The Blog Is King: Why Your Own Platform Will Be Crucial To Influencer Success In 2018

During the birth of the bloggersphere all you needed was the ability to type; the focus was on documenting your life or passions, with little thought for design or visual appeal. We collectively opened up blogspot accounts and set about writing our thoughts, snapping pictures on our rudimentary smartphones and googling for stock images we could insert into our content (probably without permission or credit.) It was raw, it was engaging and it was very real – unlike the slick, glossy and shiny media outlets we were so used to seeing, which were becoming more distant from our own realities. I adored blogging then just as I do now; the focus was on creating your own corner of the internet and using it to express your passion points or insight (even if only a handful of people read it.) Over the last five years or so, however, the focus has moved from chucking up a bit of everything as and when you feel like it, to carefully curated platforms and social media channels that are an extension of the heart of our blogging journey. It’s about a beautifully shot Instagram feed, professionally edited YouTube videos, carefully timed tweets and automated pinning – all with the objective of increasing awareness and engagement.

With the growth of the bloggersphere and increasing competitiveness, it’s no surprise many of us are trying to become superstars on different platforms; it’s no wonder that Instagram has become such a big focus when influencers are raking in thousands just for one snapshot on their feeds, or that YouTube videos are becoming more and more ‘clickbaity’ just to get the required views. But one complaint I’m hearing more and more consistently is that these external channels are preventing content from being seen, are increasingly hard to navigate effectively, and that the knock-on effect is that the bloggersphere is a trickier place than ever to get noticed – let alone make a living. And the one thing that ties all these issues together? These platforms are owned by multi-million dollar corporations trying to make even more money, with the user experience and influencer pay packet the bottom of their priority list.

We can complain as much as we like about the Instagram algorithm or the fact YouTube is hiding new videos from subscription boxes, but the cold hard fact is that nothing we say or do will make a difference. We may be invested in these platforms from a personal point of view, but they’ve got a far bigger agenda that we’re not part of; at any one time they could make a change that sees our content practically invisible, or our follower number cut in half. We have no control over these platforms, which makes them a dangerous play to be so heavily invested in – especially when increasing numbers of bloggers are actually dropping their blogs altogether. I’ve seen lots of chatter recently about whether or not you can be a blogger and not actually blog in the traditional sense, and my thoughts on the matter are this: blogging is about documenting your life in whichever way you see fit and via whichever platform you choose, BUT I think that without your own space you transition from ‘blogger’ to ‘influencer’ (and ‘influencer’ on a time limit.)

Your owned channels (and by owned channels I mean your own website/blog) allow you to tell a story in your own way, without the restriction of big corporations or algorithms. They provide infinite space, endless creativity and the opportunity to create something without boundaries – there’s no restriction on image size, how many hashtags you use, how many characters you can include or what links you can add. They’re the hub of your online persona, a platform on which you can embed every element you’ve created where readers can discover everything you have to offer. Your own site is the one place nobody else can mess with, or decide to shut down one day because you’ve apparently breached their terms and conditions; it’s a true reflection of you as an individual and its importance should never be overlooked – especially within the current climate.

As we migrate into 2018, it’s my firm belief that these channels will become even harder to be visible on (let alone monetize.) I can see that we’re already starting to see a resurgence of the blog, and focus on creating great content that provides a few minutes of escapism when you need it most. In a culture that’s so obsessed with scrolling and not actually engaging, blogs and websites provide a more immersive experience that actively encourage participation – and more so than a quick double click. They provide an opportunity to build a long-term relationship with your reader and give them a reason to keep coming back for more, but they also provide ample opportunity for discovery thanks to search engines; the content only continues to deliver, rather than being pushed to the bottom of someone’s feed within a few moments. From a brand point of view, a blog is still the primary platform of interest and where they want to see their collaborations placed; so if you want to commercialise your site or work on partnerships, having your own platform is a crucial part of that experience.

Don’t get me wrong, I adore social media and spend far too much time across multiple platforms on a daily basis. But I’m very aware that my blog is a space that’s truly my own. Although curating a beautifully shot Insta-feed is as much hard work as it is fun, it’s vitally important that we don’t forget the ‘blog’ bit in the word blogger.

Let me know your thoughts and how you predict the bloggersphere will change into 2018…

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26 Comments

  1. Ruth Writes
    August 31, 2017 / 7:39 am

    Love this post! As a longtime blogger, and someone who works in blogger outreach, I completely agree with this. Whilst the landscape is majorly changing and it's easier to focus on social platforms, I think it's stupid to not have a blog, or else you're not future-proofing your content. Who knows what will happen with the algorithms or if a new platform gets launched. Having a blog is crucial as a place to house your content so you're ready for the next wave of social media platforms! Ruth // http://www.ruth-writes.co.uk

    • Hayley Carr
      August 31, 2017 / 9:48 am

      Absolutely – focusing on one social platform is such a short-term view, and will inevitably cause issues when it starts to decline in popularity.

  2. last year's girl
    August 31, 2017 / 9:08 am

    Agree a thousand times. I've been blogging since 1999, so at this point it's an extension of myself as much as a "business", as much as I appreciate the occasional sponsorships and collaborations. I've never been able to make as much of a success of social (except, maybe, Twitter, but again early adoption was probably a factor here) as I have of my blog, and the regular algorithm changes and feelings of lack of control don't inspire me to put in as much of my limited time as I do into my blog.I'd love to see a return in really well-written, unique blog content in 2018. It's already a trend I'm starting to see a little more of, albeit with the occasional apologetic "this is going to be a really personal post" disclaimers. Frankly, and as I've said to you before, that's why I'm all in on my favourite blogs: for the people behind them, not copy and pasted sponsored content and reviews of the same products everybody else has.Lis / last year's girl x

    • Hayley Carr
      August 31, 2017 / 9:49 am

      I think gone are the days of endless reviews being enough, or quickly put together pieces just for the sake of it – personally I'm putting up less content, but hopefully better quality.

    • last year's girl
      September 1, 2017 / 9:03 am

      Oh, absolutely. Yours is fast becoming one of my favourite blogs, which seems like a weird thing to say to somebody who's been doing it as long as you have! But I've definitely noticed a difference in your content, this year in particular.

    • Hayley Carr
      September 1, 2017 / 9:33 am

      I'm glad! I've definitely changed up what I'm doing and have been enjoying it far more. Moving away from so many product features and reviews has been the best decision I've made!

  3. bart k.
    August 31, 2017 / 10:21 am

    Needed to read this. I've seen others (some of whom I admire) step away from their blogs to focus strictly on IG and live feeds. I enjoy writing so much but keeping up with blog content started to feel 'vintage'. I so loving having my own space and seeing numbers go up with each new post, numbers that are not influenced by algorithms, etc. Thanks for sharing this, Hayley!

    • Hayley Carr
      August 31, 2017 / 10:41 am

      You're welcome! Keep up with the writing – vintage sometimes come back round into fashion sooner than we anticipate ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. alittlekiran
    August 31, 2017 / 12:31 pm

    This is such a great post! I just started posting on YouTube but nothing compares to the love I have for my blog. It is completely mine and I adore it, no one else decides what I do with it or what is shown etc. A great message in this post Hayley, thank you for sharing xALittleKiran | Bloglovin

  5. Pam Scalfi
    August 31, 2017 / 2:14 pm

    thanks for writing this! It has definitely opened my eyes! I have spent way more time on Instagram than on my blog ever since I came back to the blogging scene. This puts things into a different perspective so thank you!Pam xo/ Pam Scalfiโ™ฅ

  6. Hum
    August 31, 2017 / 2:40 pm

    It's already starting to happen. A few bloggers and YouTubers I know are already saying their feeds and posts are being suppressed. Facebook is a joke and unfortunately, I can see Instagram going that way too. Their only saving grace right now is Instagram stories, but I agree, the blog will remain king and the only real thing in our control.

    • Hayley Carr
      September 1, 2017 / 9:02 am

      Unfortunately I agree with you; Instagram is getting so hard and I hear YT is also going the same way, with revenue being sliced. Blog is king for sure!

  7. Catherine Sayer
    August 31, 2017 / 4:18 pm

    This is such an interesting outlook! And I have to agree that having your own platform is so important nowadays ๐Ÿ™‚ I've been trying to focus more on my blog rather than socials recently too as that's the only thing I can really control myself! xhttp://www.cocoamay.co.uk

  8. Liz S
    August 31, 2017 / 4:41 pm

    Completely agree! It really is the one space that you have actual control over…

  9. Anonymous
    August 31, 2017 / 5:07 pm

    Completely agree although it depends on the content as well. My blog started out as a nail art/review blog paired with my online shop but it's so hard to write a post on nails. Those posts do better as a picture/hash tags on Instagram for me as people just want to see the pretty and move on. I still like to do a proper post as well and particularly if I can get a tutorial in but it doesn't always work. This however leaves me free to put whatever other content I want on the blog which is something I love as I still get to be creative but in a different way. I've been considering for a couple of years even moving off WordPress and getting back to just making my own website for the blog; something I haven't done for years but used to really enjoy. I'm a bit of a code nerd (or would like to be at least). Maybe I need to kick myself up the backside and get on with it.

    • Hayley Carr
      September 1, 2017 / 9:06 am

      Do it! Get motivated and create something you love! You're right about different content for different platforms though – it's important to understand what works for your audience and do more of it.

  10. Lelore
    September 2, 2017 / 10:20 am

    A very interesting viewpoint Hayley! I have become so obsessed with trying to grow my Instagram that I've lost sight of the big picture – my blog. I've been putting more focus on my blog over the last month though so I'm going to keep going and not be distracted by platforms that I can't conquer.Laura | Lelore

  11. Joanne Mallon
    September 2, 2017 / 2:39 pm

    My prediction is that independent, hobby blogging will be BACK in a big way, as overly commercialised blogs become more of a turn off, and people realise that it's only ever going to be a small proportion of bloggers who can (or want to) do it full time. Plus you have unlimited creative freedom when you're not trying to make a living from your blog, and that's very appealing to many people. So blogging around the day job is back (disclosure: the fact that I blog around my day job may have something to do with this). Also, in recent years the pendulum has swung towards visuals being the most important element of the blog post – I predict that it's going to swing back a bit with more of a balance between words and pictures. Pretty pictures aren't enough for everybody and plenty of readers still want something to read. So more words and better writing in 2018, that's what I'd like to see. And also more humour in beauty blogging – it's often so serious, which is surprising given how fun it can be.

  12. Frankly Flawless -
    September 2, 2017 / 6:18 pm

    I'm so glad to hear this! Sometimes it can be disheartening with Instagram and the like but I feel encouraged that my blog is still mine and something that is unique to me. I will continue with Instagram but I agree your posts on Instagram just get pushed to the back of a feed very quickly whilst your blog is unique and still there if that makes senseInstagram and the like are great social media platforms but they are different methods – its important not to have all your eggs in one basket and at least your blog showcase different skills – at least that's what think. xfranklyflawless.com

  13. Emme Chatterton
    September 4, 2017 / 3:54 am

    Great advice, this is so true! I always recommend everyone to have a website, even if it's not a traditional style blog, it really takes you to the professional level.

  14. Anonymous
    September 5, 2017 / 9:54 am

    2018 – i think things will blow up. Things will either get out of control on social media or it'll be the return of good writing. For me- I home its the second.- abloggersbeauty.com

  15. Sarah Dean
    September 5, 2017 / 11:56 am

    Great post! I am definitely finding it harder to get new followers across my various platforms and my views and likes have dropped. Whether it's algorithms, the over-saturated market, or a genuine decline in interest in what I post, it's frustrating. But at the end of the day, as awesome it would be to have enough followers to be considered an "influencer" and actually earn money from blogging and/or social media, I started blogging because I love writing. I kept blogging because I loved the community, I loved finding like-minded people to engage with, I loved expressing myself creatively, and I feel in love with photography as well as writing.Blogging has always been (and hopefully will always be) the most important aspect to me. Social media just backs it up and is a way to be more involved in the community.

  16. Safiyah
    September 5, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    Totally agree!I was recently interviewed on diary directory and asked if I thought traditional blogging would fade out and if YouTube will be my sole focus but i see other social media platforms as extensions of my blog tbh and pray "traditional" blogging doesn't fade out!

  17. Ali
    September 8, 2017 / 11:59 am

    Instagram is such a frustrating platform at the moment, it wouldn't surprise me if it goes downhill like others already have. I hope blogging does change for the better in 2018 because there's so much great, authentic content being posted. I don't post as much on my blog as I used to but I feel like the quality is better and I'm happy with that ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Kirsty Merrett
    September 9, 2017 / 10:16 pm

    Totally agree on this! and I'm all about the evergreen content!!!!

  19. lipsticklori
    September 12, 2017 / 7:17 pm

    Such a great post! I got into blogging because I love writing and have been sorely missing the inspiration I used to get from reading interesting well-written blog posts, now that so many bloggers are image focused and concentrating on Instagram. I'm hoping 2018 sees a change.

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