I had been thinking about what might be ‘next’ for the world of blogging and ‘influencers’ in 2018 (and beyond) for a while and yesterday I read THIS fab post by Hannah Gale. So I thought now is as good a time as any to let my own thoughts on the topic spill onto the page (screen?) and share. I have a habit with things like these to go on about it so I’m going to try and take a leaf out of Hannah’s book and keep it that perfectly short and digestible length and not go into rant & ramble mode… but stick with me…
More brand-blogger collaborations
This is something I would LOVE to see happen. As a blogger, when a brand you love approaches you to work with you it’s always flattering. They have spotted your corner of the internet and think it’s a good match for their product/service and want to work together – amazing. But then comes the brief – we want you to hold the product and smile like you’re in an 80’s infomercial. Ah, awkward. Even when you (politely) feedback that it’s not your usual style, it will stand out (not in a good way) and your audience won’t be as responsive to it… the brief stays firm. I’d love to see more open collaborations in 2018 where each brief is perhaps customised to work with that blogger/creators content in a way that fits. Of course by collaborations I actually mean in the way that BOTH sides collaborate to create the end product – not just brand provides brief, blogger delivers. Sure, it’s a little more work on the brand side to source the right people and make sure they really do reflect the brand and you can put your trust in them to create something that’s both authentic and representative of your brand. But the pay off will be worth it in the content that comes out the other side.
Less cookie-cutter content
It’s a tricky one to describe without sounding critical. But I think we can all admit there can be a bit of a ‘samey’ bubble on the internet of content that you could cut and paste one photo on to 15 blogs and you wouldn’t be able to tell who took it in the first place. No denying those photos are gorgeous, but they sort of follow a formula and after a while seeing the same thing over and over can become a little dull. This isn’t to say Im sitting here thinking I come at this from a place of pure originality – far from it. Creating images I am happy with this year has probably been one of my biggest challenges. I’m a sucker for a marble backdrop and a recognisable book prop as much as the next blogger. But slowly but surely I’m trying to think outside of the rose-gold box and find my own style again. There are so many bloggers who absolutely nail this and have their own distinct content style and I’ve been seeing more and more towards the end of this year switch up their photography, experiment a bit more and find something that works for them rather than tick all the blogger cliche boxes. I really look forward to seeing how this continues in 2018 and beyond.
Ever since I first started out in 2009 until maybe a year ago I was at least a 5x days a week blogger – sometimes more. Quantity and churning out those blog posts was my goal. I’d have a bit of a panic if I didn’t have a post live each day thinking my stats would plummet and the internet would turn it’s back on me. When I went full time one of my intentions was initially to increase frequency – posting 1-3 times a day. Turns out, that didn’t happen! I quickly learnt that the slog to get those extra posts out didn’t have a proportional impact on stats. AKA – it wasn’t worth the effort.
Over the last year, as I’ve been having a bit of a ‘deep and meaningful’ think about my blog and direction I’ve dropped my own post frequency more. But you know what – my stats haven’t plummeted with it. God bless evergreen content and search traffic! (That often-forgotten side to ‘influence’ that’s not as visible as a like or follower) It’s also meant I’ve been more balance and happier in myself – I’ve managed to make time for a life that wasn’t 90% blog focussed. I’m blogging more for me, for my audience and not for brands. Sorry brands, but I think this was has more longevity – because then when I do blog about a product it’s because it’s ace not just because it landed on my doormat and I feel I have to blog about it.
But this isn’t just about my approach at all. It’s more something I’m seeing across the board – as Hannah spotted too – people are skipping frequency in favour of both passion and quality. That doesn’t mean that unless you have a full photo-shoot and crew you should skip blogging all together. If anything it’s the opposite. It’s either you have those moments where you just NEED to post – be it a product you just can’t wait to rave about or a thought/message you just want to get out there. OR you work on that high-quality, editorial-level content that you are SO proud of and excited to hit publish.
A change in social channel focus
Now, this could be a whole post on it’s own. Instagram is the favourite? Maybe – but that algorithm is a pain in the bum. Twitter is (give or take) as it was originally – but can be prone to a *touch* of the crazies/negativity… Snapchat – not one for me to be honest, I’m not down with the kids enough. Pinterest – I love it, but still to harness it as a really useful channel/tool for my blog. Facebook – debatable about how useful it is as a blogger.
In 2018 I can see people really changing focus from spreading across multiple channels. Maybe dropping the channels that don’t really add value and deciding on which are the priorities.
Which channels are your focus is totally up to you – but I’d suggest letting your inner geek out a bit and having a look at the stats to see what’s going on with numbers and demographics behind each channel. Look at the time it takes to ‘manage’ and how much you enjoy it. But above all else – if you’re a blogger it’s worth remembering your blog is the only thing that is ALL yours. No algorithm or feed changes can mess with it. There’s a power in that and it’s worth investing your time and focus on something you can control and can’t be messed with when that platform decide to make changes.
Take it back to basics
This is something I totally agree with Hannah on – I think there will a real wave of going back to the ‘basics’ of blogging and what made it what it is in the first place. Being real, being relatable and not being perfect. I know it’s something I struggle with as I want to make things look pretty and appealing when I put them online but I also just know I’m not this glossy, glam vision of perfection at all times which is why I tend not to be all that regular on things like insta stories – mostly because I just don’t think my day to day life is all that interesting! But don’t want to curate a glossy life that isn’t real just for the ‘gram!
What back to basics means to each person out there will likely vary a bit. But I’m generally taking the approach of ‘done is better than perfect’ – to try and stop being too hard on myself and shut that annoying ‘not good enough’ voice up. Keeping it that little bit imperfect for me is fine.
What about the money?
I almost finished this post without talking about that sticky subject of money in blogging. I don’t have all the answers at all but I do have a good understanding of ‘both sides’ from the brand work and my work as a blogger for almost nine years so this is thinking from both sides of the industry.
In 2018 I would predict there will be big projects and big chunks of cash coming into the blog world. In particular from massive brands like the Lauders and the L’Oréal’s. Great news right, if you’re a pro blogger?! Well, whilst I predict this will be a big focus on ad budgets for the year ahead I also predict the money will mostly be allocated to the massive bloggers/You Tubers/Instagramers. The ones with agencies representing them along with other big names. I especially predict there will be ‘packages’ where a brand works with an agent’s pool of talent overall rather than collaborating across a wider selection.
Of course this is just a prediction. But I think bloggers (like myself) will having a bit of a bumpy road ahead being independent. Having to be proactive and really put our hands up to get the paid work.
There will also be more of a requirement for proof of numbers – sharing stats from google analytics, insights from Instagram and impressions from twitter. Something I’ve tried to get into the habit of sharing even if a brand doesn’t request it after a collaboration. I think it’s only fair that if you want to claim you have an value that you are ready to show it!
There we have my predictions of looking into my crystal ball of blogging… I failed on keeping it snappy but hey. That’s not my style. I’d love to hear what you think about these predictions and if there’s anything you maybe are interested in about the ‘business of blogging’. Questions or comments always welcome!