The last week or so has seen my timeline filled with reflective posts, tales of lessons learned and resolutions to be made for the following twelve months. There’s something about January that allows us to reset and reboot, preparing our bodies and minds for the year ahead. 2014 certainly was a big year for the bloggerphere, with our previously under-the-radar pastime or job becoming a little more widely understood and respected; from bloggers launching their own beauty lines, to more and more taking the leap into the unknown world of ‘full time writing’ to the mega vlogger almost taking over the world one video at a time. It seams that blogging has suddenly become ‘mainstream’ and understood as a viable career path for those lucky enough to be given that option, but I’ve no doubt there are bumps in the road ahead and curve balls waiting to be thrown at us in 2015. So how will blogging change in the next twelve months? Here are some of my predictions…
The Cream Will Rise To The Top
Currently there’s very much a ‘top tier’ of bloggers, with the rest of us bubbling away underneath. In 2015 I predict that the cream of the crop (be it with huge numbers, a fantastic back catalogue of content, unique outlook or authoritative voice) will start to rise to the top and knock some of the ‘queens and kings’ off their thrones. There are so many thousands of amazing sites out there, but so often they’re unrecognised or only respected within a key niche; I predict that blogs of all subjects and sizes that have something really special to say will claim their place and be celebrated accordingly. For too long we’ve had the same huge bloggers sitting at the head of the table without being challenged, so it’s about time we had some new faces over for dinner.
Personalities Will Shine Through
The reason some of the most popular blogs are incredibly successful is because of the personalities behind the words. Some of my favourite blogs to read are those with a unique viewpoint and clear personality; it’s like talking to someone as you lift the words from the page. As the community becomes less afraid of standing out, being different and letting their uniqueness shine through I predict that more and more of the individual will become apparent – both literally and within the lines they write. Lifestyle blogs are becoming huge, as are advice posts, and I don’t see this trend going anywhere soon… I’ve seen more and more of the individual start to trickle into blogs, so I can’t wait for this to expand in 2015.
Niche Blogs Will Have Their Moment
Fashion and beauty blogs are undoubtedly huge, but there are so many other types of blogs bubbling away with little recognition. In the next twelve months I can see more niche topics being celebrated – whether it’s a blog on wine, being crafty, film reviews or technology advice, I predict that people will turn to blogs as a source of information for everything imaginable. If there are millions of people interested in the latest cinema releases or fine wine from France, there’s no reason why more niche blogs can’t be as celebrated and recognised as some of their more mainstream counterparts.
Engagement Vs Numbers
It’s incredibly hard as a brand or PR to identify where the real value of a blog lies. One site may have a million subscribers, but if those one million readers are all 14 year olds with only £5.00 pocket money to spend (and their interest only lies within fan-girling the blogger in question) does this really translate into value? However, if you have another site with 1000 visitors that really value an opinion and make purchasing decisions off the back of it, does that have a higher ROI? (Return on investment for those that don’t speak business jargon!) I’ve already seen a change in approach of many brands who prefer to work with sites where they can get value and reach those genuinely passionate about a topic, but in 2015 I expect this to progress even further. I predict that the focus will be placed on relevance and engagement, rather than hitting millions of people that may not actually be interested in what a collaboration is telling them.
Long-Term Relationships Will Be Key
Again, a change I started to see in 2014 – I believe the focus of brands and PRs will be building long-term mutually beneficial relationships with key bloggers that really work for them. Gone are the days when every blog with more than 100 readers would be given the same product and asked to review it; in 2015 I predict more targeted outreach and focus on providing individual bloggers with relevant and interesting information for them and their readers. It’s impossible with the ever expanding bloggersphere to talk to every blogger on a personal level, so I can only assume that brands will choose to work with a handful of perfectly placed sites that they know will champion their products and brands. I for one love it when a brand knows what I’m interested in, or topics I’ve previously covered, and lets me know about something they think I may love.
Endorsements Will Be Game-Changing
Celebrity endorsements have been dead for a long time, but in 2015 I believe that bloggers will start to fill this void. Bloggers have made their name as being impartial and knowledgeable, so it’s a natural progression to start putting their name to products they truly believe in. As blogs become more mainstream and bloggers continue to collaborate on everything from a dress collection to dry shampoo, I just have an inkling that big endorsements will be the next thing on the agenda and will completely change the way in which they’re perceived. Although the key will be to pick the right bloggers and for bloggers to only put their name to things they truly believe in, it’s a logical way to continue to capitalise on our ever growing industry.
Focus Will Move From Magazines
More titles than I care to mention closed their doors in 2014, with some of my previously favourite titles folding because of dropping circulations. PR and marketing budgets have historically been massively focused towards gaining coverage in print, but with huge drops in publications to target it seems logical for those budgets to be re-directed towards blogs. I’ve already experienced some huge brands changing their tactics and believing their investment is better placed online, so I predict this will only continue to evolve. When was the last time you actually bought something solely based on a magazine recommendation anyway? I know people buy the products I recommend, because they not only click through and buy but because they come back and tell me; right now print doesn’t offer the same kind of return (unless you’re talking about The Sunday Times!) It’s a really interesting time for brands and bloggers to work together.
We’ll All Embrace ‘The Next Big Thing’
Who knows what the next twelve months will hold, but I’ve no doubt there are new social networks and platforms on the horizon. Videos have been huge in the last year, so will podcasts or playlists be the next big thing? Snapchat has replaced Vine, Instagram has replaced Twitpics, so what is next on the list to take off within the bloggersphere? I’ve no clue (and I love that) but I’ve no doubt 2015 will see new ideas take off and new platforms launch that we’ll all adopt with ease. I can’t wait to see what’s in store…
What do you predict will happen within the bloggersphere in the next twelve months?
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