Is blogging dead? I don’t think so. But boy has it changed. This article was written a year ago, but people have been wondering at the demise of blogging for quite a while now. The article is good though and does look at the growing force that social media platforms have been and continue to do so.
Is blogging dead? Not judging by the legions of newly minted mom bloggers who are there to step into any PR friendly gap I have ever left behind due to my lax attitude towards this blog.
I started blogging over ten years ago on Blogger. I had no clue what to do with it, and it started as a rambling public diary that I ended up deleting because it was too personal. What I learned and loved was all the fellow bloggers I could meet. How fun it was to build lists of my favourite bloggers and how wonderful it was to communicate with each other.
It was those connections that drove me to San Fransisco in 2008 to BlogHer so I could meet some of those people in person. It was a terrifying and exhilarating experience. I met bloggers who blogged for all sorts of reasons, driven by all sorts of ideas and goals. I listened to inspiring speeches and learned so much.
It was around then the idea of ‘professional’ blogging and ‘monetization’ started to gain traction. I remember getting ads on my sidebar on that blog and then being asked to write a ‘sponsored’ posts and seeing money go INTO my paypal account. While I was always in envy of the good writers….people with true creative skills…my eye was being drawn to those bloggers who were earning money and getting friendly with PR agencies who had noticed the digital reach that a blogger had…that they were a passport into influence marketing withing the digital sphere.
I still have an undead Blogger site. If you look at the list of blogs I was reading back then, there is quite the variety. I was reading blogs from all over Canada and the United States as well as the UK and beyond. I was reading ALL kinds of blogs too.
What I have noticed as my interest in blogging grew more business-like and as I changed my writing to attract brands, my blogger outreach shrunk and became much more local. Not that that was a bad thing. I truly cherish the connections I have made here in town with the legion of incredible bloggers in Vancouver. But so many of those connections are due to brand events. We all meet in person because a PR agency has us on the same list. We are all competing for the same piece of the pie.
As much as I have loved getting stuff, and paid and incredible blogging opportunities over the last few years…I don’t think this should be the main force driving the existence and evolution of blogging. As much energy that us bloggers have spent shouting about respect and acknowledgement of our influence and power, the power has been given us by the brands and marketing and PR agencies that use us. We are used. And I think that ‘use’ has totally changed the tone of the writing that is out there.
Not to say that there isn’t good writing out there. There is. In all the niches and styles…but more and more you find the quality writing on platforms like Medium. The articles these days about staying relevant are much more focused on attracting followers in order to look better to the brands and advertisers instead of how to just be a good writer. We struggle to get noticed not by admiring readers or connections, but instead the people with the stuff and the dollars.
I do realize this is rather sweeping, and based on my experience, but I don’t think I am completely wrong here.
As social media platforms continue to dominate, I do think that the world of blogging will have to change. Bloggers who work with brands have already had to prove their social media abilities to keep relevant. You can’t be a ‘monetized’ blogger without showing skills at managing accounts on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and much more. YouTube has continued to dominate social media when it comes to reach and monetary value. The younger generation eschew Facebook and Twitter and focus on the likes of Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope. Review bloggers don’t have the trust factor that they once did, except perhaps amongst their own peers. Hence the ongoing strength of the ‘mommy blogger.’
What I would like to see is for bloggers and blogging to continue to push the envelope when it comes to a source of accurate news and honest content. Citizen journalism should continue to grow and be an example for all when it comes to news gathering and breaking the stories that need to be told.
I would like brands to listen more to bloggers and work with them….learn from them….understand the world better that they are courting.
Is blogging dead? My blog suffered in 2015. I went back to work and while it is part time…it is in the digital realm and between that and my family, the blog content has not been getting the same focus as it should have…well should have to maintain its standing with brands and agencies. I was upset at first, but I think as we start a new year, I am okay with it. I think it means I can breathe and let the blog breathe and do what I want with it rather than always worrying about what someone at a PR agency wants.
I do enjoy working with agencies and the brands I have built up a relationship with…and I think long term is how brands should look at bloggers. We are, after all representing their products for them. Long term relationships with a brand mean more honest writing and content that reflects our trust in that company, which is important to consumers.
But I don’t think I am going to build my blog based just on what the agencies and brands want. This is MY platform and so I get to play god with it and realize the difference between the pressure I put on myself to make it good versus making it good based on someone else’s values.
I am not going to quit blogging…yet. I need to keep my blogging skills sharp for the work I am doing at the digital agency I work with now. But it is going to be very interesting to see what 2016 brings to the blogging playing field.