Friday, April 18, 2008

The Blog Writers 100

Chris Brogan kicked it off when he started a series called the Social Media 100, dedicated to "helping you grow the value of your social media and social networking efforts."

He's up to around 50 posts by April, and the series has been terrific! Here's his launch post, where he explains the 100 posts on social media idea.

Being an incurable idea thief, I stole it from Chris. The overwhelming response to my business basics checklist made me realize there was a need for more basic business info. Thus the Small Biz 100. After talking it up at Open Mic Night, I was flooded with good suggestions, that I included in my announcement:
Small biz owner Rick Cockrum also suggested that we write “Sole Proprietorship 101 - How to start your business and keep it going while still being able to sleep at night.” Exactly! That is what we want to build with you.

My announcement and incessant discussions on Twitter and elsewhere got a couple of other people started.

Glenda Watson Hyatt has announced the Accessibility 100: Tips for Improving Accessibility for People Disabilities.
Accessibility 100 is a series of 100 easy-to-implement tips for improving accessibility for people with disabilities. To show that improving access for people with disabilities, this series will focus on the free and inexpensive tips that anyone can use. (The future Accessibility 200 series will provide tips that involve more effort and more cost.)

Jennifer Navarrete is doing the Print Media 100: Ideas, Tips and Suggestions for Business Owners.
After working with business owners for 7 years I have discovered there are many things which need to be considered when producing print media. So much so that I was motivated to share my first-hand knowledge as not only a B2B printer but as a business owner.
GeekMommy told me she's thinking of starting a series of her own, too.

If you are doing this idea, too, I'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment with a link!

Bloggy Implications

Not just a "101" series
These are different from an introductory, "Topic 101" series. They represent a commitment to a solid series of 100 useful posts to people at various skill levels, not just beginners.

Does it have to be 100?
Can you do fewer and still be in? The number of posts is really up to you, but the commitment and the usefulness are the key elements.

Chris reports, "It's added TONS of link love, tons of people coming back to see what's next, and about 20% more traffic to the blog overall."

I started my own series on the tail of a huge traffic boost from LifeHack. By putting on additional useful content in the same theme as my popular post, I've been able to capture far more of that traffic than previous spikes. I'm at 10 posts published in three weeks, and I'm feeling very good about it. I'm more focused on quality and useful information in all my writings.

At the end of the series, not only have you given your readers some incredibly useful content, but also you have developed a big pile of stuff you can make into ebooks, instructional courses, hard copy booklets, or the nexus of a traditional book. Then you have a chance to offer those items for a fee, or seek sponsors to pay for them so you can keep them free for readers. But all that is gravy.

How else can you imagine using this content? Share your ideas!

What if you don't finish?
Well, what if you don't start? Then you have nothing. If you make a commitment, develop 25 or so ideas, you'll have that many more blog post starters to work with. Rather than just lecture, I'll report back on my own commitment at the halfway and ending points.

How to do it

Pick your topic
Give yourself enough room in the topic for 100 solid posts! Make it central to the topic you most want to talk about and most want to help others with. If you are blogging for a reason besides a passion for helping others, I don't recommend this technique.

Sketch out your initial list and announce your intent
I started with a list of 25, and listed them in my launch. Glenda listed six in her announcement, that are from old, non-blog, material she can rework, plus three other ideas. Chris and Jennifer didn't reveal their initial lists. All of us picked up some new ideas from readers in our comment section.

Tag it
Be sure to pick a single consistent tag, label or category to mark your posts. Your readers want to easily find the series.

Time it
Give yourself a time frame you can work with. Chris initially thought he'd do all 100 in a row. Since that didn't leave any room for announcements, questions, short posts, pointers, quick tips, etc., he quickly started treating it more flexibly. Glenda intends to connect her timing to National Access Awareness Week in Canada. Jennifer gave a time frame of "this year" on her series. I didn't set any time frame, but feel like it would have been a good idea.

Build in variety
Collaborate with others. Do interviews and guest posts. Swap posts with other 100'ers where you can. For example, Glenda and I will work together on a couple of workplace accessibility and hiring posts that we can both use. Mix hands-on practical stuff with more thoughtful theory posts. Include audio and video, and original photos. Jennifer's print media seems like a great application for video and photo explanations and examples.

Promote it
Talk about it in comment sections, at Liz's open mic, and out in your everyday world. Let people know you're working on an important series of articles and that you need their questions and input.

Do it
And then come back and let us know!

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