By DB Ferguson of the No Fact Zone
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 No Fact Zone 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.
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 Fans4Writers. 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 Lorelle’s blog, Weblog Tools Collection, ProBlogger, Plagiarism Today, Mashable, and Daily Blog Tips, 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 No Fact Zone
DB Ferguson is the webmaster of No Fact Zone, 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.
- Introducing the Art of the Fan-Based Blog Article Series
- The Art of the Fan-Based Blog
- The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Cultivate Your Passion
- The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Competition Means Collaboration
- The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Create a Game Plan
- The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Content, Content, Content
- The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Content, Content, Content Part II
- The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Copyrights for You and Your Content Sources
- The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Community Wins
- The Art of the Fan-Based Blog: Crazy Fans