The Future of The Personal Blog

 

Life changes.

 

 

So do trends (…and husbands- not mine).

 

It’s the natural evolution of Evolution.

 

What will be, Will Be (I just want to get in on the correct side of the flying car).

 

So, I’ve been wondering…

 

Nah. That’s not true. Really not so much w-o-n-d-e-r-i-n-g as much as attempting to gage the changes that are inevitable in the world of blogging.

 

What a wonderful thing this Blogging is! It gives a ‘voice’ to so many people that otherwise would have remained silent (and that’s a good thing) and it will continue. People will blog. I’m not debating that. (In fact, I’m absolutely sure most of these questions have already been answered, but I enjoy beating dead horses, so here goes…)

 

What I want to discuss are the changes occurring in the mass communication vehicle commonly called ‘blogs’: Who’s reading? Who’s commenting? How are they doing it? What is being read? How long do readers stay? Does the length of a post make a difference to the readers? Do they show-up for enjoyment, or for information? Inspiration maybe? A laugh? A cry? To not feel alone?

 

And, of course, what do the bloggers want out of it?

 

Let’s start there.

 

I know many blogs that have paid advertising on them. I know many bloggers that write for products. I know none of them (shy from the top Three-Of-All-Time ) that are actually making a living at it. So what’s the draw?

 

Let’s be honest- it’s not the money. Most of us just want a little fame. Someone to listen to us. People to show-up at a book signing. An interview. Engagement.

 

We want to be heard, because we all feel we have something to say- and we do. All. Of. Us.

 

However, I’m feeling like unless your goal is to fall of the edge of the bloggyuniverse and continue to write a journal, it’s time to retool- Rethink what blogs will continue to grow and how they will do it.

 

Let’s take my blog. The very one you’re reading now. What a mess (Not trolling, so no accolades needed).

 

I started out a little late to the party- 2-1/2 years ago- at 55. But, since there has never been a party I’m not unwilling to crash- here I am.

 

A Pleasant House was going to be about my love of gardening, and it was, for a while, and still is, occasionally.

 

Then, I decided to add cooking. Ditto.

 

Then, living in New Orleans and traveling. Double Ditto.

 

Suddenly, I let my evil twin out of the trunk of my car (which is where I keep her) and started to spout-off about any damn thing I was interested in saying.

 

I’ve built a following. happy-happy-happy Met a slew of awesome people on-line (some IRL) and have LOVED the engagement.

 

No news there for anyone that blogs.

 

That is not the revelation. This is: Even as the world of bloggers grows, the focus of the readers is contracting.

 

CONTRACTING

 

What does this mean? You’ll keep your followers if you continue to write about whatever you are currently writing about. You may even grab a few more along the way. It will be increasingly harder to compete. You’ll say you don’t care to compete. But we all know that’s not true. Not really.

 

You want to be HEARD. And it’s kinda addicting seeing all those post engagements, and comments, and ‘shares’.

 

I, for one, LOVE THEM.

 

YOU, dear Reader, are my crack.

 

But ‘things’ are c-h-a-n-g-i-n-g- not just in social media, and for a share of the pie, but for me and my little blog.

 

I have been advised, for a LONG time to ‘Brand’ myself- and THAT dear people is the future.

 

 

Branding.

Not just finding your ‘niche’ but BRANDING.

 

And your Brand can’t just be about how your kids pee’d on the turkey at Thanksgiving, or your wonderful envious glittering ‘Lifestyle’ (like I’ve been doing mine) ’cause unless your kid is thirty seven and still peeing his pants, or you have a private jet and a membership in Skull & Bones- your blog is just going to get swallowed-up in the exponential growth of new and better content, and the shorter time span of your readers engagement.

 

‘How in the hell do I do this?’, I’ve asked myself.

 

You need something to brand- right? What do I have? My musings? Get real Cheryl. (Yes, I talk to myself in the first person).

 

I’m not a tech-savvy swabbie like my friend Julie at Fabulous Blogging. She can sell her knowledge, for Christ’s sake. (You Go Girl, btw).

 

I’m not an advocate for Mental Health, or Wellness like my friends Cathy Chester at An Empowered Spirit or Ellen Dolgen at Menopause Mondays (hats off ladies).

 

I’m not depressed, or have special needs children.

 

I’m in a thriving relationship. My kids are all good.

 

What. To. Do?????

 

Wait…

 

Isn’t the new by-line ‘You Are Enough’?

 

Am I?

 

I think I am.

 

By God, I am!

 

I just need to retool– my focus, my dreams, my vision.

 

Because Life Changes (and I’m not getting any younger) and I’ve decided to attempt to ‘Brand’ myself in the form of a cookbook that is wrapped around my parent’s story that is served with a bacon wrapped water chestnut drizzled with maple syrup and a side of infidelity (and a few swear words-’cause that’s how I roll…out dough).

 

In other words, like NOTHING you have ever flipped your pancakes to.

 

Will it be published? I think it will.

 

Will it sell? I hope so.

 

What if it doesn’t? Who cares? It’s a new ‘goal’.

 

Can you see me cooking away, with all my shizz, on a u-tube channel? (I’ll let that sink in). Why, yes I can.

 

Will I have created a ‘Brand’. You’re damn right.

 

And it will be, God willing, funny, and informative, and inspiring, and delicious, served with a side of sass, and a dash of bitters.

 

 

And then, after I’m famous, I’m going to open a retail shop full-up with my fabulous style and taste, and wear sarongs and purple lipstick, and speak with a foreign accent while hosting gallery openings, posing for In Style’s Fabulous Over 60 issue, preparing fresh fish chunks for my pet ostrich named Miss Peach, and reinvent myself all over again…

 

 

Just the way I like it.

 

Cause I’m THAT kind of FABU (Or is it idiot?) In the meantime

 

 

*STAY TUNED*

 

 

as I continue to attempt to flat-out entertain you on a regular basis on my little blogggggggglugglugglug 

 

 

I need a drinkPINIMAGE

I need a drink




  • Cristina - You had me at bacon wrapped infidelity (love that) and purple sarong.

    Get it, Cheryl!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Isn’t all ‘infidelity’ wrapped in something initially scrumptious like bacon, sugared with a little magic, and THEN you get high cholesterol? No? That’s the way it happened to my father God Rest his Soul (not).ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Greenthal - Fortunately the blogosphere is about what you make of it. There is no “right” way to be a blogger. Bloggers who support themselves through blogging are few and far between, but there are plenty of bloggers who are making money doing things in addition to blogging – using their blog as an online resume, if you will.

    I’m sure your book will be fascinating and filled with deliciousness. Looking forward to it!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I agree on all accounts Sharon! Great minds think alike!ReplyCancel

  • Annah Elizabeth - Brand away!! Bacon and brandy and all… 😉

    You are enough, Cheryl, exactly as “you is!”

    Keep cooking on!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Bacon and Brandy… I like it! Thanks Annah- your’e the best!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Why THANK YOU dear Annah. Now let’s go wrap some bacon! Yummie!!!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica - I’m not really into cookbooks, so I hope you continue to blog about your adventures. 😉 My blog, on the other hand, is completely useless… but I like it, anyway!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m sure that’s not true! And WE ALL feel that way sometimes (I know I do), but yes- I will continue to blog- here, and attempt to finish this ‘thing’. Oh boy….ReplyCancel

  • Natalie - Haha, this is why I’ll never be a successful blogger – no branding for me, just writing any ol’ thing I feel like. As long as it’s good, I mean. I love that you’re thinking about all these things I’m ignoring…I kind of trust you to handle all this while I just pretend nothing’s changing. Lol.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I love that you ‘trust me’ to handle all of this. I do tend to ‘geter’ done’ so I’ll let you know. In the meantime, enjoy the glories of lalaland. It’s a great neighborhood! Hahaaaa.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Felix Burns - Shit Cheryl, your brand is simply Fabulous Crazy Stylish Lady down in New Orleans. Don’t change a thing because we loves ya!ReplyCancel

  • Carollynn Hammersmith - Amen. to all of it. I’m excited about your new “brand’ and now you have me wondering what I should have branded…and do I want to be branded? Sheesh, so much for my summer vacation. Now I’m thinking about branding.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Cassara - Your cookbook is such an interesting idea. I think “branding” is really only important if you are pimping your blog out–I think there will always be personality blogs that people follow simply because we are voyeurs and like peeking into the lives of others. Now, where’s that drink? 🙂
    C
    http://www.carolcassara.comReplyCancel

  • Author Shelly Arkon - Interesting take on what to do and how you’re going to do it.ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - Cheryl,

    You are wise, witty, savvy, snarky, sensational, beautiful, intelligent, creative and, well, marvelous! I love how you are so very authentic, and that, my dear, is your brand. Being exactly who you are. Because in this crazy blogging world we can smell insincerity a mile away (okay, I stole that line from Katherine Hepburn). You are a gem.

    I love you for mentioning me. Quite honored. Big bear hugs across the many miles.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You are a speciaL GEM on my already exceedingly expensive slender, and youthful, ring fingers. Diamonds are forever- as are you my friend. Love and admire you very much.ReplyCancel

  • Di Ane Cooper - hi Cheryl – I am a fairly recent reader and thought you might like to know that it was the word “midlife” that made click on your link in somebody’s sidebar. I love the eclectic storytelling and humor… and the fact that none of it revolves around childcare! (stories about childcare didn’t interest me even when my kids were young…lol.) ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - Great idea Cheryl. 1. I love buying cookbooks because then it looks like I can cook. 2. If I do cook and it turns out edible it is because I used a recipe, step-by-step instructions and my ADD didn’t kick in somewhere in the process. I think we are on the same brain wave here. I knew I wanted to write about what is like to take care of someone with Alzheimer’s everyday. So the first 2 things I did was buy my domain and by the logo The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver and went from there. I feel there will be a greater need as time goes by. But then I felt kinda limited so I got the idea of a different king of travel business so I bought million mile blog domain and logo and while it is still in it’s infancy I believe it will appeal to travelers who are weary about travel agents and traveling period. I hope to change that. So between the two of us we have it hooked. People are always going to eat, travel and get old.ReplyCancel

  • Julie Chenell DeNeen - You are delicious Cheryl. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Sue Pekarek - Hello my Queen. This was another great treat and I can’t wait to see your first fun-filled cooking show. ReplyCancel

  • Cary Vaughn - You are going to ROCK it. Woohoo!!!
    And when you get this published, I will be sure to share it with my 10s of readers (I don’t have “followers”…just people who accidentally stumble upon my little space on the internet..ha).
    MWAH!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You do not! You are the SUN/SON (prodigal)You have tens of thousands of dedicated and sunscribed followers!Problem is they keep forgetting their sunscreen. We need to get into THAT business. Sunscreen for readers. God knows mine are burnt to a crisp. HA!ReplyCancel

  • Susan - ofeverymoment - Developing my blog has been a little like parenting a new baby. I love it too much to think of its future as being limited … but I am confused by the whole business of finding my niche and branding.
    For now, my strategy will just to muddle on, hope readers like what I write, and wait for my niche and brand to reveal themselves.
    In the meantime, I plan to ”stay tuned” and enjoy watching what unfolds here!!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Exactly. Same here. I’m letting the blog take me on it’s own adventure. I still have to change it’s diapers, feed it, clean up after it gets it’s heart broken, but in for a dime. In for a dollar. Baby’s growing up! HA!ReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - Cheryl, your brand is AWESOME AND FABULOUS, just like you are. YAY for a cooking book! I love it! Especially one wrapped with a side of infidelity. It will be amazing. Also, I really do believe that all of us have lots and lots to say, and that we should, even on the days we get lost in the masses. xoReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Why, THANK YOU Kristi! Yes we SHOULD all keep on keepin’ on, no matter what the chatter. This bloggy thing is HARD, but I love something I think, Mark Twain said (to paraphrase) ‘you may think your life is dull but others may find it fascinating’. And if he didn’t say that- then I just did. HA!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Why, THANK YOU Kristi! Yes we SHOULD all keep on keepin’ on, no matter what the chatter. This bloggy thing is HARD, but I love something I think, Mark Twain said (to paraphrase) ‘you may think your life is dull but others may find it fascinating’. And if he didn’t say that- then I just did. HA!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Buchan - I’m a newbie to your site. I love where you are going. You are an inspiration to me. I just published my first book because I needed to find and express my voice in a noisy world.I also wanted to leave a legacy to my children of healing and hope. I am looking forward to reading and trying your recipes when your cookbook comes out!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - That’s my inspiration too! Leaving a legacy for my kids in a noisy world (great line btw). I’m glad you’re here. Your voice is full of reason and calm. Thank you for stopping by. DO it again- please!ReplyCancel

  • Theresa Ledford - Your blog never fails to make me happy. I lost the heart to write mine for 6 months after disaster struck my family. Coming today and reading this makes me feel that whatever I do is going to be okay and it’s alright that I want to do it just because I like the idea of people hearing me, ME! I’m usually funny, sometimes I’m not, but I don’t have to follow one single path. Thank you for this boost, today, right now. Have an afternoon drink on me and leave a beautiful purple lipstick stain on the rim!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - All well and good. I say I write Twisted Tales from a Skewed Mind. Who else would develop an alien-Earth family saga? My short stories never end normally, well, maybe a few, but that is rare. Yes, I have a following of some sort, but not nearly enough. Let me know when you discover the magic bullet. My Blog, however, tends to be about family. Once in a great number of months, I may post a story, but that too is rare. This time I tried one of your ways. I included a recipe. I hope you’ve had a chance to read it, you may like it. It’s a Huck Finn Pie. All I can say is write on and I wish you much success!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I’m on my way to see that recipe! Thanks Marie for your friendship. And i LOVE your stories!ReplyCancel

    • Mari Collier - I seem to be hooked on your zany writings too. Best of all, it has turned into another FB friendship.ReplyCancel

      • Cheryl - Yes Mari. It has. I like you and your novels! And your blog. And your recipes….ReplyCancel

  • Darcy Perdu (So Then Stories) - Ha! Love this! Can’t wait to attend your gallery openings you purple-lipstick wearing darling you!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Don;t forget about Miss Peach my ostrich pet. SHe’ll be there too. HA!ReplyCancel

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