Where have all the bloggers gone?
Individual blogs are in decline but blogging remains an important form of social media for reputation and awareness.
You need look no further than the marketing, media and PR community for evidence of the decline in the craft of personal blogging.
There are fewer individual bloggers than ever before and they’re blogging less. It’s an assertion supported by recent analysis from both OrbitMedia and eMarketer. SparkToro’s Rand Fishkin has written an excellent blog post exploring this topic.
The audience has also changed. The traffic to this blog has declined from a peak of 12,000 unique visitors per month in 2015 to around two-thirds that number today. The frequency of my posts has dipped during that time and I typically post more long form content.
The community that once coalesced around backlinks and comments has gone. I can’t remember the last time I saw a blog roll, can you?
Individual bloggers have shifted to platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn where it’s easier to engage with a community at scale.
They’ve discovered new content formats such as audio (iTunes), images (Instagram) and video (YouTube). Podcasts are the current vogue.
They’re curating content and writing newsletters. Long form platforms such as Medium and Patreon provide tools to engage with audiences in new ways.
Blogging remains a worthwhile tactic for building personal and corporate reputation, and for awareness at the top of the marketing funnel.
The link between blog content and SEO is well established. It’s frequently used as an inbound technique. It’s the reason why blogging continues to be used as a form of content marketing in the corporate space.
My own agency Metia uses a blog to share the expertise of practitioners and our work. It’s a common approach in business-to-business and in particular among professional services firms.
But SEO-fuelled blogging is a long term game. Blogging in 2019 needs to be combined with a distribution mechanism such as an email list or social media. RSS readers, once the primary form of blog distribution and consumption, are long gone.
Herein lies the reason that comments and links no longer characterise a blog community. The conversation around a blog doesn’t take place on a blog itself but in social spaces such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
It’s worth continuing to blog as an individual if you’re new to a market and want to get ahead. It’s a fantastic shop window for students and recent graduates as Richard Bailey’s PR student blogging project has shown.
It’s also worthwhile if you want to keep on top of the issues in a market and stay relevant. It’s the reason that I maintain the discipline.