Last week blogging veterans and I chatted about about the challenges that new bloggers face that we didn't encounter when we started blogging. The landscape of fashion blogging has changed so much over the years, that Jennine shared how she would start a fashion blog in 2013. With most of the bloggers I chatted with, the same 3 challenges came up repeatedly in our conversations:
- The learning curve for new bloggers is much steeper (you're expected to know and DO more upfront),
- That there's more digital noise distracting you (and competing with you),
- Building a network/connecting with others is TOUGH.
In the comments, you all shared your insight on what challenges you face. Some of them, regardless of when you started your blog, plague us all. Others? Well, we're sharing how we'd break through those blogging barricades.
Find YOUR Best Fit, and Find Focus:
As much as I love social media, every site isn't the best fit for me or my blog. Every site we join creates more noise and takes more time away from our sites. Jess said about breaking through the noise, “The ability to filter information, resources and connections is a skill that takes a long time to be even remotely good at.” And as a new blogger, you're likely in information overload!
When you're starting your blog, look at the ways you promote your site. Are you adding to the “noise” (and is your message getting lost in it?), or is it helping people–are your readers and followers responding? If not… it's okay to admit you may just be adding to the noise (I know I do!). Step away from the ruckus, find your focus, and start from there. When it doubt, it's always good to step away from social media and just focus on creating great content.
Reinvent the Wheel: Create NEW Ways to Connect!
“If I were a new blogger trying to “make it” today, I would go to as many events as I could, even just public, paid events…. I would take business cards and I would be brave and introduce myself to anyone I recognized and follow it up with a twitter follow, message, and maybe an email depending on how well we'd got on! I react well to that, so assume others would too!”
— Gemma Seager, Retro Chick
As blog audiences grow and social media moves in waves, it's up to you to figure out NEW ways to connect: with your audience, brands, and your fellow bloggers. Local blogger and social meet-ups and store events have become a huge resource for bloggers – it gives you rare face to face time. It's much easier to remember and re-connect with a blogger or brand representative after you've talked to them face to face!
If you had to get creative about ways to get your blog's name into your local community, how would you do it? How about putting postcards on coffee shops and attending local store openings? Maybe you can email a press release to the local magazines and newspapers about your blog; offer your services if they need a quote.
How can you take that to the next step… and get your blog known on a regional level? And then beyond? If you're trying to connect with people, think about the ways you YOU like to connect in real life- and create ways to adapt that for your blog.
It's All Perspective:
Most of the bloggers I spoke to talked about the challenges of entering blogging NOW. The learning curve is steeper, the market is over-saturated, and there's a higher entry barrier. But what if…we're just looking at it wrong?
“I don't actually believe there is a finite world of popularity and success in the blogging world. These days, it's just as easy to follow 50 favorite blogs as it is to follow 5. We are now in the digital age where bloggers have millions of fans! So I actually believe that it is getting a little bit easier to become a well-read blog, simply because the audience of blog-readers is growing every day.”
– Kristina Braly, Pretty Shiny Sparkly
We may feel like the market is over saturated and the competition has become more fierce. But what if it really isn't so bad? Kristina opened my eyes to a surprising alternative I hadn't thought about. When I began blogging, most people didn't know what a blog was, and those who did it were kind of curious creatures.
These days? Blogs are a recognized source of information! Blog audiences grow daily, and our favorite bloggers have become a regular part of our lives. So next time you're feeling stuck – maybe your traffic isn't growing, maybe you haven't been able to reach your audience yet… remember that online audiences are growing every day.
And Maybe… You're Enough Just As You Are:
“But (and here I go being the devil's advocate again), is it really necessary to be unique? I think it's just as well to have a beautifully designed, authentically written, beautifully-photographed blog that just is great. Blog reading is escapism; readers aren't always looking for That Blog Which Is Different. They're looking for a quiet time, that pleasurable 15 minutes of their day in which they can sip on their cup of coffee and peruse the daily lives of the people they love to follow, who now feel like their friends. And that, my friends, is enough.”
– Kristina Braly, Pretty Shiny Sparkly
Maybe… when we're all stressed and exhausted, wondering why we do this, we should stop and ask, “If I were a fan, would I spend my morning and cup of coffee reading this? Do I find pleasure in it, and am I connected to the writer?” And if your answer is “yes,” then you've accomplished something great. Pat yourself on the back. Wake up the next day, and give yourself– and your readers–that enjoyable 15 minutes a day. If your answer is “no” (and it's okay to be honest with yourself!) – what would you do differently to be that site?
I hope this post and 3 Tough Challenges New Bloggers Face Today provide some new insight and feedback about how the blogging landscape has changed over the years. The challenges that you'll face as a new blogger today will be different from new bloggers two years from now. If you're a veteran blogger and want to share your tips on how to break past the barriers new bloggers face, we'd love to hear them in the comments!
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]