What’s the use in blogging?

Over the past few years with the way that the online world is changing, people are regularly asking whether there is any use in still blogging.

There is no set answer, it just depends on what works for you.

If your blog is used to advertise and sell you might find other platforms more advantageous. But if you used your blog to simply just write, I don’t think any other social media platform can quite compete.

It also depends on what you prefer. Some people see a blog as the main focus whilst everything else is supplementary. For others the focus is what is most popular and right now that is Instagram.

Could Instagram Guides replace blogging?

From November 17th, you may have noticed a new feature on Instagram, Guides.

Guides allow users to ‘find, curate and share the products, places and posts you love’. They can feature your own content or the content of others. Tech Crunch have a good article that explains things in more detail.

Aside from captions this feature is the first that allows users to create longer form content similar to a blog post.

It could be considered as an easier way to create blog posts that are based around shopping, pictures and recommendations. In fact, it’s likely to become what many creators will turn to and what many brands will start paying creators for.

On the other hand, for a blog that is focused on the words, where the images aren’t the main focus, guides won’t work as an alternative.

It will be interesting to see who uses this new feature and how. It will also be interesting to see the blogs this feature may end up replacing.

It doesn’t matter where you share your work

When it comes to being someone who is creative, puts stuff out there and has ideas to share there is one piece of advice I’ve heard from two people that will never grow old.

It is something worth remembering as things change and develop over time.

The advice is to not become attached to the platforms where you share your work but to use them to your advantage in a way that works for you. Instead your focus should be on the work, the idea or the message.

When you do this, it doesn’t matter where you share your work. It could be on IGTV, pictures and captions on your Instagram feed, Insta stories, IG reels, a podcast, YouTube videos, blog posts, a newsletter, Facebook, or even snapchat.

And when a platform changes or becomes obsolete you can seamlessly shift to something else.

Airplane mode

If you find that your screen time is increasing and has gotten to a point of being much higher than you’d like, put your phone on airplane mode.

Sometimes it’s difficult to comprehend a world when we were much less connected because at any time someone can contact you on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, email, call, text or Whatsapp. That’s 7 different ways all from a single device and that can be overwhelming.

As much as it can have benefits, it’s also worth considering that you don’t always need to be so available. One could argue that you may miss something important but it’s highly unlikely.

The point is not to put your phone on airplane mode and be eternally unavailable. The idea is to turn it on when you’re not using your phone, that way when you randomly pick it up to mindlessly scroll you’ll end up just putting it down again as you’re not connected to the internet.

It’ll also make you aware of how often you reach for your phone for no real reason and after a short while you end up reaching for it less.

The best place to share your work

Coming up with an idea of who your customer or target audience is incredibly helpful. For example, if you are trying to attract a younger age group you would use different methods than those you would choose to attract an older age group.

That could mean promoting your work on a Tik Tok account instead of setting up a Facebook page.

But you can even take things further and really carve out what sort of person would be interested in your work.

Perhaps it is someone that spends a lot of time reading, isn’t on so social media much. Maybe they are introverted or they prefer meeting people in person rather than online. Keep going with that until, you eventually begin to cultivate this conceptual idea of a person and then you’re able to look at different ways of reaching that person.

Ask yourself, ‘Would this person want updates on twitter, insta stories or by email?’

Once you can answer these questions, it can provide a useful base for figuring out the best place to share your work and promote your stuff.

Instagram CV

If someone took a look at your instagram account, what would it show?

Would it help you gain employment in the area you want to work in or is it something you have just for fun?

I think that for many people, especially now with social media which is essentially a CV of sorts, you have the opportunity to show a much wider audience of people what you do. You could be a photographer, writer, creative director, textile artist, chef, singer, life coach or a poet.

You won’t necessarily get hired from Instagram but it can be used to showcase your work, like a portfolio.

11 Ways to make your work more visible and find your audience

They’re out there maybe you just haven’t found them yet.

When putting your work out there it is important to put it in the line of the people you’re creating for. If they right people never see it, how will they find it?

These days it can be easy to fall into thinking that simply having an Instagram account is enough. Of course we can’t deny that Instagram is an incredible useful platform but there are plenty of other things worth doing to find and grow your audience.

I think there are 2 main ways: creating content on more platforms and making yourself visible.

It’s about giving people the opportunity to find you. This is something I’m working on and so this post is as much for myself as it is for you.

Here are some ideas to help increase your visibility and find your audience:

  • Write articles for other sites
  • Create YouTube videos
  • Twitter
  • Start a podcast
  • Attend events relevant to your work
  • Speak at events relevant to your work
  • Create sharable content
  • Talk about what you do
  • Pinterest
  • Host an online event
  • Start a mailing list

Your audience might not be on Instagram

When it comes to putting your work out there it’s really important to consider your audience.

I think these days because Instagram is such a popular social media platform, we automatically think that our audience will be on there. We think it’s the only way to find people that are interested in our work.

I think that the issue we sometimes end up having is that we can’t think of any other possible way that we can put our work out or connect with new people. It’s Instagram or nothing.

However, I think it’s valuable to seek out other ways because sometimes the truth is your audience might not be on Instagram.

Keeping up with strangers

Social media makes it really easy to keep up with everything going on in the world around us. From crises happening across the globe to personal details about people we’ve never met.

And on an average day for many, I don’t think I’d be wrong in assuming that little thought goes into it.

How often do you find yourself questioning whether you need to know all this information you’re consuming?

I’m guilty of clicking on trending topics out of curiosity but on reflection I know that this information isn’t something I need to know.

The goings on of celebrities (and even just people we’ve never met) has always been a popular form of entertainment which is why gossip magazines were so popular. I guess those magazines have now changed to social media, something that is free and consumed by even more people.

And as much as you control who you follow, you can’t control what they post, tweet, re-tweet, like or share on their stories.

But what you do have control over is your active consumption. As much as knowing certain things might tickle your fancy, upon reflection would you really choose knowing details about a strangers personal life over reading a book, working on your craft, writing, planning ahead etc.

Of course you can make time for both (if you so wish) but this is more about being intentional with what you consume rather than getting swept up in it all.

If you leave the twitter thread, video or post feeling fine that’s great but if you feel like you’ve wasted time then maybe you need to start making some changes.

Putting more thought into branding

As much as you might want to focus on other stuff, it will always be worth putting some time into branding. It’s important to think about how things look to an outside eye and understand if you’re able to deliver your intended message.

I’ve always wanted The Daily Gemm (TDG) to be a space with writing and simplicity at the forefront and that’s what I focused on when I started posting to the Instagram account a few months ago.  However, I’ve realised that although the simplicity element works well on the blog, it doesn’t translate the same way on Instagram. I realised that I might need to do start doing things differently.

After giving it things more thought and thinking about the grand scheme and my future plans and aspirations, I came to the conclusion that I wanted the TDG Instagram account to represent my long-term plans as a brand, rather than just to represent this blog.

And so over the past week or so I’ve been coming up with ideas for how I could do things differently in a way that works for me.

One the first things that came to mind was more visual content and more colour. Currently the TDG feed is full of quotes from my blog posts in black and white. But it turns out the ‘just words, no pictures’ philosophy that I have for this site doesn’t fit for Instagram.

On one hand my grand plans for Instagram have come crashing down but on the other hand it taught me a lot. I’ve now gone back to the drawing board and spent time planning and creating things that I’m looking forward to sharing.