Navigating Online Cliques

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Dear Kat
I’m a new blogger (hoping to launch my site soon) and I’m really struggling with getting my name out there… well, it’s not even that really, I’m struggling to get any kind of response from people. You see, I’ve emailed a bunch of people in the industry that I admire, sometimes to ask for a little advice, but mostly to just introduce myself and say hello… but no one is replying to me. I’m starting to feel invisible!

It’s so difficult to get a new blog or business off the ground as it is and I already feel like giving up. I feel like there are all these different cliques of people and I don’t fit in anywhere. I feel like everyone else is already in the club and I’m standing on the outside on my own. It just seems like they don’t want anyone else to join. What am I doing wrong?

I think this is something we all struggle with when we first start our businesses. We look up to people who we feel have ‘made it’ and desperately want to emulate what they’ve done or to ‘be in their gang’. It all feels very high school don’t you think?

Well, firstly, dear emailer, let me tell you one little known truth about said ‘cliques’: they’re really not doing what you think they’re doing. There is no secret society or special handshake or initiation you have to do to get in. Generally, they’re just groups of people who probably started their businesses around the same time and became friends. You might see them as some kind of powerhouse of popularity, but I guarantee it’s nothing like that from the inside.

The most likely story is that they found each other online, met in real life, liked each other and then either started working together or began mutually promoting what their friends were doing. Collaborations are powerful after all (as you’ve clearly observed).

The thing with successful partnerships is that everyone has to get something out of it. I mean, I’d never email someone like Martha Stewart and be like “Hey M, wanna do a project together?” Can you imagine what she her people would think?! However what has worked for me is reaching out to people that were at a similar level to me, and coming up with ideas that could benefit us all.

I’d hazard a guess that the people you’re reaching out to aren’t saying no or ignoring you because they don’t want to help someone new on the scene. They’re probably just completely over-committed already and their inboxes are heaving with requests just like yours. I mean, I get upwards of 50 real wedding submissions and around 5-10 messages from people asking if I would be able to give them a ‘shout out’ on my blog or social media every day. While I’m incredibly flattered, if I was to say yes to even half of these requests it would take me 175 days to blog just a week’s worth of them!

My blog would quickly morph from a site showcasing the best of the best alternative wedding ideas to one that’s simply a sales platform for anything and anyone in the wedding industry. My brand’s power would be diluted quicker than you could say “How very”.

So instead of trying to get into someone else’s friendship circle, start your own! Find others that are in the same position as you and form your own clique. You don’t need thousands of followers to make a difference. Meet up, help each other, grow together, work together, celebrate each other’s successes and help each other along the way. Make those genuine and like-minded connections and see where they take you. It’s something we see happening again and again to people that meet at The Blogcademy and it’s amazing to observe.

So stop worrying about what everyone else is doing or wondering why you can’t ‘get in’ with the cool kids. Go out and create something amazing and start your own powerhouse. Pool your ideas with your peers and start walking your own path. I guarantee you’ll find others who’ll want to walk it with you.

11 comments

  1. HERE, HERE!! It really does feel like there are cliques out there sometimes, but I also feel that your very own blogger best friend is in the same situation and will find you or vice-versa without you even trying!I now have so many friends in the blogging community and speak to them way more often than my real friends!

    It’s a crazy world!

    Katie <3

  2. Brilliant advice! I felt pretty much the same when I started out (and often still do!) and I don’t really have my own ‘clique’, or even that many people I have managed to connect to in the industry. Partly because I’m not very good at being social, and partly because having Small Person come along at the time I was building my business up, which meant I couldn’t do so much.

    However, when I get an email like that from the new blogger in the subject matter, i do always try and reply and offer any help I can (unless they just want money off me, in which case I’m not that impressed!) . I also try and provide my images to all the wedding suppliers that I can who have worked on my weddings, for free, because a) it’s nice, b) it doesn’t cost me anything apart from a little bit of time to send them, and c) it’s another connection made.

    Now…. all I have to do is shoot a wedding which fits the Rock N Roll Bride brand and get it featured!

  3. This is such good advice. It has taken me quite a while to find my group of blogger friends, almost a year, really. And it happened rather organically. I would add that the original poster should be joining the discussions and commenting on other bloggers posts and pages, especially the ones whom she has emailed. Often that is the quickest way to strike up a friendship.

  4. I was just discussing this with a friend last night who was feeling quite flat and deflated! Part of that though was also watching blogs newer than hers skyrocket to success while hers only grows slowly – the hare didn’t win that race though!

    Passed this on to her – thanks Kat! Perfect timing :) (Also, The Blogcademy really is the perfect way to combat this – I now have amazing blogger friends who I can talk to all the time and they’re the best!)

    xxMillicent

  5. Best advice ever, and exactly what I’ve come to discover as a new blogger. The people I’m making the best connections with right now are all either just starting out, or somewhat established but maybe not the most well-known just yet. What I feel with this group is a wonderful community of mutual support and encouragement.

    Would it still be nice to be able to connect with the bigger names that made me fall in love with blogging? Of course! But I know they lead busy lives, and with my own burgeoning community, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

  6. Thank you for posting this entry. I can identify with the reader’s feelings about this. Mostly, I applaud your response. Very kind. Thank you.

  7. I know exactly how you feel. When I first decided to start featuring real weddings/engagements, I contacted 200 photographers to introduce myself and what I was doing. I heard back from 10. And they weren’t all fruitful. Over the years I have been so discouraged. In fact today I had a little meltdown on FB to my friends. Photographers really relish their best weddings and don’t love to share them with startups. It’s nothing personal and I imagine you can understand. Perhaps ask for lesser material first. I started with interesting engagement session locations from anywhere in their portfolio so that it didn’t have to be a wedding and it didn’t have to be current. That got my foot in the door.

    My blog has flourished. It didn’t happen overnight like it does for some, but it’s happening. For me it was sticking to my standards, being professional, and going to lots of wedding related networking events. Look for groups you can join on Facebook for wedding professionals in your area. You will find that you quickly become part of the giant “clique” because everyone works together in those groups. It’s where all the styled shoot planning, vendor suggestions, etc. are flying around too. I have done polls there, asked for advice, and networked.

    My last bit of advice would be to get on Two Bright Lights when you are ready (they have requirements). When I did, the submissions started rolling in! Just make sure you have a good looking site and a clear focus. If you build it, they will come!

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