Crowdsourcing Blog Chain Posts

So, I’ve been thinking about blogging, traffic generation, and crowdsourcing. I’ve got some great ideas from Ana over at Traffic Generation Cafe (It’s one of the very few blogs that I can stand about traffic generation) and she sent out the idea that you network and ask to be on other people’s blogrolls. It’s a good theory, and it’s highly effective because it raises your exposure as being a trusted member of the community. I was rolling this idea around in my head when I got a letter from African royalty informing me that she was willing to share her $9.4MM dollars with me for just the price of my bank information.

And the idea struck me, something that I’d not heard of folks doing.

The Blog ‘Chain Letter’ Post

I know what you’re thinking. If you’re old enough, you might be thinking about the physical paper chain letters which demand that you put a dollar into fifteen envelopes and send them back to the people on the list or something bad happens. Younger people will think of the digital chain letters which exercise the same sort of tactics – if you send this meme out, you’ll be blessed, if you don’t send it out, people will hate you. That tactic is crazy and manipulative.

No, this is something different.

There are guest posts, blog carnivals, and blog roundups where the best posts of the week are highlighted in other people’s blogs. This develops backlinks for the blogs in question, as well as having the potential of going viral and getting seen by one of the larger blogs (I had this happen to one of my posts, the traffic was *amazing*) . What if something like this were done intentionally, so that everyone who participated benefited from the activity?

This is something like a meme, but done with a blog in a slightly more controlled atmosphere. One person starts a topic of suggestions/hints/etc like ways to save money. Everyone within the PF blogger community has posted something like this at one point or another, and there’s plenty of material to work with.

At the end of the post, that blogger would ‘tag’ another blogger. That blogger would post the original part as well as adding to the content with just one more tip/piece of advice/suggestion. Not the whole post, just a single tip. At the end of that post, they would ‘tag’ someone else with the responsibility of posting that particular post, complete with the links from the other two, and put their own on there, repeating the process until an arbitrary number (let’s say 25) of tips and suggestions was reached.

At the end, the person would get to ‘keep’ the post, leaving that list of 25 crowdsourced tips and suggestions on the site, and the process would start over once more at another blog. There are no penalties like evils happening to your family, this is just something fun to do. To make a more ethical atmosphere, instead of ‘malicious’ tagging, we could actually get permission from the possible next one on the chain.

No bad things would happen, and the early adopters would get multiple backlinks to multiple blogs. The later ones in the chain would gain a little bit of authority in the process, as well, making it one of those ultra win situations.

What about duplicate content?

Content is truly king. Google talks about duplicate content here. There would be some duplicate content, but since there is also something new being added to the conversation, it wouldn’t be aggregious and the process itself would actually be fun.

Doesn’t this already happen?

Somewhat. But it’s not intentional. People post great stuff all the time, and other people take it to their own blogs to comment on it, but that’s generally where it stays. It’s only one link in the chain. Other people get the opportunity to see it on other sites, but there’s no tagging like a meme occurring. And, it would be entirely consensual – one of the problems that I have with getting tagged in someone else’s meme is that I’m obligated to do stuff that I didn’t really want to do. With the opt-in philosophy, it’s like your’e being asked to do a one paragraph guest post that requires very little *actual* work.

How hard is this?

Not very. The responsibility of the starting person would be to write the introduction and the first tip. The rest just add to it. As writers, we’re writing things every single day, and something like this would only take a few minutes of your time. This is more intended to be fun, something which develops links and a little bit of authority.

Here’s a sample post:
Saving money is the mantra of some, the bane of others, but there are a lot of people who want to do it within their everyday lives. A little bit of scratch in your pocket is always good to have. Here are some crowdsourced tips on ways to save money:

1. Emily from Million Ways to Save
Make a List

Making a list beforehand is very important when you go shopping. If you stick with the list, you will prevent yourself from making those impulse purchases which can be detrimental to your budget. Take a few moments before you go to the store to make a list of the things that you need, and watch your money stay with you!

I’m sending this letter on to X of X blog. He’ll have some awesome tips for you!

And then X from X blog would remove the final paragraph, and put in something like 2. X from Xbloglink — Buy scratch and Dent… or something, then sends it on. None of this is very hard at all!

Chain letters don’t have to be malicious or mean, they don’t have to obligate someone to things which they don’t want to do. There doesn’t need to be money involved, and the whole process can be completely deliberate. Starting a chain letter might even develop some well deserved traffic, and more.

UPDATE – You’re more than welcome to include me in any of the blog chain letters that you might start. 🙂 I don’t have any of those new-fangled detection devices, but I wanna know so I can take it and pass it on. Pingbacks to specific posts, Twitter mentions, and email ( pull me out of my reverie.

Photo courtesy of Paul Simpson on Flickr.

What do you think? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.