Why start a blog in the age of vloggers and social media influencers?
Is it just me or blogging looks like a lonely thing to do these days? Everyone seems to be on social media! So why start a blog?
My RSS feed reader (I bet you don’t even know what an RSS feed is anymore) feels like ghost town. Many of the first generation blogs I used to read on a daily basis are now very rarely updated, if not totally abandoned. Where have the good blogs gone?
Meanwhile, vloggers and social media influencers are on the rise. The digital landscape has evolved yet again, and naturally, people flock where the action is.
The problem with social media
I mean, I get it. Why blog if everyone’s facebooking and snapchatting? Why pour your heart over 1500-word posts when there’s an option for 280 characters, a quick instastory, a short caption to go with a perfectly styled square, add some filters and emojis for good measure.
I’m not gonna lie I take advantage of the convenience of social media too.
For months I didn’t find the urgency to update my blog. I pulled out my “motherhood” card (also my “I’m so busy” and “maybe when the kids are older” cards) to justify my lack of time/patience/passion to get back to blogging.
I thought, if I only have 2 hours a day to publish content, I should definitely use those hours on Instagram. And that’s what I’ve been doing. In fact, we recently launched a business that has been thriving on Instagram traffic for the most part.
There’s no denying it. Social media is convenient, effective, and urgent. It’s perfect for selling stuff because it creates demand and urgency.
But then again, it’s also fleeting.
In hindsight, social media benefits businesses and brands more than it benefits individual content creators.
As a content creator myself, longevity is my main concern with social media. Creating content is hard work, and I personally find it troublesome to invest so much effort into a platform that I have no control over. Not to mention, to spend so much energy into a single post that will be scrolled over, buried, and forgotten in a second.
Sure, social media is shiny and fun and gives you a sense of quick satisfaction. But who knows if they’ll still be around next year? (Remember Multiply, Friendster, and MySpace?)
Not to mention, only a small percentage of your followers see your posts (unless you pay for views) because that’s just the way social media algorithms are wired these days.
And even if some of your followers do see your posts, you only have about a second to get their attention before they aimlessly scroll away to the next post on their feed.
Blogging in 2018
Earlier this year, Gabrielle of Design Mom cited repeated predictions that personal blogs will have a big comeback this 2018. (Side note: Design Mom is one of those first generation blogs I followed that remains alive until today. The answer to my question? Yes, some of those good blogs are still around.)
She made a great point about why content creators should focus on a platform they actually own versus putting all of their eggs in the social media basket.
From a blogging career/job perspective, it’s been crazy over the last 10 years to watch my peers (and myself) spend a huge amount of time and energy building up a community on Facebook or Pinterest or Twitter or Instagram, and then realize we don’t actually have access to our followers. It’s an odd thing. When I share something on Instagram, Instagram may only show it to 500 of my followers. Or sometimes to 5000. But never to all the followers.
It’s so different than it was at the beginning, right? At the beginning, we would follow people (or brands) on Instagram, and Instagram would show us every single thing the people we followed had posted, in chronological order. But Instagram is different now, and not just Instagram — they’re all different now. No social platform offers your feed in chronological order anymore. (And more than once I’ve publicly begged for them to do so! I would gladly pay a fee if I could get chronological content back.)
So as a content creator, the idea of focusing on a platform I actually own (this blog), is very appealing.
Well there you go.
The answer is, yes, blogging is still relevant—in fact, now more than ever.
And don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against this new generation of digital content creators. Creating content, regardless of what platform, requires dedication and hard work.
I do believe the internet is big enough for all of us! You can actually be all of the above if you like. I’ve seen rockstar bloggers kill it with their blogs AND vlogs AND social media, all at the same time. (Case in point: Kryz Uy, hello!)
Kryz effectively uses vlogging and social media to reach her followers wherever they are, still keeping her blog as the main hub for all of her content.
If you’re still on the fence about blogging or thinking about getting back into blogging, here are some of the reasons why you should blog now more than ever.
1. Blogs have been around far longer than any other digital content platform.
This matters because, in this digital world where everything is fast-moving and ever-changing, we can find security in established, tried-and-tested platforms.
Email, for example, has been around since the beginning of the internet; in fact, it IS the beginning of the internet. And while there are new ways to connect and communicate today, you and I both know that email will always be a part of our lives no matter what.
Blogging, in the same way, is one of the foundations of the internet. Blogs are essential in the digital ecosystem because it’s one of the main sources of the very thing that keeps the internet alive—content.
Blogging has stood the test of time. It didn’t just remain “old-school”. It has evolved over time and continues to grow in value and number through the years. It is, therefore, safe to assume that yes, as old-school as blogs can be, they’re going to be around while the internet is around.
2. People still read blogs.
Remember the last time you consumed content from a blog? How about, like, right now? (Gotcha!)
We read blogs everyday. Maybe you don’t realize it but you do.
That news site that you go to for current events? That review that came up on the first page of Google when you were researching about a smartphone? That travel guide your friend shared on Facebook that caught your attention? These are all blogs!
Sure, people consume content differently—depending on the topic, or specific goals, or time of day. You’ll likely listen to a podcast on your way to work, or quickly check in Instagram during your lunch break, or watch a Youtube video if you have time and you want to learn how to DIY something.
But even though there are many content formats available today (oh what a time to be alive!), blog posts are still very much present wherever we go online, whether through search engines or social media.
And that’s just the thing with blogs. When new visitors land on your blog pages, there is a big chance that they came in from Google with the intention to purchase something, to research, to get informed, or maybe to genuinely get to know you.
This being said, if you’re strategic and consistent about your blog content, new readers will always find their way to you and old readers will keep coming back.
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3. You own your blog.
Creative ownership is sacred, especially for content creators. As I already mentioned, one of the major concerns I have about social media is how you’re investing too much effort on a platform you don’t own.
To illustrate, consider blogging as building your own home, and social media as renting an apartment.
With social media, you’re on rented space. You follow your landlord’s house rules. You can’t paint walls or modify the layout of your space. You have to make do with whatever features your apartment has. Which means, anytime your landlord changes rules, or worse, decides to close down your apartment building, all the investment you made on your apartment will be gone too.
You invest money, time and energy in a space that will never be yours.
Get the picture?
Don’t get me wrong. Social media is actually pretty good for connecting with your readers, building a community, and promoting content. But you’ll never own your social media pages the same way you own your blog.
With a self-hosted blog, you call the shots on everything. You can layout your space for whatever purpose you have. You can “paint walls” and experiment on styling and design. You can fill it up with your own content and expand it as needed.
As you invest in your space and build it from the ground up, you know that it will always be yours for as long as you want. More so, your space will never be directly affected by algorithms and other social media changes you don’t have control of.
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4. Social media come and go.
Remember Multiply, Myspace, Friendster? How about #DeleteFacebook? Of course, at this point, we’re not seeing the end of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in the foreseeable future.
Then again, we didn’t think Multiply will abruptly close down too, right? I remember quite well when Multiply raised millions of funding with plans to expand their marketplace. And in a split second, everything was gone.
And who can forget the time when Justin Timberlake bought a percentage of MySpace? There was a lot of buzz about how MySpace was going to be the major social network for musicians and artists, except it failed to accomplish what it set forth to do. It wasn’t long until MySpace slipped into the quiet abyss of the internet and well, who knows what it is now?
You never know when a social media company would make a fatal business mistake and end up closing abruptly.
And don’t let me begin on the ever-changing Instagram algorithm, you guys.
Indeed, people are realizing more and more that, at the end of the day, the only platform that you own.. is your own.
5. Blogging can set you up for an increasingly relevant and in-demand career.
Whether you intend to do blogging full-time, or you want to expand your skill set and advance your career, your blog will benefit first and foremost YOURSELF. Not other brands, and certainly not the social media networks who are, by the way, already making a lot of money off the content you create for them for free.
I’ve seen it happen. Full-time / part-time / hobby bloggers who are successfully leveraging their digital platforms to blaze their own trails, create multiple income streams, become published authors, land their dream jobs.
Blogging allows you to develop skills and beef up your portfolio which are GOLD, especially in this digital age.
And I’m not just talking about a career in Digital Marketing. Whatever your chosen industry is—fashion, finance, family, beauty, travel, hospitality, architecture, design, whatever, really—companies and brands are ALWAYS on the lookout for content creators and digital strategists.
So go for it, start a blog now!
If you’re thinking about blogging or getting back to it, there’s no better time than NOW.
Actually, there’s no better time than YESTERDAY. But NOW is okay too.
If you don’t have a blog yet, here’s my step by step guide on how to start a blog the right way.
If you’re thinking about quitting, I suggest you go back to the drawing board and re-assess your decision. Consider taking blogging e-courses or joining blogging communities. Almost always, you only need a little push in the right direction to keep going.