Wanted: Community Leaders to Help Manage My Blog

The volume of my blog comments has increased dramatically in the past year. I am so grateful for the robust community that has developed here. People often tell me that they find the comments as helpful as the posts. I agree.

A Crowd of People Interacting - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Photomorphic, Image #17146139

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Photomorphic

As a result, I read every comment and respond to as many as I can. However, this is currently taking me about ten hours a week.

I have come to the conclusion that I just can’t continue. As they say in the business world, “it doesn’t scale.” At the rate my traffic is growing, I will be spending twenty hours a week on comments nine months from now.

I need to find another solution, so that I can focus on what I do best: write and speak. In 2012, I intend to produce four audio programs and write a new book. I can’t do that with my current workload.

What Should I Do?

As I have thought about this over the last few weeks, I see three alternatives:

  1. Disable commenting. The problem with this is that it reduces my blog to a broadcast medium—a monologue. Instead, I want to encourage conversation. The content in the comments provides a rich source of additional content.
  2. Stop moderating comments. The problem with this is that the conversation can quickly degenerate into ugly rants and personal attacks. It’s like what happens when someone abandons a building. It soon falls prey to vandalism and graffiti.
  3. Recruit additional moderators. This seems like the most viable alternative. However, I have been stuck thinking I needed to hire someone. I felt like I would lose something in the process.

So what to do?

Why Not Get Out of the Way?

Last week, I was having lunch with my manager, Brian Scheer, and a new friend, Andy Traub. We were brainstorming about some of the audio programs we wanted to create next year.

I became really excited but quickly realized that I would have a difficult time pulling it off unless I could find the margin in my schedule to do so. I then explained the dilemma with my blog comments and how much time they were requiring.

Andy said, “You need to get out of your community’s way and let them do it. By thinking that you need to do it yourself, you are keeping other people from jumping in and helping.”

As soon as he said it, I knew he was right.

So here’s what I am going to do. I want to recruit five Community Leaders to oversee my blog comments. These leaders will take responsibility for answering my reader’s questions, making sure that conversations are civil, and flagging the comments that I need to address personally.

Please note: This does not mean that I will be inactive in the comments. I won’t disappear entirely. It just means that I will be much less involved than I was before. This will free me up to focus on creating the best content I can produce—for you. I think it will also result in even more conversation in the comments.

Would you be interested in becoming a Community Leader here at MichaelHyatt.com?

What’s in It for You?

While this is not a paid position, there are four benefits in becoming a Community Leader:

  1. Contribution. You will be helping real people with real problems. You may be doing this here already, but this will make it official.
  2. Recognition. I will create a new Community page with a photo and brief bio on each of the Community Leaders. I will also post a new set of Community Guidelines.
  3. Freebies. I will send you a free copy of every new product I create this next year. In addition, I will give you free admission to my public speaking engagements (subject to availability).
  4. Access. You will have access to my private email address. I will also follow you on Twitter, so that we can DM one another there.

Who Qualifies?

Community Leaders should meet the following four requirements:

  1. You need to have a servant’s heart. I really believe in giving back to the community. I want to serve my readers by providing appropriate resources and adding value to their lives.
  2. You need to be familiar with my content. You don’t have to remember every post. But you need to be familiar with my basic philosophy and approach to life and leadership.
  3. You need to be willing to invest the time. Scanning and responding to comments will take 30–45 minutes of your time daily. Some days it will take more; some less. I expect you to reply personally to 10–12 comments a day.
  4. You need to be able to resolve conflict. You can’t be ruffled by the occasional snarky comment. You have to rise above the heat of the battle and respond in a thoughtful way without over-reacting.

What Do You Need to Do Next?

If you are interested in applying to become a Community Leader, please send an email to my assistant, Tricia. Tell her in 100 words or less why you want to do this and why you qualify. We want to make our selection before the end of the week, so we can have our new system in place by the first of the year.

Question: What do you think about this idea of using Community Leaders? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://www.mn3d.net/ Jackie Brewton

    Michael,
    I’ve never commented on any of your blogs but just want to say THANK YOU for who you are and all that you do! I have learned quite a bit from reading your blog posts. Even this current post has given me direction on what I need to do personally. I am in a similar situation with my time limitations.

     I teach an abstinence curriculum in the public schools of ATL and am inundated with teenagers who want to keep in touch with me (they just need someone to listen). I know God wants me to write a book as well as create some other products that will allow my message to reach more youth. However, the amount of time I spend responding to the youth who do hear me has handicapped me from reaching more teens.  I’ve thought about having someone else respond to them but never trusted that they would give the appropriate counsel.   I LOVE your concept and think something like this could work for me.

    God bless you and I look forward to seeing/hearing about all of the things this new process will allow you to do next year.

    Jackie Brewton
    http://www.mn3d.net

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. I’m so glad to know that this stimulated your thinking!

    • http://www.andytraub.com/ Andy Traub

      Jackie, I’d be honored if we could talk about how to set up a system for you and your site to free you up to do that writing and still keep your community cared for.

  • Guest

    Sent my e-mail to Tricia, wohoo! Great idea Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for doing that. She will be reviewing them and then making recommendations to me.

  • http://davidruess.com/ David Ruess

    Great idea Michael. Hope you find some great people!

  • http://all.pro Maranda

    Great idea Michael! I know from one day just how busy your comment sections stay.  :) I agree with the boys club comment – I would love to see some more women joining in the discussion here. Gotta even those things out you know. :) 

    • http://www.andytraub.com/ Andy Traub

      Maranda I agree.  Dang, another male commenter. Sorry.

  • Rob Sorbo

    I’ve been giving this more and more thought. One thing I’ve realized is that this is the type of thing I would get really excited about, and then run out of steam after a little while (and as busy as everyone is, I’m sure others might feel this way too).

    What if you did a 3-4 month rotation? If people do it once and enjoy it, you can keep their name on the list, but if they decide it was too much work they’d only have to do one rotation.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I may consider that for the future. Right now, however, I have about 70 applicants that are comfortable with it as is. Thanks for your consideration.

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        sweet, I’m exited to read more about the “4 chosen ones” :)

  • Carissa

    This is a very practical idea and a great opportunity! If I knew I could commit long term to this, I would definitely apply. I do not comment much at this blog, but reading your posts has been a huge motivator in my life. Thank you for having the focus and drive to consistently put out quality content.

  • Texaspenelope

    Michael,
    Have you thought about adding a Blog Frog community?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I hadn’t heard of it before. I just visited their web page. Unfortunately, the link to the sample site is broken, so I couldn’t really check it out. I am very happy with Disqus.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    I would love to be one among the five. But, my current travelling position make this proposition difficult for me to qualify. Being in remote places with poor connectivity also comlicates my position. Yet, looking forward to new community leaders.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Uma. I think we are good. We had 70 applicants and picked 10 yesterday.

  • http://www.holidayhomedeals.co.uk/ Nav Bajwa

    very nice blog, thanks for sharing such a wonderful information and your thoughts with every one! holiday homes uk

  • Anonymous

    Wow.  I just ended an internet sabbatical.  I can’t believe I missed a chance at this.  

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  • http://projectcommunityonline.com/ Change Management Process

    Thanks for a wonderful post! It has been a great change of pace for me as i am always on the lookout for a whole new perspective on different subjects. Keep up with your hard work and dedication.