It’s 2018. You want to have a blog. Your neighbour has a blog. Your local coffee shop has a blog. In fact, just about everyone has a blog. It’s the rise of bloggers and influencers, changing the way we interact with social media. There’s a whole new language of SEO, people learning to code and demanding to know your niche. So, what’s the hype? If everyone else has a blog, why should you blog too?
Anyone can do it
The opportunity for everyone to start their own blog can sometimes feel like the community is oversaturated. The accessibility of these sites and offer of free packages means the idea of blogging can feel overdone. But every blog online is the opportunity for expressing individuality whilst finding a like-minded following and making new friends.
Just because lots of different types of people have a blog it doesn’t mean your voice is any less relevant. Unique content will more often than not come from the heart – so trust yourself. It’s not all posing against pretty walls and leaving a cafe with 182920 photos but sometimes it is, and that’s fine. You also don’t need to follow everyone else’s plans for success but if you’re looking for advice, there’s a ton out there.
Get Rich Quick?
The concept of being paid to do what you love is enticing and often romanticised. People who make it work as professional bloggers and influencers didn’t grow their following overnight. In fact, more and more, platforms like Twitter and Instagram are discovering and deleting the bot accounts people buy to instantly up their numbers. This isn’t the get rich quick scheme you’re dreaming of, but finding your audience is fulfilling and fun. Done the right way, any blog could potentially become a profitable business.
Recently, a blogger received death threats over a photo she posted – because people felt it was unrealistic and staged. The difference is people often think an advert on TV or a billboard is allowed to be staged, and take great offence to a blogger… who is being paid to create content and promote products. Perhaps the accessibility of the platforms mean people en masse feel entitled to criticise and comment – because, in their minds, they could just as easily pose for a picture and post it online. It’s the hard graft behind the scenes, the hours of after-work research, editing and networking, that makes a blog profitable. Carrying the title of Influencer or Blogger shouldn’t affect someone’s respect as a self-employed entrepreneur.
I’ve mentioned before that writing a blog is a healthy hobby to bring up in job interviews. It’s a hobby that helps you to connect to people, build a positive online profile and potentially earn you money. As I’m a passionate writer, it gives me practice in writing and refining my tone of voice. I often find I’m more critical of my work’s readability, not only from an SEO point of view, but because I want it to be easily understandable.
When I first began this blog, I posted about life as an Erasmus student in Paris. I was almost embarrassed to use the term ‘blog’ because I couldn’t see how my trivial posts compared to those of full-time or professional influencers. Having found more of the blogging community on Twitter, it’s increasingly clear that people can write about anything. People write about books they loved, a favourite cafe to visit, the misadventures of naughty pets, the joys and challenges of parenting. Imagine a bizarre niche and someone, somewhere, has probably written a blog about it. That’s the beauty of this hobby – the potential to grow.
There was a time when parents would have warned us against making friends online. Don’t talk to strangers on the Internet was a mantra repeated in countless households, and yet, here in The Year of the Blog, making online friends is a pathway to progress. Finding a community can help establish an audience, develop your niche or even learn tips from other bloggers who’ve made mistakes along the way.
The reality is that not only are individuals learning to love the freedom of a blog, we’re now in a society where businesses and campaigns are seeing the value of the written word. Beyond snappy marketing phrases and enticing copy, organisations of all shapes and sizes are discovering how having longer copy – the ability to tackle an issue, draw proper attention to a product, to explain a process in-depth – is having a positive effect on their connection to consumers. Whether you love or shun social media (the latter is unlikely, if you’re reading this), society now connects in every way – I can’t take a photo of my brunch without posting it to Instagram and tagging the cafe in it. Blogging about that brunch is just the next step.
It seems, although we can’t be certain, one thing is here to stay – the empowerment people feel from expressing themselves online. Whether you love photography or writing, the ability to build your own brand or the networking that comes with having a blog, blogging isn’t something to mumble anymore. My parents couldn’t be prouder that I write online – and the validation I feel in real life is genuinely heart-warming. I recently had a friend reach out to say how much a post connected with them and I thought, that’s why I love blogging. It’s a whole new conversation, where authenticity is one key ingredient to success.
The Year of the Blog – potentially. I’m sure that I’ll keep this on, erratically posting, for the foreseeable future. Not everyone needs a blog – but it never hurts to try.