A member of the Chamber of Commerce Professionals Group on Facebook recently asked:
Does anyone host a Blog on their Chamber website? If so, do you charge for each post? (Or can you?)
Your blog is your own. If it’s on your website you can perform any type of e-commerce or charge contribution fees as you wish. One of the hottest trends currently is charging membership fees for specialized community access, like creating a community of copy writers who pay to join to network with one another and gain access to important, useful content and job leads. However, your blog is not the same as a private online community. Here are a few things to consider before asking members for paid blog posts.
What Are You Giving Members With Paid Blog Posts on Your Chamber Blog?
First, if you’re going to charge members to post to your blog you had better be able to prove a readership, otherwise the smart business person can’t begin to calculate ROI without knowing traffic.
Next, you’ll need to figure out an editorial structure and policy. If someone pays to post a blog post what content creation rules must they follow? Are the posts going to be advertorials with a strong sales leaning or informational with a by-line at the end. If you opt for the latter, who will review the post and decide if it is too “salesy”? Will you place a committee in charge like the Adirondack Regional Chamber does? Will you assign content topics or will it be whatever they think is of interest to your audience?
I would also suggest creating some social media best practices and encourage the guest posters to share their content to their own network as well. They can even play up that they were “chosen” or they have the “opportunity” to write for the Chamber of Commerce.
You want your blog to be a resource for your members and the community. It’s critical you communicate to guest posters that they should aim to add value so your blog maintains its reputation as a resource. They cannot do this if they don’t understand your audience’s interests and needs.
I’m a big fan of guest posting (obviously). It brings in new content, adds a little variety, and many guest bloggers bring an audience with them. However, if you’re going to charge members to contribute content they’re going to expect an opportunity to showcase what they know in their industry. Even if you forbid a direct sales approach, you’re going to have to make some concessions because they are paying for it.
Interested in this topic?
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