Navigating Online Cliques

January 31, 2014


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.