Instagram Isn’t Killing Blogs – It’s Making Them Better

Instagram Isn’t Killing Blogs – It’s Making Them Better

I was enjoying my Saturday morning cup of tea and blog binge when I got to a post by one of my favourite bloggers and Instagrammers lamenting the slow demise of blogging.

I died. (As the kids say.)

As an avid reader of blogs and someone who blogs for a living this was understandably a little unsettling. It’s been playing on my mind ever since and I’ve been thinking hard about whether I’m being blind to the upcoming death of blogging.

Here’s what I decided instead.

Instagram isn’t killing blogs – it’s making them better

I’ve been consistently blogging since 2010 and for a lot of that time I didn’t actively seek an audience. I’ve always said I’d blog even if no one was there and for a while I acted like they weren’t. This wasn’t very smart.

Because the rise of Instagram is putting bloggers under pressure. My blog now competes for the eyes of readers who are scrolling through an endless Insta feed and for budget from brands who are more tempted by an instant popularity hit than detailed evergreen content. (Slight dig. Bitter? Me?!)

But the upside of this is I’ve had to work harder and smarter to attract both readers and brands and when I look at a lot of my favourite blogs I see them kicking it too.

You just gotta blog smarter

When I look at my Bloglovin feed lately (which I regularly do, when I want to switch off for 15 mins with the previously mentioned cup of tea) I am inspired as both a reader and a writer by the content I see.

I’m reading long-form heartfelt or hilarious stories, in-depth travel guides and resourceful collaborations. I’m finding honesty and rawness in a depth that I don’t think can be replicated in a caption and I’m seeing launches that celebrate both women and the written word.

(Like this, this and THIS!.)

I’m seeing bloggers getting creative about the way they present content on their pages and I’m enjoying how they’re free to write about whatever they are passionate about regardless of whether it fits into an overall theme.

(Like Elizabeth who was also inspired to write about why she won’t be quitting her blog anytime soon.)

I see bloggers swotting up on SEO, thinking of long-term gains and creating their own products rather than flogging someone else’s.

Others, myself included, are updating old content, making posts that are already popular even more helpful so that when people go to Google with a particular question they’ll find our answers.

Of course, like most bloggers I still use social media to speak to my audience, but with the knowledge that these unowned platforms could change the rules any minute.

Which they do.

Instagram Isn’t Killing Blogs – It’s Making Them Better

Dear Blog: I’ll stand by you

The thing about Instagram

I’m not going to go into too much detail about how I feel about Instagram because it’s been said well here.

Let’s just say that most of the time looking at my feed makes me feel sh*t.

The recent algorithm changes may seek to change this but for so long now a certain type of ascetic has risen to the top of the Insta feed and that’s just not me.

What is me is the democracy of a RSS feed. How refreshing it is to see all the content I want to know about in chronological order, as old-fashioned as that may be.

Is your copyright being respected?

I’m also disillusioned by the lack of respect for content creators that is shown on Instagram, in particular.

I don’t know what it is about Insta that makes businesses think that using bloggers’ content without credit is ok but for some reason it is (still!) happening. I’ve seen people add to their Insta bios ‘please don’t regram without permission’ and it staggers me that this even needs to be stated.

Just this weekend I spotted a breakfast I’d eaten and snapped a few weeks ago being served up in my feed by the café who casually forgot to mention that the image belonged to me. I sighed and closed my phone because I didn’t have the energy to point out the problem. Again.

I know that blogs are not immune to having content ripped off but is it just me who sees it happen more often than is tolerable on Insta?

This isn’t a dig at Instagrammers

I do want to caveat some of my earlier pointers by saying that I have the utmost respect for Instagram influencers. I’ve travelled with some dedicated Instagrammers and seen that being successful on Instagram takes hard graft and talent. (If you’re not gaming the system – that’s a whole other story!)

I have big love for all content creators and am not saying you need to fall into a camp – let’s not have a bloggers versus Instagrammers debate please.

I’m just trying to explain why the rise of Instagram has made me even more focused on what’s happening right here.

You do you

The beauty of having so many content platforms in 2018 is that each of us can play to our strengths. Those who are skilled at pairing photography with short, pithy prose might lean one way – long-winded prattlers  (that’s me!) the other.

For most of us, we’ll flip between the two depending on the story we want to tell, just like readers go to different places to scratch a different itch.

As it currently stands, my most engaged audience – ie those who stick around for minutes rather than seconds! – are still on my blog, so that is where you will mostly find me.

Blogging lives on, doesn’t it?

Blogging has so far survived the rise of video, the death of Vine, the potential demise of Snapchat, the loved-by-algorithm Lives, the growing popularity of podcasts and (I hope) whatever the next content trend turns out to be. (Voice apparently.)

I’m praying this won’t come back to bite me in this arse but from the 8 years I’ve been in this industry I’ve learned that good content will find an audience, whatever format it happens to be in.

It’s just that personally I want the content I produce to live on a platform that is controlled by me.

*Opens the floor for discussion*

Read more thoughts on blogging, make me change my mind about Insta or click Pin for a pretty one I’ve made for you!

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10 Comments

  1. March 28, 2018 / 10:56 am

    Phew, I’m so glad you wrote this! I agree that Instagram is helping blogs – the standard of blogs compared to when I started 5 years ago is INSANE, and people are definitely realising the importance of a good aesthetic. I was shocked to read about the ‘slow demise’ of blogging as I’m loving blogs more than ever! It’s definitely made my life a little harder though in order to stand out and give an audience the visuals they want. Fingers crossed blogging continues to go from strength to strength in the years to come.

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 29, 2018 / 5:54 am

      I totally get where you’re coming from. The proliferation of blogs and popularity of social media sites definitely makes it harder to stand out but does seem to have increased the quality all round as we work harder to build an audience. It will be so interesting to see what a blog looks like in 5 years from now as the industry keeps evolving.

  2. March 28, 2018 / 2:53 pm

    Hear, Hear!! I don’t believe the art of the written form is dying. There is something magical and beautiful about storytelling that I don’t believe it’s replicated on any other platform. Maybe it is the old lady in me, with her old-fashioned ways that are clinging to this artform but then we shall find our old lady kindred spirits and stick together.

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 29, 2018 / 5:59 am

      I’m all for being in the old-fashioned ladies who love written word gang. Come to think of it I do think the age of the average blog reader has gone up over the years. From my own audience I can see blogs becoming more popular with 35+ and the fastest growing segment for facebook users is much higher than that. So maybe blogs will live on if we write for old ladies??!

  3. March 28, 2018 / 6:07 pm

    I totally agree with you Jayne. I think people have to try harder – me included. As Emily says above, blogs are crazy good now. The big ones have to have more than one person behind them as there is such a high standard in so many disciplines. The amount of skills you need to have is insane.

    I’m getting more on board with Instagram – and I do love stories – but I’ll always be a blog reader and love getting stuck into a really meaty post.

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 29, 2018 / 6:02 am

      Same, I definitely dip into Insta and enjoy the odd Story but I don’t think I get much out of it as a blogger. Maybe it’s just that I suck at it?! On the other hand I’ve been focusing on my blog for the last few months and am seeing some good results – there’s lots to be said for focusing on one thing at a time (especially if that 1 thing requires multiple skills!).

  4. March 28, 2018 / 7:20 pm

    I’m with you. I love reading (and writing) blogs, deep diving through old blog content, and most importantly, I feel like I “get to know” the bloggers behind the blogs I read frequently. I don’t think that same kind of connection occurs with the Instagrammers I follow.

    • Jayne Gorman
      March 29, 2018 / 6:05 am

      So true, and maybe this is also an old-fashioned mindset but I have a higher level of trust in blogs than with Instagram too. I’m not naive to think a blog can’t be fake but there definitely seems to be more dodgy tactics at work on insta – or so the media would have you believe.

  5. March 29, 2018 / 8:57 am

    Wow! What a great article! I’m writing on a very similar text (in German) right now and I’m thinking the exact same thing. I realized I spend so many time on my blog’s social media accounts on platforms I don’t even like (FB and Insta with its awful new algorithm, for example). So I decided to go back to the roots and focus on something much, much smaller than any social media platform, but which is totally mine: my blog. Like you,I believe that blogging is a classic, which will survive all shortlived hypes… you just have to be patient.
    Congrats to this very true post!
    Tatiana

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