What makes anybody qualified to blog? Well, from what I understand, at present, there is no qualification. But if you're big company that wants your community to grow, your bloggers really should have a unique voice that keeps users coming back. Identifying your blogger may start with identifying who your power user is in the community first. And if that particular power user is not the appropriate person to have blogging for you, then at least try to find somebody like her.
A Lithium-powered community is your ticket to fully integrating a power user from the forums into a blog role (and vice versa). When customers ask me to speak a little bit about our blogs, I usually describe the nuts and bolts of how they work within the context of the Lithium application itself. A blog is equal to a board. A blog article is equal to a thread. A blog entry is equal to an original post, and any subsequent posts are equal to thread content. From a technical standpoint, that is how you manage it. No separate logins. No separate publishing platforms. We've made it extremely easy to manage because we know that giving even more momentum to a power user is what keeps a community fertile. Ok, that is all easy enough to understand.
But when we open up the conversation as to how this process fits into a Community Management strategy, there is a great silence as to "who should be the one to blog"?
Let's think about that for a second.
When I first started posting on primitive looking guest books in 1997, I had no idea that there were actual "message boards" out there. It did not take me long to find them. I knew about email digests and whatnot, but to collectively see a dialogue going on amongst people, all laid out so it read like a well (or poorly) acted play, I leapt in without hesitation. The people that fascinated me the most (and folks that I often touched base with) were the "experts" in whatever forum I was visiting.
Tens of thousands of posts later (on many different communities) I now find myself supporting community building software on a boutique level, and sharing strategy with customers that want to use message boards as a business solution. To me, it does not get any better than this. Becoming a power user may not provide you with fortune, but it can sometimes lead to fame.
So if you want to try and find the person most qualified to write blogs, I would say look for three things in that person:
1. Expertise in a subject 2. A highly regarded user that consistently posts great content in your community 3. The blogger has a voice that keeps people coming back
You'll find that anything they write, no matter what the platform, is going to cultivate the growth you're looking for.
I'll give you a great example:
There are very few celebrities that I care about, and I care even less for chat shows, websites, and magazines devoted to celebrities. However, I do appreciate good humor, obscure references, and a talent for delivering the one-liners. My better half linked me to a blog that she follows: http://www.infdaily.com/
Now, I can say without hesitation that I would never normally visit a celeb gossip site, but this blogger, Mary Beth, really gets her Don Rickles on. So, what does Mary Beth have to do with the price of blogs in China? Not much. She, like almost all of us, is a flyspeck on the blogesphere map. But she fulfills at least two key points about what makes a good blogger; expertise on a subject and a voice that keeps me coming back....even though celebrities mean about as much to me as the Metallica albums without Cliff Burton do.