Is blogging still relevant in 2021?
From ‘Online Diaries’ or ‘Personal Pages’, blogs are a firm staple of today’s online landscape. From tips on quilting to financial advice you will find millions of blogs. Literally. That may sound like an exaggeration, but according to Hosting Tribunal over two million blogs go live every day. In the US alone 31 million self-proclaimed bloggers share their expertise on the internet.
So, with blogs on just about any topic (want to read a blog solely mocking book covers?) and likely thousands on just one subject, you have to wonder:
Is blogging worth it for an online business?
The simple answer is yes! In fact, a record high of 77 percent of internet users read blogs, making the medium an ideal platform to convey your message. And with the potential to make money, why wouldn’t you at least give it a try?
But do bloggers still make money as they used to in the early 2000’s?
The answer to this one isn’t as straightforward. The more desirable answer is, yes, some bloggers do make a decent living from blogging. But the reality is that less than ten percent of bloggers actually make money blogging and even less make enough to quit their day jobs.
But don’t let that statistic discourage you my friend. With dedication, time and tons of effort, it is possible to have a successful blog. Because there are many ways to monetize your blog, use it to drive traffic to your website, even turn it into a business. Sell a product or provide a service? Start a blog. Want to promote a brand you love and get paid for it? Start a blog. Have a website you want to drive traffic to? Start a blog!
The fact of the matter is that blogging alone probably won’t make you a millionaire but starting a blog will undoubtedly promote your digital marketing presence and contribute to your bottom line. In other words, if you have any sort of business, you need a blog.
So why do people blog?
The first blog is said to have been published in 1994 and the purpose has remained the same for over two decades – to publish writing. Since then, the blogging atmosphere has evolved from simply expressing authors’ inner thoughts to promoting products and services, building a community, branding businesses, and for the lucky few, building empires.
Some people blog as a hobby. These bloggers genuinely enjoy writing and want to document their thoughts either as a personal journal or for like-minded readers to enjoy.
But are personal blogs still relevant? Well, who’s to say they aren’t? They connect readers and ideas with a sense of community and hence personal blogs can generate a following, which may serve you later should you decide to monetize.
Some bloggers treat their blog as a business. They use the medium to make money through traffic via ads and affiliate links. These blogs promote other brands, and the blogger gets paid per click and purchase of the product. This type of blogging can be a decent side gig or can be a lucrative way to earn a nice living.
Blogging can also be used to promote a business. In this scenario, the blogger drives traffic from his blog to her or his website where a service or product is for sale. These blogs help to promote the blogger’s business by attracting an audience to their website, and which then becomes potential customers.
Blogging, Podcasts and YouTube- oh my!
Blogging has been around now for about a quarter of a century, and with over 600 million blogs on the internet, surely there must be other channels to express your expertise and appeal to your audience without so much competition. But what to do instead of blogging?
Digital marketing is booming and these days access to visual and audio content is as easy as picking up your smartphone. So naturally, people with a business to promote are leaning towards podcasting and YouTube videos as an alternative to blogging.
But which of these mediums is more lucrative and are they comparable replacements to blogging?
Radio shows began decades ago, but the first Podcast was produced in 2004 and one year later iTunes added a podcast section. Podcasts are super popular and with over two million podcasts to listen to, there are 16 million avid listeners per month, according to Nielsen, and that’s accounting just for the US.
One of the major benefits of podcasting is that your audience can listen anytime, anywhere. They can listen in their car, on the bus, cleaning their house or working out. Podcasts and listening to your voice also feel personal to listeners. When a listener downloads your episode each week, they begin to connect with you, build trust and continue coming back for more information.
Podcasting can also be inexpensive. You don’t need much or the most expensive equipment right away. If you have a good story to tell and stay consistent, you can easily create a successful podcast. However, since podcasts are audible, it’s not as easy to make it searchable on Google. So actively promoting your podcast helps if you already have a social media presence or an established following.
However, you need to be absolutely clear on the fact that podcasting is a long-term marketing strategy. People want to come back each week and will devote hours listening, so you must be ready with plenty of quality content that usually takes days to record and edit. There is also the risk that your audience will get easily distracted and tune out, especially if your story doesn’t keep their attention. So be mindful of that.
The first YouTube clip was made in 2005 and by 2006 the platform was serving upwards of 100 million videos a day, and it hasn’t slowed down since. Today there are 37 million YouTube channels and is the second most popular social media platform with over two million users. Here is mine: youtube.com/bychristinehansen
The great thing about YouTube is that you can use its algorithms to make your website more searchable on Google. YouTube marketing boosts Google searches which will inevitably send more traffic to your site. Another positive of YouTube is that you can convey your message in a quick clip which serves well for fast-paced, content-hungry people with little time or attention span.
YouTube also makes it easier for the viewer to click on your website. As they have to watch your video via phone or computer, they will have access to clicking a call-to-action button or navigating directly to your website. But on the flipside, viewers must have the availability to sit and watch a video, and your message must be quick and to the point to consider the busy lives of your audience.
Another downside to YouTube can be the production process if you want it to look and feel professional.
So, is blogging dead?
On the contrary! Blogging should be part of your content flow, and not be replaced by new technology. These three mediums should work together as part of your social media and digital marketing presence. They go hand-in-hand organically endorsing the other and inexorably garnering an increase in traffic to your ultimate goal – brand awareness. And the best part of having multiple platforms is that you can repurpose any of them to fit the criteria for the other, generating more leads from your audience who may prefer one platform over the other.
Keep in mind also that you will always own the content of your blog, as it is hosted on your website whereas your YouTube channel, social media, and podcasting could be taken away, along with all your content. Maintaining a blog and building your email list through that medium will ensure that you always have access to your audience.
All of the benefits of blogging
Consistent blogging will help make your site searchable on Google (and Google really likes consistency) leading to organic traffic. Someone searching for information that you provide in your blog may stumble upon your blog from a Google link attracting new followers and potential customers you may never have reached otherwise for free! From your blog, you can use a call-to-action link offering up a freebie which leads the reader to leave their info for your email list. So the goal here is that this new person will find your blog informative and interesting enough to check out your social media (podcast and/or YouTube channel) and the rest of your website. You now have a new potential customer who is familiar with your business.
Posting long-form, high-quality, valuable blogs consistently will prove that you are a leading authority in your field. When readers search you out for information it’s because they see you as an expert and begin to trust your information and opinions. Address common questions in your blogs and people will begin to reference your blog intuitively. This is how blogging builds trust with your readers, so whether you are promoting a brand or selling your own product or service, your audience will be more inclined to purchase from you because you have gained their confidence. Like any relationship, trust is a key component for success, and when your audience trusts you, they are more open to doing business with you.
Enhance your content strategy
The content you publish, provided that it is well written and informative will inherently nurture relationships with your audience, peers, and any potential business partners. Blogging is a great way to enhance your content strategy, offering up news and promotions and information that your audience craves. Your blog will be seen as the go-to when looking for certain solutions. When you create email funnels or post promotions and discounts your audience and prospective customers will already have knowledge of your business making it more likely they will purchase from you. Others in your industry will look to you for current news and updated content potentially sharing and linking back to your blog. Potential business partners will see you as a leading expert in your field and be more inclined to work with you.
Writing a blog will increase your chances of reaching a new audience when a reader shares your information and links back to your blog or website. You can also plug your blog in your own social media and ask others to promote it on their social media or appear as a guest on podcasts. Contributing to a guest blog and collaborating with others in your field or a field that compliments yours is also a great opportunity to share your blog website. Share articles within your blog that help promote your website or share news about products you endorse. All these plugs lead back to your ultimate goal of promoting your brand and gaining and maintaining customers.
Having a call-to-action in your blog will entice readers to click and submit their information which will grow your lead list. A call-to-action should promise a freebie like an eBook, whitepapers or templates. The beauty of growing your email list this way is that it works as a sort of “set-it-and-forget-it.” Readers can stumble upon past posts and by responding to your very appealing CTA, you have just secured another lead, all while doing nothing (except of course writing your next amazing post). Think about it: if each post you write is another way to generate leads, then all your old posts, called compounding posts, will continue doing so even while you sleep!
Supports your media pitches
One of the goals of blogging is to reach new people to invite into your digital home so that you can connect with them. Reaching out to fellow bloggers is a great way to touch a new audience. Having a blog presence makes it easier for other bloggers to see you as a true expert and endorse you to their audience.
Repurpose blog content
You can use your blog posts to beef up your social media presence. You can tease the blog post on social media directing visitors to your site. Give your followers a snippet of the blog content, then promise new information on a product or offer up exciting new updates if your audience visits your blog. If you have a podcast or YouTube channel, you can rewrite your blog to fit these mediums. On each platform be sure to have an alluring call-to-action directing them to sign up for a freebie on your blog site so that you can generate new leads.
See how all actions lead back to blogging?
So, is blogging worth it? I’d say so.
Cons of starting a blog
There are a few downsides to blogging, but like with any job, these come with the territory. Let’s not look at these downsides as negatives, rather just what needs to be done to have a successful blog that in turn contributes to a successful business.
Blogging quality content is time-consuming, especially for long-form content. Each blog needs to address common questions offering valuable solutions and information that your audience seeks. You may need to do a little research to find relevant topics and learn the needs of your audience. Your content should express fresh ideas while at the same time coming across as relatable and compelling. Blogging is an art form and takes practice.
Publishing one blog isn’t going to boost your digital presence or gain you any followers. In fact, your audience needs to encounter your brand at least seven times before they even consider taking action. This isn’t to say you need to write seven blogs right away either. After you write a compelling, relevant and relatable post, you must spend time promoting it. There are numerous ways you can promote your blog and we will delve into those a little later.
SEO (search engine optimization) is a major factor in creating a successful blog. If you want to rank high in Google searches you need to know how to do the SEO research or hire a professional. SEO can be intimidating, but to understand the basics and how to find keywords is paramount for organic growth. SEO is certainly not the be all, end all. It is helpful but could also change on a dime. So, spend time learning about SEO, but know too, that there are other ways to gain traction.
If you’ve been taking notes, you’ve come to realize that yes, blogging is worth it! It is one of the most crucial ways to promote your business and reach customers. Here are a few tips on how to make your blog successful.
Consistency is two-fold. You must write consistently for your blog to gain any traction and you must remain consistent in your voice and style. Consistency in both aspects sets the tone for whether readers will gain your trust and see you as relevant and professional. If you are not committed to banging out at least three to four blogs a month, your audience will forget about you. If you are not consistent in your voice (and this goes for all platforms), your audience will be confused and find you unrelatable. Consistency is key. Consistency will garner you more potential leads and represent your business as professional and trustworthy.
Quality over quantity
With that being said, don’t just turn out crappy content week after week just to have blog posts. Consistency applies here too as your posts need to be consistently full of quality and valuable substance. Your content should answer common questions, be well written free of grammatical errors, relevant and relatable. Your posts must stand the test of time. After all, years down the road, a new reader could stumble across your very first post, and you want this reader to still resonate with it and become a potential lead.
Seems counterproductive to create an amazing blog post (that will surely be shared by every reader) just to have some random, cheesy stock photo from the internet. Choose your photos wisely. Choose photos that represent your brand and personality.
Promote your blog
Derek Halpern from Social Triggers proposes the 80/20 rule: spend 20% of your time writing your blog and 80% promoting it. The ways to promote your blog seem endless, but here are some tried and true ways:
- Email- Send an email blast to your list promoting your new blog post.
- Social media- This is a no-brainer. Make a post about your new blog post. Announce it on your podcast or YouTube channel. Ask fellow blogger friends to make a shoutout.
- Network- Find networking sites to connect with other bloggers in your field. Follow and comment on their blog posts. Build a relationship with them and they will return the favor. Their followers will start to notice you and visit your site.
- Consider using ads- Promote important blog posts through Facebook or Google ads.
- Long-form is better- Lengthier posts will get better results through Google searches. Consider writing most of your blogs from 1500-3000 words so they will get noticed on Google.
The Takeaway- Is blogging worth it?
Blogging has major benefits for any business as long as it is done right. Blogs can help promote your product or service, attract a new audience and showcase your expertise. Blogging is very much alive and should not only be added to your digital marketing mix but exist as the leading focus. There are many avenues to boost your brand awareness and blogging should be at the forefront. With so many readers seeking content and information daily, you need to be a part of the blogging sphere.
So what are you waiting for? A new audience awaits you!