Blogging Is Evolving, Not Dying
so don’t jump from the blogging ship just yet…
There are currently over 500 million blog sites worldwide, with more popping up every day. Social media sites are bombarded with posts on how to make $100K by blogging, or how to easily get 50K pageviews within a month of starting, so newbies will throw everything they’ve got at their blog and run full steam ahead into a brick wall. They’re not making money, their views aren’t increasing, they’re doing everything, and still “failing”. While new bloggers start with the best of intentions, many fall prey to self-professed failure after only a few months of lackluster statistics and ghost town levels of engagement. A few months.
It would be easy to believe that blogging is dying given the high abandonment rate, but it’s not the readers who are abandoning blogs, it’s the writers.
If you start a blog to make money, you’re already off to a rough start. Blogging started as a way for individuals to share their knowledge, thoughts, opinions, and news that was unlikely to catch the attention of the major studios. Their readers read, bookmarked, and subscribed to their blogs because they loved the content and the community that was being built. It was only after trust was built that a blogger could leverage their platform to sell products or services to their audiences, either their own or a partnered brand. That might take years to do, not months. While you’re more likely to hear someone talk about wanting to be Instafamous than to be a blogger the value a blog can give a person when compared to strictly a social media presence cannot be overlooked. Here’s why:
You can’t create long-form content on social media.
Social media is fast-paced and quickly moving — nothing stays for a long period of time before it disappears into the void. A tweet only stays for minutes, even seconds before it is swallowed by new content. An Instagram photo shows up for a certain percentage of your audience before it is shown to more (assuming it is successful)or buried in the feed. Instagram Stories and Snapchat last for 24 hours and have to keep within chronological boundaries.
Because social media is so fast-paced, content is short with limited characters. You can’t say everything that you want to say. How do we make a full tutorial with an Instagram caption or tweet? How do we delve into our new book recommendation in a FB post. No one wants to hit that “more” button while trying to scroll through their entire feed in 15 minutes. How do we connect with a reader when our clever and efficient descriptions are competing with 1000 moving shiny things above, below, and to the side of it? On a blog, you can create varying lengths without worrying about getting cut off for exceeding a set character allowance. This isn’t an invitation to write a short novel for each post, but it does give people the space they need to fully express their sentiments.
You can go in-depth with statistics and research in long-form content, which helps you gain authority and emerge as a leader in your industry if it is well-written. When people find your content valuable to them, they’ll want to come back for more because they view you as an expert in the topic you write.
You don’t technically own the content on social media.
If the Instagram Blackout 2019 teaches us anything other than social media being dominant in all our lives and it’s good to unplug, it’s taught us we don’t own the content we post on social media. Sure, it’s posted under our account, and we create the content. Theoretically, we do own the content. But at the end of the day, Instagram is owned by Facebook, and Twitter is owned by Twitter. If they go down, they take the content with them as well. You can’t get that content back.
With a blog, specifically with a self-hosted blog, you own the content. (Unfortunately for those on Blogger, your content is technically owned by Google even if you have a domain name.) The possibilities are endless, ranging from:
- Choosing what content is posted or removed
- Choosing what features you want on the site
- Choosing when to jump ship with a host
So the next time a social media site (or multiple) go down, you still have a place for your audience to go. Have you been building an email list? Shoot your readers a message and let them know they can pass the blackout time by reading through your most recent posts, complete with pictures (and potentially embedded videos). Plus, on a blog your only competition is yourself. All the bright, shiny things that might catch their attention are theoretically leading them deeper into your post catalog.
It’s a more intimate way to connect with your audience and start conversations.
For some, commenting on a blog post feels more like a 1on1 conversation with the writer, whereas commenting on a social post is an announcement to the entire world. The praise or follow up questions your reader has are more likely to be shared if they feel comfortable in that space. It also prevents lost conversations. With massive engagement on social media, it can be difficult or overwhelming to keep track of who’s saying what within feeds when bot comments, like4like comments, or just a serious of emojis are clogging up the conversation. For those who don’t have a social media account of their own, or have abandoned them for one reason or another, your content can still be accessible to them through your blog.
There’s more exposure to the brand and influencer.
When readers find something they consider valuable whether it’s informing or entertaining, they’ll share it with their audience, creating more exposure. But with social media, they can’t like and comment if they have something to say or enjoy it without an account. While a blog is the same way, they can quickly shoot a link to their Facebook friends and say, “Hey, I read this post and I think others would benefit from it as well! I hope you’ll feel the same way.” If their friends enjoy it, they’ll likely share it as well, starting a domino effect that organically grows your audience.
You can create other content from blog posts.
The beauty of blog posts is they’re long. You have endless material to work with, re-portion, and share. 1 blog post can be used to create a host of content for your other channels or for future posts. Just a few to start with:
- Social media
Even better, you can link to your past articles in current blog posts to give readers an even deeper insight into a topic, or into you. More relevant content for your audience while keeping them on your website; if they like one piece, they’ll likely check out a related article for more. As time goes by and the content gets buried into social media, you can create new forms of content to get it back in front of audiences again in case they missed it the first time. Blogging isn’t dead — it’s rapidly evolving. If you’re trying to build a brand online, consider the blog as your home base. One from which you can reach out to other platforms to lead readers back to yours.