With the rise of SnapChat, Instagram and other platforms that allow us to share and receive content in all kinds of new, super easily digestible ways, blogging is at risk.
If you can adapt, you will survive, and point #6 down here is very important.
The following question came to me last week from a friend on Facebook (it took me a while to get round to answering it):
“Will, is it still worth starting a blog in 2017? Can I even succeed with a blog in 2017?”
Now, I’ve had a few years of experience working with clients on their blogs, as well as getting mentored by a few bloggers who’ve made a huge success of blogging over the years.
What I’ve learned and been told is that you can still succeed with a blog in 2017 …
… as long as your goals are right.
And this is really the rub for me: You should only start a blog if your goals are right.
This will help you measure how successful or unsuccessful your blog is, and whether or not you stay the distance.
In 2017, it seems as though everyone in the world has a blog.
Even your grandmother has one! (by accident of course, bless her)
And this is really the big problem. Like with anything in markets, the early adopters get in there first and dominate.
Then, everyone else joins in (it’s why my mom is now on Facebook - and probably my email list, hi mom!) and causes over saturation.
All of a sudden, things lose their value.
It happened with Google AdWords, and it happened with fashion blogs, food blogs and so on.
The recent blog I started - the one you’re subscribed to - is just another blog amidst the thousands of others out there.
But I created mine for what I believe was the right reason for me. I’ve been working for years as a successful freelance writer, and now I want to share my experiences with aspiring writers and help them achieve their goals.
And if you’re thinking of creating a blog - or if you already have one - you HAVE to know exactly why you’ve created it.
Otherwise you’ll stumble around in the dark for twelve months until your domain comes up for renewal, and you pass and buy a coffee instead.
It Started With A Why
There are things you need to do before you start a blog. And it always starts with a Why.
Have you created your blog to monetise it? If so, that can be done. Easy. Blogs make a lot of money.
But guess what? That doesn’t have to be the sole reason you create a blog.
Maybe you’ve created your blog simply to document your experiences, such as this awesome lifestyle blog called The Londoner.
Or maybe you just want to use your blog as a platform to share your creations, be they art, music or poetry.
That’s a totally cool reason to start a blog by the way, and I’ve helped several clients in the past get their work seen.
Or maybe you’re just trying to create some leverage. Lots of people do this, and it’s a smart marketing tactic.
Why do you want to succeed with a blog in 2017?
If you don’t know why you’re writing on the Internet to a bunch of random people, you will lose focus, you’ll post in dribs and drabs and eventually you’ll do that thing where you disappear for four months, return and make one of those “Hey! I’m back! I promise to post ALL THE TIME FROM NOW ON!” posts …
… before disappearing again, this time for seven years.
Moreover, knowing exactly why you’re doing this means you can easily figure out where to allocate your time, energy and effort.
For example, if your goal is to monetise your blog and turn it into a full-time job, you know that you need to spend a lot of your time finding traffic sources and working on your SEO. I’m not going to go into detail on SEO here, but you can read about it in my blog post SEO for bloggers: How to write killer SEO friendly blog posts here.
If your goal is just to share your creations to the world, you need to make it your job to find the right people to share them with.
If you’re a lifestyle blogger, engaging people on Instagram is essential.
But unless you know why you’re here, you may find that you waste way too much time on irrelevant things.
Define Your Long Game
Second thing you need to do before you start a blog is define your long game ASAP (in other words, your reason for doing this), and then you can define your expectations.
When I started my first blog four years ago, I failed to accurately define what my long game was.
I was living day to day, barely getting by with it. I had no vision, no long term goal. As such, when it began to “fail” I became massively disappointed and gave up.
Thing is, I hadn’t defined what would be success or failure before I started the blog.
In fact, at no stage did I define what would count as success or failure.
Therefore, I wasn’t in a realistic position to gauge my metrics. I just decided one day that - after three months - they weren’t very good.
So I packed it in because my expectations - which I hadn’t even defined! - weren’t met.
You need to set a long-term goal. Otherwise, you just won’t know whether you’re on track or not.
Where do you want to be a week from now? A month from now? A year from now?!
Check Out Your Rivals - And Offer Something Different
It’s getting increasingly hard to be seen in 2017, because there are just so many bloggers out there.
This is why it’s so important that you don’t do what everyone else is doing.
There is an old rule in business that says you shouldn’t try to better a market leader by copying them.
You WON’T knock them off top spot.
In the world of blogging, your competitors have already gained the trust of their audience; they’re already an established leader, an authority figure.
So what do you do?
You take a look at what people are doing in your niche, and you then come up with something unique.
Maybe you come up with totally fresh branding with different colours and fonts.
Or maybe your tone of voice is different to what’s normally expected in your niche.
But what’s more important is that you are YOU.
This is what will separate you from everyone else.
See, people will come along and try to copy your blog if it’s good.
But though they will steal your ideas, they can’t steal what makes you You.
They’ve not got your charm, your wit, your zingy style, your way with words, your eye for a photo, or your passion.
Don’t be like everyone else. Focus on your USP. People will come to you.
Smash Out The Content
The best piece of advice I’ve been given so far in 2017 was from a guy who runs a group I’m in on Facebook.
He said “whatever you do or don’t do each day, make sure you show up.”
A lot of the time, all you have to do is show up each day.
Write something each day.
It’s not that hard.
How long does it take you to write a new piece of content? 30 minutes? An hour max with some research?
Content continues to be King, and it’s the only way to make sure you stay on peoples’ radar.
And if you’re struggling to create content each day?
… Document - Don’t Create
Yes, create some of the time.
But document most of the time.
Creating fresh, original content isn’t easy.
It takes time.
Time that you won’t always have.
Documenting? That’s a whole lot easier.
You’re a blogger. What did you do today that’s relevant to your niche? Document it! Tell us about it!
Don’t obsess over content creation, but think about the power of documenting. It still offers lots of value to your customers.
Heck, they want to hear about your day. They want to know about what you do, how you win, how you fail, how you write, your morning routine and so on.
You can succeed with a blog in 2017. But like with a business itself, you can’t neglect it. Stay on top, roll out the content and good things will happen.
Shift The Platform
What is a blog in 2017?
I’m not going to go into that right here right now, but it doesn’t matter if you’re an artist, a novelist, an affiliate marketer or a small business owner, you NEED to shift your platform.
In other words, take your content off your website and put it elsewhere from time to time.
“I’m a home body, though. I love my website! It’s so colourful and warm and welcoming.”
Be that as it may. But native content is super important in 2017, and you need to start posting your blogs directly to Facebook if you want your words to get seen by as many people as possible.
And I don’t mean that you should link from Facebook to your blog - I mean Facebook should become one of your blogging platforms.
Post directly to Facebook. Don’t tell people to “click here!”
Chance are, they won’t.
Lastly but importantly, blog posts take time to write. Do you want to learn how to write 2,000 words per hour so that you can smash out more blog posts and have time to do other stuff?! Click here for your free eBook on how to write faster!