Blogging is kind of like gardening.
You have to ensure that you have fresh and healthy soil, great location, kind weather, and tender loving care to nurture the fruits of your labor. The first step in creating a thriving garden is creating your foundation and planting your seeds.
Nothing would be worse than aimlessly tossing your seeds onto dry brittle earth and expecting them to sprout roses. And speaking of seeds, what are they and what do you hope that they grow into?
Blogging is very similar — to create a successful blog it all starts with your garden and your seeds i.e. your passion and your niche. Think of your passion as the soil and your niche or specific topic as your un-blossomed seeds. This step is important for any blogger to consider because it sets the standard for the health of your blog as you grow.
So let’s take it from the top! I want to share three simple steps to identify your blog’s niche and your specific topic(s). They’re easy as ABC. Whether you are still considering whether you’d like to take the plunge and start a blog, or you are still trying to wrap your head around specifying what the heck you’re writing about, take a look. These steps will get you started and/or refocus your ideas.
Let me ask you a loaded question — What excites you as a writer? Think of something or somethings that you are always inspired by. I’m not asking if you love Scottish Terriers, I’m asking if you LOVE them. I’m looking for the thing(s) that you find yourself scribbling ideas about on the corner of napkins even when you’re bored.
Your passion is your soil. The key to having longevity with your blog all begins with how you feel about it. If you are absolutely bat sh*t crazy about your idea, you’ll be hard-pressed to give up on it or worse, get bored of it.
So think about this carefully (and a bit strategically) and identify a few things that make you jump for you and make you want to write like your life depends on it…because your blog actually does depend on it.
Okay, so now we’ve figured out where your heart is, we need to dig a bit deeper. Let’s check under the hood. The internet is a very big and noisy place, so it’s important that you are able to make your mark and be memorable.
Some intimidating stats to keep in mind.
Currently, on social media there are,
2 billion monthly active Facebook users
1 billion monthly engaged Instagramers
400 million people tweeting on Twitter
300 million snapping on Snapchat
150+ million building boards on Pinterest
Wait! Hold on. Before you run away in tears thinking that there’s no way that you’ll get noticed (because trust me, you can and you will), these are great numbers to keep in your back pocket to remind you that specificity is key.
If you create a vague blog with “average” topics, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. BUT if you are able to hone in on your ideas and produce quality content, your audience will find you, fall in love with you, and are much more likely to stick around and spread the love.
Think of it this way — if you are a huge fan of bow ties or a sock enthusiast, your chances of finding other people share your passion are far higher.
I know what you’re thinking. “Why would I narrow my focus to something so small?” “Won’t I be turning away a huge audience?”. I’m thrilled to tell you that the answer will surprise you.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve been there and I am still fine tuning the sweet spot on my blog. It feels scary to “turn away potential readers” because you have a unique focus. But what I’ve observed is that the more you are able to specify your narrative and do it well, the more engaged readers you’ll find. You want to know why? Because they are extremely invested in what you’re sharing.
Let’s try a little practice. Below are a handful of specific blog themes to consider how you can do this for your blog.
Nutrition: Simple dieting advice for the 9-5 working mother
Relationships: Communication strategies for long-distance families
Travel: Conquering travel bucket lists for the frugal Millennial couple
Career: Collaboration strategies for cross-generational workplaces
Now, this is where the magic happens. You’re making some solid progress! With the knowledge of how to specify our niche, the next step is to understand your audience and tailor your content to their needs or interests. This usually leads to a very puzzling look and the question, “How do I know what my readers want to know?”. The easiest way that I’ve found for tailoring your content to your audience is to imagine your “ideal” reader.
If you’ve created a niche that you are passionate about and wholeheartedly believe in then you are a reflection of your ideal reader. Yes, you. You aren’t writing to an invisible following. Hopefully, you’re writing to people just like you, with similar interests and who are crazy or curious about what you have to share.
Take a second to envision this person and write to them. Similar to you having a great conversation with a friend over coffee, you are in sync with what they’re into and because you are too, things just click! You’re speaking their language. There’s no need to complicate it for yourself. Just write content that you would be interested in reading and would find value in if you were searching for another sock website to obsess over.
That’s it! Just like that you’ve equipped yourself with the tools to plant a flourishing garden. Take some time and consideration on creating your niche and you will find success and long-term fulfillment as an author.
From one Blogger to another. Blogger to Blogger.
I’m sure you have questions! Drop them in the comments and keep the conversation buzzing on the Facebook group.
You can find topics like these and more in the discussion on Facebook!