Question Time XVII – Community Building

question time 17

This week I want to get to know a little bit about if and how you incorporate other bloggers into your site. I have highlighted a few examples, and there might even be some tips on offer for those looking to build and increase their community (Note: Tips are not guaranteed, if these methods don’t work please see my lawyer, Mr Mark Walker) :)

Since the news broke that I was nominated for a Lammy as Best Community Builder, I figure this weeks Question Time should really tie in with that theme. I’m not really talking about getting comments on posts, as although that is great getting the interaction from your fellow bloggers, a) I covered that HERE in a previous question and b) it’s more the projects that involve directly working with fellow bloggers that I’m interested in with this post.

So, what projects do you run on your site that involve other bloggers??

To me, getting other bloggers involved with my projects was a huge deal. I felt that if I could get a few people working with me, not only would it mean they have to visit my site, but joking aside and more importantly I believed it would give us a connection. As time has gone on, I have worked with more and more people and these connections have formed and got stronger, ultimately leading to my site having the best community I could ever have wished for. Award or no award. There will always be sites that get more views, likes or comments, but having had the pleasure of working with around 90+ different bloggers on various projects, I can honestly say I’m very grateful and humbled to have spoken and worked with so many different people.

My projects involving other bloggers would be getting the Guest Contributors reviews for the IMDB Top 250 Films, Face Off battles where a few of us get together and attack or defend a film, and the Desert Island Films project. They wouldn’t work without other bloggers, and I’m always overwhelmed with the response to them. Doing my horror/De Niro reviews, and working with film-makers to Promote them is all well and good, but it’s a nice change of pace to do something with another blogger. I can’t understand why anyone would vote for me to have got this far with the Lammy’s, but for whatever reason people did and keep coming back here. That has to be down to my awesome reviews collaborative projects, people seem to enjoy joining in out here and helping me, and that’s what I put my community building skills and success down to. People not only doing all the work for me, but thinking I’m the one doing them the favour. Fools :)

Lots of bloggers run projects that depend on the input of others. Here are a few examples and anyone that I’ve missed I apologise, it’s purely just a random selection!

  • Chris at Film Hipster allows people to be a Hipster for the Day, giving other bloggers a chance to review a film in his style, whilst showcasing their work and site to a different audience.
  • Eric from Isaacs Picture Conclusions does Isaacs Interviews, where he interviews other bloggers in his unique and humourous manner.
  • Andy from Rorschach Reviews also does Blogger Interviews which are slightly more serious in tone.
  • Nick from The Cinematic Katzenjammer has DVD Court where he and a jury of other bloggers give their verdict on new film releases.
  • Bubba from Flights, Tights & Movie Nights runs Follow Friday, which is another variation of interviews, in which he promotes another blogger and site.
  • Catalin from CinEnemA runs 3 for 1, where he gives people a year and they have to link 3 films to that year which all share something in common.
  • Issy from The Filmster has The Movie House Roundtable where he asks fellow bloggers some questions, and at the end his readers vote for whose answers you like the best.
  • Fogs from Fogs’ Movie Reviews has his Reader’s Recommendations where he watches a film based on one of his readers recommendations and asks him or her some questions about it.
  • Anthony from 262pages has set up a spin off from one of my projects, and he runs Desert Island Books.

There are lots more, but there are also a whole host of blogs that don’t have any collaborative projects. There is no right and wrong, obviously, and to each their own. I just want to try and find out why you chose the project you created and how you feel it has helped you build your own community. If you purely blog alone, and don’t work with other people on a feature, I’d love to know your reasons, and maybe if you ever considered starting a project? I know I’m maybe a little vague with this post, and I don’t want it to come across as me saying how great my projects are. Ultimately I’m trying to find out if you feel collaborative projects are vital to building a community or not in your opinion. Just answer however you see fit, and as a one time deal, I will even allow shameful plugging of your project if it fits the working with others criteria. And you have done/currently writing/will join my Desert Island project ;)

If you would like to see all the other questions from this series, please click HERE and check them out!

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  1. As you mentioned, I have DVD Court to get more people involved and that’s become a solid staple moving forward. I also have a few other ideas in mind that may be popping up sooner than later. It’s also nice to have a community for sure, but it’s also tricky to make sure you can expand that and not just have the same handful of people over and over. Yes, that’s nice but you’re always hoping to grow for sure.

    1. Yep, expansion is always good, hence why I try and do a few projects for those that maybe dont want to do a review but will do a desert island list (like I will make you do!!!). I look forward to your future ideas, and hopefully work with you on something one day soon buddy. Cheers :)

        1. Good man. No rush, just polite reminders. Don’t want you forgetting before my henchman take you to the island and you haven’t shared your films. You would end up with some autopicks :)

  2. I’ve noticed that “Fogs over at Fogs’ Movie Reviews does ____” is missing! Afraid of something, Tyson? Muah ah ha!! :twisted:

    You’re mad if you think I’ll reveal my secrets DURING the Lammys!! Mad I tell you!! Maniacal laugh… Maniacal laugh… Especially in the middle of this shameless campaigning! I would NEVER stoop to these levels! (LOL :D That was hard to type without a chuckle)

    1. I know, but I tried!! I looked through your categories, but yours were movie recommendations, podcasts and questions, and you used to do the follow friday style of thing if I remember rightly but haven’t seen you do it for a while? You don’t do interviews and the like that I could see. Or anything collaborative LOL. Unless your forced too, like Desert Island. If I missed one of yours please let me know, but I’m pretty sure paying voters doesnt count as collaborative so you cant include that ;)

      Cheers Fogs :)

      1. I can’t believe you responded so politely to that comment. Lol. 8O You really ARE campaigning! :D

        I used to do Follow Friday, yeah. Bubba’s got it now. Readers Recommendations is the only collaborative post I have going on at this point.

        1. Not campaigning, you’ve done enough of that for all of us! ;)

          Shit, Readers Recommendations, of course, where you ask questions to people. My bad. I’ve added it in, and another I remembered. I’m nice like that. Remember me next year when voting time is happening ;)

        1. Hey, I asked for people to tell me and promote their project. As a fellow nominee I of course have to feature you. Until you beat me then you will be forever shunned. Meanwhile, I fully expect a reblog, a cheque and you to forward your thousands of readers this way! ;)

  3. I’ve thought about adding more community building projects, but school work has been kicking my ass. I find collaboration makes blogging fun. Without it, it can get quite boring.

    I think the difficulty is trying to do something different than fellow bloggers, which is virtually impossible.

    1. Collaboration is fun!! Always good to get a different perspective. As you say, it is impossible pretty much to do something totally original and unique, but even just little tweaks and you can make it your own. Except anything similar to mine, in which case my lawyers will be all over you!! LOL – I was going to mention the fact that a good friend of mine runs Desert Island Books, fully endorsed and sponsored by me but I didn’t want to keep promoting myself as such :)

  4. Every once in a while I invite bloggers’ participation in a blogathon, one happens to be nominated for Lammy which I’m very grateful for. I’d also invite a few people to collaborate on a post, I did that with the Easter post a couple of months ago. Mainly I just try to support other bloggers by leaving comments on their posts and also respond to every comment on my blog.

    1. Congrats on the nomination! I’ve done a few blogathons, but never started one. Leaving comments is the best kind of feedback and appreciation we can get as bloggers, and I’m always grateful when you stop by and leave some here Ruth. Cheers, and fingers crossed for you!! :)

      1. “Leaving comments is the best kind of feedback and appreciation we can get as bloggers” Yes indeed, that’s something I never take for granted. I hope you do a blogathon one day, Tyson, it’s quite fun to do. Might take a bit of effort but the result is very rewarding.

        1. It’s something I’ve thought about, but I keep making new projects instead so trying to focus my efforts on them for now. Maybe in time for next years awards I’ll do something. :)

  5. Great post and thanks for the shout out. It’s so nice coming across articles that showcase new sites or features that you’ve never seen before. It’s a perfect way to expand the movie community and make new friends and followers.

    I love plugging other people’s stuff and reading posts where someone’s getting plugged. Wait, that last sentence sounded vulgar, oh well.

    1. My pleasure, and thank you!! Same goes for your links posts you make, makes it so easy to find new bloggers and its always nice to be featured. You know I love seeing my name on other peoples sites! ;)

      And yeah, think you’ve been spending too long on Erics X Rated site with all your plug talk.

      Cheers Chris :)

    2. LOL – that comment belongs on…. another site…. : ) HAHAHA

      I too love other people’s stuff – more than mine!! That’s why I am so excited about the upcoming project!!! How EXCITING!!!

      Tyson – not here to plug my shit on your site – just kind of in a good mood about how things are shaping up!

      And you two boys rock it!!

      1. Same time you said this I made a comment about your X-Rated site!

        And you are always allowed to plug your stuff here, especially those Im involved with. I just need a lot of reminders. Like daily ;)

  6. You didn’t mention SHITFEST???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Some friend!!!!!!


    In any case – xoxoxoxo – the Isaacs Interviews thing is all kinds of fun. I love them!! I love my community!! It’s everything I could NEVER have expected. When I started this blog, it was just a way for me to share some NSFW work things with work friends (and my friend Chris / Scrotey) and now I’ve changed my ways and I’m not afraid to to talk to strangers and I’ve made some good friends that I would even travel across the globe to visit (if I could afford it). Like YOU, Captain. I can’t even afford to send a clown figurine to where you live LOL. 300 BUCKS??? WTF????

    1. I know, I know……I wanted to give your interviews some love though. Plus we need Shitfest to start before I can send my millions of adoring readers to it ;)

      You have my stranger phobia, maybe thats why we gel!?!? And my wife imports things from the US all the time as a buyer for her company, and she reckons they have fucked up their pricing. Nothing should cost that much. We could hide you in a box and fed-ex you here cheaper than that! Big box as you’re a tall guy, but we could give it a go and you could see London/Lake District! :P

  7. I don’t understand that pricing. It was, like, 18 inches tall and MAYBE two pounds WTH? I figured I could ship you a new Camero for that much……

    1. You must of looked like money. Or Simple Jack. Either way, they were con merchants. I appreciate the thought though, sincerely. :)

      Oh, and I bought a mic!! I only got it today, but I am getting there!!

  8. I’d love to start a collaborative project, but I’m still trying to find a way that I can rip off Desert Island Films without you or your henchmen noticing. It’s taking a while, but it’s coming along. ;)

    Seriously though, I’ve been trying to come up with a project that involves guest collaborators for a little while now, but I’m still brainstorming ideas. I definitely think it’s a huge community builder and that’s why I’m gonna try to get something started.

  9. Desert Island video games? Ive got films and books covered, gonna start a syndication deal! ;)

    I think it helps getting guests involved, as you say its just finding something that not only you like but other people will ‘get’. Maybe the Top 250 Films on IMDb? Oh no, some genius is doing that…… :)

  10. Well, I have a community project called “Cinephile Problems” (although that one hasn’t caught on as much as I’d like, lol): But like you know I’ve contributed with reviews to your site, I was a “Hipster for a Day”, I’ve done Catalin’s “3 for 1″, I’m a part of DVD Court. I’ve been interviewed at Rorschach Reviews and Cinemaniac Reviews. Sometimes I take part in the “Is it a poster?” feature over at The Sci-fi Chronicle. So yeah, I’m all over the place, lol.

    1. You have (and when’s your next review for me?) ;) and wow, you have done the rounds. Some would say Fernando gets around. I see it as you doing a good duty and getting involved with the community! LOL – well played Fernando, and you know if you ever need me to join one of your projects you just have to ask.

      Cheers Fernando :P

  11. Aside from the interviews, one of the best ways is blogathons. Joining in on other’s is a good way to start since there will be a lot of people participating, it’s a lot harder starting your own blogathon until you have built up some sort of following, unless you have a good idea and use something like the Lamb to promote it or else you won’t actually bring any new people in. Another type that got mentioned by Film Hipster is the list of links, or simply just listing and commenting on other posts and topics around the blogosphere, though I do have to say that those don’t tend to catch my interest or bring in much traffic whenever one of my posts is lucky enough to end up on one of those lists.

    1. I always felt with a blogathon that as soon as its made and passed along it’s tricky to keep track. But I haven’t made one so just a guess.

      Link pages are nice, Chris is very thorough and it shines a light on new blogs and more established in equal measures. Hopefully people click and find new places.

      Cheers Bubba :)

  12. Building a community is also very important to me. It is the reason I regularly do blogathons (the Movie Confession one is one example, but I’ve also done various relay races, which usually results in discovering new blogs), then I’ve got The Monday Question where I ask questions about movies, but blogging as well. I also have my Moviesite Spotlight series in which I interview other bloggers in order to get to know them a bit better and help them get new readers, so I think I’m pretty active when it comes to it.

  13. I always welcome any request to contribute to another person’s blog as a great honor. I really enjoy the community and it’s so enjoyable discussing movies with people that are passionate about film. We don’t always get that opportunity in our everyday life, so blogging is a great outlet.

    1. So that’s a yes for a Desert Island list then Mark? ;)

      Blogging is a great outlet, and you’re right, just working with and embracing the movie fans that we all are, it’s great to be able to speak with and learn from equally passionate people.

      Thanks Mark :)

  14. I have now and then theme weeks when I invite other bloggers to take over, its fun to see what they put out on your site, makes me smile and of course meant getting to know other bloggers more closely.

    But I do enjoy some good post banter, ended up having a fight with a fellow blogger about who had the best maid pinup picture. We went back and forth for a good 3 days which totalled upto 20/30 posts and made not just us smile but a lot of other got into it as well. But in the end this is a community and love getting a chance to bring in someone else into my blog and vice versa…

    1. I can see how lots of images arguing over which picture is better would be good fun, especially with your content!!

      Banter is the best bit really, people joining in and joking like you would in real life face to face. Nice to have people at ease and relaxed enough on your blog to do that.

      Cheers mate ;)

  15. I don’t do pure link love posts, though I link to other bloggers when I take inspiration from them or feel that it’s appropriate in some other way. My approach to community building is simple: I regard it as something that happens naturally, an organic growth that starts when bloggers and readers start to interact with each other. My highest priority is to ALWAYS reply to comments at my blog, even if the comment is such a simple thing as “nice post”. They made an effort to write something. The least I can do is to thank them.

    I also comment on other people’s blogs when I have something to say. I don’t believe in mechanic reciprocal commenting or link trading though. Commenting should be sincere and volontary, not an obligation.

    Apart from this I tweet a little, but I refrain from FF and thanking people left and right since it gets a bit tedious to read everyone else but the one who is addressed.

    My overall philosophy has always been that my blog is a room, a virtual place where everyone is welcome. Even if only one or two people pops in, it’s still a populated place, a community if you like to call it so.

    1. I agree completely with what you’re saying Jessica. I wanted to add projects so I can work directly with other bloggers, as well as having them comment and interact as normal.

      Comments and visits should always be because people want to, not feel obligated to, for sure. As you say, a community is even just a couple of people, still so valuable and I’m grateful for the one I have, as I’m sure you are with yours.

      Thanks for stopping by :)

  16. Great post and congrats on the Lammy nom. I have to honestly say that I am not organised enough to do “guest posts” yet, and I try to reblog when I read something that really blows me away. My own output varies a lot and is dependant on what else I’ve got going on. Right now I write reviews and do interviews for Rogue Cinema (along with Misty Layne *plug*) and will be a TCM host starting in May. Between that and trying to get my first Freelance article accepted and getting my “new” career started as a Freelance Writer, I haven’t had time to get too many of the community on my site! It obviously works as you always have loads of likes on your blogs! :-D

    1. TCM = Texas Chainsaw Massacre host? Wtf are you doing man?! ;)

      Good luck with your writing my friend, hope it works out for you. You’ve joined my projects so you do more than your fair share, and I’m grateful again for you joining me. Cheers Mike :)

  17. To be honest, this is something that I’ve neglected a little. It’s all about me! Ha! Seriously though, I do feel I need to do something to get involved with other bloggers a bit more. I did Horror Movie Month in October and got some guest reviews for that but haven’t really done anything since. I do try and contribute to other people’s stuff as much as I can though to try and get involved. I feel I should try and come up with a blogathon or something at some point.

    1. All me me me with you! ;)

      Yeah you’ve joined in here and on other sites, so I’m sure if you start your own project people would love the chance to work with you buddy. Not me, I don’t work with Jennifer’s ex’s!! :)

      Cheers Chris

  18. I don’t have any collaborative projects on my blog for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I like to keep my blog personal and (selfishly) all about me. ;-) and I also haven’t came up with a good enough project that would be original and successful. I do often collaborate with others on their blog though – as you well know. Im not adverse to the idea of allowing people into mine but it has to be the right deal.

    1. I initially thought mine would just be about me. Then I had/stole my project ideas and roped people in to give me more days off writing whilst looking busy at the same time. You are my most prolific contributor on here so I will always be grateful.

      Although I imagine you would put a Maggie Thatcher image on your site in exchange for money and thousands of Reddit hits. I’m sure you’ll sell out and start a project one day, and I’m all over it helping you, whether you want to include me or not lol!!

      Cheers Mark :)

      1. I’ll cut my own throat before a pic of Maggie Thatcher ends up on my site. LOL.

        Who knows though, if I find the right idea, I’d love to invite people in. I’m hoping to start interviewing some Scittish actors soon. Unfortunately, Robert Carlyle didn’t get back to me but I have in the piping for Gary Lewis. Who featured in Billy Elliot and Gangs of New York, among others.

        1. LOL!!!

          Hey that’s cool about the interviews, can’t wait to read them. I’ll be famous soon I imagine so ill put on a Scottish accent and you can interview me?! ;)

        1. Maybe I’ll take it back?! I thought you had been featured on Desert Island…… Appears as though you haven’t?! What the hell?! What’s it gonna take to get you on there? :)

        2. 2 Trillion Dollars!

          I’ll think of a list and get back to you when I have got a good one.

          I have put it off in the past because I know I will forget one great film and it would kill me inside haha :D

  19. So far, the sum total of collaboration has been reblogging posts I like and think those who read me will also like or at least find interesting, ping-backs and cross links to other sites … and trying to get garry to actually occasionally write something. Yesterday I got invited to “guest blog” on another blog and now I’m trying to figure out how to do it. It sound simple, but I’m actually not at all sure how to go about it. Hmmm.

    1. I’ve never really done many reblogs, purely as I don’t like how they look on my site. Daft reason I know.

      Getting you and Garry to work with me and join my desert island project was a real treat, especially for his stories! Need to find a way to work with you both again someday :)

  20. Community building, I feel like commenting, and the Monthly Links From The Blogosphere posts I do are already quite time-consuming. Even though linkage posts are not as inventive as what you highlighted here, I feel like I do bring a bunch of people together.
    I like these Question Time posts, keep em coming! You’ve inspired me to check out a few sites I didn’t know.

    1. As long as you’re bringing people together it doesnt matter how inventive it may be, it can only be a good thing!! And, as you say, time consuming!

      Thanks, glad to be of service. Again, I find new sites by other people doing similar things so it’s good to reciprocate once in a while. Cheers Chris :)

  21. You forgot you’re also the leader of the Ryan Gosling booster club for the movie Drive that drives a lot of interactions to your site. Your Desert Island had been fun. Your bring the Brits, Yanks, Canucks and so many others. A little tweet brings more traffic and dialogue route suite as well.

    1. Glad to see you back on here!! :)

      That is true, I do try and run that club. Glad you enjoyed joining the Desert Island project, was my pleasure to feature your choices. Keep up the great work my friend! :P

  22. My Tarantino birthday celebration a few weeks back was the first time that I’ve had several different bloggers contributing to my site. I want to have an ongoing project but it’s just thinking up a good idea – I haven’t done that yet :D

    1. Yeah that was a good series of posts you did, and nice to get other bloggers involved. I’m sure you will get some inspiration for an idea soon mate, and I can’t wait to see what it is! Cheers :)

  23. I have on occasion had other writers/bloggers post guest reviews and articles on my site, like I’ve done at other’s. The only regular collaboration is the one I have with my colleague Rachel (Scientist Gone Wordy). The parallel post series where she reviews a novel (at her blog) that has been later adapted to film, which I examine on mine. Didn’t start off as a series, just something we came up with, enjoyed, and continued to this day.

    1. And one day soon I hope we will do some work together! ;)

      Thats great that something you enjoyed still continues on. Best way really, and having fun is surely all we do this for?! Cheers buddy :)

  24. Nice post. I honestly try to do what I can to encourage more people to participate with either one of my sites. I have a couple of projects going right now and they both fit the theme of the blog they are attached to. I don’t promote them as much as I should so they don’t get a lot of responses, but I do what I can to interact with the blogging community.

  25. Very good examples of community building, Tyson. Last summer, I had a great time doing a marathon where I watched recommendations from readers. Along with connecting with other bloggers, I also was able to check out some pretty amazing movies. I find that the challenge for me currently is to find the time to really put together a good project. It’s definitely a good move to building a strong community.

    1. Does take time. Unless you find a project where people do all the work for you, but makes you look like your busy at the same time. Thats how I create mine ;)

      Cheers Dan

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