Are you reading headlines? Get with the times.

 

By Chelsea Burgemeister

Online magazines and newspaper articles have dominated the industry for many years, taking over the market from printed pieces but they may soon, go in the ‘virtual’ recycling bin with the others. No longer do you pick up a magazine from a shelf or your newspaper from your front door, but will you soon not even read them online? Why has print media declined? Why are blogs becoming more popular? And will blogs begin to take over global readership in its entirety?

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The Decline of All Media

As written by Leanne Akiki, a writer for ‘The Australian’ (1, The Australian, 2016), journalism has been unfairly titled a ‘dying trade’ for a while . With constant new innovations, the concept of the dying trade of journalism is just an expression for those that don’t want to adapt to the new ways of writing and being published. Yes, online magazines and articles still are present and current in our society but blogs might knock them off their block.

In the age of misleading headlines and ‘fake news’, more people are drawn towards blogs, for their day-to-day reading entertainment, as there are usually no connotations or controversies attached, unlike the everyday tabloid. These blogs are quickly becoming the new ‘normal’.  According to ‘Enhanced Media Metric Australia’ (2, emma, 2015/2017), from 2015 to 2017 the readership of ‘The Courier Mail’ dropped over 10% in the two-year period. Adjacent to this, digital readership had gained just over 16% of all readership in the month of March (3, emma, 2015/2017). The rise in digital media, largely due to the fast-paced world, has overall increased digital readership.

Whether it be while commuting or on your lunch break, you’re guaranteed to come across some type of news, magazine or tabloid article on your device. However, if you were to read a blog post or two in this time, you could be interacting with your favourite companies or well-known content creators while also learning or gaining knowledge in one way or another.

new-piktochart_22868150_1c57ebed19036dda316de798f1c2f0a1d5c2515c

Data collected from EMMA (Enhanced Media Metrics Australia), (refer to 2)

Chart software made on Piktochart.com

Why Blogs?

As a specialised channel to their readers, writers of blogs have the ability to tailor their content and write about, what they feel is important to themselves and their audience. I interviewed Chanel Tiffany, a blogger who has her own platform, chaneltiffany.blogspot.com.

Chanel said, “When I started the blog, I didn’t think it would be popular, I mainly posted for my own enjoyment and to write about my thoughts on certain products, events, television shows, films, music, whatever I could think of really…” (4, C. Tiffany, 2017).  As a result of her hobbies, a ‘everything and anything’ blogger has had the opportunity to work with brands, that some women would only dream of. This reiterates that bloggers have a chance to not only use it as a form of their own entertainment but also express their opinions, to the people that want to listen; and not just the 60-year-old woman who buys the magazine for the crossword puzzle.

Blogs are accessible and diverse for everyone, that’s what makes them so popular. As a blog reader myself I like that I can pick what interests me and have a look into the life of like-minded people. Not only have they become popular in the social world but they’ve also made it up the corporate ladder.

For businesses, blogs are a way for them to further target and study their customers (5, Business Queensland, 2016). When companies that are well-regarded start using blogs it adds an extra dimension to the corporation and makes them more relatable and intimate with the majority of consumers, including me.

Who is behind these blogs?

Boohoo, a well-known clothing brand, launched its digital magazine blog in 2013 (6, Boohoo.com). This style/fashion blog is aimed to inspire the readers with the likes of new music to new upcoming trends in fashion. Blogs not only give an impression to readers that writers and companies understand what the readers are interested in, but it also gives the readers and customers an opportunity to interact with a company more intimately. The range of blogs has become more diverse recently, from fashion blogs like boohoo.com to blogs like Zupps Official Blog (7, Zupps Official Blog), written for car enthusiasts and future car owners/drivers. Again these corporate blogs add an element that interacts more with customers. Blogs posts cause the chain reaction of word-of-mouth that spreads like rapid fire, therefore gaining more brand awareness and potential customers.

Backtracking, to the everyday person becoming a blog personality, writing  can be used as a way of expression and important communication or just a way to increase creativity. After the formalities, one of the first questions I asked Chanel, the blogger, was “Why did you start writing your blog?” A simple question, that may also be hard to answer for some;

“I started writing the blog as a hobby, when I had spare time… I would sit down and write so I decided to make it into something everyone could read and/or interact with.”

Having such a large social media following, of nearly 40 thousand followers on twitter (8, Twitter, 2017) before she started her blog, her writing began to gain interest rapidly. With 1000 hits on each blog post, brands started approaching Chanel to promote their products (9, Interview with Chanel Tiffany, 2017). Brands and companies approaching bloggers to promote their products further establishes the idea that more people, including businesses, are beginning to see and utilise the growing innovation that is the blogging world.

The popularity of blogs doesn’t just stick to one culture or continent either. Overseas it would be very hard to pick up a copy of ‘The Courier Mail’ or ‘Girlfriend Magazine’, even in this extensively globalised society. However, the audience of a blog can range from Australia to Russia, Germany, Canada and India, and these are just a few of the places where Chanel Tiffany’s readers reside. The diverse range of cultures and countries all reading the same content is not only an example of globalisation, but that people all around the world want to read what is entertaining to their specific desires not just the clickbait headlines. Click baited headlines are beginning to pester readers, according to Bryan Gardiner (10, Wired,2015), and blogs may remove the attraction of misleading news, for people across all continents.

The Takeover

The rise in the creation and reading of blogs can come down to a few factors. These factors include the accessibility, no cost and creating a career out of writing.

Firstly, easy accessibility. You can read blog posts on public transport, on the way to work or school in the morning, on your phone or any other device. This easy reading leads to readers not only reading more, but becoming more comfortable interacting with the creator of the blog, which leads to comments on the blog and helping increase the traffic to the blog (11, Neil Patel, 2014), then then process continues in a circle.

Next is the zero cost. Blogs can cost you nothing on start-up and you won’t find many that charge their readers. Since bloggers hardly charge the readers of their blogs, they have an advantage in the online media department. Highly respected newspapers such as The Courier Mail have a paid subscription service to view some of their content (12, The Courier Mail, May 2017). $5 dollars a week might not be a lot of money but for someone who clicks on an article, for its headline and doesn’t get to read the content, it can be frustrating. Now this may be one of the main reasons print news is declining but maybe it’s for the best, if writers can still earn money from content and not have to charge their readers a cent. In my interview with Chanel she also reiterated that this is the reason she thinks blogs will begin to takeover. Chanel acknowledged, “The reason being is the fact that the internet is free, blogs are free, you can create a website within minutes. Although there are bloggers who pay for domains and such, most bloggers would use mediums… which offer free services.”

These statement are also echoed by an older blogger, Edward Cone; who wrote, “Blogs and wikis are part of a wave of low-cost software that has streamlined the way information is published, edited and found on the Web… blogs can be used to support any number of corporate operations” (13, E. Cone, 2005). Cone wrote this article twelve years ago in 2005 and the information is even more relevant in this age of digital media and can still be linked in today’s society.

Finally, bloggers create content for their readers, yes they also write to entertain themselves but it wouldn’t be uploaded to a blog page without some hope that someone would read it. The hobby of writing a blog can quickly turn into a career. Lauren Bowling, a blogger who wrote for the Huffington Post (14, L. Bowling, 2015), essentially wrote that although she doesn’t get a weekly wage from just her writing; sponsorships, advertisements and even blog writing classes that she teaches, help her make the money she needs to continue to write what she loves and maintain a sustainable lifestyle. Bowling can point these perks down to her successful blog.

Blogging is on the rise whether some journalists refuse to accept it or not. In a digital age where people are sick of reading ‘fake news’ and clicking on bait they can’t even read, they are turning to alternatives and blogs are what they are looking for. Whether it be fashion, finance or business, there is a blog post for everyone to read on the go.

Word Count – 1595, including citations.

References

(1)  Leanne Akiki, The Australian, (28th November 2016)

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/opinion/journos-role-never-really-dying-just-adapting-to-change/news-story/c8b3c239410fc19d139dc9c25dea14d7

(2)  Enhanced Media Metrics Australia

https://emma.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/emma-Total-Audience-Report_NPs_Mar15.pdf (March 2015)

https://emma.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/emma-Total-Audience-Report_NPs_Mar17.pdf (March 2017)

(3)  Enhanced Media Metrics Australia

https://emma.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/emma-Total-Audience-Report_NPs_Mar15.pdf (March 2015)

https://emma.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/emma-Total-Audience-Report_NPs_Mar17.pdf (March 2017)

(4)  Chanel Tiffany, 1st June 2017, chaneltiffany.blogspot.com .

(5)  Queensland Government, Business Queensland, Online Marketing, 21st November 2016,

https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/marketing-sales/marketing-promotion/online-marketing/blog/who

(6)  Boohoo, timeline of events, accessed May 28th 2017,

http://www.boohoo.com/page/about-us.html, http://stylefix.boohoo.com/

(7)  Zupps Official Blog, accessed May 28th 2017, http://blog.zupps.com.au/

(8)  Twitter.com, accessed May 28th 2017, https://twitter.com/nerdychanel

(9)  Chanel Tiffany, 1st June 2017, chaneltiffany.blogspot.com .

(10)                 Bryan Gardiner, Wired, 18th December 2015,

https://www.wired.com/2015/12/psychology-of-clickbait/

(11)                 Neil Patel, 27th October 2014, Quicksprout,

https://www.quicksprout.com/2014/10/27/do-comments-actually-increase-your-search-traffic-a-data-driven-answer/

(12)                 The Courier Mail, accessed 1st June 2017

http://www.couriermail.com.au/subscribe/news/1/?sourceCode=CMWEB_ONS538

(13)                 Edward Cone, 5th April 2005, http://www.cioinsight.com/c/a/Past-News/Rise-of-the-Blog

(14)                 Lauren Bowling, ‘How I Made $38,000 From Blogging (and Launched My Career)’, The Huffington Post, 29th October 2015,

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lauren-bowling/how-i-made-38000-from-blo_b_8410896.html

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