For people who still read or write blogs, the big news of the week was Andrew Sullivan plans to stop blogging soon.
While I have never read Sullivan’s blog, he is a super-star within the blogosphere. His soon-to-be-departure from blogging sparked a flurry of commentary and debate about the future of blogging. One guy decides to pack in it, and it seems like the end of the world.
As someone who has been blogging for 10 years (man, that’s a long time!), my first reaction was people were over-reacting. I mean, we’re talking about one blogger, albeit a high-profile blogger. It’s not like Sullivan’s exit stage left will spark a stampede out of the blogosphere.
So why did Sullivan’s decision get everyone so agitated?
I think it reflects people taking a hard look at blogging from two perspective:
1. Writing blogs is hard, particularly if you are doing it on a regular basis. Coming up with ideas is a challenge. And blogging is often less than rewarding because it is difficult to attract an audience amid fierce competition from other blogs.
2. Reading blogs is hard. People are time-strapped and overwhelmed by the amount of information available. There is so much content (aka content marketing gone mad) that people are more discerning about what they read. I have seen more people talking about being more selective about content consumption.
As someone who loves blogging, I can honestly tell you I’m less enamoured with blogging these days. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and how a blog lets me indulge by interests and curiosities.
But I’m no longer sure blogging delivers a solid return on investment. I question whether the time spent blogging is better spent somewhere.
Over the past couple of months, I have been working with a business coach. One of the key themes has been focus. We have spent a lot of time talking about where and how to allocate time and energy.
The changes are slowly happening – things like doing telephone calls rather coffee meetings, and spending less time on social media.
This exercise recently put the spotlight on my blog. I believe the content is valuable and offers insight but traffic on a good is day is 300 visitors.
To me, this is a disappointment, although you could argue it is a quality versus quantity proposition. I see lots of crappy blog content getting shared a lot on social media, and wonder what I’m doing wrong.
Another way of looking at things is maybe there are activities that have higher ROI than blogging. For example, I have thinking about writing e-books about specific topics – e.g. a 15 to 20 page guide on how startups can attract media coverage.
An e-book is the equivalent to five or six blog posts with much higher return on investment and, as important, return on energy. As well, I’m thinking e-books will deliver more value to readers because they have more depth, insight and guidance. It is like making dinner, rather than serving dessert.
With e-books on the horizon and a startup consulting practice rumbling along, something has to give. While I’m not probably going to abandon blogging altogether, it is likely that I will blog less – e.g. once a week, unless I’m inspired.
After a decade of writing a blog maybe the end is near. After all, even the best things come to end.
What will fill the void? I’m not entirely sure but I have lots of ideas around creating content. Maybe another book after my current project, “Storytelling for Startups“, is published in April. Maybe it will be e-books, podcasts or videos, or maybe I’ll find a new and interesting way to write a blog.
Is blogging dying? I don’t think so because good content is always valuable. But I think it comes down to focusing on what delivers the best returns on your time and energy.
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