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Barely two weeks into 2014, two of the top female lifestyle bloggers, Garance Doré and Joanna Goddard, published posts on the same day announcing that their respective personal blogs were adding a few more voices to the mix. It's a story we've heard before: The Man Repeller, Into The Gloss, and Rookie all started as personal blogs, but have since hired editorial staffs. While it's always exciting to see industry leaders shaking things up, it also made us wonder: Is this the new future of personal blogs?
Successful personal bloggers gain followers based on the relationships that they build with their readers. No one knows this better than Joanna Goddard and Jessica Quirk, the voices behind two personal blogs that have attracted huge followings over the years.
Image via A Cup of Jo
For Joanna Goddard, hiring on more writers to A Cup of Jo was a step she took in order to expand and take on more projects related to the blog. "For the past seven years, I've written every post, which has been wonderful, but I started having bigger ideas for posts and series that I simply didn't have time to pull off on my own," Goddard told Racked. "As your blog gets bigger, the workload naturally grows, too. You have more advertising meetings, you have more reader emails, you have more of everything. So it can get overwhelming for one person."
Since Quirk has had a presence in the personal blog realm since 2008, when What I Wore was founded, she acknowledged that it's unusual for most bloggers to reach the point where they consider hiring on a staff. "I don't foresee that many bloggers needing a support staff and honestly, I think keeping your overhead low is the real key to being financially successful in this industry," Quirk told Racked.
For those who do reach that level of success, there are plenty of opportunities that adding an editorial staff would bring. "I think if you want your site to keep getting richer and more dynamic, it makes sense to bring on a team of likeminded people to keep it growing in exciting ways," said Goddard.
Image via What I Wore
However, for What I Wore, Quirk has chosen not to hire on any other writers yet. "I don't think my readers would like it," said Quirk. "My most popular posts are the ones I share the most about myself and the least popular posts have been guest bloggers." For Quirk, What I Wore's success lies in keeping it a small operation. "Blogging seems a lot more salesy to me than it did in the early days," said Quirk. "I've always read blogs because I connect to the author and felt like if I lived in the same town, I might be her friend. I still believe a lot of those bloggers exist and I think they'll have the best staying power."
As for the future, personal bloggers with editorial staffs isn't the only change on the horizon—Tumblr might be on its way out as well. "There will always be a new crop of people wanting to express themselves, so I think blogs will continue on," said Quirk. "But with so many other platforms to share on, who knows how many readers will continue to settle down in front of a computer and type in a URL anymore."—Erika Graham