Is blogging dead? It seems this question keeps resurfacing. I know what I think about this, but in this interview Darren Rowse of Problogger and Digital Photography School shares his thoughts. Like many he has had a winding journey to get where he is today. And by winding, I mean he has had 40 blogs. (Yes, 40!!!!) Being a part of the blogging world as long as he has, Darren has some unique perspective about the ever-changing blogging landscape and how you can stay afloat with all the changes.
Listen to Create If Writing – Episode 018
One of the best ways to stand out in a noisy room is to whisper in someone’s ear.
I cannot TELL you how much this quote spoke to me. Love it. If you want to get a free 31-day series in your inbox all about going deeper with your peeps, JOIN ME. A few of the ideas came from this very interview!
The Big Takeaways
- In the early days his blogs relied on ads & affiliates for income, but he has moved towards creating his own products to sell and more diversified income streams.
- Many people stop learning when you’ve been blogging about blogging (or anything) for a long time. You have to stay current and watching to see what people are experimenting with and what is working. But you can’t JUST experiment with everything all the time.
- Podcasting is one of those new things (definitely check out the Problogger podcast!) Darren is trying. The connection with an audience goes to new depths and it’s a much less crowded space than blogging, so this is a good time. (Include Blab & Periscope in this as well!)
- In the first few years Darren’s blog growth was one-by-one. He visited other blogs and left comments, emailed people who left comments, and other small actions that showed he was paying attention to the people who WERE coming to the blog.
- He also utilized in-person connections like teaching in-person camera classes. Online, this looked like taking part in forums and being helpful where possible.
- When you really look after those readers, they become big fans and share your work with their friends and things can grow exponentially.
- As he started, any time someone left a comment, he used to respond in the comments, then send them an email to let them know he commented back. Some of those people still read the blog today and have brought other readers alongside them. He started conversations
- Now that he has a much (MUCH) wider audience, it’s hard to bring that type of contact to scale. Doing things like Periscope and podcasting have brought more interaction with his audience in a whole new way. You can still whisper and be personal, but it may not look exactly the same as you grow.
- Guest posting has become very normal to do, but putting ideas on other people’s blogs is still a great way to connect with new readers.
- Doing challenges is another fantastic way to bring community to a group. It’s an intense period of doing something together and doing things together brings community and engagement. It gives people a sense of belonging.
- Another great idea is to repurpose and repackage old content to give it second life. The first 31 days of the podcast was a repurposing of an old series. Creating evergreen content helps you to have content to repurpose.
Is Blogging DEAD?
People are constantly saying this and Darren has heard this for the last ten years. People tend to say this whenever a new medium comes along or when someone large leaves blogging. (Read this great interview Darren did with Heather Armstrong of Dooce about this very thing!) The reality is that blogging is shifting and has always been shifting. As hard as this may be to believe, when blogs to having comments (because they didn’t at first), many people thought blogging was dead. Keep evolving and be open to the new movements.
One thing Darren has been doing a lot of lately is Blab, so you should definitely follow him on Blab to get notifications when he goes live!