Last week, Darren Rowse’s excellent blog, Problogger, ran an interview with dooce, the “Queen of the Mommy Bloggers” about her decision to “quit blogging.”
And it stirred up quite the sh*tstorm in many of the communities I frequent. There were at least three posts I saw in a single community, people were Periscoping about it. It was a thing.
(I actually got drawn into a slightly heated debate about it in one community; the other woman was VERY intent on proving me wrong!)
Obviously, I have pretty strong opinions on this myself, starting with: blogging is not dead! (And, in fact, dooce isn’t even saying that.) Here’s why:
Blogging is dead! Long live the blog!
Many friends who know about all the changes in my life have asked, “So, what will happen to dooce®?! Will you shut it down? What is your last post going to say?” And I always stand there and shake my head. I have no intention of shutting this space down. There are too many memories in these pages, and frankly, I still like to write stories.
She’s not retiring from blogging. She’s retiring that revenue stream from her business. She’s still going to write and post it to her blog, she’s just not going to worry about monetizing it any more and concentrate on other revenue streams.
Lemme say that again: dooce is not quitting blogging. What she is doing is quitting blogging as a business model.
The two kinds of blogging.
Let’s step back for a second and examine the two kinds of blogging:
- Blogging as a business model.
This kind of blog sells advertising, sponsored posts, affiliate products, etc. to make money, but their primary way of generating that money is through the content they create — because they have to have an audience to do any of that other stuff. dooce is an example of that, as are Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Mashable, and many others. Think of these like a TV station or other media outlet: they exist to create content so that they can make money selling advertising. (Even PBS works like this, it’s just a membership model instead of advertising.)
- Blogging to support a business.
This kind of blogging is what you and I do. Most of the readers of this blog sell a product or service that goes BEYOND their blog content. They might also sell advertising, sponsored posts, or affiliate products through their blog, but that is not the main source of their revenue.
So, the thing to remember about dooce is that blogging was her business model. She sold advertising and sponsored posts, and then her blogging led to other revenue streams like consulting and speaking. If you read the article carefully, she’s talking about quitting blogging as a business model.
And who could blame her? In the NYMag piece, she talks about having a deadline for a sponsored post, and having to force her kids to do something they weren’t into just to write about it. She talks about the emotional toll the trolls and even her “fans” have had on her life. She talks about the incredible pressure to post daily about some fascinating, hilarious thing that happened in her life.
What most of us here do is different. We blog to SUPPORT a business model. Our blog is not our main revenue stream, as in selling advertising or sponsored posts. We blog to support something else — a product or service that we sell. It’s a very different kind of blogging with a very different purpose than what she’s talking about.
A blog is a medium, not a religion.
The other thing to remember here is that the blog is just the medium.
The content is key.
I wrote a “blog” in the late 90s before the term ever existed. I had a website that I manually updated weekly and emailed out to people.
Blogs originally developed as web-logs, journals for people to update. When it was invented, it was the ONLY way for an individual to share a public record of his or her thoughts like that. I think personal blogging is probably somewhat on the decline simply because there are so many other channels available now — Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Even for businesses, the blog very rarely directly drives sales. I’ve said this before, but it’s going to be a rare day when someone clicks a “buy now” button directly from your blog post. It’s an important part of a marketing path, but only one part.
But here’s the deal: for me, and for many of us, our blog is the repository for content that serves many different purposes for our business. A blog can:
- Help send search traffic to your website
- Convince people to sign up for your email list
- Provide a way to drive traffic off social media and onto your website
and so on. Could you achieve these things with other mediums? Sure you could. The medium matters much less than the content you’re creating and sharing.
But for most business owners, the blog is still the easiest and most elegant way of achieving those goals.
That’s why — until a better, more efficient, more elegant medium for delivering content appears — blogging is still important and relevant for business owners.
But that is a different blog post.
What do you think? Is blogging dead? Is blogging here to stay? Let me know where you land in the comments.