The blogosphere is so saturated now, why bother blogging anymore? It’s not like engagement is as high as those heady days of 2010-2013. Everyone and their dog (or cat, hamster, small child) has a blog these days, how can you possibly compete on the big level. I mean, so much effort goes into producing a high quality blog now … you need the big bright photos, the quirky and fun copy, if you have well-connected interwebs mates all the better, and of course those all important high social media stats are essential. Yep, blogging is big on effort, much lower on returns these days.
Is there any point in blogging anymore?
Let’s take it back a few years. Let’s start at the beginning.
Blogging, or weblogging as it was known, was an online diary form in the early days. More often than not the blogger was anonymous, and the emphasis was very much on the DIY, ‘real-life’ stories.
Blogging really gained momentum around 2010-2011 (or at least I joined the blogosphere properly then and noticed 2011 gathered some speed). There was a real buzz in the air.
There we were from all kind of backgrounds and locations, sharing our lives through different niches. It was raw, honest and exciting to see what other people got up to, what they wore, what they ate, how they decorate their homes. Finally we were able to read content that didn’t feel like it was feeding us this fake perfection ideal that magazine journalism and celebrity culture forced upon us. We had real glimpses into each other’s lives. We connected on that. We began to trust bloggers, we understood their opinions and what they were about, and it was inspiring.
At the time there were many journalists writing articles that blogging was a fad, it would never last, it would not stand up against print.
And then the magazines started closing down.
Businesses started to cotton on to the blogosphere. Savvy marketers recognised the value of trust and authenticity that bloggers had. They understood that there was an engaged audience much more likely to relate to a blogger than they would magazine journalist.
Blogger collaborations began to emerge. It was fraught with mishaps (although it still is) but there were some really interesting results.
Some blogs were now at a point where their monthly readership totally trounced the circulation of major magazines and newspapers.
Bloggers were in business.
Well, some bloggers were.
Fast forward to today.
Blogging has become big bucks for some. And as with all businesses certain ‘best practices’ prevail. This is great in terms of running a business, but possibly not so when it comes to creating.
Just last night I saw several tweets from my blogging peers that said (and I’m paraphrasing big time here) that they didn’t feel like they could keep up with blogging these days due to the expectation to have such ‘perfect’ photographs or follow the ‘perfect’ trends. The pressure to create perfection in our content is overwhelming.
Whether they are right in thinking that is neither here nor there, but there is a huge pressure to compete on perfection in order to gain the traction, readership and engagement we once had. It’s even more disheartening when much newer bloggers start a blog and grow much faster.
It’s got to the point where there’s almost a cookie-cutter formula to a well-read blog – white or marble backgrounds, peonies, cupcakes, macarons… etc. etc. (possibly over-exaggerating some cliches, but you know!).
There’s almost, and dear I say it, a trend towards the younger bloggers as well.
I mean, it makes sense that when we live in a youth-obsessed culture that we will gravitate towards younger looking bloggers. It also follows that in a perfection-obsessed culture we will also return to blogs that leave us with an aspirational taste in our mouth.
And here we have now arrived at a full circle, we might not be buying the magazines, but we sure are consuming the same content. It’s just online now.
I now read such similar content on blogs today as I read in magazines 10-15 years ago, that it’s almost as if blogging never happened.
Where are the real stories? Where are the real outfits? Where are the real adventures in the kitchen? Where are the mistakes, mishaps, wonky lipstick and frizzy hair? Where are the slightly over-sharing posts that were written for the purpose of connecting with likeminded people and not to gain traffic?
Is there any point in blogging anymore?
Actually, yes there is.
Sure, there are super-famous bloggers now who earn squillions of cash-money. Yes, there are bloggers who now run their websites as businesses. And absolutely, there are some bloggers who have sanitised their content for mainstream consumption.
But that doesn’t mean you have to. It doesn’t mean no-one will read your blog. It doesn’t mean you won’t be successful. And it doesn’t mean you don’t have something of value to share with the world.
Let’s be real here. How often do you go online and seek out new blogs? How often do you comment and engage with other bloggers? How often are you creating new content to engage your audience? And how much are you communicating with your readers where they like to communicate?
The last point is particularly pertinent. I have found more and more my audience are responding to my blogs posts not in my comments section (sadly, I liked it all grouped together there) but are chatting to me on Twitter, or leaving a comment on my Facebook page, or even popping me a private email.
As the usage of social media increased along with the proliferation of tablets and smartphones (and hello 4G!) how people use the internet has dramatically changed. They are no longer just sitting at a desktop or laptop computer. They are now reading on the bus, grabbing five minutes to scroll as they stroll down the street, or hell…they’re even having a gander while they’re on the loo!
People aren’t always able to comment on the go. Sometimes they might not feel it’s even worth commenting anymore.
Yes, there is more to choose from in the blogosphere. And yes it is very unfair how certain organisations promote the same bloggers over and over again without giving smaller blogs a fair shout-out (I’m looking at you Bloglovin).
But this has been the same in all the creative industries for yonks!
I trained in the creative arts from a young age. I know firsthand just how bloody unfair it can be. I’ve seen just how much it’s about who you know, luck and a little bit of talent rather than being the very best in your field.
If you want to be at the top of blogging, good for you. Just don’t give up! If you’re not an overnight success, nevermind. But you could be a slow burner, and they’re generally the better of the two.
If you’re blogging to connect with people, keep reaching out and find your tribe.
If you’re blogging to flex your creative muscles, again, keep going and find others like you.
And if you really think that there are smaller blogs that deserve more attention then get yourself onto your proverbial rooftop and goddamn shout about them!
Because the blogosphere will be a much more exciting place to be if we all share the blog love and give some recognition to ALL that deserve it (not just the lucky ones).
So … over to you… what are your thoughts on whether it’s worth blogging these days?