Myth #9: "Big" bloggers are so cliquey.
Suzie Blogger (insert popular blogger's name here) is probably too busy to help me with my question or respond to my comment. It seems like all she does is give shout-outs to other Suzie Blogger-types.
Every so often, I'll see a comment on another blog, or a mention on Facebook where someone complains that popular bloggers are too busy mixing and mingling to return comments or interact with their audience. I can see how it might be frustrating to spend time reading and commenting on a site, and to never hear a word from Suzie Blogger. As someone with a small to mid-size blog, I have been disappointed once or twice to not see a reply after leaving a heartfelt comment for someone.
If I've ever felt that way, I forced myself to stop and think about why I was commenting. Was I commenting because I enjoy the blog and find the writer's posts and projects inspiring, or was I commenting because I wanted clicks, a return comment, etc? If you've read my Commenting 101 series, then you know I see comments as a way to encourage others and build community--for me, it's not so much about hearing back from a blogger.
John Donne said it best: "No man is an island...." We all want to connect-why else would we blog?
It's easy to see posts and pictures from some of the successful bloggers out there and feel like you're looking in on an exclusive club. Yes, there will always be a few bloggers who use the old "look how great my friends and I are" approach to blogging, but you'll see that with blogs of all sizes. It's easy to single out larger blogs for this behavior because they are more noticeable.
The problem with that mentality is that we forget many of the popular bloggers we enjoy have been writing for two or three years, some more than that! Before the blogosphere exploded, there were far fewer blogs out there, particularly in the craft and home blogger fields. Many of those bloggers bonded early on, so it's only natural that friendships would have grown over the years.
There's something to be said, not so much for exclusive cliques, but for support groups, "commenting buddies," or tribes. Crafterminds.com is an excellent example of this: a website geared for the promotion and support of bloggers in the craft niche. Through campaigns, helpful Twitter chats, and a Facebook page, Crafterminds encourages bloggers to support each other. The site is run by several highly successful bloggers!
I have to be completely honest here and say that I usually find the bloggers with large followings to be more helpful and accommodating to their readers/fans than new bloggers or bloggers who are just starting out. I chalk it up to experience.
A lot of new bloggers have commented or emailed to let me know that they had no idea they could email responses to comments left on their posts, or that they could build a readership by returning visits made to their blogs. "Big" Bloggers may receive dozens and dozens of comments on each post and are unable to return every visit made to their blogs, but most do realize that connecting with readers is important. They learned this from their experience in growing a blog!
Many bloggers with large sites enjoy connecting with their readers on Facebook and Twitter. I've found that joining them via social media is a great way to ask a quick question or receive some feedback. They may not have time to visit your blog and comment on your latest post, but most are happy to take a minute or two to help a reader out, whether it's by answering a question or even retweeting/sharing one of your links. Some of them devote a lot of time to featuring other, smaller sites!
Don't be afraid to email someone with a larger blog than yours for advice. Bloggers are people, plain and simple; and most are very approachable. Just be patient, knowing that Suzie Blogger probably receives a hundred emails or more every day. I have personally been impressed when I receive an emailed reply from a blogger I admire, when I know they are busy with sponsors, conferences, posts, and networking.
So what do you do if you look around the blogosphere and feel like the odd man out?
Form your own support system! Find a group of bloggers with sites similar in size or niche to yours and promote/encourage each other through comments, Tweets, and Facebook "Likes." Whether it's a formal Facebook group or a casual bunch of commenters, you'll feel so much more connected if you make the attempt to interact with others.
Remember that we all start out as new bloggers with an empty "Followers" space on our sites. As a new blogger, it's easy to get frustrated when you see "Big" bloggers sharing and promoting each other within the blogosphere while you would be happy for just one comment. Chances are, most of those bloggers remember exactly how you feel right now: overwhelmed, maybe a little confused, not sure how to grow your readership. Don't be too scared to reach out and ask them for advice, encouragement, or even positive criticism.
You might be surprised!
How do you connect with your readers?