If you blog long enough, the thought of creating a blog network will probably cross your mind. That is, if you succeed in building one reasonably successful blog, or tire of freelance blogging. But it’s not something I suggest doing on your own.

For a while now, the thought of a team effort for building blogs has crossed my mind multiple times. A good Blogger or three, one Editor in Chief (EIC) for planning and vision, a Designer for the graphic branding work, and an SEO/ SEM/ SMM for optimization, analysis and promotion.

Makes sense, right? Magazines, for example, are produced every month by a team. But a website or blog is not a magazine. Can this team approach work for websites? Can they work for blogs? I believe they can, though this does not mean I’m advocating that each person has an equal say in every issue that arises. That is, don’t let the SEO make suggestions about design – unless they actually have design experience. And vice versa for the Designer.

So what is Seth Godin saying about creating a great website? He gives 10 tips for building websites, and the first one says don’t work by committee. (Also check out his article How to create a good enough website.)

Structured Roles

I’d have to agree with him on this, but I won’t get into details. His suggestions do not clash with what I’m saying. I’m talking about a team-based approach with distinct roles and no micro-management.

The ideal EIC is someone who has blogging experience – a Blogger in Chief. The ideal bloggers for a team are those with a bit of experience and loads of passion, whose work can be improved by the EIC/BIC.

The Designer would likely have a lesser role, as would an SEO. If however, you were launching a blog network, you then end up with a traditional hierarchy:

  1. The Designer and SEO/SMM can now probably be employed full-time or half-time.
  2. Each channel (cluster of related sites) would have a Channel Editor, which is more a guide/ editor than EIC/BIC.
  3. Each blog would have however many writers are necessary.
  4. The entire network would be overseen by a single visionary, though it might have more than one partner who has some say.

So each role is neatly compartmentalized, just like for a magazine. But everyone works as a team, not as a committee. However, you might have virtual Bullpen sessions where you brainstorm, using collaborative tools (Mercury Grove, Basecamp, Campfire, Comapping).

Will it Work?

This is in fact very similar to the way a number of blog projects are being run that I’ve been asked to be involved in. I can’t claim to know how some of the exiting networks are run, so for me, it’ll be interesting to see whether this model can work.

What’s possibly further unique is that everyone that is involved long-term will eventually get a share, though it’ll be done in a tiered fashion. Writers will get a flat monthly rate plus X% of net monthly revenue. The channel editor or editor (as the case may be) will get a flat rate and Y% of what’s left each month, after their own flat rate and payments to writers. Finally whomever is at the top of tiers will similarly be compensated.

This is unlike anything I’ve enountered in the offline world, but it does build upon profit-sharing models that some businesses have been following for years.

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