Max and I popped off to the latest London Bloggers Meetup last night in Soho to hear the Huffington Post’s new UK editor, Carla Buzasi, talk about the site and how bloggers can get involved.
The Huffington Post has always had a love/hate relationship with bloggers, many of whom are critical of the fact that the site uses their content but refuses to pay. Carla revealed that in the UK, the site (since it launched in July) now has 18 editors and 1,000 contributing bloggers. This is still short of the 20,000 contributors to the company’s main US site, but still not bad given the short timeframe.
So whatever some bloggers might think, there are clearly plenty out there that see the site as an ideal opportunity to cast their net a bit wider and acquire some of the kudos that comes with being a HuffPo blogger.
And it was clear from the event last night that the UK team is on a recruitment drive to sign up even more. Citing the many benefits of blogging for the site (including traffic, profile and Twitter followers), Carla gave the assembled crowd some top tips for getting involved:
- Conversations are important – she stressed that the site was all about provoking conversation
- Less formal styles are in – chatty posts that speak to readers in a relaxed manner are always more likely to be selected
- Editorial input is still important – the site doesn’t just accept anything and its team of editors personally review each post before it goes live
- Keep it short – between 500 and 800 words is apparently perfect, but often the shorter, the better
- Passion – again, a sure-fire way to increase the likelihood of your post being featured is if the passion you have for your chosen subject comes across in your writing
- Syndication is fine – it doesn’t need to be original content; posts from your site are fine as long as they are relatively recent
- Linking is good – Carla was very keen to stress that the HuffPo advocates linking out to other news sources and blog posts
All good tips for bloggers in general to pay attention to.
Journalists v. bloggers
In the Q&A session one of the subjects that was raised (and that was continued at the bar afterwards!) was where the lines of distinction between professional journalists and bloggers fell. The crowd last night (many of whom have very well read blogs indeed) seemed to feel that the line was blurring. Carla was very forceful in saying that the site had a clear separation between ‘news’ and ‘blogs/opinion’ but it was an argument that I don’t think she won entirely and will surely continue to run and run…
All-in-all it was a good event with some interesting themes and useful advice. We’ll certainly be looking at ways we can use the Huffington Post to raise awareness for our clients.