This is the first part in a short series from our President, Kelsi Smith (who, for the record, despises blogging about blogging but is also a hypocrite) on the reality of blogging, dispelling myths and telling it how it is.
Jannuzzi merely echoed the same sentiment I’ve been feeling of late, the blogging world is in need of a reality check. The fact of the matter is, there are 156 million blogs out there, and whilst I say more the merrier, and mean it whole-heartedly, and, as evidenced by my position as President of this organization, actively encourage and welcome new bloggers to the sphere, it has to be said. The industry cannot support 156 million blogs “quitting their day job”
A quote from this past season’s Mad Men springs to mind “Not every little girl has her dreams come true, the world can’t support that many ballerina’s” and the same is true for blogging. If you want longevity, if you want this is to be your career, you have to treat it like your career and even then, like any career, you might not get to where you want to.
There are four types of bloggers in my mind, the Hobbyist, the Platformer, the Accidental Celebrity and the Business Blogger and not all of them will outlast a bursting of the blogosphere bubble. This is what Jannuzzi was talking about. Rather than pin pointing a specific age where you “expire” the point was to address where your blog will be in 15 years.
The Hobbyist blogger will have the hardest time, and not because their content is bad, and not because they don’t love blogging. The simple truth is, blogging is hard, and if it’s not your business, if it’s not your main passion and if you’re not getting anything out of it, it can be really hard to maintain. More often than not, if the hobby blogger chooses not to expand to a business level (whether that means “quitting your day job” or monetizing) blogging can become a daily chore, and, more often than not the Hobbyist blogger fizzles out after a couple of years.
That’s not to discourage the hobbyist or potential hobbyist. If you still love it, keep slogging or blogging rather, but beware the blogging burn out and be realistic about your expectations when playing at a hobby level.
The Platformer maybe won’t blog forever either, their blog is a stepping stone to another career, be that design, photography, professional journalism or another career. Some may keep blogging concurrently, this is hard work, but if you still love it, and you still get something out of it it’s actually a hard thing to give up, plus, in some cases continuing the blog continues the career.
The Accidental Celebrity refers to the kind of blogger who has made a successful career out of being exceptionally stylish and has curated their personal style into a blog with beautiful pictures. The first wave of these bloggers had absolutely no idea how blogging would explode and what this would mean for them. Hence the “accidental” part.
These girls (and a few guys) of the first wave have made a career for themselves, but, as with any career, there’s always a new, young and fresh thing waiting to take your place (though it should be said, with each wave the celebrity part becomes less and less accidental, and potentially less endearing) so the “Accidental Celebrity” must strategize to stay ahead of the curve and perhaps take a cue from the Platformer, considering other career goals along the way.
One of biggest issues with an Accidental Celebrity blogger is that their blog is based on their identity, making it harder to expand their site. Sure there’s always advertising and sponsored posts but It’s important for this blogger to strategize for the future, and away from their competition, perhaps borrowing elements from the Platformer, or changing tactics to become a Business Blogger (or at least a hybrid) and likely moving away from solely personal style content.
A Business Blogger is someone who has managed to leverage their content and their platform into a fully formed business, beyond just basic monetizing and brand partnerships. A Business Blogger uses elements of the Platformer and the Accidental Celebrityas well as actual business acumen to develop something that can live long past a personality and sometimes even an individual. Whether this a career that lives offline which is complimented by the blog (much like a progressive Platformer) or building a site that becomes a source for something, be that news or advice or something else that is cyclical and permits growth, it’s a business and is structured as such. This is the sort of blog that can seek investment and even, eventually, be sold.
A Business Blog isn’t the holy grail in blogging by any means and I don’t believe that every single blogger fits into one of these categories, in fact, I think picking from each pool and finding a balance that works for you is important. But knowing each category and knowing the differences between them is equally important and developing a strategy for longevity – if that’s what you want – is paramount.
Know where you’re going, or you’re going to get lost.
Which category do you identify closest with?
What do you want to achieve in the next year with your site?
What’s your end game? (if you have one…and think hard, most of you do)
Where do you see yourself if ten years?
How do you plan on getting there?
Next time: the relationship between the manner in which a blogger conducts themselves and their longevity in the blogosphere.