Since I started my blog Faded Spring in 2015, there has been a rise and fall in social media channels and an increased number of blogging channels being ‘set up’ creating a saturated blogging market. With over 152 million ‘recorded’ blogs in the bloggersphere, bloggers are finding it harder to set themselves apart from their competitors, which has led to an increase of blogs turned into magazines, a shift towards ‘vlog-led content’ and even using ‘Instagram’ as a ‘primary blog channel’. While remarkable changes in blog formating, auditory content and ‘transformative marketing strategies’ has allowed new bloggers to find new ways to ‘create inspiring content’ for a mass audience, the future of blogging still remains as inconclusive as it did five years ago. The truth is with the increased augmentation of ‘digital technologies’ it can be hard to predict what the future holds for bloggers but by analyzing patterns in audience consumption emerging ‘digital trends’ can be found.
The future of blogging is therefore a contentious topic to discuss but nevertheless an ‘important one’ at that. As bloggers it is imperative that we ensure our content remains ‘valid’ and ‘current’, whether it be ‘evergreen’ or personal and it is important that we establish how the future of blogging may pan out in order to remain ‘relevant’. Part of remaining relevant is through diversifying our income, so that we are not putting all our eggs in one basket. Instead of focusing on just blogging as a ‘side hustle’, we should work out how we can stay ahead of the game. You might create your own influencer marketing agency, lease out co-working spaces, or even start your own clothing line. Ippei has a great future business idea list, that can help you stay relevant as a Blogger.
Instagram Will Become A Primary ‘Blog Channel’
Already in 2017, I have seen fellow bloggers focus on targeting their ‘Instagram’ as a primary ‘blog channel’, because its mix of ‘visual’ and brief ‘read-write content’ has meant that it is a smart platform to monetize content. Critics have determined that we are moving away from long-term content i.e Blogs in favour of ‘temporary visuals’ as seen on Instagram because although it does not drive substantial traffic, it is a cohesive tool to make a substantial income. Of course the concept of following in ratio to sponsorship is one that I question, since many people can buy their following but it makes sense that we are using Instagram to purchase-whether that be through affiliate links or sponsorship ads- because our ‘favourite bloggers’ are promoting products on there. Some might argue that Instagram makes ‘product purchasing’ more readily available than blogs, which I disagree with but nevertheless I have seen many bloggers shift their focus away from their blogs to make an ‘Instagram Blog’.
Take Sarah Ashcroft; Having started ‘The Pommie Girl’ in September 2013, Ashcroft re-configured her approach to marketing and decided to focus on amassing a following on Instagram instead, because -and I quote- ‘we live in a lazy culture’ where people cannot be bothered to click on ‘blog links’. Naturally as someone who is a blogger, I have an issue with that statement-although it is not as bad as the article which makes it sound as though bloggers just get free clothes, setting a bad example to the young boys and girls who want to start a blog- but I do believe that more bloggers will follow in her footsteps and monetize their Instagram rather than blog content.
There Will Be A Focus On Vlog Led Content
Youtube has become a global phenomenon since it was founded in 2005 and has made household names like SMOSH, Jefree Star and more a sizeable annual income. While Youtubers initially started as ‘channels’, there has been an increase in ‘daily vlogs’ and vlogging diaries that has made Youtube an attractive source for bloggers, new and old. Many bloggers, like the ‘reformative blogger-to Instagram’ switch, have streamlined their blog content and embedded Youtube videos in their posts, while others have jumped ship entirely and set up Youtube channels which they have found have offered them more lucrative opportunities than their blogs did. Take Youtuber Imogenation, a fashion and beauty blogger who also shares endearing life stories. After re-branding as ‘Imogenation’ (previously Fashion Imogenation) , she amassed 65 K followers on her Youtube and 45 K on her Instagram channel, after re-focusing on ‘vlogs’ and ‘Instagram photos’ as her primary audience led content.
While I admire Youtubers for their ability to film, edit and record visual content, I still believe that blogs will remain just as relevant even in 10 years time. I predict that the Youtube ‘vlogging market’ will become as saturated as blogging is now, meaning that it will become even more difficult to gain an authentic and committed following than it is now. With the expansion of digital technologies, critics have determined that although text-led content still remains an important pillar of information, auditory and visual content appeals to a mass audience because we live in a ‘visual culture’. This is largely due to our lifestyle choices, where we work long hours and crave escapism from the real world. That being said as a certified ‘read-write’ learner I believe that people will still turn to blogs as they are a recognized source of ‘memorabillia’, ‘information’ and ‘permenance’. In other words blogs have the benefit of being ‘content rich’ which will make individual pages and posts rank well on Google, meaning blogs make it easier to obtain information and opinions as opposed to blogs.
There Will Be An Increase In Workshops and Courses To Help Bloggers
When I first started blogging in 2015, I had to learn how to change my writing style, edit photos and content, co-ordinate locations, identify a niche and learn about SEO strategies, all without attending a workshop. At the beginning of my blogging journey, resources seemed to be limited and workshops rare, especially in the UK. However now there is an increased number of Facebook groups that are dedicated to ‘digital workshops’ that help bloggers such as Boost Your Blog, as well as actual ‘paid workshops’ like Traverse that help you improve on your ‘blogging know how’. The expansion of workshops created will be split into two categories ‘paid’ (Locational) vs ‘unpaid’ (Digital/Remote), with different benefits for each. Locational workshops and courses are usually ‘free’ although some bloggers may offer paid courses, and have the benefits of being completed at home whereas paid conferences, workshops and courses often have the chance to interact with other bloggers creating greater networking opportunities.
Bloggers Will Be Paid More For Sponsorships Regardless Of Location
From data I have analyzed by talking to other bloggers, I have determined that there is a clear divide between what bloggers are paid in the US and the rest of the world. While the conversion rate does make their income seem higher, it is also true that US bloggers are often paid more than their international counterparts which could be in part due to ‘blogging’ being a more recognized occupation. In other words blogging is still relatively new in some countries and in the UK, though there are many sponsorship schemes many of them are not well paid and you often have to write a lot of posts to generate any sort of income. In the next 10 years however I can see that the rate of pay will level among the entire blogging community and while much of it will still be based on your DA and following, rates will increase creating a ‘higher’ blogging wage average.
For example although I have a DA of 38, have a high source of traffic and an even higher source of engagement, the average I am paid is £75, although according to my statistics I should be charging £140 + per sponsored post. This is however an increase in sponsorship, as last year I was getting an average of £50 per post so already I can see an increase in blogging wage.
Organic Reach Will Decrease But Social Reach Will Increase
A struggle among the blogging community is gaining organic reach due to a heavily saturated blogging market but fear not because social reach is just as important. Pinterest, Stumbleupon and Twitter are excellent drivers of traffic and I predict that more people will utilze those three platforms to drive traffic directly to their blogs. While some may gain good ‘organic reach’ through word of mouth or excellent SEO ranking, many people use social media to find inspiration and read articles, meaning that the importance of social reach will become increasingly prevelant. Nevertheless it is still important to find ways to generate good SEO rich content to increase organic reach but focusing on cross-promoting your pages on different social channels will be just as effective.
Page views and potential reach will matter less; engagement will matter more.
I know that from a personal point of view, following is not everything and in fact micro-influencers are more likely to have a deeper connection to their audience than celebrities. This is because micro-influencers have ‘excellent engagement’ and as I stated in How To Get More Followers On Instagram, following or views is not everything. After all you could have 100 K followers on Instagram or 40,000 views on your blog but only a small percentage is engaging with your content, meaning less income for you or the brands you are working with. Having good engagement is so important and I predict that brands will focus on your engagement ratio more than following in years to come. I definitely believe that it is a ‘fairer’ way to attract sponsorships, although kudos to bloggers who have an amazing following because they have clearly worked extremely hard to obtain that level of following.
More Bloggers Will Create Product Lines, E-Courses and Blogging Services
As bloggers we have an extensive skill set, that can encompass far more than what we are paid for. Naturally the increase of bloggers creating their own fashion lines, offering VA services like social media promotion or offering paid courses is already prevelant but I fortell that more people will turn blogs into a business, instead of a side hustle. For me personally I would like to be blogging full time by the end of the year thus it would make sense for me to create a course or offer services, although I have not given it much thought just yet. My point being is that there are so many different marketing strategies that bloggers are employing to become successful and this will only diversify over time.
What Do You Think The Future Holds For Blogging?
I’ve written this as part of Innovation Company’s study on what bloggers see as the future of blogging.
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