7 Things to Look For in a Co-Blogger
Working with a co-blogger can be a great way to expand your blog’s horizons and begin the transition from a blog to a portal, but choosing the wrong one can be a one way trip to hell. Instead of torturing yourself by picking bad seeds again and again, here are seven critical things to look for in your search for a writing associate.
1. A solid, consistent work ethic
We can’t all choose Adriana Huffington or Perez Hilton as our co-bloggers, but it is imperative to ensure that your choice of blog consort has already established an active and consistent blogging presence. Blogging is slogging, so being able to determine that your candidate has shown an ability to keep posting day in and day out for a reasonable amount of time will assure that they likely won’t flake out on you. Their choice of content should also be subject to considerable analysis: It’s easy enough to settle on just anyone with an axe to grind, but that guarantees your readers will soon tire of the endless rants against micro-issues which do not hold any relevance to their interests.
2. Multiple, reliable points of contact
It’s irritatingly common for individuals to have a multitude of email addresses and social media accounts and not respond to any of them. If your co-blogger suddenly vanishes into the ether on deadline day you could be left scrambling to fill the unexpected void. You might want to consider conducting an interview with them on the phone and then calling that number again when they don’t expect you to, in order to determine whether or not they can be reached in a fail safe manner.
3. A generally high level of quality in posts
At over 500 books, famous scifi writer Isaac Asimov set the bar of prolificacy at a stratospheric level. Your preferred co-blogger need not be an Asimov in training, but they do need to have a proven record of quality output. Many bloggers can point to a post or two that is stellar, but their overall body of work should be reviewed to ensure that the hallmark of their highlight pieces stretches across all their blogs.
4. Respect for the readers
In the process of reviewing their previous blogs, it is imperative to pay close attention to the tone that they adopt when replying to commenters. If they have displayed a tendency to bear-bait their commenters by replying to incendiary posts by pouring gasoline on them, you would be best advised to steer clear of getting them involved in your blog… and cheesing off your faithful commenters.
5. A healthy dose of humility
Very few readers will want to submit themselves to endless tirades by alleged uber cool bloggers of shameless self-promotion that would embarrass a gangsta rapper. If your co-blogger has a reputation for being provocative that can be a plus, but it has to be held in check by recognizing that too much of it can turn off your audience. If a blog’s readers have to be told that the blogger is hip, you’ve lost the battle before it’s begun.
6. A thick skin
It’s an advisable policy to tear apart one of their current blog entries in order to see how they react to criticism. If their immediate reaction is to throw a hypersensitive emo tizzy fit and viciously strike back by quoting every typo you’ve made in the last decade it’s best to look elsewhere for a writing associate. Valid criticism should be accepted diplomatically by your prospective co-blogger and their suggestions for modifications should be couched in constructive terms. If they huff and puff, then you should blow them down before they do the same to your blog.
7. A strong grasp of the English language
If your intended co-blogger thinks spelling is Tori and grammar is their mom’s mom, then you’re best off to look elsewhere. The proliferation of transparent illiteracy on an uncomfortable number of blogs does not equate to an uneducated dolt being a desirable blogging partner. Check their prior work carefully for telltale signs that their literacy is derived from a spellchecker: If you find common misuse of its vs. it’s; then vs. than; their vs. they’re and there; and so on you’ll know that they were daydreaming in English class. However, if they can correctly distinguish the esoteric differences between that vs. which, and affect vs. effect, then you will realize that you’ve found the pearl amidst the flotsam.
Keep in mind that if your partnership is successful you’ll have to interact with this person for years to come. There is an old proverb which states that “there are two empty seats at the right hand of God for the partners who die while still on speaking terms with each other” and nowhere is that more applicable than in the world of co-blogging. Happy Headhunting!