Yes, I realise that it is half way through 2016 but the blogging world is changing so fast, that I thought I’d share my thoughts on what to expect for the rest of 2016 and beyond. I have now been blogging for 6 years and so much has changed in this time – gone are the days when you can literally start up a blog and the cash flows in immediately (although so many people seem to think that is still the case!). You now have to do so much more and actually think differently about it in general. However, saying that, blogging has totally changed my life; from book deals to magazine features, to appearing on the telly – all from here!
Here is where we are at now in June 2016 and what you need to do to stay in the game. Infact to stay ahead in the game!
The term blogger will be used less
A year ago it was still cool to be a “blogger”, but I am not so sure now. Since Next added a girl’s T shirt to their range with the word BLOGGER emblazoned in sequins on the front, I personally have moved away from the term as have many others across the world. Firstly, why are we are not writing MIDWIFE, LAWYER or even GIRLBOSS on the T’s, and when did the country all want to be bloggers? Maybe this is part of the issue – blogger land is so crowded that now there needs to be a backlash? So when someone asks me what I do I don’t say “I am a blogger” but say “I own my own business, I am the director of Vintage Wedding Events Ltd (The National Vintage Wedding Fair to you and me) but also I am a freelance writer for magazines but also on my website”. Note, it is not even a blog anymore. To be successful in blogging you now need to do so much more which brings me on to the next point.
Blogs will be run more like businesses than online diaries
When most bloggers started 5 years ago they wanted to tell their story, share their journey and anything monetary came second. The money did come as their number one goal was to write not to earn (something importantly everyone needs to remember now). I started the blog to act as a vehicle to bolster my Your Vintage Life brand, a place where I could share more about our stock and how to use it on your everyday life. Free stuff was very far from my mind. This passion and the need for the passion is more important than ever as readers can see through anyone just blogging for the cash! But now you need to run your blog like a standalone business rather than just a diary. You need to get organised with brand guidelines, content schedules and a financial plan with targets and reviews if you want to succeed.
Blogs won’t look like blogs
You can see this already but more and more bloggers are creating websites rather than blogs with landing pages which makes the blog almost secondary. This is because, as per my last point, bloggers are focusing on personal branding as a business strategy rather than just the diary side of things. But be careful with this as you don’t want to lose your current following – I recommend having some key posts or your most recent ones on the homepage.
Traditional side bar advertising will continue to drop.
More and more people are moving away from side bar adverts for a few reasons. Firstly, the smaller brands are not buying this ad space like they used to, believing that their marketing cash is better spent on social media adverts or in directories which are more targeted. And the large brands who paid to advertise are trying to take more and more control over the bloggers which is causing many successful blogs to remove all adverts altogether. Going forward you will see either more pop ups and banner ads or literally the opposite – none. The blogger that is true to themselves and their brand will be the one who chooses the latter.
Paid content routes will become the focus over free content
More and more bloggers are blogging less and less, yet making more money due to their focus being on paid content rather than free content. More will be self-publishing digital books and downloads, with new and recycled content as well as creating new products, sometimes actual products as well as through seminars, workshops etc. The key to all this is subscriptions with recurring payments set up in advance.
Comments will continue to reduce
People have been commenting less and less on posts which has been a trend for some time now. While this worried people at first, it is now the norm with most engagement on social channels instead. This therefore means that your social channels are more important than ever, as this is where you will be having your conversations with your readers. An engaged following is crucial, so focus on gaining real fans who will share their thoughts with you as without this you will not be getting any feedback about your content.
Your email list is more important than your Bloglovin’ following
As people continue to engage through social media rather than a RSS feed, you need to remind them weekly about what you have been doing and writing about. Therefore, your email list is more crucial than ever as you need to arrive directly to their inbox. But as with any business, you will need a strategy about content with links to all your selling/revenue driven points as this will be the main way to achieve them.
Video will continue to become more important
Whether it is through Snapchat (not on it yet? Then you should be!) or Facebook Live you will see more and more engagement through video. Embed them into your blogs, or use them to quickly engage with your audience. The vlogger will continue to be a go to place for younger people but be careful as you still need to stand out from the crowd!
So what should you do in light of these trends?
- Firstly, stay true to who you are and what you are about – readers will see through anything less.
- Continue to adapt in this fast moving environment, remembering that the get rich quick blogger is a thing of the past (without A LOT of hard work that is as of course you can make money from your blog)
- Grow your email list now, to continue to engage with your audience. There are many ways to do this such as creating incentives.
- Consider what digital products you can create to bring in revenue elsewhere.
Are you a blogger? Have you seen any of this over the last year? Do share your thoughts