Organizing a Virtual Team to Build a Better Blog
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You know it’s true: you can’t do it all yourself. Even if you spend all your time drinking coffee and holing up in your office blogging, you’ll still reach a point of no return: you’ll get big enough to need some help with creating content, engaging with followers, and building readership. That’s a good thing, but it can also be a scary prospect to consider. You’ll have to build a team to help you grow—and you’ll likely have to work with a virtual roster of help, rather than local contributors. Remember, this is an opportunity—an opportunity to build a better blog that will reach even more readers. Here are some tips for organizing a virtual team to help you reach your goals.
Fill in the Gaps
Hiring a virtual team can be daunting if you’re used to taking on the responsibilities for everything on your own shoulders. This is a great opportunity to fill in your own gaps of knowledge and find colleagues whose strengths are your weaknesses. A well-rounded team will ensure that every facet of building your blog—the content, the outreach, and the management—are all strong and high-quality.
Get Face to Face Time
Even if it’s impossible to arrange the occasional in-person meeting between team members, get some facetime virtually. Skype and other video chat tools are a great way to make working as a virtual team less lonely. Periodic video chat meetings are a perfect opportunity to align everyone’s goals, make sure projects are on track, and get to know everyone.
Find Tools Everyone Can Use
With so many online productivity and organizational tools available (many for free or for a small fee), there’s no excuse for a disorganized workflow in your virtual team. Choose software that everyone is comfortable with, and be sure that everyone is trained on how to use it properly. It’s important to note that not all teams work in the same way. Trello doesn’t tick for your team? Try Asana, or another tool!
Emphasize Your Culture
Your blog started out as a reflection of your personality and values. Now that you’re bringing on a team, it’s important to ensure that your blog’s culture remains true to its goals. Choosing a cultural fit is just as important as finding team members with the skills to complement your own. With more voices joining your team, your culture will evolve, but it’s important to keep your core values at the center of everything you do.When you don't have enough time to write, promote, and manage your blog, build a virtual team.Click To Tweet
Create Written Standards
When you’re working virtually, it’s more difficult to ask questions or discuss matters of style at length. Some team members may be in different time zones, and will always have different ideas for how work should be done. That’s why it’s important to create written standards for everything you do—from a style guide to meeting protocols. That keeps everyone on the team accountable, and most importantly, consistent. You’ll save a lot of time and irritation when everyone is on the same page about protocols.
Communication is essential for a well-functioning team, whether it’s virtual or not. You should be sure to include everyone in this communication, checking in with your team at scheduled intervals to check progress, allow for questions or concerns, and giving everyone an equal voice. In addition to group communication, make time for one-on-one meetings as well—there’s less pressure than in a group setting for more introverted team members.
Get to Know Each Other
It’s easy to be all business when you’re part of a virtual team—you’re all working in your own spaces, and the goal of the team is to do the work, after all. But at physical offices, there’s always time for “water cooler” talk—small talk that helps colleagues get to know each other. While forcing this kind of communication is a sure way to kill it before it begins, make time for and encourage some non-work banter, and make an effort to get to know everyone on the team personally. It will help communication and good morale flourish!
There’s never been a better time to organize a virtual team. With all the online tools available to streamline the actual business of putting out a great blog, the only hard part is the human element: choosing and managing the right virtual blogging team to build a better blog. Once you’ve found your team and worked out the kinks, however, there’s nothing holding you back from taking your blog to the next level.
Image © Syda_Productions / DepositPhotos
Andrew Deen has been a consultant for startups in almost every industry from retail to medical devices and everything in between. He implements lean methodology and is currently writing a book about scaling up businesses.