“Where do you really think blogging can take you in this day and age? Is there really a future in blogging?”
Fair questions, especially given the online landscape in which we now live. It seems that everyone has a blog, everyone has a website, and everyone considers themselves to be an “expert” when it comes to online growth and success. But the truth of the matter is that there are very, very few successful bloggers and that – more times than not – the most successful bloggers are not the ones with flashy websites and millions of followers. Nope. The most successful bloggers are usually working in the background, writing really great content, making really great connections & relationships, and showing up every single day with new & fresh ideas.
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I’ve been blogging for over 7 years in multiple capacities, and that has given me some amazing insights into what blogging used to be, what it is right now, and where it is going. I sincerely believe that 2017 is going to be a transformational year for blogging as a money-making industry and that those who are dedicated and focussed on creating great content for an audience of readers that they love will be the ones reaping the rewards.
If you are a blogger [seasoned or brand new] these are my predictions for the essential elements for bloggers (or really anyone who lives online!) to focus on to achieve huge growth in 2017:
Authenticity, authenticity, authenticity!
If I had to categorize blogging in 2016 I would say it was the year of faking it. Perhaps I was a bit late to the realization, but over the past year I have seen more people fake online success than ever before. Bloggers writing fake stories, buying clicks and likes, pretending they had enjoyed 6-figure launches and relying on fancy images and click-bait to gain a readership (albeit an unengaged and false one).
That’s going to change in 2017. People can sniff out a fake a mile away – and those who have been faking success online are going to see a big shift in the way people interact with them.
I predict that our craving and desire for authenticity is going to be stronger than ever and is going to be the guiding force in the way that bloggers create content and interact with their audience & readers. The focus will be on telling the truth about it all, and those who embrace that challenge with openness and authenticity will reap the rewards!
A return to long-form blogging
Any of us living & working online have already seen a strong return to “true blogging” – where the focus is on writing stories that inspire, educate, engage and challenge our readers.
Readers expect and demand good content that is worth their time to read. Whipping off a blog post full of fluff will help your blog to fail faster than anything else in 2017.
Blog readers are savvy and educated and now expect to spend their time online reading content that is worth it, so bloggers will have to, in turn, engage readers with posts that matter. The most successful bloggers in 2017 will be focusing on writing excellent, long-form (over 1,000 words) posts that entertain, educate & inform their readers. Quality over quantity will be a theme that comes up again and again!
Video as a compliment to blogging
No matter what others say, the written word is not dead. People still love to read & will continue to read blogs, but there will be a shift in the way that bloggers deliver their messages and that shift will focus on including video and/or audio options as a compliment to long-form blog posts.
There is beauty (and subsequent growth) in being able to produce content that can meet the needs of multiple audiences. As our society moves to an increasingly visual society, mastering the art of providing your message via video will be more and more important to anyone who wants to make a living online. It won’t be about creating “perfect” videos or producing masterpieces, but rather allowing people to connect with you in multiple ways.
From having a YouTube channel to beginning a podcast, there will be a move to create messages on multiple creative platforms to engage a broader audience – and smart creators will figure out a way to integrate audio & video to meet those needs!
In fact, I believe this so much that I started my own YouTube channel where I talk all about blogging & social media (and a bit about my own life as well!)…just like this one right here:
Low priced e-books and courses
There is a growing industry of online course creators and e-book authors that are using their personal experience to help others in the industry achieve success at a much faster pace, and it’s amazing! The only issue is that so many of the really good courses and e-books are being valued at such a high cost that they are pricing out the people who would benefit most from them. It has become a vicious cycle that is going to change in 2017.
I don’t think we will see a slow down of e-books & course offerings, but I do think we will start seeing them priced at a manageable price point that will see more and more people having the opportunity to learn from some of the best (without going broke in the process!).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting paid for teaching people what you know (especially if it includes shortcuts that will help them start to make money as well!) but pricing a course on Instagram at $300-$500 is ridiculously out of reach for the average consumer. Cut that course up into a series of smaller, lower-priced courses or e-books though, and I guarantee you’ll see your customer-base grow & grow! [and maybe even make more money in the long run!]
2017 will be the time when the customer demands affordable options and the smart course/e-book creators will meet those demands with high quality content that their audience can learn from AND afford!
Engagement over numbers
Ever been passed over for a sponsored campaign because you didn’t have numbers in the 10s of thousands of readers or followers? I have!
Ever felt like your blog wasn’t worth it because you were only getting 20 readers a day despite putting your heart and soul into your blog posts while others (with, quite frankly, craptastic blogs) were boasting about having hundreds or thousands of daily readers? I have!
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again – 2016 was the year when people lied more than ever about their blogs and how they get their traffic. Bloggers know that brands and potential sponsors (ie: the people who pay them to write!) have historically cared a lot about numbers and so they have used a lot of “tactics” to inflate their numbers to make themselves look important and stand out to sponsors.
But this is all about to change.
I predict that 2017 will be the year when sponsors and brands wise up and realize that a blog with massive social followers and “100,000 readers each month!” is not worth their time and money if there is no evidence of real engagement and authentic relationships with readers. False comments and fake followers are going to be called out and true followers with true engagement are going to be rewarded.
You will see bloggers and writers with smaller and targeted followings being rewarded for developing relationships with their readers and creating content that resonates with them! Readers are savvy and simply aren’t going to buy something because a “big blogger” mentions it. And, conversely, sponsors/brands are smart & know that any blogger can purchase followers and falsely inflate their numbers online. 2017 will be the perfect storm when all those who have “cheated” their way to the top start to see their influence fade while those who have been dedicated in putting in the work will begin to be rewarded!
Those of you who are spending your time actually engaging with others online and taking the time to create great content that resonates with readers (even if there’s only 20 of them), keep doing what you’re doing!
2017 is going to be the year when your HARD WORK and DEDICATION will pay off:
- Where brands will seek out those with a real readership and not those who have paid for a following.
- Where showing up every single day and talking to people like they are… well, PEOPLE!… will actually matter.
- Where creating a course or e-book that is affordable AND good will result in actual sales!
- Where those who haven’t been honest and forthright about how they got to the top will no longer see all the success.
In short, I predict that 2017 will be the year that bloggers who blog because they love it will finally get the credit they deserve!
What do you think will be important for bloggers to focus their energy and attention on in 2017? Do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Do you even think blogging will be relevant in 2017? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!
Love this post and hope your predictions are true! 🙂
Sarah Newcomb says
Thanks & me too!!!
So insightful! Especially the part about engagement. I’m really sick of the numbers game in IG and Twitter. The follow for follow (and then UNfollow) stupidity. I just refuse to play those games. And so many people just outright BUY followers – none of those numbers are real to me. I like to actually READ blogs and have back and forth dialogue with the PERSON behind the blog. People so often forget the human aspect of all these online interfaces. I truly hope we’ll see your predictions come true. 🙂
Sarah Newcomb says
Thank you, thank you! And I agree wholeheartedly – I actually like to read blogs as well and talk to the person who wrote them (whether I agree with them or not). Those connections are what made blogging so popular in the first place…if we talk about it enough, I think my predictions will come true:) Too much secrecy in blogging if you ask me!
Great post! I especially agree with you on how 2016 is the year of faking it! These days, it usually takes me less than 5 minutes to figure out if those IG likes and followers are fake. Too many pmpeople, whether bloggers or influencers fake it till they make it! I missed those early days of blogging when we really engage with our readers.
Hopefully 2017 will bring that back.?
Sarah Newcomb says
Thanks so much Hanna! It drives me nuts with all those fake followers – I miss talking to real people (like you!). The more we preach it, the more it will happen – I am sure of it!