the question above out to a few fellow bloggers and contributing writers to see what additional advice they'd share:

Amy from MomAdvice says that writing for a network or online magazine can lead to more exposure for your site since there "is often a pool from each of the writer's readers that read the site you are writing for and it can lead to bigger PR opportunities as well as yield higher traffic." Cathy from Chief Family Offer concurs that "
exposure to a new audience and
increased traffic...can help your blog grow."

Cathy, Jenn from Frugal Upstate and Tara from Deal Seeking Mom agree that writing for another site can bring some new traffic. They also underscore the importance of choosing your associations wisely: "I look for a network to provide benefits I can't get myself," Cathy says, "the relationship with other bloggers is one thing to consider, in addition to traffic boosts and exposure." "Will being associated with this network increase my credibility/reputation?" Jenn asks herself. "Being mentioned on the MSN Money blog didn't garner me a huge number of hits, but it certainly adds to my credibility. By the same token, if I were to become a regular writer for The Dollar Stretcher (a well known money saving ezine/site), it would certainly increase my credibility/reputation within the frugal crowd.

Tara from Deal Seeking Mom suggests looking for a network or magazine that will add value to your blog through the quality of the writing found there. She believes it's important to look for a site that offers its readers original writing rather than republishing posts that have appeared previously on writers' blogs. "That’s not adding any value to my blog," Tara says, "but I am willing to write posts that complement my site for others because that will generally bring me some additional traffic that might not have found me otherwise."

Jenn agrees that quality of the writing is important and adds that it's important to consider the tone as well. "
Remember, your blog is your brand, you want to associate yourself with sites that are within that brand personality. Once something is on the internet, it is there forever." By linking your site with one that espouses a political viewpoint, she says, you're creating a lasting connection with that viewpoint in your readers' minds.

So should you or shouldn't you? Still undecided?
Amy suggests giving it a try for a month or so and seeing what happens with your stats. "If I am not seeing growth from a collaborative effort, then I need to evaluate my priorities and make sure that it is still a good fit for me." Nicole from Gidget Goes Home agrees, saying "I must say that I'd probably personally go for it, if nothing for the writing experience, and for the exposure that it might bring to my blog. Maybe they'd even let you try it out for a little while and see how you like it."

image by lumaxart