Blogging to Build a Community

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This week I had the joy of looking for a blogger to write a weekly column for a social media site centered around movies, filmmaking and pop culture that I’ll be launching next month. In my ad I explained my goals, gave my bio, pointed to this blog and asked to see a writing sample.

I received an enormous response, but surprisingly most of them completely missed what I was going for. So I wrote this to address how many freelance writers missed the purpose and intent of blogging to build community. Instead they resorted to sending me dry content that lacked personality and was like a clone of what you can find in the main stream media.

The requirements were very simple.

Selected Quotes from my forum post.

I’m looking for a writers passionate about film (indie and hollywood) and pop culture to work with me on an ongoing basis.

In the next month or so I’m about to launch a giant community site centered around movies and filmmaking (I’ve already designed and coded most of it already). Even in it’s current form my website receives 5,000 plus unique visitors a day and I get e-mails from all over the world. I’m looking for a writer to cover movies, pop culture, and whatever else they would like to on my new site. You’ll be writing under your own name have your own bio and whatever you would like on the site as well. This is about a mutually beneficial relationship and it’s suppose to be fun.

My initial budget will be $400 per month and require a minimum of 8 articles per month. I’d like to raise the amount I’m paying for writing to $1,000 per month within the first 3 months.

If you’re interested e-mail me a writing sample, your availability to work on this project on an ongoing basis and why you believe you’re the right person (or persons) for this job.

For example, many of the responses I received showed excellent command of the English language as well as a love for entertainment. Unfortunately, most of their articles were almost identical in style and tone to what’s already available at literally thousands of other sites.

I love blogging, new media and I like to speak directly to my audience. My goal with the site I’m going to launch is to encourage and inspire visitor interaction and build a thriving community. If my visitors just wanted movie reviews, they’d go to rotten tomatoes or the New York Times. I want to offer them something they can’t find at those sites, the raw, witty personality infused writing of an individual who inspires them to respond.

It’s not about cranking out content or, in this case, movie reviews and news, although many freelancers took it that way. The goal is not to cover every or even the majority of topic angles. In most niches there are many sites that do that already.

What I want is personality; I want what makes them like to write about entertainment and pop culture to bleed through the page and suck the reader in. I wanted people to read their column because they want and care about what the writer thinks (not the website, and not the brand- although their writing will definitely help with that too).

In blogging it’s ok to use the first or second person, even extensively, something you’ll rarely see in traditional media. The author and the subject matter are not treated as separate entities, but exist fused in style and presentation with a completely individualistic human voice.

In my movie example, it’d be ok to write positive things about a movie the critics hated, you’d just need to expound upon it using your personality. You don’t have to try to be objective in your analysis, because that’s not why most people visit a blog or a social community site.

To repeat the main concept: blogging is not about quantity; it’s about inspiring people to contribute to the community and the conversation.

Blogging to Build a Community
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