One of the first things you’ll hear talked about when starting a blog is?what is your niche? This is a pretty gigantic question to ask someone, I think. When you’re first starting a blog, you could be doing it for many reasons. Since I started this blog three years ago, it has transformed from a way to update family, to posting random things I liked, to just now really starting to focus in on what my blog’s purpose is. Over the last few months, I’ve taken the time to really focus on the purpose behind each post. There will still be weekend updates sometimes or other life update posts, but they are?on purpose.?
Lifestyle is my “niche” if you want to categorize it, but the purpose behind my blog and the mission statement of my blog is much less broad than that. So if you’re a new blogger or even an experienced blogger but you haven’t quite gotten your groove, asking yourself a few simple questions about your blog can really help to outline what your blog looks like as far as content goes.
To me, this is what discovering your blog niche is all about.?A niche isn’t just a word you can pick and you’ve solved the mystery of what your blog will be about. If you’re a food blogger, saying you write about food or post recipes isn’t enough. Do you post gourmet recipes? Thirty minute meals? Vegetarian? Our definition of “niche” tends to limit bloggers and trap them into a little box. Our definition of niche has become too broad. A niche is defined as “a specialized but profitable corner of the market.” So saying that a blog’s niche is parenting, recipes, marriage, etc., is too broad to truly encompass what a blog’s niche is.
To figure out what direction I wanted my blog to go in, I had to write a lot of posts that now seem irrelevant. I didn’t plan out this blogging process, it just kind of happened for the first seven months of last year. I didn’t have an editorial calendar or even a number of times that I wanted to post per week. As I went on, things got more organized, but I could’ve avoided months of blog identity crisis by just planning and thinking ahead.
Here are some helpful questions that can guide you in discovering your blogs “niche” or purpose.
What are your goals?
I think it’s really important to start here. If your goal is to document a period in your life, for example I had a blog while I studied abroad, your blog is bound to look much different than if, say, you’re wanting to create a resource for new moms. Knowing what your goals are is probably even more important than figuring out what to name your blog or what blogging platform to choose.
If your goal is to provide facts?about missions in other countries, you may not be interested in posting about the latest dollar section sales at Target. If your goal is to share delicious, homemade vegetarian meals, you wouldn’t want to share about a new barbecue recipe. You get the point, recognizing your?future goals is the first step in creating a successful blog.
Who is your audience?
This ties in very nicely with the goals section, but does provide a different outlook. Your audience will determine a lot about your future posts, marketing strategies, resources, giveaways etc. My audience is primarily female, between her early twenties and late thirties. Many are interesting in cooking, crafts and the home. Posting about the latest auto trends for 2015 probably wouldn’t be relevant to them. This is where having a lifestyle blog doesn’t necessarily guarantee that I can post about whatever flavor of the week I’m interested in. Sure, it’s my blog, but if I want people to read it, the topics have to be interesting to someone other than me. Posting about random things also creates confusion for your audience and they will have a difficult time identifying with you and your blog because they don’t have a sense of what you and your blog are about.
What are your passions?
For me, this answer is easy. I love helping people. I love providing solutions for others, whether it’s by offering my design services or by providing an easy weeknight recipe. So for my blog, I try to make my posts as helpful as I can. I don’t always spell it out that a post is supposed to help you solve a problem, but I hope that through the voice of my blog, that message is conveyed often enough that people recognize it.
Your passions may be helping new moms discover how to feel great as their body changes or helping ex-pats get reacquainted with America or sharing your love of cooking! Whatever those passions are, see if you can hone them in to create an experience for your readers.
What would you like to learn more about?
Especially for me, knowing things I’d love to know more about can help me figure out post ideas that would be?helpful for my readers. For example, I really wanted to learn to make souffl?s, so I did and it turned out that a lot of other people wanted to learn how, too!
Are there blogs out there like yours?
If your niche is very specific, this may be difficult to find. But even as a lifestyle blog, it’s easy to find other blogs like mine. There are blogs that post similar content to mine and even some that have a similar mission statement behind the blog. See what others are doing but also pay attention to things they’re not doing! Pure originality is difficult to come by these days with a saturation of ideas (thanks Pinterest) and a saturation of awesome bloggers. Figuring out what information is lacking can be huge. Another example. When I wrote my 31 Days of Prayer post, it was 100% for me. I wanted to have a plan of prayer prompts I could follow every day for the month, but when I started searching for that resource, I couldn’t find it. So I made it myself and shared it in case it was helpful for someone else. That is my #1 more popular post and has continued to pour in thousands of page views a month for me,?all because I did something no one else was doing!?
Knowing which blogs are similar to yours also helps in finding?a blogging community that you can be a part of!
What is your blog’s niche and how does it play into your mission statement?
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