I’ve noticed a trend of late that new blog content from most of my subscribe-to list has slowed to a trickle. Some blogs I subscribed to in the past were writing 2-3 articles per week. Now, it seems they are barely scraping that per month, some even less frequently than that. Some haven’t posted for years. These were mostly hobbyists though who have probably moved onto other things. Some where small-business-as-second-job.
Trends rise, have a golden age, subside, and then die. Forums are most likely dead while chatrooms still seem to do well in the age of Snapchat. I don’t think anyone has proclaimed with glee “the death of chatrooms” with quite the same gusto as those who do so about blogging. Ironically, they often use blogs to tell us this.
Maybe my previous blog buddies have grown bored with the process or seeing dwindling returns on their content. Maybe they’re more active on social media. Either way, blogging seems to be falling out of fashion as a promotional strategy.
I said seems because there are many ways in which that is strictly not true. If anything, blogging is very much alive and well although undoubtedly it has undergone many critical changes in the last few years, in how we as creators use it, and how content consumers engage with it.
Social Media Outreach
I know I’m no longer posting here as much as I once was. That is because I’m spending more time on building traffic elsewhere, for example my multiple social media accounts, many of which I did not have until a year ago. For photography, I’m spending time on Instagram and Pinterest. For connecting with writers and readers, I’m using Twitter. To connect with clients and other freelancers, I spend time on LinkedIn. Facebook… well, a bit of everything at the moment but I am reconsidering my options.
Each of these audiences and users have different needs and require reaching out in different ways. I have an upcoming article for this blog on social selling which will become relevant in a moment. It’s one of the big buzz phrases of 2019 and not without good reason.
If you want to follow me on other platforms, please feel free:
- Instagram: mgmason_creative
- Twitter: MGMasonCreative
- Pinterest: mgmasoncreative
- LinkedIn: mgmasoncreative
- Facebook: MGMasonAuthor (building an audience is increasingly difficult, but I do still post to my page)
Throw into the mix my recently opened SmugMug site where you may buy photographic prints and the two photography archives (see all of these on my photography page), and I’m much less reliant on this blog than I used to be. I also recently opened a second WordPress site under this name to promote my Salmonweird books.
If you’re looking to build an audience, you too should consider multiple channels to reach out to your audience. Under no circumstances though, should you neglect or even close your blog.
You Shouldn’t Give Up on Your Business Blog Just Yet – Here’s Why
If you’re a freelancer, a blog is a great way to connect with an audience. It appears that audiences still crave written material although the types of article they want are different from what they were a couple of years ago. They are also far less likely to comment or share when they find a useful piece of content.
Back in the early part of this decade, most successful content was in the region of 500-600 words. It was easy to read and digest for most audiences. I became a freelancer content writer in 2013 and that was the standard length required of most clients. Now, 750-1000 is the standard length. In the last two years, I’ve received more demand for long-form content. I write in the B2B and business service niches and this seems to be the optimum length for professional content. For best results, you should aim for 1200+, ideally 2000+ (yes, this post is over 1200 words 😀 ).
However, bucking this trend, bite size blog posts are proving just as popular. 200-300 word pieces are doing very well too. Readable in a few minutes, they make great break time reading for professionals and for consumers wanting to read something light and easy in their downtime. Social media is likely responsible for this trend. It’s that bit in the middle that used to be reliable for blogs that is dead, not blogging as a whole.
Why Your Professional Blog Matters in 2019
A professional blog is good for three reasons that are hugely relevant in 2019.
- The buzz phrase of 2019 is arguably “thought leadership” – knowledge dissemination. Few of the channels I have listed above are ideal platforms for thought leadership type articles, except for maybe LinkedIn. Even then, the content tends to be shortish and digestible, promoting discussion rather than knowledge
- Want another buzz phrase? How about “cornerstone content”. These are the big pieces that set your site (or your business) apart from competitors. These are the best and most important articles that will receive the most attention and won’t tend to need updating all that often
- Not convinced? Let’s have a third one and one I’ve already touched on. “Social selling” is the last of the triumvirate of business blogging in 2019. It’s about creating genuine engagements with your audience. Instead of traditional marketing, you go for the soft sell, maybe taking weeks or months to encourage your reader to see you as an authority and enquire about your services with zero pressure. Being helpful is the key to social selling.
Mic drop moment: Businesses with blogs get more leads than those that don’t.
This is you should continue with your professional blog and use it for large, structured, authoritative pieces. Just make sure you disseminate them across social media as part of your strategy and don’t hard sell.
If you’re a hobbyist, then by all means keep your blog for the sheer enjoyment. You have no pressure and if you have an audience who like, share, read and comment, you’ve no reason to stop.
No, Video is Not Where We Are All Going
Seen all those blog posts declaring the death of blogging and advising everyone to make videos instead? Yes, so have I. Not everyone has a face or a voice for videos and some of the content I’ve seen is shoddy, full of “um” and “ah” with the vlogger delivering their content with no charisma and people skills. Some look like a startled rabbit in the headlights and they’ve been doing it for years. They don’t seem to enjoy it and only continue because they are being told that everyone is doing it.
Yes, video is exploding. It’s on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and many other major platforms. I’m not saying nobody should do it, I’m saying it’s ill-advised to say everyone should do it. Video is a visual medium and as such, should be reserved for content relevant for a visual presentation. Even professional video producers think that video is not the marketing be all and end all.
The main advantage of a bad blog post is that it can be improved, re-purposed, restructured, and distributed to another channel. A cheaply produced shaky cam video filmed in your car on a four year old smartphone with poor quality sound and image recording is simply a waste of your time. Nobody will want to watch it.
Equally, claims that blogging is dead is unfounded as evidence suggests otherwise. Blogging has evolved. Your comment section may be a ghost town, but your blog is anything but.