How Much 'Extra' Do We Need In Blogging?
After a recent #lbloggers chat hosted by the lovely Emma from A Cornish Geek and having seen a lot of blog chat lately about whether blogging is dead I've been thinking about all the extras that comes with it.
Is blogging dead? Is simply having a blog enough anymore? Can we call ourselves bloggers if we only post video or on social media? Has the game changed?
How much extra do we need for blogging these days? Are our audience content with just a blog anymore? I think the short answer to that one is no.
Would you read a blog these days if you couldn't also follow them on Twitter or Instagram? I don't even find blogs anymore organically, everything I read I found from social media.
Social media is the first 'extra' we all bow to. We read blogs, we hear about this 'blogging community' on social media, we sign up to Twitter, we take part in chats, we make friends, we make our own community. And then someone mentions Google analytics. Or scheduling tweets. Or blog promos. And suddenly we're like 'well WE have to do these things too if everyone else is doing it?' Our blogs won't get seen if we don't do these things?
And then we follow the odd blog friend on Instagram. And then we make a special account for our blogs so everyone can find us easily with the same handle. And then someone mentions 'themes' or 'optimal times for posting' and the 30 or zero hashtag debate. And don't even get me started on hashtags in comments or in the caption.
By the time we've blinked we suddenly have a blog Twitter, Instagram. Facebook and Pinterest and we've got the social media side of it down.
And then someone says what Instagram Stories is doing for their engagement. And then you try it out and it's addictive and then you're mini vlogging and showing all the behind the scenes of your life and whadda ya know, another string to your blogging bow.
So where does it move from there? You've started mini vlogging on Instagram? Do you now move to real vlogging? Start a Youtube channel? Every blogger and their dog seems to be making a channel, is video the move we're all making?
Where does it end? Half the social media channels we upload to without a second thought these days weren't around when blogging started it's rise? Yet Youtube and blogging have been a pretty separate cousin up until now? How many of the big Youtube stars do you know who write on their blog more than once a month these days? And with new technology and new social media platforms there's no doubt there'll be the next thing soon and we'll all be on it in our thousands.
And what if you don't take on all the 'extras'? Social media was a no brainer for me, I already ran multiple accounts for my business, a new blogging platform was no big deal. Google analytics and Instagram themes and scheduling tweets were terms I'd never heard of before but are things I've enjoyed learning about and implementing. But my line ends there - I have no interest in YouTube, in Periscope, in creating video content. I was never into Youtube when it first boomed and it just doesn't interest me, I don't watch it so I ain't going to create it.
But am I missing out? Am I limiting myself and my blogs success by not creating my own channel? Should I have one just to own the handle in case I change my mind? Does my blogs progression stop here? Would I even have enough hours in the day to put the work into my blog now if I started creating video content?
I don't have the answer to those questions - I don't think anyone does (except the last one, I definitely wouldn't have enough time). For me, blogging isn't dead. For me, video is an extra I'm not interested in. At best I'll watch a chatty Hannah Gale life update or a proposal vid because I'm nosey. For me I'm all about the blogs, the images, the magazine content, the life dramas, the inside look, the brain dump, the content to make you think. For me, blogging is far from dead, in fact I'm only finding more and more blogs I want to read.
So maybe the answer is that blogging is what you make of it? If you watch vlogs and book reviews and clothing hauls then it would make sense you would create your own. If you only read beauty blogs it makes sense you'd have your own. If you're all about the words and less about the extras then it makes sense you'd write your own.
And my personal opinion is that won't hamper your drive, your readership or your success. Because if YOU feel and think that way - chances are your audience think that too.