When I first sat down to write a Google Trends based article about blogging, I originally wanted to pit “blogging” versus the more professional terminology of “web writing.” Of course, web writing is not something people search, and yet, for so long, too long actually, I refused to refer to myself as a blogger who was blogging. Weblogging was too cumbersome a word, though, so I get why people were so quick to shorten it. But, blogging as a term just sounded unprofessional to me. It sort of still does. But, today, I call myself a blogger, because that’s the only way people understand what I do.
Saying web writer brings up too many questions. Am I like Charlotte with her web, picking words at random out of the thesaurus to make Wilbur look good? What I actually meant by being a “web writer” means that I write well-researched articles with copious keyword research backing the content’s structure and material. Being a “web writer” meant writing professional copy targeted at a specific audience.
Yeah, bloggers do all that, too, so now looking back, I just look like a pretentious prick. I’m not exactly regretting it, but yeah, everything from that time period has been revised or is still in the queue to be altered to “blogger” and “blogging.” The almighty Trends decreed by the Google Spider Queen are what I must follow in my quest for more clicks from the organic search crowd.
One look at this Google Trends chart will show that, yes, “web writing” was a niche worth targeting, back in 2004. I was still chasing that keyword phrase recently as 2017. Whoops.
Recognizing that this article topic was going to go nowhere, I instead decided to target another term that I hate in the online world: vlogging. I don’t hate people making videos; I watch YouTube videos every day of my life. No, I hate the term, vlogging or vlogger. It’s just a bastardization of a term I already don’t like, smashing together Blogging and Video. I greatly prefer when people call themselves a “content creator” because that’s a much more versatile umbrella term. It’s also way too vague, but I digress.
As it turns out, I have a pretty good topic here, though. Take a look at Blogging VS Vlogging on Google Trends!
Blogging has been quite a topic since 2004, when Google Trends data begins. Vlogging was as niche as it got until around 2014 when it began to start trending upward steadily. Search interest in Vlogging peaked during the 2020 COVID pandemic, which makes perfect sense. It was something to do. And, as much of a lead as Blogging has in search interest over the past 16 years, Vlogging is definitely catching up. Even in late 2022, though, Blogging still has a healthy lead.
Digging a bit deeper into the search trend data from the US, many states are now looking at an 80 / 20 split with blogging and vlogging search interest. But, the numbers bear out that the total is much closer in favor of vlogging. Nevada, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Louisiana have more of a 70 / 30 split.
Now, I could delve into the trend data for “Blogger” and “Vlogger” but I’m not going into that because of Google’s own blogging platform being called Blogger, which I must admit, was a really good move for them.
So, who’s searching “blogging” and “vlogging” in particular, and why do these trends matter? Well, anyone searching these terms in isolation naturally wants to understand better what goes into blogging or vlogging successfully. So, as interest in vlogging increases, that means fewer people are searching for how to be better at vlogging, and more people want to know how to be better at vlogging.
Now, blogging and vlogging are actually incredibly similar. They both involve creating content, although vlogging can be substantially more unscripted. Still, most of my favorite YouTube content is video essays and documentaries. Those are, for the most part, scripted. However, vlogging involves a lot of editing and processing. Blogging certainly involves editing, but not to the extent videos do, unless you’re like me and screen-cap videos with occasional edits are the extent of the effort I’m willing to put into them.
To be a successful vlogger, you have to add a lot of embellishment: music, jokes, random short gifs or shorts from around the internet, and essentially create your own mini-movie. While it’s not that I lack the vision or imagination to create videos, it’s just that writing is my best skill and the video part, well, I’d have to outsource that to create anything people will pay to watch. Then again, plenty of people are fine with staring at two people talking for two hours straight, so maybe all the advice I’ve been reading is actually wrong.
Still, as someone who’s never been interested in being a full-time vlogger, this trend towards vlogging being an increasingly interesting vocation at the expense of blogging is a bit worrying for me. Blogging isn’t going anywhere, sure, but I can’t help but feel that turning my essays into video essays would be a good “career” move for me. It’s not something I want to do, fooling around with the YouTube algorithm, etc. I’m just not interested, and when I’ve tried to do videos in the past, it went not just poorly, but extremely poorly. Either, I say something that royally ticks someone off and gets my video down-voted into oblivion OR a video does extremely well and creators in that niche all gang up and see my video gets demonetized for one reason or another.
With Substack looking to be adding video content to their platform, it’s possible that I will produce video essays based on my written work sooner or later. But, I’m going to limit these videos to paid subscribers only, either there or on Patreon, or both. It’s not that I care about making a ton of money; I’ll be charging probably $2 on Patreon, and perhaps $5 on Substack for video and written paid content. But, I simply can’t ignore that people simply value content more if they’re paying for it. Makes sense.
It’s more that if I get money for my content, then I can realistically justify getting these videos professionally edited. I don’t need to make videos to pay my bills; I’m fortunate enough to not need my content creation to be my job. But, blogging is what I like to call my full-time hobby. With my Pokemon articles doing extremely well, with an occasional Magic the Gathering or YuGiOh post also popping off, but my non-gaming content floundering, I have to ask myself: self, should I be doing video essays, even if they’re profoundly lazy in their production, just to say I have video essays?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to have people pay for me literally reading off of my computer screen. I’m a consummate professional; I’m going to give people a reason to watch, whether it’s with clever extra quips or unexpected jump cuts with perfect comedic timing. That’s why I’ve refused to give in and produce YouTube video essays. I’m not putting three to five years into a floundering YouTube channel making pennies a video just with the hope that I’ll turn it into a nice income stream. Videos are never going to be my full-time job. It’s just not what I’m into. That’s not to say I will never be a vlogger, but if I do, it will only be to complement my existing content.
Of course, if I get thousands of Patreon supporters who want me to make video essays on requested subjects, that’s a different story. But, since I don’t need the money, I’d rather the money go to the people who do it for a living and need to pay the bills. That’s more what it is. I so greatly respect the people who quit their jobs and took major financial risks to start their own channels (and many more fail than succeed by the way) and I’m not soaking up people’s Patreon support or YouTube channel member budgets just to have an excuse to put out a poop video every month.
So, yes, I’m completely supportive of vlogging. Your basic Android smartphone or iPhone is literally all you need, and the needed video editing software is relatively cheap these days. Heck, Windows freaking Movie Maker is often enough! I use Bandicam and Bandicut, personally, which are also absurdly cheap. So, vlogging is cool. It’s just not for me. I’m going to end up more like the rambling folks who go down a rabbit hole for half an hour to an hour, not the clever kids who know what they’re doing and see it as a proper film production – which it really should be.
Do I think vlogging will one day surpass blogging as the preferred content creation method? Not only do I think it will, I know that it will. It will easily happen in my life time (I’m only 35 as of writing this in 2022), and sooner or later, I’ll need to at the very least narrate my articles (Substack is already allowing people to do this, for example) and make them into videos with something pretty to look at while you’re listening to me ramble on and mess up constantly in my reading aloud. It’s an eventuality I’ve always considered, and it’s coming on faster than I would’ve liked.
What do you think? If you had to choose, would you prefer to be a blogger or vlogger? Keep in mind, if you’re camera shy, there are plenty of ways to never show your face, or even have your own voice heard, if you have a great video producer / editor. I think that vlogging will one day become a necessary part of my content creation if I ever want to get certain topics in front of people. Still, I’m still holding out hope that the proliferation of email newsletters that has exploded over the past two years will keep written content relevant for years to come. But, if a day comes where vlogging flip-flops places with blogging, well, you’ll probably being listening to me read off 1800 word essays like this one in the dullest monotone possible. (JK, I’ll make it worth your time.)
For now, blogging is still going to be my primary medium. But, yeah, I see vlogging sneaking up on me, and it’s probably going to be nipping at my heels for years to come.