Issue #305

5 Important Trends For Bloggers (And You Need To Adapt)

One thing that is constant is change. It’s been said over and over, of course. But, it is most definitely true – especially on the internet.

I’ve been blogging for over 20 years now. I started back when the word “blog” didn’t event exist. I literally hand-coded my articles… like some kind of nerdy nut job. 😉

But, I’ve been doing this long enough now to see a LOT of change, as you might imagine.

And I see certain big trends happening that affects bloggers and content creators. I also see that a lot of bloggers just aren’t acting like these trends really exist. They’re still playing the old game. Applying advice that “pro bloggers” gave years ago and it just doesn’t work so well anymore.

In this issue, I’m identifying 5 trends that I see. I’m curious to see what you think. Let’s roll…

#1 – The online advertising model will evolve and bloggers will need to adapt.

The rise of ad blockers, concerns over third-party cookies… and even the growing popularity of browsers that have privacy (and blocking) built right in (such as the Brave Browser) will mean that the current “wild wild west” scene of throwing ad tags all over your blog to monetize will die.

We’re already seeing many sites that respond by outright blocking you from viewing them if you use an ad blocker. But, when I see these sites, I simply leave. Long term, throwing up your hand and telling users to choose the annoyance or the content isn’t a good way to go.

I think we will see new structures to solve this problem. Brave and the Basic Attention Token (BAT) cryptocurrency is a promising approach.

I also think many quality content creators can respond by simply charging for their content. Perhaps a low-cost membership… or even a premium paid email newsletter model. Of course, this will cause bloggers to have to pay more attention to the quality of their content. But, in the long run, this not only is a more profitable way to go than advertising, but it puts you in control.

#2 – More focus on serving your community and less on raw traffic numbers

Generally, sites that depend on advertising mean that raw traffic numbers are the primary thing they need. But, if the ad model becomes more difficult and publishers start to move to a more audience-centric premium content model, this means that priorities change.

No longer is “the more the better” necessarily true. Instead of constantly trying to drive more and more traffic, the focus will be on serving smaller audiences better and more personally.

#3 – If you’re unwilling to pay, you’ll stay small.

It’s a hard truth to swallow sometimes, but the centralization of the internet traffic around a few corporations that rely on ads for revenue means that we’re forced to play the game whether we like it or not. This means that… reliably growing your web presence and audience is more and more going to require that you pay for traffic.

We’re pretty much there already. For instance, a lot of bloggers try to rely on social media to share their content and get noticed. And surely, if you do a good job with your content, you can get some traffic that way. But, most of those social networks make their money on ads. And if you don’t pay, your message is more liable to get lost in the noise.

The ramifications of this are pretty clear…

If you need to pay for traffic, that means you have to be doing something worthy of paying for the eyeballs. This means you need a revenue model.

No longer is monetization something you do after you have an audience.

Monetization is something you MUST do SO THAT you can reach an audience.

#4 – A shift toward being more personal

People are tired of being treated like a number. People are tired of being broadcasted to. More and more, I think the businesses (and bloggers) who win will be the ones who form more personal, human relationships with their audience.

I know things like site personalization and email segmentation have been around for awhile. Those things are scalable… and important. But…

The things I think will make the difference the most are the things which are UNscalable.

Simple things… like picking up the phone and actually talking to people. Having private conversations.

This business isn’t a numbers game as much as it used to be. As the internet was younger, it was all about eyeballs only. Raw traffic. We could “blast” emails to our list. We could write somewhat simple content and it was still cool.

Not so much anymore.

We have attention deficit.

And we have content inflation.

Less attention to give to a lot more crap.

So, the way to stand out today isn’t to try to “out gun” them with better content, necessarily. (Although that helps). It is to connect more personally.

Human to human.

#5 – Instant content. Simple answers.

I mentioned it above… content inflation.

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a shitload of content out there. In almost any blog niche that’s worth anything, you’re going to have a large number of competent content creators pumping out stuff constantly.

And as we know from basic economics, as supply ramps up, value goes down.

We’ve reached a point of saturation when it comes to online content. Almost irregardless of how awesome your content is, it just won’t get noticed. Not unless you have a built-in audience already or are willing to pay for traffic to it.

Plus, you’ve got all these bloggers competing for traffic. A lot of them have been told how to craft compelling content. They’ve been taught ideal post length and many of them try to write these mega-posts just to satisfy the Google gods. But, with so many people doing the same, it STILL becomes harder and harder to rise in this content inflation.

But, let’s also make note of our changing online habits…

People have short attention spans. And they want fast answers.

So, while the power of long-form content will always remain for a multitude of reasons, I think there’s good opportunity to be found in short-form, FAQ style blog content. In short…

Answer your market’s questions. Do so simply.

You can literally make the headline of your post a question. Then, just answer it.

This strategy caters to what most audiences want these days. It is good for Google (ever noticed that “People also ask” section in Google SERPs?). It can work for the rise of voice search where quick answers are more fitting and big long mega guides not as friendly.

So, what do you think of these trends?

Do you see any others that I didn’t include?

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