Something that longtime readers of The Soap Boxers have noticed is the gradual morphing of the writing staff from one lonely writer to a merry band of writers who are actively pushing the magazine forward. A blogger friend of mine was intrigued at the fact that I was able to get some many quality writers to join. How did I do it? Contrary to what you might hear, I am not the Pied Piper.

Honesty and Fairness

The Soap Boxers has no funds to pay staff writers, in large part because we have no funds, period. This is something that I have always been very up front about, to avoid any possibility of someone jumping to the wrong conclusion. Giving someone unreasonable expectations makes for a very shake foundation.

Since I had no ability to pay my writers, I did the next best thing – I proposed a profit sharing agreement. The gist is this – once general overhead (i.e. items that I pay for out of my pocket) have been paid for, advertising revenue will be split proportionally. At this point, the site isn’t actually turning a profit, but if it suddenly becomes the hottest thing on the web, the writers share in the upside.

[Wondering why you aren’t seeing any of these ads that have the potential to shower the staff with revenue? Well, if you’re a regular visitor, you don’t see the ads. This is a courtesy to reward you for your support.]

Look for Untapped Potential

Do you have intelligent friends who often share insightful ideas with you? These people could be writers who are simply waiting for a platform. They might not have the interest in going through the steps necessary to set up a blog and build a readership. They might be interested in jumping up onto your platform and writing a weekly or monthly article, though.

Several of the staff writers are friends whose writing I have enjoyed over the years. These writers now have the ability to see what other people think of their writing.

Chase Some Stars

I reached out to a few people who were already established bloggers. The likelihood of getting them to write for my blog was relatively low. However, I pitched some ideas and one of the bloggers (Jonna) was interested enough to give it a shot. The others declined the opportunities. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

A couple of things to keep in mind here. First, there is a fine line between asking someone if they want to write for you and becoming a freaky stalker type person. Avoid being the freaky stalker type person. Give the person room to breathe. If they decline the offer, thank them for their time and move along. Don’t try to badger them. Second, try not to ask for too much. If the person already has a full time blog, it may be difficult for them to contribute more than once a month, simply due to time constraints. Third, try to approach them with an angle that is different than what they write for their existing blog. Finally, be somewhat reasonable in your expectations. For example, I’m not going to try to get Peter Gammons (of ESPN) to write baseball articles for my blog. (Although that would be pretty sweet.)

Be Flexible

Although I try to have a set schedule for articles, I am pretty flexible within that structure, and am even willing to push articles to other days, if necessarily. After all, I’m working with what is essentially a voluntary workforce. Making demands on them would really not be a smart choice.

On the technical side, I’m also very flexible. I have given my writers two basic options for submitting stories. They can either log into WordPress and write the story there, or simply email me the story. Everyone so far has chosen to simply email me the story.

Show That You Care

If your writers have blogs of their own, link to them in your blog roll. This is a common courtesy.

Leave comments on your writers’ articles. At this point, you are acting in the role of a typical reader of your blog. Read what your writers write, and share your own opinions on the subject.

Finally, make the phrase “Thank You” a normal part of the vocabulary.

What did you miss over the weekend?