There are two ways that you can outsource the non-essential chores of running your blog (and this includes promoting as well).
The obvious way is to hire help – we’ve talked about this in the past here on Performancing and we even have a Blogger Jobs forum dedicated for this purpose. Depending on what tasks you need done, you might be paying anywhere from $100 to $1,000 per month per hired hand (it all depends on how much work you are outsourcing – for design / marketing / lead blogging gigs, you might pay more than $1,000 per month).
The second method is to ask your readers for help. Depending on how much of a fan following you’ve built up (and whether you have dedicated blog readers who can spare time or not), this can really help you outsource a majority of your work, for free, thus giving you more time to grow your blog and take it to the next level.
Examples of the type of work I’ve gotten done, for free, in the past 3 months:
- Free banner and minor theme editing
I’ve had a reader send in a professionally-designed banner for one of my sites (Newcastle United blog). I’ve also had people drop in and email me advice to fix a couple of styling / display problems on Soccerlens.
- Comment moderation
If you moderate first-time commenters and try to weed out abusive comments on a sports blog, it can take up to 30 mins a day (more if you want to moderate them as soon as possible). What could you do with an extra 30-60 minutes per day?
I have a blogger friend who moderates all comments for me. Thanks a lot mate
- Research on topics for linkbait / resource articles
Sometimes I’ve just put up an article asking for links / resources, and within a few hours I’ve had all the hard work and research done for me. Other times I’ve asked guest bloggers to help me out with big resource articles, and they’ve usually come out trumps and helped me quite a bit.
- Brainstorming for new topics
This works via email or by simply putting up a post asking people what they want to read.
- Guest blogging
I’ve cut down on this a bit (partially because all the good bloggers are now running their own blogs as part of my fledgling network), but there was a time earlier this year when I would have 2-3 submissions a day – imagine the time something like that can save you, even if you have to drop 1 article from it because of a lack of quality.
- Making money (by putting up affiliate posts, ads as content)
See this page? It’s a list of articles, each article covering a product (football kits for different clubs for the current season). I’ve written most of them, but several have been written by contributors. And of those articles that I’ve written, most of the hard work (finding the new kits) was done by readers and sent in as article tips.
- Basic site promotion
Something that I haven’t worked a lot on but am planning to do so in the future. Quite simply, you will have readers with their own blogs / websites or other blogs / forums that they frequent. Just write killer resources and ask them, subtly, to spread the word if they enjoy your work. In some cases you might have to nudge them in the right direction and ask them to promote something on their own sites.
As long as you make sure that you don’t overdo the asking bit, AND that you’re promoting something that really kicks ass, your readers will help you out.
Worst case scenario? They’re too lazy to do it. No harm done, they’ll remember it and might drop the link somewhere else if the situation presents itself.
As you can see, there is a whole lot you can outsource to your blog community, although it depends on how big your community is (but even small communities will help as much as possible).
What about you? What have you outsourced to your blog’s loyal readers recently? Have you even asked?
I would strongly suggest that you do that (start off small, by inviting guest bloggers, for example, and then move on to assigning them topics and then asking one or two people to take on the role of editor) and see what happens. If you’re clear from the start that it is a voluntary position for which the person will get credit but not payment, you will STILL get a decent response.
Before you go out and hire a second blogger / editor to take over your chores, find out first if your readers are willing to help you out, for free. Chances are that they will, and they’ll be happier for it.
This article was originally written on 21 Aug 2007 for Performancing.com.