“Blogging is dead!”
I recently opened Facebook messenger to see a note from a friend and fellow blogger asking for my opinion on that statement. A marketer had declared this to her and knowing I write a lot on blogging, she was curious what I thought.
While I don’t agree with the statement one bit, I love doomsday predictions like this.
The argument that the grim reaper has his sights set on blogging has some merit. Over the last few years, long-time bloggers have decided to step back or move on — the most recent being The Dish’s Andrew Sullivan. Many of the conversations that used to flourish on blogs’ comments sections are moving over to social media. And the number of blog posts published each day is in the millions, reaching what one could consider a critical level of oversaturation.
However, when I read HubSpot’s 2014 State of Inbound report, I’m encouraged. In it, HubSpot reports that individuals who blog were 13x more likely to drive positive return on investment than those who don’t, the strongest correlation to ROI compared with other inbound marketing practices. I also see the progress of our own blogging on Beyond Bylines, which continues to grow and drive conversation.
So, while I feel proclaiming blogging’s death is a mistaken snap-judgment, I love the sentiment because it encourages us to reflect on the aspects of blogging that are “dead” and those that are thriving.
There are three reasons why I believe blogging has a long life ahead of it:
1) More Flexibility: Early blogs were text-based, typically helmed by a single blogger. My first blog on LiveJournal was filled with scattered musings on life as a college student. Today’s blogging landscape is dramatically different. While there are many blogs that are written, you’ll also find bloggers who predominantly use video, photos, or audio to tell their story. Multi-author blogs, microblogging, niche blogging, and brand blogs also have grown in popularity. If you have a story to tell, there now are plenty of platforms and formats from which to choose.
2) Better Tools: Whether you want to add a Pin This button, a Hello Bar to encourage newsletter sign ups, or track how visitors engage with your site, there’s an app for that. And thanks to WordPress plugins and drop-and-go HTML code, you don’t need to be a developer to add a few bells and whistles to your blog. Successful bloggers recognize they have to look outside of their blog — at social media, freelance opportunities, email marketing, etc. — to build and engage with their audience. Plugins and other tools allow you to take those efforts and bring it all back to your blog. Check out the 11 blogging tools QuickSprout’s Neil Patel says are must-haves, and if you run your blog through WordPress, its directory offers tens of thousands plugins to bolster your blog’s functionality.
3) Freedom: If you took away all the improvements to blog flexibility and technology, blogging still would endure. That’s because blogs offer independence. Unlike social media, where you’re dependent on Facebook, Twitter and others’ motivations, a self-hosted blog puts you in control. Even if you write for another site, the possibility that site will one day go away is in someone else’s hands. This week’s sudden closure of Gigaom is a stark reminder of that reality. On the other hand, blogs offer creators and brands ownership of their editorial vision and a place where they’re free to share it however they’d like.
Of course, with freedom of ownership comes the pressures of responsibility. Blogging may not be dying, but it’s constantly changing. To thrive, bloggers must play the long game and know how to adapt.
For best practices and resources that will help you find blogging success, join me April 2 for the PR Newswire webinar Going the Distance: Tips for Finding Your Blog’s Focus & Defeating Blogger Burn Out..
- Tips and tools to help you structure your blogging and maintain momentum
- How to consistently create fresh content and avoid running out of ideas
- The importance of revisiting, refining, and refocusing your blog efforts
Register at http://bit.ly/1Mug8PL, then tune in April 2 from 1-2pm ET and live tweet with us using #blogtips.
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Amanda Hicken is a media relations manager at PR Newswire. Follow her on Twitter @ADHicken for tweets about the media, Cleveland, and comic books. Many thanks to Laura Watilo Blake for inspiring today’s blog post. Check out her blog Far Flung Travels for your next trip idea.