A Case Study
It’s very hard to start a blog when you dont know anybody online – when you don’t have any online presence.
It was no different for me.
I started writing my blog – first about the things I love: books, food, perfumes, my kids – all very general. Then I quickly found a purpose to it.
I was lucky in that regard, I quickly figured out what I wanted to do; to create a safe place for bloggers to hang out, to talk about all things blogging.
I had found that there are hundreds and thousands of bloggers who are just as clueless as me, just as desperate, for some much needed help and advice. They follow any type of advice they are given, they are so grateful.
Post daily? I am just exhausted just thinking about it.
Comment on other blogs? I spent endless hours doing this without any exciting results.
You will get a Break with Hard Work – Eventually
When I first started blogging at maryawrites on my free wordpress.com blog, my first goal was to appear on Freshly Pressed.
Freshly Pressed, on my last visit to their page, claim to be the best of 354,008 bloggers and 363, 650 posts.This was posted on WordPress on that day alone … the odds of landing on it are, well, not very encouraging. They are downright frightening.
Who in their right mind could write and hope to have a post on FP? Winning lottery seems more realistic at this point.
I kept writing, hoping against hope, that one day one of my posts will make it to FP.
And low and behold, one did, within a few short months of starting my blog.
I had just finished reading a book Blogging Heroes by Micheal A Banks and I was bursting to talk about it, but had no friends even remotely interested in hearing anything to do with blogging.
It took me two days to finish the 300 page book, cover to cover, (I am weird like that) and four days to actually write the post.
I took out all the best bits of advice, that made sense to me at that time, and compiled it. Like I said, it took four days to actually write that post.
At that time, it seemed too long, so I decided to do two posts ‘What I learnt from Blogging Heroes:Top Blogging Tips Part 1 and Part 2. I hit publish and then hit the sheets.
Next morning I woke up, logged in, and nearly fell out of my chair.
My post was on the first page of FP, in all its glory.
There were initially 70 odd comments waiting to be approved. My inbox was flowing with emails. People were commenting, people were liking, people were subscribing. It felt unreal.
I got 331 comments on part 1. (Probably 30% of mine were my responses and many were trackbacks as.) 339 bloggers liked the post – I still can’t quite believe it.
I got 154 comments on part 2. 103 bloggers also liked this post.
This went on for THREE days -all day long. It was insane.
Best of all, I got 221 subscribers from that single post. I can never forget that moment - ever.
Now I will admit to the number of subscribers I had before this extraordinary turn of events happened, a grand total of 12. Mostly consisting of family and friends or others made to join at gun point.
I met so many wonderful people through this exposure. They provided with me such loving support and kind words through the initial tough days. Sandra, Tom (AquaTom), Ava, Joy, Ken, Knot2share to name a few. Some of you have been out of action for a while. Make yourselves known, I have been thinking of you.
This can happen to you as well.
Maybe not Freshly Pressed, especially when you don’t even use a free wordpress.com blog, but maybe your post can go viral some other way. You can get hundreds of tweets, facebook shares and heaps of comments.
Just realize this, it won’t happen if you don’t continue to write your best posts, posts you believe in, posts you are proud to acknowledge as yours. Remember, you have to be in it to win it.
Life After Freshly Pressed
Like all bubbles, this one burst as well. I had my 15 minutes of fame and then everybody moved on, including myself.
Come of think of it, 221 is not that big a number anyway. But it is huge to a new blogger who desperately wants to know if there is somebody out there who actually cares.
To me, that what was all I needed in that point in time. That gave me the initial boost. It said to me, if given an audience, some people will like me. That was exactly what the doctor prescribed.
And things have not been all roses and peaches after that let me tell you. I have had to work my tail off to keep at it, to keep myself motivated.
And when I moved from maryawrites to my own site Writing Happiness, about half the people did not even follow me here. Oh well …
What would have happened if I didnt get published on Freshly Pressed so early on? Who knows, but there is a good chance that I wouldn’t have the confidence to go on. I might have actually given up altogether.
It’s very hard to keep going when you are not seeing results of any kind. We all need small wins – desperately.
An Encouraging Hand will make all the Difference.
If you ever had the pleasure of teaching a grade full of young children, you know encouragement is soooo important.
The child brings their work to you, again and again, to ask ‘is this ok?’, ‘is that how you wanted it?’. Even the brightest child would do this. They need the reassurance that they are working in the right direction, their path is correct, all of their hard work and effort won’t be wasted.
Bloggers, especially new ones need this badly.
I can’t tell you how many times I just wanted a blogger – somebody who has been in my shoes before - to come over to my blog and say to me – you know Marya, you are doing a great job, but maybe you need to rethink this, maybe you need to work on that …
So many times. Guess how many times I actually got it? Zero. That’s why I need to write this blog, so others like me don’t feel so lost and alone.
I am Creating my Tribe – Do Join
When I started, I couldn’t find a place I was looking for.
Problogger seemed too advanced, copyblogger was aimed at copywriters and marketing individuals. Writing blogs seemed too literary, SEO blogs too technical. Personal development blogs were way too too general for my liking.
I wanted a blog that combines blogging and personal development – a personal coach for bloggers, if I may.
Have you heard that saying? if you can’t find the book you are looking for, write it.
Well, I can’t find the blog I am looking for, so I am writing it.
I am going to create that space for bloggers, where people could bounce ideas off each other. I am going to create a tribe of my own. If you want to be a part of it, join and share your story of blogging. I am all ears.
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