Before the start of 2016, I made some predictions for what I thought the year would hold in blogging and social media, and that was an offshoot of a prediction I made in 2003: the end of lifecasting.
So, how did I do? Well, here were my predictions for 2016:
- Prediction: We’ll stop using the word “blogger” in exchange for “influencer.”
- Prediction: All mobile. All the time.
- Prediction: Page views and potential reach will matter less; engagement will matter more.
- Prediction: Comments, already low on the value scale, will continue to be less and less relevant.
- Prediction: Graphics will make all the difference.
At the risk of breaking my arm by patting myself on the back, I think I went five for five.
So, what should we all be watching for and considering in 2017 and beyond?
2017 Blog Trends
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- More minimalism on websites.
Especially as more and more bloggers leave their ad networks and rely less heavily on ad networks for revenue, they’re finding that sidebars, menus and secondary menus, huge full-with headers and more are taking away from the visitor experience, and they’re going for a much more streamlined, simple look.
I think Medium is a great example (see my post on two different experiences as a working mom of newborns). And obviously zen habits followers know that this has been a long-standing look, but it’s still a good example of less is more.
An important caveat or sub-bullet, though: I think you’ll see more themes and designers offering highly flexible, widgetized home pages and new post and page templates. I have come to rely very heavily on tools like Beaver Builder (affiliate link) — unfortunate name; amazing tool — for my websites, landing pages and more. That type of drag and drop page building feature is going to be in high demand.
- More minimalism in emails and more segmentation, too.
I love MailChimp, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a great option for bloggers on a budget, or who truly need a more visual template. I still build them for clients all the time.
But I think ConvertKit (affiliate link) really changed the game by shifting away from colorful emails and back toward emails that look more like personal notes.2017 prediction: this will be the year that everyone embraces email segmentation.Click To Tweet
Plus, ConvertKit is amazing at segmenting, tagging and organizing subscribers who can then be sent very customized, specific messages, sequences and more. Less stuff=higher open rates=higher click through rates=happy email marketers.
- Not just video, but live presentations.
I’m biased. I graduated in 2002 with a broadcast journalism and a belief that video and live television were among the most exciting and compelling formats. And I work for a company that is built on that foundation.
But bloggers have been fairly slow to embrace video. That’s changing. The tools are cheaper, the barrier to entry is lower and short-form videos (thank you, Tasty) are all the rage. Add in the live tools that Facebook, Instagram and other platforms now offer and this is an area where I think you’ll see a lot of action.
- Brands will want more details before making hiring decisions.
Frankly, I can’t believe brands are still asking for monthly page views when it comes to sponsored posts and product reviews. Our monthly averages often skew strongly toward one viral post (it’s why I wrote my ebook Make Your Old Content New Again!) and so that stat really has nothing to do with predicting how well a new post will do. I think agencies and brands will want to know how much traffic an average post gets, how much engagement a single post gets and more.2017 prediction: brands and agencies will start asking smarter questions. BE READY.Click To Tweet
I predicted last year that page views would matter less, and they do — especially for people who have diversified their revenue streams — but brands are still catching up. They’re close, so get ready.
- Freebie saturation will reach its tipping point.
I love love love email list incentives. I have them myself, I create them for clients, I know that when done well, they are more compelling than just about any other list-building technique…but the time has come when visitors now expect a freebie and to get their addresses captured, yours had better be good. Beautiful design, high quality content and something they can’t get anywhere else — that’s the key.
- Pay to play.
This is good and bad news for influencers. Good in that the days of brands expecting to get something for free are mostly behind us. We provide services, audiences, amplification and work product and that comes at a cost (and not one that is paid in product). So our value will continue to grow, as will our rates (even if page views go down).
However, Facebook ads, Promoted pins, etc. are quickly becoming the best and often only way to get our messages into targeted feeds with high visibility. I’m embracing it. I love Facebook advertising almost as much as I love email marketing, because it puts us back in control. At a cost, yes, but you get what you pay for.
I hope 2017 is full of big blog and business success for you and if you need help, come see me at MakeMediaOver.com!