In The Beginning, I Just Wanted A Blog Buddy! || Our Creative Story - Part 1
Blogging can be a long and lonely journey. At least it has been for me, until now. My name is Lee Bowden, Lead Creator of the Blog Buddy Program, and this is Our Creative Story about how we became the Blogging Buddies we are today. #mystory(1)
I was sitting there after a long, bad day. The baby had been teething all week, my husband was sulking somewhere not next to me. And I sat outside on a cold night in the middle of summer (because Washington Weather does whatever the heck it wants to). And all I wanted to do was be alone and work on my blog.
I was a frustrated, cold, and emotionally wrecked blogger. But I truly wanted to work on my blog!
Why do I blog? It's as an escape, my own little personal therapy session. My blog is my project and something I could claim as my own. Because as a first-time mother of a beautiful baby girl, I was giving away everything all day: My own body was being used every two hours to feed her, all of my time and energy was being used to raise and watch her. And my
clingy loving husband has needs for my attention and affection too.
Okay, so why not go work on the blog then?...
At this point, I felt like no one would understand what working on my blog would mean to me. My husband would think I didn't want to spend time with him. My parents would think I was wasting my time and should be sleeping. And my friends would think they were being forgotten.
In that moment what I wanted more than anything. Even more than to work on my blog?
To have a blogging buddy. Someone else who had a blog, and knew what it really took! A blog friend knew the true potential blogging has to fulfill my dreams!
The next morning I started working on a blog post, and the first ever "blog buddy program idea" and along came the very first blog buddy pairing google form. It was just a simple post offering up the idea to pair bloggers to bloggers. I drafted a Twitter direct message and because I was trying hard to up my Twitter following at the time, I decided I was going to DM any new followers that were also bloggers. I got quite the following, and plenty of interested bloggers!
Within 3 weeks I had 50 people sign up! This was so much more than I expected! So, I manually paired them and sent out an email introducing them to each other!
I felt so good about it. Ruth In Revolt had opened a Facebook Group called Blogging Buddies, that was created only 4 days after my post was published about the Blog Buddy Program Idea & Form. I reached out to her and then I was allowed to promote the Blog Buddy Program openly and become a moderator. I quickly realized that I needed a bit of help to grow this "program" idea into a blog, a real project. Something I knew could make a difference to bloggers everywhere. A way to connect with other bloggers personally and help each other!
A few days after sign-ups I was feeling lonely again because I was really hoping for an odd number of sign-ups... Let's be honest. Didn't I do this all because I needed a blog buddy myself?
Straight up, I was jealous of my buddies... But then I got an email from a gal, who had been unable to contact her assigned blogger, and was wondering if there was anyone else to buddy up with? She really was looking forward to having a blogging buddy.
Enter Vicky Phillips!
To say I was excited was an understatement!!! I had a blog buddy!!!
I was prepared to give her every little bit of help, support, and encouragement I possibly could! But I'll be honest, I never expected such a blog friendship to blossom and in such short a time! (But I'm getting ahead of myself.)
Meanwhile, as I began to form a blogging friendship with Vicky, I made a post asking for help setting up and organizing the future Blog Buddy Program. I quickly got a few responses offering help and promptly removed the post. After a short interview with each of them, I made a creative group we all began to begin organizing our ideas on Facebook together.
Enter Creative Team!
Vicky, Anne, Kate and I worked great together and quickly came up with our 12 Week Blog Improvement Series for our Blog Buddies. We began organizing blog posts, a newsletter, and a Twitter account.
Just when we got comfortable with our little Blog Buddy Creative Team, I signed onto Facebook to see some surprising news! Ruth was giving over the Blogging Buddies Facebook Group! With a racing heart, I knew what I had to do at that moment. I quickly replied and offered to take care of and respect the group and its existing members. She signed me over as admin and that was it.
Having Blogging Buddies kind of changed everything for me because I didn't intend to have a Facebook Group, honestly. I wasn't prepared for it. Ruth was doing great! I loved being a member! But, oh jeez! It came as a surprise but has turned out to be a huge blessing to everyone.
So now I had a blog buddy... and... a team of bloggers, a facebook group, and one too many ideas for my blogging future! Let me tell you!
What my Creative Team had decided together that we would run a 12 Week Blog Improvement Series to help "guide" our Blog Buddies (that we would pair manually together by niche once a month). To help lead their relationship through blog progress and blog improvement together.
I'm all about friendship, helping others, and spreading the love so I was beyond excited to have a group of bloggers so well matched to these values! We assigned some blog posts and were well on our way into developing a daily social traffic train for the Blogging Buddies and Twitter. Together we started the weekly newsletter to go along with this series week by week.
Oh! And I almost forgot Discord!
The same day we established the Blogging Buddies Facebook Group as an association of the Blog Buddy Program, we inherited also the Discord Chat Server. And let's just be honest, Vicky fell in love with this environment, this connection with other bloggers. And I too felt safe here and saw the immense potential this live chat server had for bloggers to network together, connect with other bloggers personally and instantly by just being online and having some down time together as we write, edit and share our posts.
Discord allows Voice Chat Channels, so when we officially launched the Series in October, Vicky & I started Live Voice Chats on Discord every Thursday. This was actually the first time we spoke or had a live call between each other actually. And it was SO FUN! Live Streaming, talking about blogging, for an hour! It came naturally to us, almost too naturally. That, is this real? The feeling came over us both and we knew this is something we wanted to do every week. Well, we thought we'd at least give it a shot right?!
Enter the Blogging Buddies Podcast!
Behind all of this is our private Team Facebook Group, where I began to engage with the team openly about ideas and found out how interested Anne Carty is in social media, and how artistically brilliant Kate Erram is. When we started this Team when I asked for the help publicly there really wasn't all that much to go off of. I was just a girl saying "I have an idea, do you like it? Do you want to help grow it and make it real for others too?" So these girls particularly reached out and said, "I want to help, I'm a blogger too!" It was plain to see that these were girls who were comfortable communicating, outgoing online, and motivated by the idea of "blog buddies" in general.
I do a ton of Live Facebook Videos in our private group, as a way to talk to my team instead of writing it all out. Don't get me wrong, I Love To Write. But the idea process is complicated, so I tried my best to explain, include, and offer helpful advice and tips through our Blog Buddy Program journey.
I've since done some Live Blog Reviews on Facebook, on Fridays! I found out that I Love Being Live! I've tried so hard in the past to do prerecorded video, and somehow it feels so strange. So I almost never post them in the end, it's so much work!
But with Live Video, you just go for it and don't look back because it's streaming, it's happening. I think it has to do with living in the moment and taking every moment to the fullest potential because honestly, I don't want to waste anyone's time. I want to help bloggers everywhere connect and work better together.
Now the Blog Buddy Program isn't just about pairing bloggers to bloggers by niche once a month. It's about blog improvement and networking together.
It's not just about the daily social sharing and commenting on at least one post a week for your buddy. It's about becoming blog friends that are there to tell you how to do it better and ask for help.
Now the Blog Buddy Program is about friendship, networking, and communication with other bloggers everywhere.
So what's next? Where do we go from here?
On November 2nd the Creative Team voted and decided to build a membership community website out of the Blog Buddy Program. Registration is due to open in January 2019!
|| PART 2 COMING SOON ||
Official Blog Buddy Program Membership Opens January 2019