Recently, I was listening to a podcast and it was talking about how social media is always changing. One of the hosts said how she wishes a few years ago, there were blog posts like, “How you should be using Twitter in 2 years.” She said, “I would totally read that – how are we supposed to know how to do all of this in the future?”
It’s a valid question. For most of us, it’s no secret that we’re all figuring everything out as we go. But as soon we get our heads around one new piece of tech, another even better one comes bursting onto the scene.
I’ve always had the belief that you need to be one step ahead. You’ve got to anticipate the future – and that’s without having a crystal ball for help.
Why? If you can find the next trends, you can ride them. Then you can be the one who teaches everyone else about it.
If you’re concentrating on what’s already happening, or the trends that used to be huge and now everyone’s jumped on them, you risk the chance of being in second or third place. You risk the chance of falling behind.
Which is why today, we’re going to try and predict the future of blogging in five years. Now, obviously this isn’t set in stone. If I could be in the Back to the Future trilogy and take a trip in the DeLorean to see this first hand, I would. All we can base this on is what we know already:
People want to consume content with minimum effort, whenever they want and wherever they want.
Before we start, I just want to let you know that these points can apply to all bloggers. Whether you blog about fashion, life, or how to grow a business, you can start working on these predictions today to get ahead. So let’s start, shall we?
#1 Words Won’t Cut It – We’ll Be Blogging Differently
Words won’t disappear completely and I don’t think they should. Blogging started out as a way for us to express ourselves through the written word and it’ll stay that way. But, it won’t be enough.
People’s attention spans are getting smaller and smaller, meaning that reading is becoming a thing of the past. I know your opinions will differ with that statement. For me, when it’s a topic I’m really interested in, I’ll be happy to read 3,000+ words. But if it’s a review of a blogger’s weekly summary? I’d rather see that in images or video.
So in five years’ time we won’t blog less, but we’ll definitely blog differently. Content is not seen as just writing anymore. Even now, bloggers are expanding their skill sets by creating videos, infographics and podcasts. Soon enough, content on blogs will turn into that, plus audio, slideshows, case studies, eBooks – everything that provides variety and increases engagement.
Maybe content in the future will differ between two extremes. On one hand, you’ve got the 140 character twitter style updates, for the people who crave in-the-moment content. On the other hand, you’ve got people who love to read long form essays that are easily 1,000 words and more. These are almost like mini eBooks and what a number of bloggers create on their sites already, including myself. This is evergreen content, jam-packed full of valuable information.
These are two extremities but you can see the appeal of both – you just need to decide which one you prefer the most. Or, make the best of both worlds and do both!
#2 Real Time Blogging Will Be Huge
We’re getting nosier by the day, aren’t we? We always want to know what our favourite online people are up to all the time. Twitter and Instagram are great for that because you get to see their thoughts and pictures first hand. But it’s got even better that.
Usually, we write a blog post, publish it, share it on social media and wait for comments. Then share it out on social media some more. Repeat. In five years, that will be different.
What if I said, “OK, every Tuesday and Thursday at 8pm I’m going to live blog – you can show up and join in with me live, online.”
That’s live blogging.
Recent social media newbies are proving that this is where the industry is heading. Snapchat lets you see instant images from someone’s day and Periscope lets you live stream about anything you want. These are such amazing platforms! We want to be there and live all the time. Real time blogging will allow us to do that, and it’s an area that’s only going to get bigger over the next few years.
#3 Images Will Still Mean Everything
If you’re new to the blogging world, or you’re still unsure about images let me just say that these will still be big news in five, ten and fifteen years’ time. People love looking at pictures – there’s no denying it. There’s something about images that will hold our attention for a lot longer than words ever will.
In December last year, Instagram surpassed Twitter by hitting 300 million monthly users. Now, I’m much more comfortable on Twitter so this was big news. But if you’re anything like me, you’ll take this as even more of an incentive to really focus on the image style of your brand. I know small business owners that get clients through Instagram and bloggers that have built their successful brand purely on this platform. Brand presence is being conveyed through images and that will still be true for years to come.
#4 Skills Will Matter More
Let me ask you a question: as blogger, how much of this were you taught from others? Or, if you’re looking to start a blog, do you get taught this in school, college or university?
I’ll answer this from my own experience. Everything I know about blogging and the topics I write about, I taught myself.
I’m pretty sure it’s that way for 90% of others too.
The skills that we need in the future are not being taught to the younger generations. Fact. There is a huge skills gap between those who leave school, and those who want to work in digital marketing / social media / web design – you name it. Blogging and social media form the basis of our communications so skills really do matter. We are the connected generation.
Jobs in the digital marketing industry are increasing week by week, and it’s the same for freelance jobs. There’s a real need. But the issue is that people can’t apply for them, because they don’t have the skills.
That’s why I believe in everyone who is a self-starter. If you can say not only that you started a blog but that you taught yourself the skills to build it and maintain it, you’ve definitely got the upper hand.
#5 Bloggers Will Have a Multi-Faceted Online Presence
This is my new favourite phrase.
A multi-faceted presence consists of various channels for communication with our difference audiences. So, you might be on Facebook to connect with your friends; Twitter to connect with your potential readers, Periscope to connect with like-minded people, you blog to share your expertise – and so on. You’re on these different platforms to serve a unique purpose for each, all that benefit you and your community.
Which, basically, you do already, right?
But this will become bigger. It’ll become more important to make each platform serve a unique purpose. Your blog, your podcast, your videos, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope – you’ll be creating different content for them all.
A multi-faceted online presence also means being completely transparent – this is usually what makes me a fan of someone online in the first place. People who communicate openly and vulnerably, sharing the positives, negatives and everything in between.
Think about this: do you want less noise? Ease of use? Ease of access? This is what your audience wants too. You want your message to end up with the right person, and even spur them into action. These communication platforms let you do that on a much larger scale – if you posted to every single one once a day, think how much unique content that would be and how many people you’d be attracting!
Further reading: Do You Even Need To Be On Social Media?
#6 We will have more power – but more and more people will start blogging
This isn’t a bad thing. I fully support anyone who wants to start a blog for their own unique (and right) reasons. But you’ve got to wonder – will it hit a mass? Will it get so big that us smaller bloggers won’t be able to compete? I fear that day, if it were to come. I would never want to feel that smaller bloggers don’t have a chance. Because we really do! We’re the real game changers. We’re the real makers, do-ers and movers. So we’re the ones that will get more power. You’ve just got to keep believing.
Here’s What You Think…
I reached out on Twitter and asked you, “What are your predictions for the future of blogging?” This is what you said:
I think it’ll become much more competitive #smallbiz
I see it going more virtual...more vlogging and things like Periscope
What are your predictions for the future of our industry? How do you think you'll be blogging in five years' time?
Wondering how you can make your website work to maximise your online presence?