Sandra G asks:
I am currently building a community review based site for my niche and I was wondering how to seed it, do I pay people to write reviews and if so, what are the guidelines such as how much to pay per review? Or should I hold a contest, the most quality reviews in a given time period wins something, money or a prize?
Great question and one I think a lot of people will be interested in hearing the answer to. I will try to break it down to each section.
I have always had a massive problem trying to find authors to write content they were not very familiar with. It just never works. While I understand the need to want to seed the site I feel this method will leave you frustrated (and broke).
Going blind and not knowing what your website is about I would say revenue sharing is probably your best bet to incentive users to start using the site. There are several ways you could do this but the easiest way is to run the users ads on pages they wrote. This would be fairly simple to setup on almost any content management system.
I am a huge fan of contests and I think to get this site started and get the initial word out contests might be a great way to get people to the site. Things like revenue sharing might push them ever the edge to write content though. Contests can also be a great way to make a site go viral through the “buddy system”. Basically you refer a friend to the site and if they win you win. Works very well.
Again not knowing anything about the niche its hard for me to guess on some of these issues. One thing from my own experience with fighters.com – We placed ads in craigslist in major cities all over the united states and we were flooded with requests from people who wanted to write for the website for free. In closing I just want to say I am a little concerned as to why you are having issues seeding the site with reviews. If its something you are truly passionate about I would think you could just keep writing reviews yourself. Maybe its a much bigger niche then i am thinking though. Hopefully some of my answers gave you something to think about!