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Throughout the last few months, I’ve been worried that personal blogging is on the decline. I was seeing fewer comments on my blog and even though there were a lot of blogging tips and tutorials going around, I was seeing fewer personal posts in my Bloglovin’ feed. I’m obsessed with blogging, with no intention to quit, so it was puzzling that many people had stopped.
I decided to get out there and see what had changed. I saw just as many blog linkups, and their linked posts. I saw plenty of bloggers connecting on the SITS Girls website and SITS social media channels. I read a statistic on BlogHer that 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from blogs. I joined Facebook blogging groups that boast over 1,000 members and counting! You know what I discovered through my extensive research? Blogging is NOT on the decline! Why was I wrong?
Quite frankly, I got comfortable within my circle of blog friends. I discovered my blogging tribe over two years ago, and I discovered bliss. Personal connections through blogging are legit. I have since met dozens of my blog friends in person and I feel that I have a genuine relationship with many more. “In person” people don’t always get what we do as bloggers, and it can be tiring explaining that it’s a real job, or the real deal. What fills this friendship gap? Online friends. How do you find them, though?
And very importantly – how do you maintain these connections while making new ones, too? Two years is a long time. Of course many of my blogging friends dropped in and out of the blogging world! It’s the cycle of life and it’s the cycle of everything. Luckily, many of those who left blogging are still my friends because the connections are so powerful.
Since I’m still very much immersed in the blogging world, I have had to learn to widen my circle there again, and to discover new voices.
Personal Blogging Isn’t Dead
Here are five useful tips on making all those meaningful connections to help you stay sane in the online world.
Go out and seek!
Connection comes from action! Don’t just sit and read. Say hello. Add value to your blog, another blog, or an online forum or Facebook group by introducing yourself. Maybe you don’t know where to look? Look for like-minded people, although the fact that we’re all bloggers makes us at least somewhat like-minded.
Do you have a career that you blog about or for? Do you have a favorite hobby, sport, or interest? If you do, there’s a high chance a group of people is out there who share your interest. Where you can start: The SITS Girls website, other blogs where you like the comments and want to connect with the commenters, Facebook groups, Twitter, Periscope, and even Instagram. You can join a Facebook or even a Meetup group for bloggers or online entrepreneurs in your geographical area or within your area of expertise. Do some searching and ask for recommendations from friends you already know – these groups are a wealth of knowledge, support, and connections. As with in-person connections, some will stick and some won’t. With some, you will think the connection is so strong, only to be wrong. And yet with others, the connection will take you by surprise with its lasting strength.
The time to make your impact is NOW.
Add value to the community by making intelligent comments in forums or on blogs, sharing good content, and otherwise helping out. Be kind and respectful. Interact with people online you specifically want to connect with – mainly because it can get very overwhelming to reach out to too many, and I’ve seen many people burn out fast. You might be able to tell early on that there’s not a connection to be made, or that someone is not interested in connecting back in general. Move on.
Leave genuine comments on blogs, favorite their tweets, and repost their Facebook statuses. Let them know you love their work! You could even email and offer to interview them for your site or talk about you guest posting there or them guest posting on your blog. Everything you write online should reflect the personality of you and your blog, brand, business, etc. It’s also awesome to know and reach back to your own readers and fans. Reply to them and visit them back.
Vulnerability is in.
Honestly, I’ve always thought it was! Let yourself be vulnerable and share what you actually think and feel, because we are all humans, and we are all looking to relate to each other. And when someone touches your heart, tell him or her. Write a meaningful comment or send them a private email if you don’t want it public.
Keep up your commenting and visiting. Share your friends’ content, and you can even make the decision to be Facebook friends. In my experience, the trend to be Facebook friends with blog friends is strong. Find and join tribes through Triberr, LinkedIn, or email groups and online forums. Even if it’s just Facebook messenger, it can be a powerful “checking in” tool.
This is where I went wrong. I got too comfortable and a lot of my blog friends lost interest in blogging. I went to a blog conference last year. To widen my connections, I could go back there or attend a brand new conference in a brand new place. Create your own group, or meet up, or even conference, especially if you have good leadership abilities. Email a few people who are on your level, business-or-blogging wise, and ask if they’d like to form a mastermind group for friendship and support. It’s nice to have a place to ask for feedback on ideas, push each other forward, talk out the tough stuff, and celebrate success. Bonus points: organize a retreat together!
As with a good book, I don’t just suddenly stop reading. Stories go on and many blogs do, too. I’m in love with the written word and I’m in love with photography and products and food and all else that is housed and showcased within the blog walls that we all love so dearly. This blogging world is complex and beautiful, and there are ways to navigate together.
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