If you’re considering the online business models of blogging vs. Instagram and wondering which to pursue in 2021, this post is for you.
My wife is a professional Instagram influencer with 130,000+ followers and has made ~$35,000+ per year as an influencer since 2019.
We also run her blog which earns us $2,000+ per month in advertising income.
(You can see monthly updates of her influencer and blogging income here.)
In short, we know a lot about both blogging and Instagram.
Keep reading to learn whether blogging or Instagram is a better business model for you.
Blogging Vs. Instagram: Which Is Better for Building Wealth
I’m going to assume that, if you want to make money from either blogging or Instagram, you want to build wealth.
By building wealth, I mean creating a lifestyle of abundance.
The wealthiest people in the world create a lifestyle of abundance through ownership.
They own public businesses (stock), private businesses (their own companies or parts of other people’s businesses), and real estate.
Look at any of the most wealthy people in the world, and you will find that they have wealth in large part due to ownership of these sorts of assets.
Wealth is different from just having a high income because wealth gives you financial resilience.
When you own the sources of your cash flow, your financial position is much stronger than simply having a job with a high income.
A job with a high income can be taken away from you at any time.
But when you own your sources of cash flow, they are less likely to go away.
Wealthy people also have the opportunity to live lifestyles of greater freedom than those with a high income alone.
For example, consider the real estate investor who owns 20 rental units that net him $1,000 per month each (that’s $20,000 per month or $240,000 per year) versus a partner at a law firm making a $240,000 per year salary.
Although their incomes are the same, the real estate tycoon is much wealthier.
He owns the underlying property generating his income.
And as a result of this ownership, he can live a lifestyle of freedom, answering to no one, and working and traveling wherever and whenever he wants.
On the other hand, the partner at a law firm who makes the same income but lacks ownership likely leads a lifestyle of far less freedom, working late hours, answering to other partners, etc.
Too many people focus on making a high income when what they really want is to be wealthy.
Like I mentioned, ownership is the key to becoming wealthy, and when you consider blogging vs Instagram, blogging allows for greater ownership (and therefore greater wealth) than Instagram.
Blogging Vs. Instagram: Ownership
When you build a blog or a content-driven website, you’re building an asset that can be bought, sold, or traded.
The ability to buy, sell, or trade an asset is a critical aspect of ownership.
And although you can technically buy, sell, or trade social media profiles, the market for them is smaller, more difficult to navigate, less liquid, and less valuable than the market for selling blogs.
Also, like most owned assets, you have total creative freedom with a blog.
You can change anything about its design, purpose, and more.
You can also gather granular data about your audience, sell directly to them, capture their email address, etc.
This isn’t the case with Instagram.
You can’t download a file of all your followers and content, or sell directly to your followers on the platform.
In short, you must play by Instagram’s rules because they ultimately have greater ownership of your content, audience, and profile than you do.
One of the easiest ways to tell if a social platform encourages or discourages audience ownership for its creators is how readily it sends its users to someone’s website.
Instagram is one of the worst social platforms for driving traffic to a website.
Timing: Can You Still Succeed As a Blogger Or Instagrammer in 2021?
Every day, recently started blogs are becoming financially successful.
How do I know this?
You can find several examples online (besides my wife’s and my website, jasminealley.com.)
Jim and Ricky, the creators of the popular blogging course, Income School, have created a business out of launching blogs that become financially successful.
You can read about each of those blogs they’ve started here.
What’s unique about their situation is that they start brand new blogs regularly, as opposed to the many examples of those who are currently succeeding today when they launched their blog several years ago in a less competitive environment.
There’s also Zach’s portfolio of blogs where he shows how quickly (and recently) he ranks in Google search results for low competition terms here.
“But aren’t there billions of websites today that are theoretically my competition?”
There are billions of websites, but more than 90% of them get zero traffic from Google search.
This means there are a lot of opportunities for your blog to get traffic from Google search, one of the most valuable traffic sources.
Plus, a significant percentage of daily searches have never before been searched!
So the demand for search content is growing.
In short, there’s definitely an opportunity to build wealth with blogs in 2021!
Is 2021 a Good Year to Start an Instagram Profile?
Although 2021 seems like a great year to start a blog, I can’t say the same about an Instagram profile.
Jasmine’s growth on Instagram has essentially flattened.
And TikTok’s meteoric rise in popularity has never been more threatening to the platform.
Plus, Facebook’s ownership of Instagram could very well mean that, like Facebook, Instagram’s organic reach could drop to zero.
In other words, you would have to pay Instagram for your followers to see what you post.
I’m sure there will still be financially successful Instagram influencers who start their profiles in 2021.
However, I think the odds of long-term financial success are much greater starting a blog than starting an Instagram profile in 2021.
Blogging Vs. Instagram: Which Allows for a Better Business Model?
The Tweet above references a quote from Seth Klarman, one of the most successful hedge fund managers of all time.
Klarman’s job is to invest in valuable companies that earn a high return on investment for his fund’s investors.
In other words, he’s good at identifying the qualities of a business that make it valuable.
According to his quote, the most profitable businesses are those that sell a fixed amount of work product over and over again at low marginal cost.
It’s amazing that Klarman describes profitable businesses in this way, because this almost perfectly describes a blog!
A blog post requires a relatively fixed amount of work product.
And search traffic can provide recurring traffic to a blog post and thus recurring sales over and over again at almost zero cost.
In short, blogs can be great business models.
Business Models Available on Instagram
Unfortunately, Instagram influencing isn’t as great of a business model.
As an influencer, you typically sell your services of brand promotion.
And services just don’t scale well.
In other words, to make more from services, you must work more hours or charge more per hour.
Each option can be challenging.
But growing income from services can be particularly challenging for an influencer who can’t outsource content creation without compromising brand integrity because they have a personal brand.
For instance, if someone hires Jasmine to post a photo to her account, she can’t hire someone else to do it because they hired Jasmine, and her brand is linked to her identity.
Plus, selling services can be uniquely exhausting.
Jasmine has experienced first-hand clients that are difficult to work with and make extra demands that often erode the hourly rate she would have made for a particular brand collaboration.
As you can tell, I’m much more optimistic about building wealth with blogging than I am with Instagram.
That said, if you absolutely love photography and videography, Instagram may be a great platform for you.
If you do pursue it, I recommend pursuing it an addition to a blog and making your blog the nexus of your brand.
Let me know which business model you’re thinking about in the comments!
And if you want to learn more about reasons to start a blog, check out this post.