With 32 million projected bloggers and 7 million blog posts published daily, let’s just say blogging is a thriving industry. Though the number of websites currently on the internet amount to a little less than 2 billion, what makes blogging different from a website is: it is about community. Regular people start blogs because they’re looking for acceptance and to share their story with the wider world. This leap of faith often results in closed door communication between people as they use their voice to talk about something that matters to them.
Like a grandmother starting a blog to share her recipes and leaving behind a legacy for her grandchildren. An entrepreneur using the money she earns from blogging to start her own business. Or a mother releasing an ebook on her parenting journey to talk about postpartum depression.
Blogging in India has been hijacked, quite unfairly, by the advent of influencers, influencer marketing and “Born on Instagram” tags. But ask Richa Singh, co-founder of Blogchatter, a thriving blogging community, and she will tell you just how different the two are from each other. We had the chance to interview her and here’s what she had to say:
What do you think is the fundamental difference between a blogger and an influencer?
I know I have said this too many times but it needs to be repeated as many times as possible: all bloggers are influencers but not all influencers are bloggers. The difference lies in the platform they use. While you will find an influencer on 1 social media platform, typically Instagram, a blogger has their own asset – a website – and they’re present on multiple social media channels.
What differentiation do bloggers bring to a digital campaign?
Bloggers are not activated for 1 content piece going live on 1 social media platform. They have a longer engagement cycle in a digital campaign as compared to an influencer.
- Since they have their own website, their blog post when SEO optimized appears on Google search results.
- They use their multiple social media platforms to share their own content and other content assets generated during a campaign.
- Their engagement cycle does not end once they have posted their content. It continues for the duration of the campaign.
- They are the voice of the brand, responding to queries from their followers using their own organic experiences with the brand.
- Since their shelf life is longer, they become digital advocates i.e. stakeholders in the campaign, owning the space and adding their own flavour to the content they create.
How can someone become a blogger? What skills do they need to stay relevant in this changing digital space?
24.2% people become bloggers to be self-employed, 17% as a means of creative pursuit and 16% to build an audience of their own. Basically anyone who has something to say can become a blogger.
When it comes to the platform, most blogs today are on WordPress because of how intuitive the design is for a blogger’s needs. You can also use Blogger.
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To stay relevant in the changing digital space, a blogger needs to remember that when someone comes to a blog, they want to meet a person – YOU – and they want to read YOUR unique perspective on things. They don’t want news, they can get that anywhere. They want to know what YOU think about the news.
Some skills you can develop to write better content:
- Present your content in a way that it appeals to your audience. So for example have appropriate sub-headings, introduction, a CTA, etc.
- Use analytics like page views, bounce rate and reading time to understand how engaged your audience is with your content.
Tell us about your journey of starting Blogchatter and how it has grown in the past 6 years.
I had been blogging for close to a decade and yet I could see that there was a huge gap between blogging standards in India versus the West. The usage of content to create impacts for yourself and others was very nuanced outside India – and I wanted to spark a conversation around that. What started as a weekly Twitter chat quickly became a trending topic in India and stepped up to become a large platform.
Today we have close to 10,000 bloggers with us and clock a monthly traction of more than 40 million impressions across channels. We have also partnered with more than 100 brands in this journey to sketch and execute integrated 360-degree campaigns using bloggers and our copyrighted digital properties.
How does Blogchatter bridge the gap between a brand and a blogger?
It begins with a brand sharing a brief which we dissect internally. Once the way forward is decided, we go through our registry of bloggers to see the best fit for a campaign. When it comes to presenting bloggers or influencers to brands, the industry practice is to share an Excel sheet with their links and follower count. However, we don’t believe a human being can be introduced as an Excel line item.
Instead, we create a special deck that contains an entire slide dedicated to each blogger that we want to integrate in a campaign. This slide showcases their body of work, why we think they fit into the campaign brief and how we envision their content will thread the campaign together. We introduce the blogger as a human to the brand as opposed to an Excel line item. Once the brand sees how they will integrate into a campaign, they are on boarded as paid content creators.
We also have a section on our website called Featured Campaigns where we encourage our community of bloggers to create paid content for a brand campaign. This way, we get different voices, from all walks of life contributing to the chatter around a campaign.
How does the Blogchatter platform help a blogger to monetize their online presence? If there is a blogger out there, why should they be on Blogchatter?
We have been trying to build an ecosystem where any blogger, irrespective of their stats, has an opportunity to build and grow their online presence. One way is of course integrating them into brand campaigns. The other two ways, I’m proud to say, evolved after we received suggestions from the community. Like for example the industry practice of paying content writers 50p per word or Re. 1 per word was a big pain point for our community. So, we introduced paid guest posts where we pay them Rs. 5 per word because we think good content deserves that kind of money.
We also believe that blogging isn’t just about publishing content on your blog. It is also about networking, forming a tribe of your own, reading and sharing other people’s content, etc. So we gamified this by adding a unique reward points system. If you participate and complete a blogging challenge you earn reward points. If you reach your reading goal, there are reward points. If you mentor during a campaign, you earn reward points. The possibilities are endless.
As for the second part of your question, I think any blogger who is serious about their craft, blog, online presence or is just dipping their toes into the wide world of the digital space should be on Blogchatter. If you are looking for a bunch of happy, warm and welcoming community members, they will find it at Blogchatter.
Even today I get DMs and messages from bloggers on how Blogchatter helped distract them during the pandemic. Or how they had given up on blogging and Blogchatter saved them. How the team or the activities that Blogchatter comes up with helped them heal from a personal trauma/loss.
It is because of this intention of support and collective effort that we believe we’re building a platform that is bigger than just blogging in India.