I get it, blogging is far more difficult than just posting on social media. First you have to start the blog, then take and edit pictures, and figure out how to grow your audience. Even if you get a blog up and running, being consistent with regular posts is tough. I know, I know, there are people who grow their Instagram following from 0 to 500k in a year, travel the world full time, and sell courses on how you can do it too. I’m here to snap you back into reality, because you can’t duplicate what they’ve done – unless you’re white, skinny, “pretty” by society’s standards, and loaded – then by all means, you have a chance! For the rest of us average folks, the chances of growing a profitable online presence with an engaged community using Instagram alone is quite slim. Here’s why you need a blog, and why they’re still so important in the social media age.
Social Media Isn’t (Easily) Searchable
Let’s run some numbers. Instagram has a whopping 500 million daily users. That’s 500 million people you could be reaching every single day. But guess what? There are 1.17 billion people who use Google to perform 3.5 billion searches every single day. If someone is looking for white jeans under $50, your Instagram post may reach your followers and anyone who searches for the hashtag #whitejeans. But a blog post about the topic can potentially reach exponentially more people.
Here’s personal proof of why you need a blog. The Real recently included a segment in their GirlTalk about looking like a snack, and thanks to a blog post I wrote about looking like a snack, Tamera Mowry-Housley said my full government name Ijeoma Kola (jk I have two middle names) on national television. If you Google “look like a snack”, you’ll see the blog post (on page 1, holla to my SEO skills!). You won’t find my Instagram post with the same caption, because Instagram is far less searchable than Google. I fully believe if I hadn’t written a blog post about the topic, I wouldn’t have been mentioned on the show. So again, all the amazing things you’re posting on Instagram aren’t easily visible to the rest of the world because social media is not searchable the way Google is.
Blogs Have a Longer Life Cycle
Your creepy ex who you unblocked might be liking your Instagram photos from three years ago, but otherwise, an non promoted Instagram post has a life span of maybe 4 days. A blog post however, thanks again to good old Google (and to some extent, Pinterest), lasts forever. My most popular and most visited blog post is this one that I wrote three years ago. The pictures and the product suggestions could definitely use some updating, but still this post is one of my best performers, getting views while I sleep.
Brands also recognize that the life cycle of a blog post is much longer than that of an Instagram post. A promotional package that includes a blog post as well as social media coverage can earn you at least 1.5x what you’re charging for an Instagram only post. And it’s not that much more work. Say you’re shooting an outfit – chances are you’re going to take more than one picture anyway, so you might as well turn those 4-6 images into a whole blog post, insert some affiliate links, and get paid more than you would for a single Instagram post!
Social Media Isn’t Guaranteed
Remember when Vine shut down? No one saw it coming (well, except Instagram #bloop). Although most Vine users were on Instagram and/or YouTube as well, if their largest following was on the Vine platform, they had to rebuild once it shut down. The fact of the matter is that no social media platform will stick around forever, so relying exclusively on any one is a bad idea. In addition to social media platforms potentially dissolving, your own account can be suspended or taken down at any given moment.
Recently, Fashion Bomb Daily’s various Instagram accounts were removed by Instagram after an uptick in posting frequency. Their page had 1.3 million followers! Luckily they have a well established website (which will probably help in getting the accounts reinstated), because otherwise, they’d have to start from scratch.
Your self-hosted blog is really all that you own on the internet. You don’t own your Instagram, and you don’t own your YouTube channel. Those platforms can remove your content temporarily or permanently, and all your hard work in building an audience will vanish before your eyes. If you have a blog (and ideally an email list), you can guarantee that your content will be visible, viable, and potentially earn you more income.