Hey there everyone, my name is Dean Mason and this is the first of a group of articles called “The Inside Line.”
What I’m going to do throughout these articles is give you a look into the inside line of owning and operating an e-fed, from my perspective. Now I’m sure you’re wondering who I am and why on earth you’d want to take advice or listen to my perspective, so I’ll tell you a little bit about me.
I’ve ran and successfully operated the Internet Wrestling Federation for two years and two months. We’re into our third year now and we’ve never had a late show, lacking updates or a roster after our first six months that has been below 20. For those two years, I’ve written every scene and storyline for my members, taken on matches and at the beginning, even wrote all those myself too. The IWF has come from Micro’s to Posers, from average web design to quality web design and all the while, has maintained and kept a family like atmosphere amongst its ever growing roster.
This is my perspective on being a head fed, this is the inside line.
In this article, I’d like to talk about recruitment.
This circle of e-feds wasn’t the first one I was in. As you’re probably aware, there are plenty of circles out there, with e-feds in them that thrive and operate, without likely knowing we exist and visa versa. I used to run real character feds, in which handlers would be Austin or The Rock. It didn’t have anywhere near this amount of freedom, but for the first first ten-twelve years of my experience, that’s where I was. In those feds, advertising on another feds OOC or sending their members messages through their forum or boards was utter disrespect. The preferred and only two methods of advertising were through e-mail and AIM. They were accepted forms to a degree, which allowed fed heads to shill their e-fed in a mass capacity.
When I came to this circle and started out, I quickly learned that people were offended if you e-mailed their roster. What they wanted you to do, was join their fed, meet their handlers, be their friend and then attempt to recruit. This doesn’t and has never sat well with me. It feels completely underhanded to join someone’s fed with the entire idea behind your being there, whether known or not, is to recruit from the inside.
That would actually piss me off.
So if you’re looking to recruit in this circle of e-feds and you don’t know how to do it, let me give you some advice.
Don’t mass e-mail people’s rosters. As much as I prefer this and wouldn’t mind it, it is almost universally despised amongst fed heads in this circle.
Don’t join people’s feds, pretend to be a member and then attempt to recruit from the inside. If you do this with me for example, as soon as I see a whiff of it, I’ll have you removed. I’m sure there are others out there that won’t mind, but you will risk finding yourself banned from those who do. That’s no way to operate in this game.
So how should you recruit? In my experience and currently a successful one, the best way to recruit is to make sure you stand out. There are so many e-feds out there, all of which have their look, design and concepts, but you’ll need something to draw people in. Throughout my owning of the IWF, I’ve made sure that I’ve always had a nice website design. We’ve never had the functionality of the current IWF design, but I’ve always had a nice one. It never looked bland, cheap or tacky and always had a real graphical edge. That’s why when people saw it, the roleplays and the community, they wanted to be a part of it.
You need to participate in places like this, Roughkut and EFK. You need to get your name on their forum, take part in their topics, advertise your e-fed, speak with free agents and post your results. If you’re starting out and have no members, a good e-fed design could be the difference between people joining your new upstart and making it into something, or joining someone else’s. You should attempt to affiliate with any and all e-feds. You may think it’s competitive, but in my experience, 90% of the feds in this circle are decent folks. If you want to affiliate, as long as you return that by posting their link on your affiliates page, you’ll have your e-fed out there.
One of the keys to continued recruitment is how you operate. Once you have a roster of 10 people, you need to take those ten and make them loyal to you. You do that by producing the best work you can, week in and week out. You do that by being there for them as a friend, as a fed head and taking part in the community you’ve provided. You have to earn the respect of your roster and their loyalty, so that if all else fails, your fed will continue for as long as they’re willing to slog it out. When I first opened the IWF, I had to earn my members loyalty. I had to work hard with them and myself to make sure they wanted to be there.
Now, if someone comes knocking on the OOC forums with an attempt to advertise, there isn’t one handler that wouldn’t drop the dime. When I look at my roster, I have about 18 people that have been with me over a year (some of those nearly two) and another three-five that are quickly approaching that. I earned their loyalty and their respect. It’s vital for you as a fed head starting out that you treat everyone fairly, that you read all the roleplays and that you do your best to get shows up on time, updates done and be there for your roster.
Continued recruitment is about keeping yourself active around communities with results, news and generally taking part, but at the same time, you need to be able to keep a happy roster. You need to build and maintain a reputation, not just with your roster, but with the e-fed community too. When they see how hard you’re pushing your fed, how your results are on time and quality, how your designs and graphics are looking good, you’ll eventually start getting eyes on you.
Eventually, if you’ve done things the right way or worked your way up, you could be held in high esteem by those around you and then you won’t have to recruit. I haven’t actively recruited for the IWF in months and yet, I’m still getting 1-2 on average applications a week.
Just remember fed heads, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about recruitment or continued recruitment. For me, I won’t have anyone join my fed and attempt to recruit from the inside. Just as quickly as I sense trouble, I sense that and they’re gone just as fast. Be honourable in your attempts to have people join you and if you are, if you have a sense of morality, it won’t go unnoticed. It’s very easy to have the good feds give you a bad name if you act wrong, so act right, take part in the communities and do your best to be your best.
This inside line is just my opinion and how I operate. I’m sure there are plenty of other methods too.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the article.