As of today, blogging has been around for at least 25 years. But things have evolved a lot.
What about the next 25 years? What does the future of blogging have in store for us?
Additional Reading: Some practicals for you if you’re considering starting a blog.
I considered titling this post The Future of Content, to immediately give away some of the goodies of the post.
I want to jump in and address the difference between content and blogging, but before I even do that, I want to tell you why I think you should blog (and/or create content) in the first place (from a Futurist Mindset).
Your Future (if it’s to be Happy) Must be Meaningful and Authentic
I know the words “meaningful and authentic” get tossed around a good deal these days. But stay with me.
Your blog is a resource that can provide you a place to work out the pursuit of meaning.
Writing about a topic, becoming an authority and a thought-leader will be a crucible that both accelerates and challenges your purpose.
Communicating with 7 billion people has a way of calling bullshit on your authenticity. If you don’t really care about what you’re saying, you’ll find out quickly.
If you do care about it, you will have discovered a long-term sustainable way to market something that brings you fulfillment, joy, and money.
Now, What Exactly is Blogging?
This definitely deserves an entire post of its own. But for the time being, an abbreviated definition of a blog will have to do.
Blogging is distributing content using the medium of words.
What is Content?
Not content-ment, but content.
Broadly (perhaps philosophically), content is:
- Content is the water inside the bowl
- Content is the air inside the atmosphere
- Content is what you see (vs. seeing)
Written content is a sum of words that convey an idea to an audience
What is a Content Creator?
Someone who shares what is within them with others, typically as a profession to earn money or pursue vocational fulfillment.
And What is a Blogger?
A blogger is a content creator who focuses on the written word as their chosen instrument of communication.
Now, certainly there are many bloggers who also record podcasts, vlogs, graphically design images to enhance their message, and so on and so forth.
A Few Famous Content Creators…
Throughout history, humanity has been shaped by the ideas of Great Minds. Or perhaps one might say, by courageous minds (those willing to create).
I like to emphasize the difference, because while we are born with a certain level of intelligence, I’m not so sure that the metrics we use to gauge “greatness” are all that fair. Or accurate.
I’m of the opinion that we’re all best off embracing a growth mindset.
But have you ever considered the fact that these individuals listed below were content creators?
- Plato (I leave out Aristotle because Plato recorded his works)
- Jesus (apparently he created so much it couldn’t all be written down)… remember, this was even before the floppy disk’s debut
- The Beatles
- Mary Oliver
- Walt Whitman
- Mr. Money Mustache
In the days of yore, content creators were some of the greatest artists of all time.
What is a Content Consumer?
Well, it’s what all of us are! Unless we ignore the rest of the world.
The reason I mention this, is because it’s an important shift to look at yourself as both a content creator and a content consumer.
Most people go about their lives never creating content. They just consume it.
But lasting joy and fulfillment come when we offer value to the world– not just receive it. Or consume it.
Pause and take a look at your last month of life… when did you feel alive? My guess is that you were showing up and contributing.
The Future is Creative
By 2030, it is estimated that between 30% and 45% of all present-day jobs will be automated. There is no competition between big-data algorithms and human beings, we lose to the robots.
Sorry about that if you were confused.
We already cannot compete with the capabilities of machine learning. It is astounding to witness the sheer volume of data being collected today.
Feeling down? I have great news for you. You don’t really want to be competing for the jobs these robots are automating anyways.
You just want to be creating!
Your life is truly remarkable.
Even the stuff of your subconscious is creative, pulling raw material from your day life to form imaginative dreams.
What Will the Crowd Demand in the Future?
The most cherished resource for humans is not money, but time. Of course, this isn’t new information.
Philosophers like Seneca have said as much for millennia.
The most precious commodity of the 21st century is attention.
Attention is the first currency of marketing
This is the Z-axis of Time and Space. (Consciousness/attention)
Not just humans but robots will be itching to get our attention. “Watch our YouTube! Look at my Instagram!”
Did you know that robots are already composing music?
So what content will people want? That’s up to you to figure out!
The Future of Search Engines
Building Short, Medium, and Long-Term Blogging Strategies
Before I go deep-future on you, and every next step in your short-term strategy feels dismantled and deconstructed, I want to clearly articulate that it is my opinion that blogs will be around for a good while, even if the only medium they distribute is words.
The Future of Blogging is Expansion
If you jumped down here, you skipped some good stuff. So scroll on back up, and read the intro, it’s going to help contextualize much of what I say.
Expansion is the future. What do I mean?
Practically, I mean that humans desire to consume the best content (see also: give their attention to).
And that means more than just words.
We’re already seeing this happen today, in 2019. Consumers of content don’t just want to read words, they want to watch videos, listen to podcasts, and more.
Surely there will be even more vivid enhancements to content creation in the coming 5 years, with virtual reality making huge strides into the digital marketplace.
This expansion is bringing the form of the content outward into more mediums– not just words.
Facing Reality with Courage
When we look at the future with a futurist mindset, we recognize the infinite, unlimited possibility before us.
We have to face…
- The reality of uncertainty. No one knows exactly what the future holds.
- Death and destruction. Empires rise and fall. (ideas, humans… mortality)
- Terrifying expansion. Going beyond what’s current… with courage.
When I say terrifying– I also mean exhilarating.
With this terror, this fear, as an energy source, we are well equipped to create.
Because it’s not fear that’s the problem. It’s fear of fear.
It’s being unwilling to move forward. Crippled, debilitated, we get stuck. We blame the fear. But it’s not the fear’s fault.
It’s our choice not to create. Create what? The future. Now.
But when you hold fear, and let it bring the dangerous smile to your face…
It’s damn near addicting to live. To live with boldness. To expand. To grow.
The Future of Blog Monetization
At present, blogs are typically monetized three ways:
- Affiliate Partnerships
- E-Commerce (sell your own products or services)
Even with roughly 1 million monthly page sessions, there are some affiliate blogs out there earning over $100,000 per month. (net profit)
In blog-o-speak, that’s an RPM of $100.
That’s important because at a per-site-visitor ratio, advertising doesn’t make nearly that much money.
It’s certainly possible with e-commerce websites to make this much.
But in the future, it’s likely that algorithms and big data will reverse this.
The selective choices that the blog-owners are making are rational, calculated choices.
- Which products to create
- Affiliate partnerships to promote to their audience
In a future where algorithms know us better than we know ourselves, (and certainly better than bloggers know their audience), these choices will be handed over to Artificial Intelligence.
Moreover, offering only one product or one affiliate link to an entire aggregate body of consumers/readers/audience members will miss opportunity.
Collective vs. Individual Offerings in Advertising
When an Affiliate Blogger composes an email (hypothetically to 10,000 email subscribers), they choose a piece of content and link it to something of value for the reader.
They use their knowledge of things like…
- Who the audience is (generalized)
- What this type of audience is looking for (generalized)
… to determine what would be valuable to their audience.
But this is determined collectively. About the “audience as a whole”.
The example above shows the power of algorithms in the context of email subscribers, but what about blog posts themselves?
I’m sure you can guess, but it will be no different.
Rather than products, services, and offerings being selected by humans for their audience (aggregate data, generalized experience), in the future, the RPM’s for blogging will be highest for pure advertising sites.
(Glass ball predictions anyone? I’m throwing out 10 years)
What Should Bloggers Do About This?
We focus on content. Content is the asset.
- Content is the honey that draws in the bees
- Content is the foundation for the blogging world
- Content is the commodity
Now there are plenty of opportunities to become a Data Scientist or Data Engineer and create these algorithms if you’re just looking for opportunity.
But if you’re into blogging, and you’re looking to create profits, this post is meant to reinforce the fact that what you’re really doing is creating content.
So keep creating the best content you can. Make this your focus.
Here are a few things you can do:
- Keep creating the best content you can
- Dive deep into the heart of humanity
- Write authentically
- Don’t do stuff that doesn’t matter to you (especially blogging)
Additional Reading: Here are some blogging tools and resources I recommend.
Back to the Practical Future of Content
(And why blogging isn’t going away anytime soon…)
As we speak, machines are learning to speak the language of pictures and video.
But you know what? Humans don’t speak those languages.
And sure, in the future, it’s probable that machines will be purchasing your products. They are already reading your words, listening to your voice, and recording a lot of your moves.
But for the near-term, the economy is still driven by purchasing decisions made by the race of yours truly.
And that means that we humans will be searching with words.
We speak words, we write them, and that’s how we’ll be looking for stuff.
When we blog, we build on the primary foundation of words.
We also create pictures and video. Pinterest and Google can find these other mediums quickly because we assign words to those other mediums with meta tags.
But did you know that machine learning algorithms are learning to understand our pictures and videos as well? In the present, and more so in the future.
Remember that when we look to the future, we don’t know. We must admit our own frailty to imagine all the possibilities.
This post was super fun to write, because I love imagining possible futures. Please think of my ideas not as prophecies, but as possibilities.
I hope this post is helpful to you as you ponder the future of blogging.
If so, please tell me in the comments.
If you were helped, please say so (and be specific on what helped you).
And if you REALLY liked this post, Share it with others! Tell them about it, link to it in your own blog, and/or email me to say thanks.
I’ll appreciate it.
Also, if you want more helpful content like this, and you’re considering blogging (or just getting started), be sure to signup for my emails. We’ll journey together.