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The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Connections Make the Blog and the Community

The Art of the Fan-based Blog badgeBy DB Ferguson of the


Another treasure trove of knowledge from my series on The Art of the Fan-Based Blog that can help you to be a successful fan blogger is to reach out to your peers, fandom webmasters. You’ve build the community, now it’s time to make those connections pay off.

Common Interests Bring Common Readers

Make friends with the blogs in your niche, and to blogs related to your niche. They are not just your competition, they are your fellow fans. The more you help each other, the more help everyone gets.

The not only blogs about Stephen Colbert and ‘The Colbert Report’, it also covers topics that might interest Colbert fans, such as ‘The Daily Show’, Paul Dinello and Amy Sedaris from ‘Strangers With Candy’, and other people connected to Stephen and his career. Your community is their community. The overlapping connections make the whole.

Venn Diagram of Community Network

I’ve reached out to multiple different sites that feature the different subjects on the above Venn Diagram chart. For example, fans of both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert tend to be fans of Fake News. Fans of Stephen might also be fans of “Strangers With Candy” and Stephen’s co-stars Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello. “Strangers With Candy” fans might also be big Comedy Central fans along with “Daily Show” watchers. All of these fans have the potential to be interested in the content that is published by No Fact Zone.

We work together to help spread news that relates to our common interests. I’ve made some very good friends with those running sites for other fandoms related to mine, and we’ve all graced each other’s pages in link love and content.

Extend Your Connections Beyond Your Fandom

Reach out to other unrelated fandoms when you can. During the WGA Writer’s Strike of 2007, multiple television fandoms, including No Fact Zone for the Colbert fandom, got together and formed a group called . We helped each other support the striking writers, and in the process got to know a lot more about how other fandoms operate on the web. Most fandoms tend to be rather isolated, so it’s energizing to see other groups and their passion and what it drives them to create.

Another resource that I cannot stress enough is to reach out to other bloggers. It’s a great idea to get involved in the “blogging fandom”, blogs that specifically cater to bringing the newest knowledge to bloggers like you. It’s great to have sources officially connected to the source of your fandom to be able to bring questions and issues. Bringing a multitude of people from different situations to help expand your blogging knowledge is an enriching experience for all involved.

Because we fan blogs tend to focus on our fandom and our content, it’s very easy to forget that we are also Webmasters. Every WordPress blogger should keep up with the newly minted WordPress Plugins, WordPress Themes, and WordPress security updates that are available on an almost daily basis. Go to WordCamps in your area. Subscribe to blogs like , Weblog Tools Collection, ProBlogger, Plagiarism Today, , and , and participate in their comments. Each of these blogs feature resources that are very specific to blogging and social networking and can teach you tons about making your site not only a bastion of your fandom, but technologically robust as well.

Reaching out to Official Sources for Your Celebrity or Hobby

Reach out to the management and official contacts of the people involved in your fandom if possible. If there’s an official site, contact the webmaster and introduce yourself. Contact the publicity agent if you can. This is something that must be done with the utmost caution. You want to come off as a serious professional, not one of “those crazy fans” that haunt your blog and them.

When your site is new, you may not have the connections you need to generate content and build the relations you need. It takes time.

When I first started my site, I tried to contact both the head blogger at the official site for Stephen Colbert, as well as the publicity agent for ‘The Colbert Report’ to no success. As I began to blog and establish myself in the fandom, slowly people from Comedy Central and ‘The Colbert Report’ began coming to me to offer assistance, asking me to help distribute information to the fandom, and even to agree to interviews for my site.

With a history and a track record of credibility, I was definitely a Person of Interest. Without one, I was just another fan talking the talk without the walk. Now my blog is linked on the front page of the official site for ‘The Colbert Report’, and I work with the marketing and blogging departments of Comedy Central on a regular basis to bring news to my site.

I now have multiple contacts that can assist with questions about official information from the show. I use these contacts extremely sparingly, but I am glad that I have them when I need their support.

Having this strong network of contacts who know the in and outs of the mechanics of blogging is an excellent way to help you keep in touch with your inner Webmaster.

In the next article in this series, I’ll cover the scary issue of finances. You have to have the money to support your blog as well as the time. Do you?

By DB Ferguson of the
DB Ferguson is the webmaster of , a Stephen Colbert-centric news blog and fan site. In addition to being a fan of ‘The Colbert Report’, DB is also a fan of Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello, ‘The Daily Show’, “Weird Al” Yankovic, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, ‘The Office’, Dave Barry, and the Polyphonic Spree, and has participated in all of these fandoms.

Article Series

3 Comments

  1. Posted December 23, 2008 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I love the fox on the community with a fan base blog.

  2. Francesca
    Posted December 24, 2008 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been part of a couple of fan sites and now even run a fan blog, and I noticed how fans of an actor can make friends and successfully cooperate with fans of a show that actor stars/starred in.

  3. Posted December 31, 2008 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    DB what would we at FansForTheWGA (now unfortunately dead) have done without you & the Colbert Nation & related shows?

    I have to second and third following the ‘six degrees’ approach and reach out to fans of other shows, films and actors (or more broadly ‘talent’ as I’ve come to see things post WGA-strike). Not only are there opportunities for cross-fandom efforts to accomplish something for the public good (the WGA strike being one, the difficulties all entertainment unions are going through thanks to ‘new media’ being another and just how much the ‘talent’ has in common with the fans), you bring back a lot to your smaller niche in fandom and it really improves your ‘home community’ no matter how much you blog or build fan content.

    VDOVault
    Founder Why We Watch


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Connections Make the Blog and the Community [...]

  2. [...] The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Connections Make the Blog and the Community [...]

  3. […] Connections Make the Blog and Community: Similar to finding ways to collaborate with competition, learn how to network beyond your fan-base to related fan groups. You never know where a connection will lead. […]

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