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The Changing Face of Blogging

The Changing Face of Blogging

I don’t usually write about blogging, but something that’s been happening for a while now has sparked something in me that needed to be written down (or typed up… you know what I mean!). What I’m talking about is this change in the way the blogging world works.

Whether it’s an organic growth in our remit as bloggers, or a more top-down drive to do more and be more, is hard to tell. All I know is that two and a half years ago, when I started this blog, the face of blogging was quite different.

Publish it and see…

When I started writing I just put my content out there on the www and hoped that people would read it. I started a Twitter account and Facebook page and shared my posts when they were published and sure, I got a few hits. Two and a half years down the line my blog has grown organically, but I haven’t seen the substantial growth that some seem to have.

And it leaves me wondering: why is that? Is my writing not good enough? Do I not make my posts interesting enough? Do I engage enough? Or am I not pretty enough? Skinny enough? Yes… these completely unrelated thoughts actually enter my head.

Is just writing enough?

These days, to be a successful blogger you have to be more than just a person who puts hands to keyboard and types. Now you have to be a graphic designer, a photographer, a marketing expert, an SEO guru, a social media whizz, brand ambassador, events manager, web developer, accountant, oh and probably a model too.

You also have to learn the ropes of the next new social media medium and learn how to “optimise” your images for yet another variation of perfect pixel combinations. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google +, Chitternut, Pinterest, Snapchat, Doodleville, Vimeo, Vine, Foursquare… how has one part-time blogger possibly got time to learn them all*?

*I may have made some of those up.

As brands realise more and more the power and potential reach of bloggers, the competition gets tough and the need for tens of thousands of followers becomes clear. But without those marketing and social media skills are you likely to get that level of reach? And with “Domain Authority” the latest buzz word in the blogger-brand relationship, is being a bit of a noob in Search Engine Optimisation going to hold you back from a 30+ DA?

What makes a blogger popular?

Just what makes a blogger “popular” is a formula yet to be confirmed. Yes, it’s already been picked up by some of my fellow bloggers that having model looks and a photographer friend/boyfriend certainly helps. As does having a six pack to flaunt. Sure, a job in PR is another good kick up the ladder, or working for a particular brand in the industry you blog about. And what about teaming-up? Quite a few blogs have several contributors… many hands make light work.

It’s also a self-fuelling fire – the more followers you have, the more opportunities you get, the more followers you get, and so on. Some of these opportunities may be events. Something which I know a few bloggers and brands have seen negativity from, and perhaps rightly so for two reasons: one, people don’t like to feel as though they’re missing out. And two, people don’t like being sold to. Unfortunately the most recent brand to be caught up in the negativity of a blogger event was Sweaty Betty, who in my opinion do actually do loads of things for their customers and not just bloggers – for example their Get Fit 4 Free campaign. Anyway, I digress.

All of these things certainly help build an audience, but by no means make it easy. So just what is the most important element? Is it social media prowess? Is it the networking skills of an “it” girl?

You need to keep growing to survive…

All I know is it’s hard to build, and easy to let fall to the ground. Blogging is an ever-evolving world. No longer just a case of having an outlet in your little corner of the web, we spend most of our time constructing the perfect tweet-able block quotes, fashioning pin-able images, photographing our lives in the shape of a square, finding the perfect angle by which to shoot that new pair of trainers, or contorting to get the perfect birds-eye-view of our, now cold, meal.

But what if I don’t want to be a jack of all trades? (I’m not, of course, insinuating that I’m a master of any!) Is being just a writer destined to leave me with a fraction of the following that someone who’s been blogging just a few months has gleaned?

I don’t know the answers.

So for now I’ll just continue to plod along with my little blog. Sometimes it takes a step back to look at all of this to realise that, actually, the reason I started blogging in the first place was to have somewhere to share my passions for fitness. If people read it, great. If they take something from it, even better. But if I lose the time to focus on what’s important to me (content) by spend it working on something that just came as part of the blogging “package”, isn’t that defeating the point of why I started this thing in the first place?

Has anyone else noticed a shift in the way that blogging feels? Are you content with just putting your work out there, or do you want more from your blog?

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Georgina Spenceley
Georgina Spenceley

40 Comments

  1. 17th June 2015 / 8:20 pm

    Really interesting post! I’m new to the blogging world, but definitely appreciate that simply writing (which is what I enjoy) is probably less important in terms of gaining followers than the social media stuff. However since I’m only doing it for fun I shall carry on as I am and if I pick up a few new skills along the way great.

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:19 am

      Thanks so much! I think doing it for fun is definitely the best approach if it’s not your job. Best to keep it light-hearted!

  2. 17th June 2015 / 8:35 pm

    This was really interesting! To be honest I can’t decide if blogging feels different to me now because I care more about it now or because it has actually changed in general. I am invested in improving it, more for my own ego and fullfillment than anything else! more than anything, I’d love to keep people engaged. Mostly, Im content with it being out there and at least a small number reading it.

    x

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:21 am

      Thanks Fiona! I definitely agree on wanting to keep people engaged. I’d much prefer low reader stats and a few comments than loads of hits and no comments! For example, I really like that my training diaries seem to be so appreciated, even if they might not get as many hits as some other posts. I love your posts so keep up the good work! x

  3. 17th June 2015 / 9:31 pm

    Great post! I totally agree with you, that it has shifted. Blogging is, in a way, old hat now. Everyone has a blog and is fighting for attention. That’s why I think the ones who have found more success with blogging are ones that have extra marketable skills besides typing a great article.
    For the record, you are a fabulous writer and your blog is oh-so beautiful! You have SO much to offer. Virtual hug!

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:21 am

      Thanks Charissa! I’m so overwhelmed by how many responses I’ve had from this post! Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂

  4. DM
    17th June 2015 / 9:39 pm

    Keep going Georgina, you’ve got a great blog. You’re a more engaging and interesting writer than me (and prettier and skinnier 🙂 It takes time … and a bit of luck. I’m sure you’ll crack it.

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:22 am

      Ha! Thanks so much 🙂 Though I’m sure that’s not true!

  5. 17th June 2015 / 9:39 pm

    I have been blogging for over 10 years. I had a pregnancy and parenting blog before my current one. The blogging world has changed completely and totally. Then blogs looked like fun little diaries, of real, normal, everyday people. Now blogs look professional, like businesses.
    I try not to go along with that current too much (other than caring that my blog doesn’t look totally hideous :). I don’t blog for a living, I blog just because I want to, so I don’t need to have perfectly lighted photos, I don’t need to have perfect make up on, I don’t need to be online 24/7 “growing my social media following”. I love when people comment, of course, and it makes me feel a bit down when some posts go unnoticed but I am very happy with my small following and don’t need the Whole Wide World to high five me all the time or admire my six pack on Instagram. A little friendly “village” is all I need 🙂

    • 18th June 2015 / 10:15 am

      “A little friendly “village” is all I need”- spot on! And I love the little community that has developed around a set of blogs (particularly on twitter) x

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:23 am

      I love this comment! That’s what it’s all about 🙂 Well done you for keeping blogging for over 10 years!!

  6. 17th June 2015 / 10:18 pm

    When I started my blog, I had no idea what blogging was, I just am more of a listener and to me blogging was a great way to share my story without having to repeat it over and over again (my mum is my biggest fan, she says its the best way to keep up to date with what I do!). I’ve not noticed a change as I’ve always seen my blog as something evolutionary but its true what you say about the people behind the big blogs being professionals in marketing / PR etc – they have the contacts already. I don’t think that should deter anyone though – I am more trusting of the down to earth blogs of people that I know, like you!

    My blog for me has worked as a way of branding myself as a fitness professional and putting my skills and knowledge out there to the world. I’d love to work for myself one day (soon) and my blog is a starting block for doing so. Pretty much everyone does have a blog but the difference is between those who stick at it, work at it and are passionate.

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:24 am

      It’s great to hear how blogging has evolved for you and complimented your brand and business ventures! I love your blog and how open you are with everything. And you’re right – sticking with it is the main thing! Thanks Elle 🙂

  7. 17th June 2015 / 11:24 pm

    This really is very good!! I ended up going down the same thought process for a while… and my blog became something I felt obliged to do and started to see as a chore. Then I took a step back- what’s more important to me? It was the enjoyment of writing and sharing, and not the number of likes or events I got invited to. You’re doing it right if you’re enjoying it- that philosophy should be applied to not things in life! Anyway- Such a good post!!

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:26 am

      Thanks Carly! It’s weird isn’t it, going through that “ergh I have to blog” stage and then thinking “no! It’s my blog – I’ll do what I want, when I want to do it!”… it’s liberating!

  8. 18th June 2015 / 3:17 am

    I think you are absolutely right – blogging has changed and will continue. I also think that a big change has come from the million new influencer marketing/media marketing companies that have formed. Because of this, everyone can and wants to make money. I mean, a hobby with supplemental income is fabulous.

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:27 am

      Thanks Jenn! Yes, there are so many media marketing companies now aren’t there. I get so many emails now and it’s hard to pick through the ones that stick with your ethos rather than getting green eyes!

  9. 18th June 2015 / 7:06 am

    Great post. I do often look at the pics of me on my blog and compare them to some people and cry – then I think I’m doing it all wrong – maybe I shouldnt be so honest and shouldnt run the pics of me looking daft. Maybe then I could retire and just write posts from a beach (Helen’s swimming blog) but hey ho. I do what I do. It’s keeping up with google that exhausts me and trying to work out what you have to do this week for it to like you.

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:28 am

      Thanks Helen! And photos of anyone looking daft are great 😉 I love what you do, keep it up! SEO is such a nightmare isn’t it, I swear you just learn one thing and implement it and then it changes again. It’s a full time job in itself!

  10. 18th June 2015 / 7:23 am

    Very thought-provoking and great post. I’ve been blogging for nearly four years and I’ve definitely noticed a difference. It’s no longer just about writing great content, but having the time to engage on all social medias and market yourself there too. It’s tiring and time consuming and can definitely make a person want to stop blogging. I’ve sadly been viewing it a little as a popularity contest too, and if you don’t have all the followers, you’re seen as a loser. (In my head, I’m sure the bigger bloggers don’t see everyone else as losers)

    But saying all that, if you have a passion you want to share, isn’t it okay that it’s shared with only a handful of people who will then tell another handful of people?

    I think you’re doing a great job and should stick with what you know rather than jumping onto the social media wagon because you feel you have to.

    And that’s enough rambling from me!

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:35 am

      Thanks Faye! I’m amazed at the response I’ve had from this post – it’s comforting to know others feel the same as I do. I definitely like the organic growth approach – I want my readers to read because what I have to say means something to them, not because of other perhaps more superficial reasons.

  11. 18th June 2015 / 8:40 am

    I found myself nodding along to a lot of this. Sometimes I feel as though I must be wired incorrectly, as most of those things that you have listed (that make a blog popular) I absolutely detest! I’ve found myself unfollowing a lot of the ‘bigger’ bloggers because their once original writing has turned into sponsored post after sponsored post followed by product review followed by sponsored post. I’m more than happy to keep my writing as it is and just have a small readership.

    Excellent post – thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:37 am

      I’m so glad the post resonated with you! That’s interesting you’ve unfollowed some of the bloggers posting loads of sponsored posts and product reviews. I’ve had a goal to only post one per week max and to try and keep the rest of my content about more personal things. I hope the balance works and that it comes across that I’m quite careful about the amount of “advertising” style posts I do.

  12. 18th June 2015 / 9:01 am

    Interesting article – I am not a blogger but I follow running / fitness blogs. I enjoy content that is written from a personal perspective, giving insight into tackling a challenge like a marathon or getting to grips with a particular style of yoga. Those that are engaging and relatable are going to attract (and retain!) readers. There are quite a few bloggers out there who are blogging with PR folk in mind rather that their readers, forgetting that many readers will see straight through self-appointed authority on running / nutrition / gear based on what they’ve been told to write. This however is a massive turn-off for readers and they ultimately lose authenticity and credibility.

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:39 am

      Thanks Alison. It’s really interesting to read your thoughts. I’m so pleased to hear that it’s not just bloggers who feel this way, and that blog-readers also pick up on this sort of thing!

  13. 18th June 2015 / 11:40 am

    Great post, Georgina. I think it depends on if the blog is still what you wanted it to be when you started or if your goals have changed. You’re doing a great job, though, and the blogs I like to read most are the ones that are genuine and have a true voice, not just those that are constantly plugging PR messages. Regardless of whether you’re interested in building your audience or engaging more with PRs, if you can keep a unique voice and be true to yourself, I think you’ll have longer term success.

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:40 am

      Thanks Lesli! I think it’s still what I wanted it to be… but my goals have also slightly changed. Funny isn’t it! You’re so right though.

  14. 18th June 2015 / 2:48 pm

    Great post! I don’t think I’ve been blogging long enough to notice a difference. I started my blog for similar reasons as you. I love being healthy, had people tell m I inspired them in some way, and thought maybe I should put myself more out there. I’ve recently gotten more “serious” with my blog. But you’re right– there are soo many things to know other than just good solid content. It can be exhausting. Thanks for helping me realize I’m not alone 🙂

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:41 am

      Thanks Amanda, and I’m glad the post gave you comfort that you’re not the only one who feels exhausted by it all!

  15. 18th June 2015 / 9:01 pm

    I actually don’t think the more ‘popular’ blogs are the best running/fitness blogs. I have stopped reading the vast majority of the blogs written by bloggers with thousands of followers on twitter.

    There are too many London specific class reviews, usually each class will trigger several very similar, not very interesting blogs. There are far too many sponsored race/class/kit reviews, again these are mostly London based. I assume this is purely because most of the PR companies seem to be based in London.

    I saw a PR asking for bloggers with more than 1000 twitter followers to review some products earlier today on Facebook. The impression I got was if you had less than 1000 twitter followers then the brand wasn’t interested. As a blogger do you really want to be used as a cheap form of advertising? I know that I don’t.

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:43 am

      That’s so interesting Emma! And yes, I’m outside of London so can’t always get to the events but they are pretty much ALL in London! I saw the same post on Facebook looking for bloggers with 1000 twitter followers – it’s always just about a number to a lot of the PR companies isn’t it!

  16. 18th June 2015 / 9:36 pm

    A great post and resonates strongly with me. I have been blogging for a couple of years, just as a way to document my running and fundraising. I really enjoyed it so I decided to try and develop this further, and have recently joined Twitter, set up an FB page etc…but moving out of my own little blog bubble and trying to broaden my online network is so much more time consuming than I anticipated, and I’m not sure if I’m enjoying it as much as when I was just using my journal as a diary. As the previous poster says, it’s nice to know I’m not alone in feeling like this.

    • Georgina
      Author
      20th June 2015 / 10:45 am

      Thanks so much for commenting – it’s so good to know others feel the same. Definitely keep doing whatever it takes to keep it fun! Otherwise what’s the point? 🙂

      • 20th June 2015 / 11:10 am

        Agreed! There’s too many chores and responsibilities in life, blogging shouldn’t be one of them!

  17. 22nd June 2015 / 6:27 pm

    I loved this post and the comments. I’ve been feeling much the same lately, going from feeling so happy with all I’ve achieved through my blog, to feeling I’ll never be good enough to feeling overwhelmed with the posts and emails I had to write/respond to for PRs and brands. There is so much blogging advice out there it is hard to know where to start and leaves you feeling like you’re failing if you’re not doing it all. Recently I took a step back to remember why I started in the first place. I thought about who it was I was trying to talk to through my blog and what it is I actually wanted to say to them. Sure, this means I’ll have to turn down more event invitations and opportunities but now I have a clearer idea of where my little blog fits in with my passions and my goals. I feel liberated and excited and hopefully I’ll write what I want to write and enjoy the process 🙂

  18. 1st January 2016 / 9:25 am

    I’ve just read your 2015 review and can’t believe I missed this!! You’ve summed up exactly how I feel and why I stopped blogging in October – I was having to put 5x more effort into social media/photo editing/marketing my blog than actually creating content and discussing my passions with other people

    I now want to re start on my own terms but if I’m honest, I definitely still have similar concerns.

    • Georgina Spenceley
      Author
      5th January 2016 / 11:47 am

      Oh thanks Emma. This post seemed to resonate with quite a lot of people actually so it’s kind of nice not to feel alone! I hope you manage to pick the fun of blogging back up again x

  19. 31st March 2016 / 11:33 am

    A few conversations recently reminded me of this post, and I feel it’s still so relevant!

    Have you noticed a change since you first wrote this post? I’d be so interested to hear if you’ve changed anything about your blogging or mindset/approach to it as a result? xx

    • Georgina Spenceley
      Author
      14th April 2016 / 3:20 pm

      Hey Emma! I think it’s still pretty much the same if I’m honest – though I think there’s now a lot more information out there, and general awareness of it. It is frustrating sometimes when I’ve blogged for so long (since November 2012!) and yet haven’t seen as much growth as some newer bloggers. But then I think about it and that’s not really what it’s about – it’s about what I, and what the readers/followers I do have, get out of it. How do you feel about it all? x

    • Georgina Spenceley
      Author
      14th April 2016 / 3:20 pm

      Hey Emma! I think it’s still pretty much the same if I’m honest – though I think there’s now a lot more information out there, and general awareness of it. It is frustrating sometimes when I’ve blogged for so long (since November 2012!) and yet haven’t seen as much growth as some newer bloggers. But then I think about it and that’s not really what it’s about – it’s about what I, and what the readers/followers I do have, get out of it. How do you feel about it all? x

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