Sometimes in our journey as a blogger, we can feel like we’re alone. It seems like we’re not really blogging to anyone. It’s very similar to working alone - running a blog can make you feel isolated and the support of a team can really be missed. Especially when there’s always so much to do.
A key to becoming a successful blogger isn’t down to pageviews or even what you actually blog about. What’s really important is the supportive network of family and friends that you have around you - like-minded people. These are the people that will bring out the best in you, that will help you grow, develop and learn more about blogging and about yourself as a person. They’ll be there to give you advice, share your journey, act as a cushion for when you’re having a tough time, and to celebrate with when things are going well.
But if you’re anything like me, it can be really difficult to find this support, especially when reaching out doesn’t come naturally to you. So that’s what I wanted to help you with today.
What you’ve got to realise, and what took me a long time to realise, is that you’ve got to reach out if you want to find this support. It won’t come and find you. You’ve got to seek it yourself. You’ve got to be active. You’ve got to make the effort. For me, there are two key characteristics we need as bloggers that play a crucial part in helping us find this support: honesty and friendliness.
Don’t be afraid to reach out, whether it be a tweet, comment or email. You might not realise it, but commenting on someone’s blog every time they publish a post is creating a relationship with them, and you’ve no idea how much that could grow, or the opportunities you could get from it. What’s the worst that could happen?
Finding support online means putting yourself out there. It’s scary, but here’s what I’ve learnt to help make the process a little easier.
Interact on social media
If you start anywhere, start with social media. Because the reality is, every blogger is looking for support on social media whether they realise it or not. There are some friendships I’ve built up purely from social media. Like as many tweets as you want. If you see a tweet and think something subconsciously in your head, why not write that as a reply? I know how nervy it is when you do this for the first time. But bar one or two, every blogger I send a tweet to on Twitter replies.
If the thought of reaching out from scratch is too overwhelming, a good place to begin is with Twitter chats. The purpose of these is purely for conversation, and no promotion. They’re called Twitter chats for a reason and people take part in them because they want to network with others. Be honest, share your experiences and be intentional with your words and connections.
Leave meaningful comments on blogs
I don’t know about you but I can tell when someone’s left a meaningful comment on my blog - which means other bloggers will notice when you do the same. Barely reading a post and then saying “loved this” isn’t a comment. You won’t gain anything from that. But if you can show a blogger that you’ve really read their post, they’ll appreciate you more - and notice you.
I’ve left long comments on blogs before and the blogger has tweeted me saying “thank you so much for your heart-felt comment on my blog” - that shows how much the comment meant to them, which means I’m valued as an audience member. That’s the way you start building connections. It’s definitely worth a try.
Previously, blogger events were few and far between. Now they’re everywhere, in so many different parts of the world. They make the connections we make online come to life.
I’ve never been to a blogger event before, but I’d absolutely love to go to one. There’s one in the North West I’d like to go to, and that means there’ll most definitely be one happening near where you live too. And if not, why not set up your own?
Or if you want to work your way up to going to a blogger event, start off with meeting a blogger in person. I did this when I met Stephie from Tea in Your Twenties. I was nervous, but then I realised I had no reason to be. The conversation flew so naturally and you’ll also find out that you probably have a lot in common - you’re all bloggers after all!
Offer your help
There’s a lot of talk in our industry at the moment about bloggers running their blogs full-time and trying to making lots of money from day one. For some, doing things for free might be seen as a failure. But I completely disagree. For me, it’s simple. Why would someone pay you unless they’ve seen already that you can do the work? You do that by doing things for free - at first.
Recently, I’ve come across many writing contributing opportunities for various different websites - all of which are unpaid. But that’s the point of them being voluntary. I know I need to build my portfolio and online presence. One of the best ways to do that is through guest posting. It gives you credibility, gets your name out there and builds up your portfolio, because you’ll be writing about so many different things.
The sites that I write for where I don’t get paid anything are some of the big reasons I’m where I am today. They’ve also helped me apply for paid gigs, which is a brilliant cushion.
If you know you’ve got the time and you see yourself struggling, offer your help. It will pay off in so many ways.
Create your own personal group
There are a lot of voices in the blogging community and like anything in life, you want your own circle of people that you can rely on. So create them. Have a list of people that you want to communicate with daily on all the platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, blog posts, Facebook groups.
There will be people you connect with more than others and you want to utilise these connections. A great example of this is Kory. She runs her own community called the Wild Hearts and like me, she sends out a letter to them once a week. But recently, she created her own Slack community. This is a platform where she invited all her VIP subscribers to join so we can interact together as a community. It’s brilliant. She’s got all her key people in one place and we’re all like-minded, because we’ve all chosen to sign up to be a part of her brand.
This is exactly what I do with the Breakthrough Bloggers. I use them as my own personal group of people who really connect with me on the same level. They are your real people.
Blogging can be a lonely job but it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s always someone you can talk to. You’ve just got to go out and find them.
Let's chat in the comments - do you sometimes find it lonely being a blogger? What do you do to find support?