Blogging is (definitely not) DEAD.
I’ve been reading a lot of tweets, blog posts and articles about the “state of blogging” lately. In fact, I recently posted my own commentary about the changing landscape and how adding sponsorship dollars to the mix has changed the way many people write on their blogs or share content in general. I’m not at all against review or sponsored blogging; quite the opposite, in fact. When done well, review blogs can be the best place to get honest feedback about products or services you may be contemplating (or hey, you may not know about at all, and therefore must hear about, ha!). They give us glimpses into the lives of wonderful families like ours: the ones saving a bit of money here and there, ones bringing in that extra bit of fun money for the family, ones with great DIY sense, ones struggling with insane toddlers and unruly teens… And their words and reviews do matter, they do influence our purchases. Some of my absolutely favourite bloggers are financially connected to brands they truly love, and regardless of whether they are paid or not, it is obvious through their posts that they admire the brands with whom they work. (And Robin is NOT remunerated for her posts. She talks about companies she just really likes, period.) These are the kinds of connections I love reading about. They’re honest, well-written, truthful, worthy of reading. And I find that the review blogs I love most are not simply about reviews. They combine savvy writing, humour, and honesty that makes the blogging world such a fun place.
There are, of course, review blogs that I feel are a complete waste of space, ad money and time, and I think that those are the ones people refer to when they mention the decline of blogging. The incessant hollow tweeting, promoting, auto-updating about poorly-written non-reviews. The dishonest connections, the self-promotion. It’s as sickening online as it would be to have that relentless coworker in your face in the kitchen daily bragging. (Don’t pretend like you’ve never had one of those.) If you’re willing to sell off your blogging space and followers for some cheap freebies, it says more about you than I think you realize. And take note, again: I am absolutely NOT referring to those bloggers who obviously put their hearts and souls into creating fun blog posts, giveaways or connections with brands. But becoming a freaking drone about it is ruining the game for everyone. Here’s how to blog to increase traffic! Here’s what you need to write about to be popular! Lure readers with juicy subjects then bore them to tears with crummy content! Follow the dollar signs! And this is why people are muttering about the demise of blogging. Maybe that kind of blogging would be better off dead anyhow.
But even though there is so much noise, too many people yelling, so many people feeling lost in the cyber-crowds, blogging isn’t going anywhere. More than ever, we find our people online and connect with people just like us all around the world. Blogging conferences bring us together to learn, debate, evolve and share. We sometimes try to separate the world of blogging from the greater world around us, but how is that realistic when we are the same people occupying both worlds? Blogging has given us an outlet to write, to chat, to make money, to test the waters, to reach out, to speak.
You can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but you can learn how to make the best kinds of wishes. So here’s my advice: write for you. Truly. Write for you and the rest will come. Don’t lament about your traffic. Don’t sell out for a free lunch. Write what you’d enjoy reading. Be the voice you love, and your people will find it. We all gravitate to the voices we love in our offline lives, and this space is no different. It’s not dead, but it’s sure evolving and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this all leads in the next 5-10 years.