Nitika Chopra, editor of Your Bella Life has built an amazing online magazine with thousands of subscribers and thousands of fans and follwers. Her magazine includes content on finance, business matters, love, the kitchen, fashion and beauty and so much more all designed to show how you can add color to your everyday life. So what is her secret?
Build an engaged team of contributors.
Here she tells us how you can do the same:
Nitika, how do you know when your site could benefit from building a contributory team?
As a Life Coach, one of the tools I was trained in was learning and knowing when to ask for help, and how that is actually an incredible gift you can give yourself. When you know that you have a huge vision or goal in mind, and you even begin to feel like you might be spreading yourself too thin doing everything on your own, start to get your team in order. Also the scale of the project that you want to create is of course a big part of it. If you know that you will post content on your blog or site sporadically and whenever you have the time, having a team of contributors might not be necessary. However if you know that you want to be creating and sharing content multiple times a day, then you need to make sure you have more then yourself on your team so you can have time to grow the business.
Okay, so I think that we're all spreading ourselves too thin these days and it sounds like a lot of us could probably benefit from your recommended team approach. What should people be looking for in a contributor to their site? What makes for a good fit - for a good team member?
One of the first things I look for in my contributors is someone who sees contributing to YourBellaLife.com as an opportunity and is excited to use the community as a platform to expand their network and business. Because if they fit this requirement they will enjoy the process of contributing much more and chances are they will stay on as a contributor longer and take it more seriously. I also chose contributors that are able to write for the reader of Bella Life. If you are writing negative content that is self-deprecating or putting down others, chances are you are not what we are looking for, so being direct about who your reader is and seeing how the prospective contributor fits in with that reader is essential. Lastly, I want to work with contributors who add their own value to the site. Whether that be in social media fans and followers which will now start reading our site with a new contributor on board, or a wisdom that is incredibly valuable and respected, it is important to know the value you provide and seek contributors out that provide great value as well.
Gotcha. So definitely people who are in keeping with 'the brand' and who can add their own value to the site. How do you recommend people find potential contributors?
I feel that networking is key in all aspects of business and this is no different, so getting out to events that your ideal contributor would attend is a great way to meet new contributors. I also have a lot of contributors on Bella Life that are close friends of mine and trust me, they are not on the website just because they are my friends. Many of us Tin Shinglers are surrounded by savvy, driven and successful people all day long who would love to be a part of an exciting on-line conversation. Don't be afraid to present the opportunity to the people already in your life that you admire because they will be getting something out of the experience too!
You actually have several of our Tin Shingle friends as contributors - Pamela Pekerman, Jess Zano and Alexis Wolfer. Once a contributor has been found, how do you recommend that people approach him / her? E.g., do you ask them to write on a specific topic, ask them what they might like to write about, etc…?
When you have an individual in mind that you would love to have contribute, feel out the situation and the person's personality. If it is possible to meet with them in person, I recommend doing that especially when at the beginning of this process. That way you have a chance to invite them in to your world and get them excited about all of the wonderful things going on with your website. Before you know it, they will be asking YOU to contribute! Once I know the person I would love to have on my contributing team, I typically know where I need them on the site, and most editors will understand what the site needs in that particular moment in time, so always be aware of that and present those topics and ideas to the contributor.
What about logistics? I know that some sites use programs like Kapost to manage their ‘editorial calendar’, their contributors and their contributions. Do you use a formal program or software to help you manage your contributors and their contributions?
I am actually very "old school" when it comes to how I manage my editorial calendar. I have a folder in my email inbox that has all of the articles I have received in it and I flag them according to what needs to be posted and what has already been posted. I also have a green notebook (my favorite color) that I literally took a YEAR to pick out as I was researching for Bella Life because I wanted it to be perfect. I write out my calendar monthly in that and carry that thing with me everywhere. I have been doing the site solo for a long time now so I had to have a system that I could understand and that was easy for me have access to at any time.
How do you keep it from being a one-time article, post or event? How do you build a real mutually beneficial relationship with your contributors?
Again it really is about tapping in to what you your site needs at that time. As the editor-in-chief I am able to make decisions and map out our site's needs so that when I approach contributors I can be very clear about what I am looking for, and the contributor can be very clear about whether or not they are up for the task. Clarity is key. At the same time, don't shy away from having one-timers with the right people. I am doing a lot more partnerships now that include guest posts or video interviews which allow for me to reach a new audience without too much change to my site, so there is a lot of value in that.
To build a mutually beneficial relationship I think clarity is also important but I think with that needs to come a great deal of honesty. If I am going around telling all of my contributors that I can guarantee their numbers will sky rocket in their businesses from being a Bella Life contributor, I am setting them up to expect something that may or may not happen. That could leave my contributors feeling disappointed and discouraged about being a part of our team. Instead, I approach every new contributor with the same information. I let them know that this is an exciting platform to grow as a writer, build your online profile and be a part of a community where our readers are engaged and incredibly loyal. If that sounds like an amazing opportunity for them, then we would love to have them on our team. However, if they are looking to get 5 clients within the first month of starting, I cannot promise that so this might not be the right space for that person to spend their time. So I set the situation up for success by being clear and honest in addition to inviting them to be a part of our events and do videos to showcase their talents and businesses!
Wow, Nitika, thank you so much for your time and for sharing your insights with us today!
We can’t wait to read more from Nitika Chopra at Your Bella Life and her team of great contributors as they continue to discover the best ways to add a little color to our worlds.