Maintaining a NYC college's undergraduate literary blog
October 8, 2008 8:10 PM   Subscribe

Deep breath: I am the online editor for a New York college's undergraduate literary journal's blog, and a complete beginner. I'm wondering about increasing net-presence, keeping the site timely, and making it vibrant. Very open to ideas. Hive mind?

The website is here. We've been up for about three long days.

At the moment we have about six people posting a week (once a day), with the invitation for more people in our program to post. The three major aims of the blog are to advertise the program, advertise the talents of its students (the same thing as the first), and to give us lowly students a bigger audience.

But how do I go about increasing the traffic to our blog? I know there are many websites out there that list blogs, literary blogs, websites etc, but don't know how to get on their blogroll, or how to excite NY's literary community. I know there are people you can hire to do that, or robots, but not sure of the ethics of that kind of thing. Might be wrong about those anyway.

Here are our current ideas:
1) Organize a competition for poetry and flash fiction. We'll get reputable judges to decide on the winner, and give cash. How much would get people to submit; would $100 bucks do?
2) We'll play recordings of authors/poets reading their work, mainly published authors, but also students who want to read and discuss their work (comments).
3) We have an expensive hairdresser who is going to interview people on camera while giving them haircuts (hopefully big names), which we'll then edit into two or three minute videos.
4) I'd like to get our name out there amongst the web-community of New York. How do I do that?
5) We'll be keeping track of events, and making a calendar of stuff we recommend and are going to/reviewing.
5) Any other suggestions? Thanks!
posted by omnigut to Writing & Language (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
The College Blog Network should be able to give you a nice set of link minded blogs to look through. Leave comments on their stuff and most will return the favor.
posted by theichibun at 8:58 PM on October 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ad Age says the blogs that influence are the ones that :

- are written by a blogger with high credibility in his/her field
- are well written
- are written for the readers, not just for the digerati
- acknowledge that the blogger doesn't have all the answers
- asks readers for their opinions and input
- reflect the personality and style of the blogger so people know with whom they are having the pleasure
- has a sense of humor and doesn't take itself too seriously
- has a high level of original content
- links to other interesting blogs and websites
- provides analysis that helps readers succeed
- has lots of examples that readers can apply
- is not afraid to have a strong point of view
- engages in conversation with readers who comment on posts
- is fun to read
- uses images to illustrate its points
- have short, pithy posts that are easy to read off a computer screen

Yours looks to be off to a great start. Be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day.
posted by netbros at 9:03 PM on October 8, 2008


4) I'd like to get our name out there amongst the web-community of New York. How do I do that?

You write contextually about the web-community of New York. And of writing in general, or whatever your blog is about (I didn't look.) A weekly round-up post is a great way to do this, with links to specific posts to leverage trackbacks while you're at it.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:19 AM on October 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks guys. And, Darling, I'm guessing you're talking about links to specific posts on other sites? Trackbacks tell the other site that you've linked to them, right? Yes.

Anyone have a comment on how much it would cost to get them to submit poetry to a college journal? And any people "in the business," would an expensive haircut get you to do an interview?
posted by omnigut at 6:20 AM on October 9, 2008


As far as soliciting submissions goes, most people don't submit to literary journals because they want the money. If you're not charging an entry fee, $100 may be enough to entice some people, but the harder part will be convincing them that yours is the kind of journal they want their work to appear in.

I'm assuming you already have a sense of the aesthetic you'd like to promote (if not, you should). So go find writers you'd like to have in your journal or on your blog, and solicit work from them directly. You'll probably have better luck with this if you target people who have published a few poems or a few stories and maybe a chapbook than if you go after huge names. Just write them a quick e-mail: "Hi, [writer], I'm an editor for [journal]. We're currently soliciting work for a new blog series. [Here you can tell them a little bit about your aesthetic goals.] We've seen your work in [journal] and [journal], and we'd be delighted if you would send us a few [poems/stories] for consideration."

Not only will this hopefully give you some good work to choose from, these authors will almost certainly send traffic your way once you've published their stuff.

Also: the haircut idea is cool.
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 7:02 AM on October 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here are some things I would do:

On the tech side:
- update your design so it's not a crappy, Wordpress default theme
- move the site to it's own domain (better for Google PageRank and SEO)
- install OpenAds to manage personal ad campaigns

On the literary side:
- solicit articles from well-known writers, bloggers, or experts in an industry you want to cover. Some may respond favorably; some will ignore you.
- attend local writers meetups and hand out postcards with your site's URL on them, and also a call-to-action: "come write for us!"
- give away free advertising (see above)
posted by camworld at 7:45 AM on October 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


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