Anyone witnessing the meteoric rise of Facebook to 1.3B active monthly users might be forgiven for thinking blogging is dead.
Copyblogger’s Founder and CEO, Brian Clark, made these observations:
One trend that bloggers don’t want to talk about? A number of my blogging friends have seen their traffic go down lately. They assume that their readers are off in social networks. I think they are absolutely right.
In truth, the real opportunities for building authority and buzz through social media have only just begun. You simply have to look and see where things are going instead of where they’ve been.
There is a plethora of online content concluding that blogging really is dead. Gone the way of the Dodo.
But nothing is ever that simple. The end of blogging is far from an ‘open and shut’ case. The story is more complex, more nuanced.
To my mind, there are three types of bloggers:
- Casual bloggers
- Serious amateurs
- Professional and business bloggers
When we hear “blogging is dead”, it most likely refers to the casual bloggers. They are a dying breed. Countless blogs across the web are mere shells of their former glory—hosting stale content from months, or even years ago. These are the remnants of the disillusioned masses who jumped on the blogging bandwagon to the rallying cry, “we’re all publishers now”. But many underestimated how much work was required to keep a blog fresh, engaging and current. Brian Clark sums it up nicely:
what someone had for lunch is of no interest to me (unless they’ve invited me to join them).
Those casual bloggers who saw blogging as a “get rich quick” scheme while sitting around in pajamas, or hanging out in cafes, are probably among the biggest casualties.
The Internet destroyed most of the barriers to publication. The cost of being a publisher dropped to almost zero with two interesting immediate results: anybody can publish, and more importantly, you can publish whatever you want.
—Dick Costolo, Twitter CEO.
Alright, what about the “serious amateurs”? How have they fared in the blogging shakeout? Some or perhaps many have moved to new platforms like Medium and Svbtle in an effort to differentiate themselves from the crowd and join a more receptive audience. These sites are gorgeous, responsive platforms, with a community of engaged bloggers who have something interesting to say. This is how Medium describes its platform:
Medium is a new place on the Internet where people share ideas and stories that are longer than 140 characters and not just for friends. It’s designed for little stories that make your day better and manifestos that change the world. It’s used by everyone from professional journalists to amateur cooks. It’s simple, beautiful, collaborative, and it helps you find the right audience for whatever you have to say.
Serious amateurs understand that they need to stand out from the crowd and take a different approach to blogging.
If you love writing or making music or blogging or any sort of performing art, then do it. Do it with everything you’ve got. Just don’t plan on using it as a shortcut to making a living.
And what has become of professional and business bloggers?
Out of the ashes …
This is where the story of blogging’s demise ends. Business blogging is alive and well and is undergoing somewhat of a renaissance.
According to marketing automation provider Hubspot’s 2014 State of Inbound Report, blogging is the #1 activity in business today, which means that firms prioritizing on blog content as a means of communicating with their audience, are 13x more likely to achieve positive ROI.
So if you’re blogging for a business, it’s time to get busy—but remember, quality is key. All of the factors driving serious amateurs to produce higher quality, relevant content for their readership are even more important for business.
Hubspot has some advice for business bloggers in an excellent article outlining the many benefits. Here are the top four:
- It helps drive traffic to your website.
- It helps convert that traffic into leads.
- It helps establish authority.
- It drives long-term results.
For business, the outlook for blogging never looked rosier.