Saturday, April 30, 2016

Girl Talk: Struggles of a Blogger in Dubai

Blogging has always been on the top of my mind when I was a teenage , but neither did I have the courage to create a page nor did I have enough knowledge about where to start/navigate one.  My journey so far has been nothing but informative and pleasant, as I got the chance to meet some brilliant influencers, start amazing friendships and most importantly develop myself on a personal level. That being said, there were many significant challenges that I have faced throughout this journey and I'm sure many bloggers have come across the same obstacles, but perhaps find talking about difficulties as a "Taboo" subject that no writer should mention or even exhibit.

Today, I'm going to talk you through some of my personal blogging challenges and potential ways to overcome these problems, especially if you have plans to start a blog on your own.  Also, the aim of this post is to create awareness among "Non-bloggers" who might have the misperception that a bloggers life is all rainbows and butterflies!

Disclaimer: I'm by no means trying to put the blame on or refer to certain person/Organisation by this post. I'm very grateful to everyone I have met in real life or virtually whether they were bitter or sweet. Also, this post is going to be a little lengthy so please grab a drink or a snack while reading and make yourself comfortable :)

1- Number of Followers/Subscribers: 
It's probably the most common problems among new and surprisingly old bloggers as well. Many people do not know this about me, but the first time I created this space I was extremely concerned that no one would read my blog posts or follow my Instagram page and ended up deleting it after a month or so! when I regained my strength and confidence again I decided to come back with full force and not over-think about the outcomes, as blogging was my way to express myself , share my interests and free my mind. Thus, building followers/subscribers definitely requires time, patience and definitely hard work. The best way to overcome this problem is not to think of numbers as an indication of success as there are many bloggers out there who took the easy route and simply bought their followers.  Instead, try to intensify your efforts on writing unique quality posts that you think might generate interest and benefit viewers. Eventually, when you grab the viewers' attention and start gaining more followers, they will revert back to your old posts which you always thought were not interesting or attractive enough as they would want to read everything written by you!

2- Lack of support by PR/ Media Companies:
This problem is the most controversial among bloggers as they all have different opinions about whether to approach PR/Media companies or wait for them to notice your work and eventually contact you. I have to admit that in this part of the world the response you get when you approach companies is not immense, they usually assume that as a beginner you are striving to get free products and wouldn't really blog about it later. Some of them might even ask you for your blog statistics and will possibly check the number of followers you have on social media in order to add you on their mailing list. In my eyes these requirements are a little too much for small/new bloggers and reaching out for such companies to establish collaborations with brands, how would bloggers improve their pages if no company is willing to help and already setting up high standards to fit the profile as ideal candidate?! On the other hand, I will never forget to give credits to the companies that acknowledged my work and supported me from day one. Moral of the story, there is no right or wrong when it comes to approaching companies. The best way to overcome this problem is by networking at public events that are relevant to your blog and posting about them. Yes, there are plenty of events (beauty, fashion, food etc..) that are open for public, usually advertised on social media, in which PR companies and fellow bloggers attend. So, you can potentially introduce yourself to others, as things are always better done "Face to Face", then you can simply take it from there and make future tie ups and collaborations. Also, let's all agree that becoming a well-known blogger is not something that gets handed to you but a goal that you need to work for. Personally, most of the products I reviewed as a junior blogger were things that I bought with my own money and genuinely wanted to test out. So, you need to do your "homework" and prove yourself a little before seeking help from others.

3- "You can't sit with us!":
I'm sure most bloggers remember the first time they ever walked into a media event and felt so nervous because they didn't know anyone there. I certainly remember mine and as an extremely shy person I definitely felt the daggers thrown at me just by looking at other bloggers' eyes (Hate from the first sight maybe?). Not sure why anyone would intentionally make another person feel uncomfortable despite knowing that he/she is still new in the field, but sitting at the same table with these bloggers and trying to break the ice certainly didn't work. There is also the hypocrite type who will tell you "I'll add you on Instagram now" or "I'm already following you" just to get rid of you, which I totally don't understand because I've never thrown myself at anyone! However, I never for once stopped smiling or trying to start a conversation with anyone no matter how bitter they were. I simply took that as at chance to boost my confidence, since I was not so talkative, and started chatting with people regardless of what they thought of me, this eventually helped with earning lots of real friendships. (from the less nasty people of course!) In this part of the world many bloggers are not keen on collaborating with each other, maybe they consider others as competition to them or they simply assume that sparing others advise/ideas might potentially make them more successful than themselves. It's an endless debate but always remember to stick to bloggers who support you , believe in you and genuinely like you for who you are.

4- "You're lucky! blogging is your full time job.":
Another misperception that people have is that bloggers in UAE get paid for what they do. Some don't even trust your reviews as they assume that you probably got paid to market for products and trying convince them it's beneficial for them. Personally, If i ever got paid to write a blog post i would still mention that at the bottom of the page and most bloggers would do that. Moreover, do you think any blogger would mention the Pros of a product if it causes any allergic reaction or substantial damages to them, even if they get paid so much to write about it? Of course not! Even brands are aware that a blogger might totally screw up their product with a small review, but still they take criticism well as it helps them improve their products. On the other hand, some bloggers/influencers get paid for photoshoots or to host an event which is totally acceptable, it is similar to hiring a freelancer to perform a certain task for you. Bottom line, most bloggers work at other full time jobs  to survive and be able to pay their bills which many people do not realise.

** The list of bloggers' struggles is endless and I'm sure many of you can relate to these points if you are a blogger yourself. Blogging is definitely not as easy as some people might think and it requires lots of patience, hard work and creativity in order to leave a foot print in people's minds and hearts. Always remember to stay optimistic, be your self and be passionate about what you do, because when you love what you write people will love it too! If you agree with this post or find it informative then please share it on your social media pages to help clear the misperceptions that some people might have about bloggers. Also, please feel free to share your own stories with me in the comment box below :)

Much love,
Thebeautybunny1 x

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