When blogs first came into being, there was no such thing as social media. There were few other options that allowed the non-technical internet user to share content online.
The advent of social media allowed anyone to publish their “stream of consciousness” to their fans and followers. Now people prefer to publish content where their contacts and followers will see it.
Blogs Vs Social Media
“Blogging is a conversation, and conversations don’t go viral. Social media encourages content that can travel all on its own,” writes Ezra Klein. Most conversation and comments now seem to have moved to Twitter and Facebook.
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“Links from other bloggers — the original currency of the blogosphere, and the one that drove its collaborative, conversational nature — just don’t deliver the numbers that Facebook does,” notes Klein.
What this means is that bloggers need to embrace social media marketing and make it part of their community outreach and branding efforts. You cannot grow a successful blog without cultivating a community of readers on social media.
Blogging Is Now For Serious Writers
Blogging is still the best way to publish long-form content online and, as Onur Kabadayi notes in the Guardian, “Blogs haven’t disappeared – they have simply morphed into a mature part of the publishing ecosystem.”
Most casual bloggers have now migrated to publishing their thoughts on social media, while committed and skilled writers continue to use their blogs to share their content.
People who were only using blogging as a way to communicate with their audience can now do it more easily via social media, while those who love to write and create long-form content, will continue to blog.
Far from killing the blog dream, this has increased the quality of the blogosphere as a whole, says Kabadayi.
Combining Owned And Rented Media
Nor is the blog the only option for people who want to write and publish long-form content. As Jason Kottke notes, the function of the blog is increasingly being handled by a growing number of disparate media forms that are blog-like, but also decidedly not blogs.
With long-form publishing taking off on LinkedIn Pulse, Medium, Facebook Notes and, possibly, Twitter – each with its own captive community – there are more options for content publishing and distribution than ever before.
Thanks to distributed content, it’s becoming easier for bloggers to publish on “rented land” than to go through the effort and expense of dragging people to their own blog.
Publishing on hosted blog platforms like LinkedIn, also allows you to build a large and engaged community of readers much faster than doing it on your own blog. You need to go where your audience is and publish your content in the place where they are consuming it.
A happy mix of publishing on owned and rented media, optimized for the kind of content you create and the audience you’re trying to reach, is probably the best way to go.
In a recent episode of Whiteboard Friday, Rand Fishkin recommended using content distribution, on LinkedIn and Medium, as a channel for repurposed content or guest posts, and for content earlier up in the sales funnel, rather than for content that ranks for your “money” keywords.
Blogs Are Still An Influential Medium
With ad blindness and ad blockers becoming more common, influential bloggers are also being tapped by advertisers who see them as a crucial part of their influencer outreach program.
According to Kabadayi, the essence of the blog is a “highly trafficked, commercially appealing platform whose best years are ahead of it.”
Blogging is not dead. It’s just different from what it used to be. As long as there are readers, there will be bloggers.
However, the fact that many younger people prefer social media networks to share their thoughts and status updates, means blogging is now for 40-somethings with kids, says Kottke.
Publish Long-Form Content Less Often
With long-form content of over 2000 words outranking shorter content on Google, the long-form format is here to stay.
You might also want to consider publishing less often. The smartest brands will publish less in 2016, putting more emphasis on larger editorial projects, notes Senior Editor, Jordan Teicher.
One of the most successful bloggers, Brian Dean, built a highly successful blog with only 31 long-form posts.
So What’s Changed About Blogging?
What is changing about blogs is the terminology around blogging and publishing. Today most people do not call long-form content a “blog post”. The preferred terminology is “article”, especially if it’s published on a large news site or publication.
The word “blog” was used to refer to a form of publishing content in a reverse chronological order. Today, most large news sites like The Huffington Post, that started out as blogs, feature multiple authors and no longer use the blog format.
They publish multiple posts simultaneously and in a magazine format. The bigger the site gets, and the bigger the business gets, the harder it is to retain the original voice, notes Klein.
For a blog to succeed today, it must have a plan of action, advises Neal Samudre. Learn how to leverage the changing terrain and your blog will have a chance of success.