I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love blogging. I love the creativity it allows me. I love the independence I’ve gained. I love the friends and community I’ve made. However, there is one massive problem with blogging that everyone knows about but no one really says out loud. The biggest problem with blogging? Unsupportive girls.
When I first began my blog, I was full of (naive) excitement. I was going to do this, everyone was going to be supportive, and it was going to be a big ball of sunshine and daydreams!
I was still in college at Purdue, so there were lots of other creative girls who were into fashion, photography and blogging. I typed up emails, texts and Facebook messages reaching out. I asked for advice on how to start up, what the next steps were, and how they succeeded at building an engaged audience. A few girls were SO helpful and sweet, and I still consider them friends today. But for the vast majority, guess what I got back? Radio silence.
I shrugged it off; maybe they were busy, maybe they didn’t get my message. Despite the excuses I was making for them, I was still hurt.
I moved to Chicago after graduation to work in PR. My blog took off being in a new city with new connections and opportunities. I certainly wasn’t prepared to scale my business that fast, so again, I needed help. There are so many bloggers in Chicago that it should be easy to learn the tricks of the trade, right?!
I attended several events hosted by local companies, slowly meeting other bloggers and growing my social circle. At one particular event, I met a blogger who was big time. She was so friendly, polite and made me feel like she genuinely cared about me. She gave me her card and told me to reach out if I needed anything. I walked away from that event smiling ear to ear – I finally had my blogging guru!
The next week, I was at another event for bloggers. Low and behold, my newfound friend walked in a few minutes after me! She was with a group of other large bloggers and I was so excited to finally meet these girls that I had only seen and admired from Instagram.
I walked up to the group and greeted them. The response? An up-down look and a “Who are you?”
She knew who I was. She and I had talked about my recent move from Purdue to Chicago, how I still visit St. Louis monthly and maintain my status as a Cardinals fan (she laughed and told me I’d be a Cubs fan in no time) and how I needed to find a perfect pair of nude wedges.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens alllllll the time to women in blogging. I’ve heard similar tales from countless friends, and each time I am still shocked.
The bloggers who have figured it out seem scared to help other bloggers succeed because they ultimately view us as competition instead of support. This is where all bloggers’ thinking NEEDS to shift.
If someone tells me a secret trick to getting more page views, instead of being worried that my increased numbers would be a threat to her business, she should be SO EXCITED that she just gained loyal follower who will comment and share every post she writes (and probably back link to her).
I’ve also been on the opposite side of this. At a recent event, a girl with a newer and smaller blog came up to me, introduced herself, and we got to chatting as bloggers do. After a few minutes, she made a comment about having issues with her WordPress site. I fired off a few themes I liked and plugins that really helped me when I was starting out. I expected an “Oh, great, thanks!” but I got pure shock. She was completely flabbergasted that I was willing to give her help since she was new and barely had any following on social media.
Let me repeat this: A lovely girl with a great blog and incredible content verbalized that she expected me to treat her differently because her numbers are lower than mine.
Yes, as bloggers, our social media KPIs and our blog’s UVM are important when it comes to building our businesses, but they do not define us as people. A blogger with 400 followers on Instagram is not “beneath me” and a blogger with 100K followers is not “above me.” Our worth is not tied to a number.
I did not write this post to bash the girls who have treated fellow bloggers, myself included, in ways that have been hurtful and upsetting. Rather, I’d love this to be a wake up call to all bloggers, from those starting out with 0 page views to the biggest blogs making hundreds of thousands of dollars, to remember that we are in this together and we need to be there for one another.
Am I telling you to reply to every single email and DM you get or you’re a mean girl? Not at all! Life gets in the way and clearing out inboxes gets exhausting. What I am urging you to do is to treat every interaction with EVERY blogger equally. Some additional options to support other bloggers include making a resource library, writing a blog post answering some FAQs, or forming blogger support groups.
Other women are not my competition. We are stronger when we support one another: in blogging, in business, in life.
This isn’t just a blogging issue either. I’ve seen this happen in friend groups, at companies, in sororities, etc. This notion of competition with one another instead of empowering one another is troubling but it unfortunately is everywhere. This International Women’s Day, please take the time to really think about how you are treating other women and how you’d want them to treat you. We are stronger together, y’all!
That being said, if you ever have a question or need some advice about blogging, college, job searches, what to wear for XYZ, boy problems – ANYTHING – I’m here and I will try to help you the best I can. Your success is MY success.