Oh I do love a little blog contemplating. 2015 will bring my sixth anniversary of starting this blog, so I’ve seen this blogging malarkey grow from the 2009 days when I wrote long long posts with mostly stock images of products to illustrate them (yes, really). To photos taken on pretty rubbish camera phones, to small digital cameras to today where a blogger basically needs a masters in photography (or at least the kit) to call themselves a blogger. Ok, slight exaggeration – but you know what I mean. Photos are the thing that can make or break a blog a lot of the time. Not entirely the point I’m trying to make – what I’m trying to say is how blogging has changed and evolved from it’s early roots to what it is now…and having a little ponder on what might be coming next. Of course none of us really know, most of us are winging it. It’s also not the most straight forward thing to do – predict what’s coming. In fact, I’ve been writing and re-writing this post for about three weeks (on and off, obviously) now and still not totally sure I’m getting it all down. But here are a few ideas/thoughts on what 2015 might bring – especially following a year as crazy as 2014 where blogging really did explode and become more mainstream. Some blogging predictions for 2015….
1. A move to break apart from the pack
It’s pretty much impossible to notice the way there are many of what you could call ‘blogging trends’ that have basically morphed into lots of blogs looking almost identical. Nothing against this, I’m sure my own style as it’s changed over the years has taken influence from what I’ve seen. It’s all too easy to think copying another successful blogger is the fast track to success, when ironically it’s almost the opposite. How can you stand out from thousands when your blog looks identical to all those around you. But then if that’s the style you like and read then it’s only natural it’s the style you opt for. Also, with SO many blogs around it’s almost impossible to find a style totally unique. Standing out isn’t as easy as it might sound. There’s a reason certain styles or looks appeal to many – so if you’re trying to appeal to an audience you want to give them what they like. Unfortunately on this one I don’t really have any suggestions or solutions – but I do predict that in 2015 it’s those with their own style (from design, to writing, to image, to photography) will be the ones to stand out and make the biggest waves.
2. Lifestyle is King, Niche is Queen.
I used to be that almost all blogs were kind of only one thing at a time – I started out as purely beauty. But over recent years it’s become all about lifestyle. For one it opens up your potential topic options – so you can write about whatever you want. Which of course opens up other opportunities. For me moving from pure beauty to a bit wider just feels like a normal progression. Whilst beauty will always be my first love, over six years my interests have changed and now I want to write about more than just what the latest lipstick launch is. In 2015 and beyond I think fewer ‘pure beauty’ blogs will exist. But there will always be a market for them – which means that for those strong niche blogs there’s a huge opportunity too. Sure, the wider topic lifestyle blogs can appeal to masses. But if you’re pure beauty (or whatever your niche – travel, food, fashion and beyond) then your audience is likely the really passionate reader in the same genre. Basically in 2015 I see Lifestyle still being the leader in blogging overall, but I think there’s going to be a huge strength for the niche blog too. Especailly as it’s not something as many are doing anymore, which harks back to point one… setting yourself apart from the ‘norm’. Want to stand out – find your niche and do it well.
3. The gap between bloggers and vloggers will get bigger
I don’t mean in a negative sense – but the ‘big’ vloggers out there are just growing into a stratosphere beyond what blogging ever started out as. They’re basically the new wave of reality celebrity. Personally as a blogger, I’m not interested in being a celebrity at all. I’m just more than happy that I get to do what I love to the level I do now. As much as many of the massive vloggers did start out blogging, I think blogging and vlogging are very much different beasts now and as much as there’s been cross over in the past. I think in 2015 the gap between blogging and vlogging will get bigger with more and more deciding to be one or the other rather than both. Maintaining a blog and vlogging both take a serious amount of work – and I’m sure anyone faced with the prospect of doing both knows deep down that their heart is always in one over the other. I think for me this is why my You Tube has never been number one – and whilst I do plan to dabble in it a bit more regularly in 2015, for me the blog will always be number one. What does this mean for the commercial side of blogging/vlogging – so hard to say. But I would predict that some of the bigger brands will of course opt to partner with the big name vloggers – but big name means big money. There will be many, many brands who will be looking to work with bloggers but don’t have the mega bucks budgets – or perhaps just take a different approach who will still be very keen to work with the right bloggers for their audience.
4. Exclusives and embargoes
I briefly touched on the point of digital embargoes on my Nails Inc post lately. Personally, I can see how these may work ok for press but in the digital age they just don’t really work and information isn’t really something a brand can control as they would like using traditional methods. The other thing I’ve been seeing becoming hot property in blogging (particularly beauty) is the exclusive – the wanting to be first to break the news of the latest collection or launch. Being first = more traffic, it’s as simple as that. I have total respect for the blogs that get their content out there so quickly, they’ve become the go-to for beauty news. For me, I’ve never been the fastest blogger in the internet. I pretty much always opt for testing something for a while over getting it up on the blog first. I am however (for some products) going to make a concious effort to get them up quicker. There are some things that when you’re slow, you just might as well not bother (limited edition collections, beauty boxes etc) and many colour products can pretty quickly be tested to form a decent enough impression to have a strong opinion on what they’re like (I’d still want to wear a foundation all day to see how it holds up etc). For us beauty bloggers – I think speed is going to become even more important over 2015, and I think embargoes will become more and more irrelevant for digital (if that’s even possible).
5. Influence to be key
The thing about infleunce in blogging is that it comes in many different sizes, shapes and forms and can be measured in many different ways. Particularly when it comes to the beauty side of thing where there’s a vast amount of purchasing still done in stores rather than online and therefore harder to directly track for brands. But that’s not to say many a customer hasn’t done their research online before they head to store/counter. Man, now I’ve started writing this point I’ve realised how much I have to say on the matter and summing it up in a paragraph or two probably won’t cut it. But in the interest of trying to be concise. Influence can be the blogger/vlogger with a following of thousands who favourite and RT every word they tweet OR it can be the blogger who write about a product as a straight review that is then found by Jane Bloggs who then reads it, likes what they see and heads to store. Jane Bloggs probably doesn’t have any interest in what the blogger had for lunch or where they spent the weekend – but they want to read another person’s clear opinion and see decent photos of a product in action before they head out to buy. This is the sort of influence that is still very valid but is harder to be tangibly measured when you look at it from a commercial value sort of way. Basically, just because you’re not getting a stream of 100’s of comments telling you how awesome every move you make is or RT’d into the trending topics every time you tweet – doesn’t mean you don’t have an impact. I think in 2015 the different types and values of influence will be more widely understood and appreciated. Well, we can all hope this at least!
As I said at the top – these are just some musings, speculations and random thoughts on where blogging could be heading in 2015. There are no rules (well, there are some now but generally creative freedom is the joy of blogging). If you’re just getting started in 2015 or if you’re a long term blogger… keep going, keep enjoying it and keep being true to yourself – then no matter what you write you can feel happy and proud to share it on your own little corner of the internet! Here’s to happy blogging for the year ahead!