One of the best things you can do for yourself and your blog is to define your niche.
Who are your readers? What do they like? What do they do? What are their interests? And of course most importantly – What do they want to read about?
All of these questions are important to ask when defining your niche and help you not only connect with your readers, but help give your blog a direction and theme.
Narrowing down and defining your audience helps keep your blog focused. We’re far more likely to take interest (and stay interested) in a blog that tackles specific topics or issues that we hold a personal interest in. As a writer, this helps in your decision making when it comes to deciding which topics to write about that will resonate with your readers.
The thing is – people are going to put you in a box. We do this to others all the time. Based on your content, they’ll define you as the ‘person that blogs about cafe interiors’, or ‘icon design’. Being put in a box isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it means people look up to you as being an expert in that field. They trust what you say and value your advice.
Which box do you want people to put you in?
How to define your blogging niche.
Unsure what your niche could be? Defining it can be harder than it seems. There’s a few ways to to do it – but ultimately, you want to choose a niche that you’re interested in and have a unique voice or opinion.
Leverage your skills and interests
What are you not only interested in, but also good at? Write down a list of all of your passions and identify the one that you’re drawn to the most. A blog is a timely investment and long commitment – choose a topic that interests you and leverage your skills in that interest. If you choose a topic that you don’t have much interest or skill in, not only will it require more of your time, but you’re not going to to enjoy it as much.
Play to your strengths and consider what insights, learnings or experiences you have to share about a particular topic. Maybe you’ve had a lot of good or bad experience in working with clients – you could create a blog specifically about managing and working with clients.
Think Long Term
Consider the people who will stumble upon your blog two years from now. What do you want them to take away from browsing your blog? Defining your niche helps you decide how you want to position yourself – what do you want to be known for?
Remember, people are more likely to stay engaged with a blog that’s relevant and recent. Blogging once a week means you’ll write 52 posts in a year, or 104 posts if you’re blogging twice a week. That’s a lot of topics! Do you think you’ll have ideas and experiences to share on your blog to last two years? Before you start, jotting down as many blog post topic ideas you can think of helps you validate whether you have enough to say to sustain your blog.
Blogging is a great way to build an audience, and the best way to sustain an engaged audience is to have a relationship with them. Those long term relationships with your readers are gold. Make them, nurture them and hang on to them. Those engaged people might turn into a customer one day if you decide to launch a product.
There are thousands of blogs on Motion Design. How many blogs do you think there are on ‘Motion Design for Hand Lettering Artists’? Probably a handful. While this is a very specific, well targeted niche, the audience you’ll grow will be passionate, engaged and hungry to learn more about this niche topic.
Be specific with your niche and create content they’d find useful. It’s better to have a small but highly engaged audience, than a large pool of sitting ducks. Being specific lets you get to into the finer details of your topics and provide more in depth content than other blogs normally would. This is going to help you gain a lot of respect from those highly engaged readers.
Find a Gap
With any new venture, it’s always important to consider the market. Does the internet need another blog about Black & White Photography of Big Cities, or is it saturated? If there is a gap, what could be done better than the ones already out there? It can be difficult to break into an already saturated market.
Finding a gap in the market helps validate that there’s something missing that you could potentially provide. What unique voice, opinions or views do you have to share on an already popular topic? How could you do it better? Consider the market trends and do a bit of research to see what other blogs are out there and what they’re doing successfully or unsuccessfully.
Define your Audience
Who do you want to create relationships with? Writing a blog is often not just a one way street. It’s about creating relationships, engaging with your readers and providing valuable content (that you have interest or experience in) to them. Knowing the types of people you’d like to create content for helps keep your blog focused when it comes to decision making. Ask yourself – Will my audience find this valuable?
Choosing a niche is about focus. Focus on the content you provide, the skills and interests of your readers and the specific experiences and insights you have to share. It may take a little trial and error to define your niche, but exploration is good for the soul!
If you’re unsure about what will stick, don’t just do nothing – put content out there and find out what does. Find out which of your passionate topics causes your audience to get most engaged or excited about – and keep writing more.
This guest post has been written by Femke. Femke works by day at Atomic.io while moonlighting as a freelancer and podcaster. She blogs for her design studio, chats about issues facing creatives on her podcast Design Life and tweets a lot about side projects.
If you have something to say about blogging and would like to contribute please do get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org!