By DB Ferguson of the No Fact Zone
The first and most important step before even starting a fan blog is to find out the dynamics of your fandom as it currently exists online. Is there an official site? Are there message boards out there dedicated to your subject? Are there already other fan sites? You may already be participating in these boards and on already established blogs, but if you’re not, you need to start building those relationships now.
Most fandoms have a variety of dynamics between the different sites and fandoms. It’s wise to know their stories before building a site of your own. Often, there are politics within the fandom that have “split” one section of the fandom off into another blog, or another message board. Learn what you can about what makes each site unique so that you can better understand what need your site can fill within the fandom while still helping to unite all different kinds of fans.
There may already even be a “main” fandom site, either official or unofficial, for your star/show/fandom. If that’s the case, instead of reinventing the wheel, I would suggest finding a niche of the fandom that has not been explored yet and use that as the core foundation for your site.
In the Stephen Colbert fandom, there are multiple message boards, both official and unofficial. My blog, No Fact Zone, is considered to be the “main” blog for the Stephen Colbert fandom in terms of breaking news and updates on the show, but there are many sites within the fandom that feature specific subjects.
The official Colbert Report site features a comprehensive collection of videos, and there are blogs that feature diverse subjects such as Colbert and his Catholicism, as well as a Colbert-inspired parody Wiki, and an extensive collection of pictures of Stephen. Each of these web pages has content that is quite different from my site; however, each site is also quite successful without anyone duplicating the efforts of another. All of these sites compliment each other – they found a niche that needed to be filled, and they ran with it.
A misstep within your fandom at this point of the game could be fatal to your site before it even gets started. You have to learn how to collaborate with the competition. These fandom dynamics will continue to have a large influence on the growth of your site. Make sure to understand as much about your fandom’s specific facets before building a more focused game plan for your site.
In the next article in this series, I’ll talk about how to create a game plan for your fandom web presence.