Even in the blogosphere, there are still male-dominated fields that women have to work hard to contend with. Women have done a fantastic job of covering a wide range of topics, but subjects like technology, sports and science are still being mostly written about (successfully) by men. Breaking into male-dominated industries can be challenging; however, it can, and has, been done.
To be successful in IT and in the blogosphere, you need to come prepared to fight an uphill battle. Being a successful blogger in a cyber world where anyone can post whatever they would like already provides a large pool of competition. To step forward from a line of mediocre blogs written on topics mostly by male-counterparts requires you to use your skills to the best of their ability to stand out from the crowd.
Know Your Content
One thing that makes someone a successful blogger is having a firm grasp on the topic at hand. If you are going to write about sports or even simply conduct an interview, do your homework beforehand. In an interview of Erin Andrews, she describes the terrible interview with the Atlanta Braves that ended up costing her the job with TBS. She attributes it happening due to not studying up on the players. Nothing can be more embarrassing than stumbling your way through an interview or having readers comment on your blog about providing inaccurate information. The more you know about your subject, the further in-depth that you can be in your delivery of information.
Use Credible Sources
When attempting to establish yourself in a particular field you need to be able to back up every claim you make with a credible source. This is especially true if you are challenging others’ opinions in your posts. Depending on your field of interest, the sources can vary widely. If your article is science-based, it is best to use research papers, scientific publications and direct quotes from well-known scientists. Where as the tech industry could be looking towards magazines and reputable retailer’s blogs for the most up-to-date information.
Make it Woman Specific
Breaking into the good ol’ boys’ club isn’t for everyone and is frankly not always worth it. To make your name known in a realm that is predominantly run by Tom, Dick and Harry’s doesn’t mean that you have to write for sites owned by men trying to appeal to male audiences. Consider starting your own blog that is written by women for women and becoming your own boss. If you plan to monetize your blog, learn about the laws of doing so in your own state to measure if it is worth it to branch off on your own or not.
Many women appreciate a woman’s point-of-view, especially when that point-of-view is from someone who is not completely immersed in the field and are viewing it from an outsider’s perspective. Not only does it allow for a broader understanding of the subject at hand but it allows them to convey messages without being idealistic or projecting hopes for outcomes in the future.
Be the Voice of Women
The celebration of women in male-dominated fields can feel patronizing at time. Both excitingly and sadly, we are still celebrating many “firsts” for women in the realms of tech, sports and science. Women are being recognized for being the first of their gender for completing tasks that men have been doing for ages, thus illicting press coverage. Link up with these “first” women and learn how they rose to the top and how they feel about their recognition. It may give you some insight on how to move forward with your blogging career.
You have the potential to celebrate women everyday by giving them a voice through your blog. This isn’t an act of dramatic feminism but rather a contribution to empowering female athletes to talk about their edge in their sport without having to pose in bikinis and women of tech to not have to win the Nobel Prize to be acknowledged for their work. Sometimes stirring the pot a little can create interesting blogs as well, such as covering that the 25 highest paid athletes list just came out and there isn’t a single woman on the list.
Everyone’s a Critic
Beware of blatant criticism and try to grow a tougher hide if you are preparing to dive into the boy’s club of blogging. One of the beautiful things about the internet is that everyone is entitled to their opinion and has the ability to do so with a few strikes of a keyboard, this is one of the horrible things about the internet as well. It is best to prepare yourself to receive criticism, constructive or otherwise, from those who dominate the playing field of these industries. Treat it like a Christmas sweater — you can either wear it or put it in the back of your closet and never think about it again. As long as you maintain your integrity and write about what you love, it will enable you to sleep well at night.
If there is a man (or woman) who is writing about a subject that is not typically covered by female writers, seize the opportunity to work with that person. You can awkwardly ask them to be your mentor or you can start off by pitching ideas and writing pieces for their review. Pick their brain about how they broke into the industry and what some of their challenges were. They might not be the same for both men and women but it is an opportunity to learn more to progress in the field. If you receive push-back, learn how to be assertive, not aggressive for the most positive results.
This is not to say that one gender being drawn to certain industries is a negative thing; it does, however, offset the scale. Creating a counterbalance by having a stronger female voice and presence in male-dominated blogging would be strongly beneficial to see issues from multiple perspectives. For example, men’s opinions can only go so far in regards to technological improvements in reproductive health or the boy scout’s decision to become co-ed. Women bloggers serve an important role in showing both sides of the coin in all issues.