Blogging is dead! So bark the deluge of headlines that ricochet the blogosphere like deafening doomsday bells. The marketing world especially can talk about the topic ‘til the cows come home.
But has it really kicked the bucket? Blogger Nicole Sage thinks so. She posted about the rise of blogging vs Instagram on her blog Sleek Chic, musing that bloggers don’t bother writing, or indeed ‘blogging’ as we once knew it anymore.
“With close to 1 millions followers, they’re basically just a model for their Instagram, collaborating with high profile brands and just sharing pictures and snippets from their life that every last follower is hanging off”, she mused in late 2017.
She seemed quite down about it. She talked honestly of blogger jealousy, saying she felt she had lost her chance to make a mark in the industry now: “The reality is most of us are drowning, trying to stay relevant in the blogging world and do everything we can, often at no monetary value.”
Apologies from bloggers about their lack of blogging and “neglecting the blog” are rife. Kat Williams shared her thoughts on the subject on her blog Rock N Roll Bride last month. She looks back at the days she’d receive hundreds of comments on a post. Now, she says, she’s lucky if she gets five.
Getting blog post hits is difficult to do on Instagram, which doesn’t allow everyone to share direct links. Kat posted a poll on her Instagram Stories and found that 65% of her followers did actually click through to her blog posts to read.
A more wholesome percentage than some blogger polls she’d seen, she declared. Only 24% of her followers said they regularly visited the blog unprompted by social media.
But all of this isn’t because blogs are being wiped out. It’s just because other platforms are taking up our time alongside blogging. Whether that’s creating micro-content on Instagram, recording podcasts or filming YouTube videos, other platforms are switching things up.
No one is simply a ‘blogger’ anymore, but it still has an important role to play in among all these networks.
According to Statista, the number of bloggers is predicted to hit 31.7 million in 2020 in the US alone. Which means we have more choice and have to cherry-pick the quality from the crap. Blogging isn’t dead, it’s just evolving. And to cut through the noise, there are a few tactics you need to take on board:
Be original, damn it
No one wants to click through a blogosphere of me-too copycats. If you continue to post the same kind of posts as everyone else - fonts, poses, subjects, clothes - then your blog might well be dying. Today’s content vultures want diversity, they want to see different things. They’re picky, okay?
So, what makes your blog unique? What’ll make them want to spend more time with you? There’s always something that makes you different from other bloggers - whether that’s your location, personality, or the fact you have odd-sized feet. In the words of Dolly Parton: “Find out who you are and do it on purpose”.
Post something pretty
Jeff Bullas talks about ‘the age of visual culture” and how it’s a vital part of any blogging strategy. He’s not wrong. You can’t ignore this fact: posts with images get 94% more total views. If Instagram has taught us anything, it’s that eye-catching content is more relevant than ever.
Images are often the first thing that capture your attention on someone’s blog. They provide an aesthetically pleasing break when reading chunks of text and give an professional sense of design to a blogger’s brand. Try using free tools like Canva to inject some life into your images into your blog.
Be genuinely useful
Great bloggers speak the same language as their followers. Which means they know what’s relevant and what’s not. While you may not have mind-blowing, life-changing advice in every post, you can still share something that solves a problem or teaches followers something new.
Generate topic ideas and create a month-to-month content plan to make sure you’re not blogging for blogging’s sake. Hubspot has a nifty little blog ideas generator you can use if you’re feeling uninspired.