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Why I’m not blogging (much) any more


Three years ago, I started Breaking Copy to help myself get more involved in the field of copywriting. I figured it might lead to some freelance and consulting work. I might learn a few things about writing for the Internet. I might make a few bucks from ads. And if all else failed, it would be fun.

For a while I was doing a post a day.

Then I scaled back to a post a week.

Then I basically stopped blogging.

I don’t really miss it. Here are two reasons why.

1. My job is different now.

When I started this blog, I was the only copywriter at my company. Today I have a staff. This makes me extremely cautious about what I write, since I don’t want to send any signals about life at the office. Cautious writing is usually bad writing. Cautious writing is also very time-consuming—and coincides with a time when I have fewer hours to spend on personal projects. So overall, my new job responsibilities make me less inclined to blog.

2. Blogging, in general, is less fun than it used to be.

Think back a few years. People who blogged often did so as an outlet for personal growth and expression. What we now call content marketing was mostly relegated to business publishing—whitepapers, advertorials, company magazines, and so on.

Today blogging is a dark art. This is the age of the viral content mill, with its scientifically engineered headlines. It’s the age of sponsored stories. Of guest posts blasted out by marketers. It’s the age of stakeholder media, where interest groups slyly deploy their own stories through contributor networks that will publish anything. It’s an age where highly organized armies of stay-at-home bloggers churn out happy brand stories, doing the bidding of corporate marketing managers in exchange for free trinkets. You might see this output everywhere and not even realize what it is.

Meanwhile, lots of creative folks have abandoned the grind of blogging in favor of easier, lighter social media. Dash off a quick thought or post a picture on Tumblr or Twitter or Instagram or Pinterest. Watch a counter tell you how popular it was. Then forget about it, while some company in California brags about all the users you helped engage.

I don’t miss Google Reader much, but its demise on July 1, 2013, stands as a symbol of changing habits. Most people aren’t loyal readers of blogs any more. I seldom read the blogs I used to—though I sometimes catch them spinning by in the slot machine readout of Tweetdeck.

Today’s Internet has no patience for someone whose preferred form of expression is the paragraph.

Those of us who’ve been blogging earnestly for a while can lament our declining relevance. Or we can wise up and figure out something productive to do.

So what’s next?

I’m intrigued by video. YouTube attracts an absolutely huge audience, and shares ad revenue with content creators. The result is a fascinating, messy incubator for creativity.

I do like Twitter an awful lot (follow me at @daryllang), though I try to take breaks. Social media sites start to feel like they control you if you get too serious about feeding them.

I’m intrigued by data visualization. Feels like there’s still a lot of open room to play in that space.

I might start some sort of blog-like site with a different look, feel, and mission from this one.

And I might still post here once in a while when I have something to say about copywriting, or a new project to announce.

I’m in a great place, and Breaking Copy has had a good run. On to a new page.

Photo © Katherine Welles/Shutterstock

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Copywriting, Technology

One comment

  1. Lee Torrens says:

    Thanks for sharing your insights Daryl. There’s a few things in there for me. How cool that you now have your own team! Here I was thinking all the copy coming out of “the company” was yours. 😉

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