Blogging Tips: How to Host an ePanel and Create Interesting Content

by Tara · 15 comments

This is a guest post by Tara Miller from PsychologyDegree.net and in this post, she is going to explain her strategy of hosting an ePanel that helps presents interesting content to readers. Wanna know how? Continue reading this post…

Many bloggers today turn to the guest posting strategy as a way to get new and varied content for their blogs. Of course, this is a great strategy, as it benefits both bloggers, and so it has become extremely popular.

However, I would like to present another great strategy for creating interesting content. I don’t mean to suggest that you should stop seeking out guest posts; instead, I mean that you should consider this strategy as a yet another way to get interesting content on your blog.

The strategy I suggest is that you try to host an ePanel on your blog.

So, what’s an ePanel?

Well, the concept is very much like that of a guest post; however, an ePanel is much more in-depth and complicated. Basically, an ePanel means that you get new content from guest bloggers, but you host and moderate that content over a series of posts to give your readers a much more focused series of posts about an issue within the blogging community.

If you’ve ever been to a conference in life, then you have a good sense already of what I’m suggesting. Basically, at these conferences, you can attend panels of experts, all of whom give presentations and speak among themselves for an audience about a specific and focused issue.

I’m merely suggesting that you shift this panel format online. Your readers will appreciate the effort you put into hosting such a great and informative panel, and your panelists will appreciate the high-profile nature of the event, which means they’ll get some great link love!

So, if you’re interested in hosting an ePanel on your blog, take a quick look at the following tips:

1. Organize your panel and invite panelists to join

First, you’ll have to select your issue and the panelists you’d love to have take part on your ePanel. It’s best to select a timely issue that is relevant to your blogging community. Also, look for bloggers or other experts who are both intelligent and good at writing, as much of the ePanel will be made up of their responses to your questions and to each other.

2. Moderate the panel: ask good questions to your panelists.

After you’ve established the topic and had positive responses from your panelists, it’s time to get to work. This is perhaps the toughest part of hosting an ePanel; however, it is what makes an ePanel a success.

You have to moderate the panel. This means that you’ll need to come up with a series of questions to ask your panelists and you’ll also have to read and respond to their answers to prompt further discussion. How you organize this is up to you, but its most common to send your questions in batches to all the panelists at once. That way they can reply all and respond to each other, you can see their responses, and you don’t give away all the questions at once.

This is important to do because you want to let the conversation go in its own direction if possible. Sending all the questions at once can actually keep it very limited.

3. Advertise your panel around the blogging community.

I recommend holding off on marketing and advertising the panel until you have a good bit of content ready. I mean, it makes sense to build anticipation for the ePanel, but if suddenly it falls apart and you’ve already put a lot into advertising, then your reputation as a blogger could suffer. I’d wait until you have a solid bit of responses from your panelists so that way they feel committed to the ePanel. Then use all the marketing strategies you’ve learned as a blogger to get the word out!

IMPORTANT: Don’t forget to be a good host!

On the day or week of the ePanel, you’ll want to do a few other things to make sure things run smoothly. Be extra sensitive to moderating comments. There will be a lot more activity on the days of the ePanel, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for spam or other odd comments.

Secondly, you might consider hosting some live chats with your panelists, so that way readers can also take part beyond the standard commenting forms. Finally, be sure to support your ePanelists by plugging their own blogs and thanking them publicly for their hard work.

Hopefully you’ll have a successful ePanel. You’ll gain a good reputation in the community, you’ll make some connections with more bloggers, and maybe you’ll even learn something new!

Please feel free to leave any thoughts or questions in the comments. Have you ever hosted an ePanel? If so, how did it go for you? What did you learn from the experience? If you’ve never hosted an ePanel, would you be interested in giving it a try in coming months?

About Tara

This guest contribution was submitted by Tara Miller, who regularly writes for psychology degree. She especially loves hearing back from her readers. Questions or comments can be sent to:miller.tara23@gmail.com.

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Aybi May 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I have come across some blogs that has this social bar (consists of chat box, tweet live feeds and more) at the bottom of their blogs. Is this the type of e-panel that you’re talking about?
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Jean May 20, 2011 at 9:54 pm

I do a different form of ePanel, I have a few friends on msn who also have websites online and from time to time we all get in the same chat room and just chat it up and bounce ideas off each other and speak to each other about our personal progress, its quite fun actually.

-Jean

Alvin Y. May 25, 2011 at 12:27 pm

A good thing about having those extra features, like chat box and likes, are that it bring more people in. It attracts people to the site when they interact a lot, rather than usual read and leaving a comment. Thanks for the article, Tara.

Cheolsu June 6, 2011 at 11:39 pm

Thank you for introducing me to ePanel, Tara! This will indeed help build a good community for my blogs.
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