By Maggie Reimherr
Derek and I are members of a generation that prioritizes social media perceptions over many things. For 3 months now, we’ve been going against the grain by doing something decidedly uncool: shamelessly plugging our blog on social media.
I was a secret blogger for a long time in college, constantly changing my Tumblr URL to keep IRL people from finding my internet persona. (Yes, this is embarrassing.) Now I’ve gone public, and I regularly flood your Facebook news feed with writing from either me or my husband.
I love this blog. I wished for the right platform and the right “inspiration” for my writing for a long time. I’ve realized that my own life is inspiration enough for producing content, and people seem to be enjoying what they’re reading. It warms my heart to receive positive feedback, especially because I’m not naive enough to think that there aren’t some people making fun of this project we’ve got going. There’s a certain vulnerability in pushing your writing out to the world week after week that you just have to get over when you’re running a blog.
I’ve learned a lot of things in the past 3 months of blogging. Here they are:
1. Putting yourself out there is the hardest part.
There are days when I post to the website then struggle to navigate over to Facebook to promote it. If I’m not ultra-confident that the post is as good as it can possibly be, I want to keep it to myself and circumvent the process of getting it out there to a hodge podge of social media friends I’ve collected over the past decade. Get over it. Some people will like it; some people will hate it; some people will say, “Who cares?”
The internet can be a scary place. If you’re feeling insecure about putting your work and your opinions out there, I would encourage you to stay far, far away from mass media comment sections. Get your post out there, and stop caring about what other people might think. I guarantee you that very few people will bat an eye at one accidental comma splice. They might bat an eye about your opinions about the upcoming presidential election though. Proceed on this and other controversial topics, like alligators at Disney World, leggings as pants, and Harambe, at your own risk.
2. Do it for yourself.
In the first month or so of blogging I read a lot about bloggers who BLOW UP and wind up making like $30,000 a month. (Yes, you read that right.) I started to get greedy and think, “Oh, that HAS to be us. We can totally do that.” I spent a lot of time brainstorming how to get more followers until I burned myself out. I realized that Derek and I started this blog because we love to write, and we wanted a hobby that we could do together. If it’s meant to get huge, it will in due time. In the meantime, we have to be realistic and acknowledge that everyone and their brother has a blog these days. Yours might be the needle in the haystack that makes you a millionaire, or it could just be a really great personal project.
3. Insta comparison is the thief of joy.
Shortly after starting the blog, I created an Instagram account for the blog. It’s been a great way to engage with readers and other bloggers. And then it’s hard when you see that the other bloggers are off gallivanting on free trips to tropical islands because their readership is so large that a resort wants to pay them to write about it. I want to gallivant to tropical islands, too! People, please read my blog!
(Do it for yourself, Maggie, not for the tropical vacations. Maybe the tropical vacations.)
The other thing about Instagram comparison is that a lot of people have way more followers than us. We’ve been slowly building up to around 500 followers. I get jealous and confused when I see that someone whose writing is fairly subpar has 20,000 followers on Instagram. (Sorry, I feel like I can say this - I took some brutal, critical creative writing workshops in college, and I have a decent eye for quality writing.) I had to realize that our niche might not get us that kind of following. We’re not posting OOTDs and beautiful recipes. We’re posting what we do in our everyday lives. We also don’t inexplicably have a professional photographer following us around at all times like the fashion and lifestyle bloggers do. (Sidenote: still haven’t figured out what constitutes a lifestyle blog.)
4. Getting “inspired” is hard.
Derek and I have both recently hit some writers block and have wondered what the heck to write about next. Although our lives generate some silly, fun content, we’re generally fairly normal. We spend a lot of time watching movies on the couch at home. As such, we don’t have beautiful pictures or amazing stories to share all the time. So what do we write about when we’ve made the commitment to post twice a week? (Spoiler alert: we’ve been slacking lately.) We’re still trying to figure this one out. We have a backlog of ideas/writing prompts, but when you’re feeling uninspired, it’s hard to even sit down with one of those. Do it anyway.
5. Traffic is fickle, but intriguing titles matter.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve written something incredible. I post it to the site, and for reasons unknown, fewer people read it than are reading my silly GIF lists. It can be discouraging, but don’t let it be. At the same time, you have to know that intriguing titles get clicks. These titles have driven the most traffic to our site:
“Honeymoon,” “scam,” “Tinder” - what do these things have in common? They make you want to read more. As for “Fixer Upper” - Chip and Joanna Gaines are the ultimate clickbait. Just take a quick scroll through your Facebook friends' shares for proof.
Blogging has taught us all of these lessons. But most importantly, it’s brought Derek and me closer together. It’s been so good to collaborate on a hobby we can do together and encourage each other to do what we love to do - to write, to create, to engage others. We hope our blog is fun for you to read, because we’re having a blast writing it.
Now we want to hear from you - what posts have you enjoyed most? What do you want to read more about on Millennial Marriage? Let us know in the comments, on social media, or via email!