I consider myself to be a pretty thoughtful blogger. I reply to comments, read other people’s blogs and when I was really in the thick of the online community in 2016, I wrote guest blogs. Being active in the blogging world takes time and effort (I don’t just wake up looking this good in the mornings). I also need somewhat of a thick skin having written so many pitches to Huff Post, Her Canberra and the like and never gaining traction. And yet I still write. Why? Because blogging is taking me on a journey in self-discovery from the act of regularly blogging, the ritual of reading and the ability to keep going despite barriers.
To develop my reach further, I got in touch with a local mummy blogger recently to ask them to post a link to the local Canberra perinatal support services post that I wrote, thinking that it might help to get the word out there about this post as much as possible. I always share posts that I think would be relevant to my readers on the Facebook page and Twitter feeds, and unless it is totally out there, I also include supports to link to other bloggers. Writing for the online world is a community affair, unlike writing for publication which is wholly an author/consumer relationship. Blogging makes us adapt and reflect in the moment on our experiences. We have capacity to change our writing to suit the audience and get tailored and timely responses.
Needless to say that I was disappointed and a little bit annoyed when the blogger ignored my request to share the post and instead replied, Hi Raegina. Welcome to the blogging world. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away. Now I have asked questions of other bloggers and they have been open and helpful. They also chose to not share the post, but they had explicitly said so, and explained why. It was no loss to me that the blogger rejected me, but it was more in the way that it was done. She deliberately avoided my request with the illusion of being helpful. I had told her I had been blogging for a few years and she welcomes me to the blogging world? At least the other people I wrote about publishing the piece had the decency to say ‘thanks, but no thanks’.
Thanks so much for your submission! We actually have an editorial agreement with ***** whereby we publish articles similar to your blog posts but thank you so much for the submission regardless! I really hope your blog continues to flourish!
So it got me thinking about what it means to be a blogger, and if we always talk about community, why is it that so many people act like silos? Why do we shrug from co-authoring, sharing is caring and other well-known notions of the beginner blogger? And how do we make stronger links for us while also supporting others?
- Find your niche (I hate using the word tribe because it seems so appropriated). Seek out people who have a similar interest to you in what they get out their blog and latch on. Comment on their stuff, follow them around to linkys, tag them in your blogs.
- Be realistic. Some people have been blogging for years and have built a little online empire of friends along the way. It can take time to crack that outer layer, and you might want to ask yourself what you have to gain from their relationship? I followed this guy around on my education blogs for months, tagging him in my work and asking him questions on Twitter. And I go nothing from him at all. No acknowledgment, let alone a reply! I decided to stop paying him so much attention as all it was causing was let-down, time and effort.
- Set goals and stick to them. When I started my most recent education blog, I had a list of goals that I wanted to achieve and a timeline. Unfortunately this was also during a period of mania for me so I was well on the ball and overworked my goals. So much so that my April goals were published in February. Now I have no goals for the site and have lost all interest in building it. I am still progressing it by posting content, but I have kind of fizzled out! When people get in touch about guest posts, think about your goals and how you can make the invitations fit in with what you want to achieve. Be honest with other bloggers about your capacity and goals and never leave a fellow writer hanging for a response.
If all else fails just do what I do and treat writers and readers like you would in face-to-face life. Because both spheres are examples of ‘real life’ it is just that in one format the reality is in the flesh and the other it is in the memory.