Unlike several newer social media platforms (Instagram, YouTube), blogging has a multi-decade history. That history means that blogging is often seen as archaic in a social world that moves at a mile a minute. I mean, when you look at the speed at which Instagrammers and YouTubers go from obscurity to international superstars… it’s not hard to believe that blogging is a dead medium. Who is the last blogger that became rich and famous from their blog? So, does blogging still matter? Should you be investing hours into something who’s peaks are a small hill to other platform stars?
In short – yes! Blogging is relevant and has stronger legs than the Jake Paul’s or Jen Selter’s of the world.
Blogging is Unsexy
One of the main reasons blogging has fallen out of fashion is that it’s rarely glamorous. When you consider Instagram – you take a nice photo, work to edit it, and then post it. Instantly, you get the dopamine hit of likes, follows and comments. YouTube works the same way. You post, and that view count starts to go up! Comments and thumbs up are icing on top. It’s instant feedback and it feels good. It’s also EASY (relatively speaking) to get people to follow. The barrier to entry is a single button click.
Blogs are slow and clunky and each one is different. You post something, and share it – and knowing whether people are enjoying it is difficult. People are comment adverse in 2017 – so you rarely see people say anything. There’s no easy way for people to follow your blog and every blogs follow system is different. Some ask for email signups, others have Bloglovin’. But no one checks their Bloglovin’ feed, and getting emails is HARD. Plus, YOU have to do the work to keep your blog up to date!
Other platforms have whole teams dedicated to design and features that make the experience better for people. You’re just YOU… and you might be good with a keyboard, but terrible with code. Then if you do get into the code, you’ll inevitably break something. It’s completely unsexy and lacks the rewards that other places offer.
This Sandbox is YOURS
Despite other platforms being easier to manage, we’ve seen many Instagrammers and YouTubers start blogs. Why would these creators with tens or hundreds of thousands of subscribers/followers want to get into writing? The answer is very simple: They recognize that a blog is YOUR sandbox.
Instagram has gone through changes that have made things harder for Instagrammers. Algorithm changes, timeline changes, shadowbans and currently, organic reach neutering. Instagrammers are finding it harder to get their photos in front of their audience. And if their engagement drops – brands stop knocking (or knock with lower offers). YouTube is currently in the same space. There is the adpocalypse, changing algorithms, and now a system that demonetizes just about everything. If your only source of income comes from YouTube, every little change hurts!
That’s the problem with building in someone else’s sandbox – the owner can switch it at any time. That means your sandcastle needs to be rebuilt over, and over, and over again. And if they swap sand for pebbles, do you know how to build a pebble house?
The Future of Blogs
This blog opened with the question: Does blogging still matter? In an ever-changing platform ecosystem, the only constant is going to be the one you own. When YOU own the platform, you control your future.
We’re not saying to abandon Instagram or YouTube as platforms, but we are saying to try and drive those audiences to something YOU own. If people got into the habit of watching your videos on YOUR blog, you insulate yourself from change. If YouTube closed, you could use a different video host and not lose your viewers. You’d also be able to sell your own ads and create eCommerce opportunities that are not present on other platforms.
From a marketing POV, there’s still incredible value in a blog linking to a business. The SEO payoff for the business is worth paying bloggers itself! That’s certainly not true of Instagram, where posts are essentially retired within a couple days after posting (or like… a month once Instagram’s stupid non-timeline feed drops it completely). YouTube may have a longer lifespan for views, but the SEO payoff is not as powerful as it is on Google.
So, if you’re nervous about the future (where 80% of traffic is video) – rest assured, your blog will always have value. It may not be sexy. It may not FEEL like you’re valued as a creator, but you’re in the best position in a fluid digital landscape. You’ve got control over what happens next! So to end this with an analogy… let’s consider our search for habitable planets.
Blogging is a like a Goldilocks planet in the universe – while not exciting, it can sustain life for a long time and has a stable history. Blogging is to the universe what Earth is to humans. It’s got it’s problems, but we’re living. Instagram is like a rogue planet that’s currently evolving fast, but may one day end up slamming into the sun. And YouTube, well, they’re a bit like an asteroid belt in a Goldilocks zone. You’ve got a bunch of success stories, but one day, you might become a meteor that’s shot into the depth of space never to be seen again.