With the rise of new social media platforms like SnapChat + Periscope, adding to the already exciting parade of options (like Facebook + Twitter + Instagram + Pinterest to name just a few), it’s no surprise people are questioning the power of blogging. Is it really necessary? Is it worth the hard work? Is micro-content enough or is a main HQ still important?
Do you want to know what I think? Do you? Do you?
Well I’ve thought long n’ hard about this one + I’ve come to the following realization: The internet is basically one BIG High School cafeteria.
There’s the nerds table + the mean girls table + the artsy kids table + the football team table + the book club table… and all the drama in-between. And every table has its unwritten instruction manual with rules of what you can + cannot do.
Instagram, for example, let’s you share pictures but the only active link allowed is the one on the bio page. Twitter let’s you share no more than 140 characters at a time. If you wanna hang out at their cafeteria table, you gotta obey their social code.
In a way these platforms are basically saying, “Sure, you are welcome to seat with us, but we get to call the shots.”
Maybe it’s agreeing to let the Periscope gang remove your videos in 24 hours. Perhaps it’s agreeing to let the Facebook folks use anything you post in their own advertising or charge you to interact with the audience you’ve built and fostered. Oh! And have you heard the news about Instagram’s new curated feeds?
And think about it. There are no guarantees. The luncheon dynamics can change. Anytime. People might get tired or disillusioned + decide to eat at the bus instead. Or the gym benches. This happened to MySpace. Closed shop. Forever. Gone. In the middle of the game. You can’t sit with them anymore, because they are no longer there.
I get the pro’s of sitting with others. I do. Eating your sandwich (or empanada) in good company is nice, especially if you’re the new kid in school who doesn’t know anybody + nobody knows you. Picking a table is not only a smart option, it’s survival. It can help you gain traction + popularity, or at the very least, be heard by a few who will listen. Your cafeteria entourage can even help you rise from oblivion into stardom. Think of all those YouTubers who became famous overnight. The platform helped them do that.
Now this idea of becoming a celebrity is so appealing, so tempting that people often forget about the drawbacks of picking a table at the cafeteria.
The downside for me is so obvious thou. It’s not your table. Your cute lil’ touchie might be sitting there, but it’s not your table. It’s not. You don’t own it. You don’t make the terms + conditions. You can get kicked out anytime without a 30 day notice. You + your meal + all your fans. Out! And the honey badger doesn’t care. The honey badger doesn’t give a damn if you were counting on that revenue stream or marketing outlet.
People somehow miss this important piece of the puzzle. Why? Consider why you tell yourself blogging isn’t worth it? Ask yourself why you convince yourself to stop trying?
I’ll tell you why. Because:
- It’s more convenient to blame someone else. Your Kickstarter campaign failed miserably? It’s easier to say, “Kickstarter doesn’t work” than to say, “I was not able to recruit enough supporters to fund my project.” Thin line. Easier to complain + dismiss + procrastinate than to assume responsibility.
- It’s less work. Sure, posting a pretty picture of your breakfast with a cute caption is easier than putting together a thoughtful + valuable post about morning routines. Whereas the first option is cheaper + faster, the later is much harder + scarier + more time-consuming. So our monkey brain encourages the easier + seemingly better option.
Social media is easy + fun + gives you instant gratification. In the animal world that works just fine. If you are a monkey, for example, who spends all day doing nothing but eating bananas, you’re a huge success. But unfortunately for us humans, we have a big ass brain that allows us to recall the past + make decisions in the present + transform the future. Being a homo sapiens is a hard gig. So is blogging.
Blogging comes with a huge deficit because it takes planning + effort + momentum + guts. It might seem less pleasant than scrolling social media all day, but epic things happen when you don’t let your monkey brain take the stirring wheel.
I’m not lobbying for a riot at the school cafeteria. I’m not an anti-social media billboard. All I’m saying is that it’s dangerous to solely exist + build buzz in someone else’s ground. That’s all.
Anyone… any place… any thing that makes you check off a terms and conditions box to hang out with them shouldn’t be your number one hang out, much less your business strategy.
And there’s no excuse. These days, the internet let’s you build your own site in minutes, affordably.
I set up a basic blog on WordPress. Got my own mailing list up n’ running. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because this way, I get to keep my power + my work + my voice intact. But more importantly, there are no Illuminati censoring my content + editing my ideas + gatekeeping my gigs. It’s MY intellectual properly. MY audience. And the best part? I get to call the shots. Heartmade, this blog, is not a democracy. I decide who plays + who doesn’t. What? You’re a troll who spams the comment box with links to fake Kate Spade bags? Expelled! You’re too cool to be nice to my virtual family? Fired!
Sure I still hang out with my friends at the cafeteria. My besties over at the Instagram table are so much fun to be around. And don’t even get me started on my Pinterest gals. They are the bomb. But I always make sure to come back home, to my HQ + give clear directions with links or call to actions to where people can find me if they want to know more.
The charm of the High School cafeteria is obvious. It’s entertaining. But if you want to make sure you always have a safe space to eat your peanut butter and jelly sandwich + an open mic to share your brilliant ideas with the world, you’ve got to build your own playground. An online headquarters for your content that Google can easily find. A place where you can try out your coolest tricks + make meaningful stuff. Make it a friendly place for people to come visit. Often. Let them wear their paint stained pajamas if they wish. Bring your heart, your humanity, your value.
The reality is this: You only get out what you put in.
I’m not here to endorse hype-y fantasies around being your own girl boss, like working 4-hour weeks while dipping your feet in warm sand. That sh*t ain’t real. I repeat: that sh*t ain’t real.
Wanna make a living online? Put in what you want to get out. Simple as that. And I’m not talking about busy busy busy work – the kind where you pull all-nighters + skip breakfast + cancel lunch dates with your girlfriends to browse Pinterest and call it research. I’m talking about committing to the act of creating + sitting down to write when you don’t feel like it + hitting publish in spite of being afraid.
Not everyone is willing to do it. But then again, you are not everybody.
This lil’ blog is still the heartbeat of my business. Sure, I’ll be the first to admit that blogging isn’t for lazy people. Trying to keep up the pace of posting regularly + creating original content (not just echoing what the entire blog galaxy has already said) can wear out anyone who’s not built for this. Those of you who have blogs know exactly what I mean.
So if you’re pondering: “Oh! boy, but I’m already too busy running a shop + updating my about page + doing the laundry + perfecting my skills + inventing my new product line + preparing for a craft show + invoicing, do I really need to have a blog?” Here’s why I think you should give it your best try:
- Blogging helps you build strong relationships with clients. Through your blog you let your personality + charisma + passion shine. This helps your customers relate + connect with you on a deep human level. And a customer that has empathy is a customer that connects with you + trusts you + befriends you. This is a rare + beautiful thing.
- Blogging lets you show you’re a pro. It’s an opportunity to showcase your abilities + skills in a non-braggy kinda way. If you make the best brownies in town, give your clients an inside pick into how you prepare the dough + how you cut the brownies + how you package them the way you do, without giving away all your secrets of course. It will show customers that you sure know an awful lot about brownies + chocolatey things + baking without burning things in the kitchen + etc. And people love to buy from shops that they feel confident about.
- Blogging helps you document your creative life. I love looking at my blog archives to see where my mind + heart were at 5 weeks ago, 3 months ago, 7 years ago. This time last year I know I was a lot more afraid. I dunno when I changed, or how, but I know at some point between then + now I built wings + set myself free. It’s like having my own little time machine to travel back in time + navigate through my creative stages + access my virtual diary. Helps me learn + grow, ya’ know?
- Blogging lets you share updates with your fans. You just released an awesome new collection? You’re having your annual Everything Must Go sale? You were featured in US News? Sure, social media let’s you shout the news through the roof tops, but these channels go by so fast, that important information typically falls through the cracks. Your launch can be easily missed. Your TV appearance missed. And that’s just sad. Blogging gives you both a space to inform your clients about all the wonderful things that are happening, and most importantly it lets you archive them so they never go by unnoticed.
- Blogging connects you with the indie community. When you blog, you become part of a cult of artist + designers + crafters + freelancers that get it without much explanation. When people ask me, how to do advertise your products, they’re shocked to know I don’t do ads. I don’t buy followers or run promoted posts. I let my customers do the talking. They are my brands true ambassadors, and in my humble opinion, the best kind of marketing there is.
- Blogging gives you VIP access to Google. Blogs are built for search engines. They are indexed faster + more frequently than your shop is. They also have this cool optimization feature that reads your keywords like “business tips” + “planners” + “mess”, and connects potential fans to your site via those tags. This brings targeted traffic from people who are searching for exactly what you have to offer. Pretty neat right?
- Blogging is so freaking awesome. When you get in the habit of blogging + write about the things you are truly care about, everything just clicks. It stops being hard. Blogging flows. And you become hooked. Our career choice as creators + innovators can sometimes be a solitary path, but blogging lets connect with readers all over the globe + start a conversation with people with similar interests + get instant feedback. All the sudden you realize, “I’m not alone in this”. It’s a comforting + uplifting + energizing feeling.
Yes, blogging is more difficult + requires work, because teaching + inspiring + launching is hard. But, it’s also how we get to do what we love for a living using this amazing tool called the internet.
So the next time someone asks, “Is blogging dying? Are blogs a thing of the past?” Will they not survive another month? You can tell them what I think. I’ll be sitting at the messy table by the corner with my vintage typewriter if anyone asks.
What do YOU think? Are blogs dying? Are they becoming diluted in a sea of social media-ness? Drop your insight in the comment box. The best discussion always happens there.
*This post is sponsored by Kate Spade NY. All content + ideas + words are my own.