There have been no shortage of folks out there saying things like, "Blogging is dead" - or some variation thereof.
And if what you have in mind is the personal journal-type ramblings of the early Blogger, Typepad, and even WordPress days, then you might be at least a little bit right. I've had lots of blogs over the years that have served as little-read ventilation chambers for all my random thoughts and opinions, and despite how much I may have loved those things at the time, they have all (thankfully) gone on to meet their maker.
But saying things like "blogging is dead" actually betrays a misunderstanding of what blogging is - or at least, what it has become.
Because really, blogging has become the central way we create substantial, consistent content online.
Think about it. Nearly every website in existence has a blog - or a "News" page or something of that nature. If you want to get to know more about a person or a business, the blog is where you get the most up-to-date information. And the line between blogging and news writing/reporting has become blurred to the extent that most major news outlets have bloggers and columnists and stand-alone articles all playing in the same space.
When was the last time your search for information on a particular topic - parenting, technology, creativity, etc. - led you to an informative blog post rather than a static informational page? Blogging is not for a few hobbyists anymore. Rather, blogs are now the mainstream way we consume fresh content.
But what about you- the individual, the small businessperson, the writer looking for a platform or outlet for your work? Should you have a blog? Or should you just promote yourself and your work on social media, or maybe a blogging network site like Medium?
Here's the thing: if you want your story, your work, or your business to make an impact online, I strongly believe you NEED to launch a blog. I believe it is ESSENTIAL, not optional. And here are three BIG reasons why:
1. A Blog is the Key to Your Internet Home Base.
We find ourselves at a moment in time when getting your thoughts and ideas "out there" is easier than ever before. Even grandma is on Facebook; and anyone with a political opinion can mobilize their Twitter app for 140-character tirades. We are all content creators now. But the big question is whether the content we create will have enough quality to stand out - and whether it will really be ours, and help to build our audience.
My philosophy is this: utilize EVERY distribution channel that makes sense for you and your work. But START by creating consistent content at your Internet Home Base - your own, self-hosted website and blog.
Because if all you do is write stuff and share stuff on social media, or even on Medium, you won't be able to establish the kind of recognition and traction that you and your brand really needs. Your website home base is where people can access your core message and really connect with who you are and what you do. You need to keep drawing folks to that message. And your blog is the key to doing just that. Your blog is the key to turning your readers into a loyal audience.
Let me put it in more practical terms: a loyal audience has taken a step to show their commitment to your message. And creators generally agree that the most important step readers can take is to become email subscribers. And that happens most effectively in one place: your blog.
2. A Blog Tells the Story of YOU, Not Just What You DO.
I've mentioned the idea of your core message. And every creator - whether you are a writer, a businessperson, a public figure, whatever - has a core message. But your message can easily get lost, or forgotten, in the sea of messages that exist all around us.
The question becomes: How can I keep drawing people to my core message, when there are so many competing messages out there?
The answer is that your message needs to become an ongoing story that you are telling to your audience. And it's the story of YOU, not just what you DO.
Have you ever checked out the blog on a business website only to find it sparsely populated with bland updates about products or maybe a few random events? That business may be trying to tell a story, but it's just the story of what they do. We are all left wondering who this brand really is. Does it have a soul? Does it connect with me at a soul-level?
You need a blog - but even more than that, you need a blog with soul.
Your blog can become the place where you tell the story of you, which will make what you do - and even what you sell - shine even brighter and shout even louder among all the competing messages out there.
3. A Blog Can Be a Living, Breathing Thing.
The last big reason you need a blog is because a blog can become a living, breathing thing.
Here's what I mean by that. A clean, beautiful, well-designed website is an essential part of any individual or business web presence. But the best websites are designed around the fresh content that is being created on a consistent basis. A content-focused site is making a clear statement that what you do is not about static information, but a living, breathing kind of story.
And, again, the blog is where this living, breathing magic happens. Think about it. When you commit to posting consistently on your blog, you are creating a brilliant record of content that lives and breathes through evolutions and changes in your work. An archive develops that tells your long-running story, and sets the stage for the great things you might accomplish in the future.
In addition, each post you create has the potential to position you as an authority on a particular topic or practice - and lead to ongoing traction as it is shared time and time again. You might get to experience the thrill of going viral. But more importantly, you might get the longterm impact of a post that becomes evergreen - expanding your audience by making you a respected authority on a topic over the long haul.
Finally, your commitment to creating consistent content on your blog will connect you to other creators and open up incredible doors for you both online and in real life. Your blog becomes a living, breathing thing that makes your actual life better.
And isn't that what this is all about anyway?
So, don't delay or think twice. Now is the right time to launch your living, breathing blog. Because blogging is the opposite of dead - it is, in fact, the very thing that brings your online presence to life.