It feels like actual forever since I’ve sat down and had a proper chat with you guys on my blog. Of course I keep up to date with you all on Instagram and Facebook (particularly in our ever-growing private Facebook group, we now have nearly 13,000 members!) but this space has been a little neglected on the old personal content side.
I’ve read a few articles from some of my favourite bloggers recently on this same topic: Blogging vs social media, and their feelings towards how things are shifting. They all say that they really want to commit to blogging more, that they love their blogs so much, but that it’s now a much harder medium to keep on top of and get engagement on. I remember when I used to write a personal blog post and it would receive hundreds of comments. Now things are pretty good if they get like 5! Whereas on Instagram my posts still get a lot of traction because its quick and easy for people to hit “like” or leave a short comment.
I’ve always said that, in business, putting all your eggs in one social media basket is really risky. Yes, Instagram is where it’s at right now, but what if they screw with the algorithm so much that no-one sees your posts unless you pay (they are owned by Facebook now after all)? I still think it’s really important to have your own platform, like a website or blog, that you completely own, in case things all go tits up over on the IG.
I’m not gonna lie, it can be a bit disheartening that it’s so damn difficult to get people to actually click over and read a blog post you’ve spent a long time on. People are all about staying on Facebook or liking things on Instagram, but ask them to click a link to read a longer article away from their favourite platform and it’s like tumbleweed. What is that about? Are we just getting so damn lazy online that unless the content is right there in our face we can’t be arsed to make the effort to click a link to read it? The answer is yes by the way, yes we are.
This morning I did a poll on my Instagram Stories to ask how many of my followers actually ever visited the blog, and I was genuinely chuffed to see that 65% of them did regularly click though (I’ve seen results from other bloggers that were much more depressingly low!) However, unsurprisingly only 24% of them said they regularly visited the blog off their own backs. They needed prompting (with a social media post) and they’d click through if the content sounded interesting to them. I remember a few years ago I literally used to bookmark my favourite blogs and visit them every single day to see their updates. Those days are long gone my friends!
I also asked people to DM me with their general thoughts on blogs, specifically if they ever read them or just prefer social media content and the results were actually really encouraging and interesting too.
A lot of people said that although they prefer social media (in this case Instagram) on a daily basis, if they are looking for specific advice, information or recommendations, they will turn to a blog. Others said they they don’t have the time or ability to keep up to date with blogs regularly (RIP Google Reader) but that when they see something that sounds interesting on social media they will click through.
Of course there were also lots of people saying they don’t ever read my blog, or that they prefer just seeing a few highlights on Instagram (these people are missing out IMHO!) and a few said they just follow me for my personal style (or cats!) because they’re not getting married at all! That is the really great thing about Instagram though, it can open you up to a while new audience who would never have found you otherwise. These kinds of people would literally never have been searching for wedding content online, because they’re not engaged, but if they ever do plan to get married, where are they gonna turn? Well, to their favourite blue haired cat-obsessive Instagrammer I suppose (haha!) This is one of the main reasons why I keep my Instagram a mix of personal photos and updates AND blog post links/ wedding images. I know not everyone is interested in both, but the personal content is appealing to a larger proportion of people, and it encourages people to (hopefully!) stick around after they get married too.
There’s no denying that blogging has changed A LOT in the past few years. I’m still clinging on to all hope that things will turn around again soon because I LOVE MY BLOG. I love being able to use this space to not only share lots of glorious real weddings in full (not just ten highlight photos on Instagram) but to connect with you guys in a way I can’t really do anywhere else. The Instagram and Facebook format doesn’t really lend itself to super long captions (although this may change in time) although whenever I do share snippets of more personal stuff it gets a lot of interaction.
The truth is, it is more convenient for people to see and engage with micro-content on Instagram or Facebook these days, and most of them simply can’t be bothered to click through to another website see more. Its also way more work for a creator to sit down and write a long form blog post (this one has taken me about three hours to write and edit) whereas posting a photo and a snappy caption on Instagram takes all of five minutes.
I’m not gonna lie, in many ways this totally bums me out, but it also makes me so grateful that we also have the print magazine, which is packed full of content people can’t get online, and an engaged (as in interested not engaged to be married!) audience at all – even if a lot of them are just following what we do from the confines of Instagram or Facebook. It’s so funny because in 2010/2011 it was all about how bloggers were taking away from print magazines, but I do feel the tides are turning again and people are switching back to print to get away from all the online noise.
You can’t fight change. I feel incredibly lucky that I get to do what I do. I love blogging, but more than that I love the fact that I have the ability to switch things up, make changes quickly, test things out and move the business in new directions if I want to. I can think of a project idea and literally start putting the wheels into motion that same day – that is incredible!
This is also why I’ve been putting so much effort into the magazine over the past few years. So, yes the more personal blog updates have suffered a bit (there are only so many hours in the day!) and I do feel a little guilty about that, but running your own business is all about making smart choices and focusing on what’s working and things that have the potential to be more future-proof.
This is all good news because I’m at a place in my business where I am SO READY to take things offline too. That’s not to say that the blog is going anywhere (it will always be my first love and the cornerstone to Rock n Roll Bride) but just to add more offline offerings… physical products… maybe even in-person events. WHO KNOWS? It’s scary but also pretty darn exciting.
I guess I just wanted to drop by today to say a proper hi to you guys. It has been a long time but I’m still here! The business is evolving, growing and changing and it’s scary but also really, really cool.
We have BIG plans for 2018. The website is getting a complete overhaul soon and I am SO ready to get started with that. The current site was designed in 2012 can you believe, and while it’s served us well and I don’t think it’s dated at all in terms of the design, it has some limitations with how people are now using the internet in 2018. Our mobile site for example needs a lot of TLC and I can not WAIT to see what genius solutions Shauna and Gareth come up with.
I’m also currently collaborating on some really fun projects! I can’t tell you much more about them yet but throughout the next twelve months we will be launching lots of amazing things that you can hold in your in your hands (and wear!) Doing the veils with Crown and Glory and the pins and wedding planner book with Veronica Dearly have been such great projects and I’m so ready to do more of that! I hope you’ll come along for the ride with me because it’s going to be really fun.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you still visit blogs regularly? Do you buy wedding magazines? Or do you prefer to just consume everything on Instagram or Facebook? Would you buy more Rock n Roll Bride branded products?
2018 LET’S DO THIS!