Although there may be plenty to say, every blogger needs a niche, an area to hone and pull in their target market. Finding that niche is not always easy. I have been trying to find my niche for several months. Here are four things I have discovered along the way.
What you start with won’t necessarily be what you stick with
I started out writing about desserts I love to make. The catch is that I am not a chef or trained pastry maker. I have fun in the kitchen making weird concoctions that sometimes turn out and other times are a complete disaster. Most chefs out there go through that, but they love to create, recreate, recreate, and get it perfect. I’m not like that. I may have the patience to recreate a recipe one more time, but if it doesn’t work on the second attempt I toss the recipe and move on.
I’ve also discovered that making recipes day in and day out take a lot of effort and a large grocery budget. Thus, I moved into writing about my thoughts and faith as a stay at home wife. The glitch is that my followers liked my desserts and aren’t following my other posts as much. One experienced blogger told me to find the “happy place between what I like to write about and what my readers want.”
Thus, I either need to find a way to love making desserts even more or change my approach to how and what I write about. Something tells me it won’t be desserts.
It is easy to flow into a blogging support group but it might not be to your benefit
As a newbie blogger I started looking for blogging support. I joined free on-line classes and blogging help groups. What I did not do was pay attention to was who else was joining. Many times these groups are very diverse and other times they are specific to a niche. The groups I joined/followed were filled with stay at home moms that love to write about their families and children and homeschooling. First let me say this is not a bad thing. There are some great stay-at-home mommy bloggers. I just can’t relate to them.
I am a stay-at-home wife but only because the economy turned. I was a professional consultant living the traveling life of a tech consultant. I know nothing about children and homeschooling and I most certainly don’t write about those topics because I have no knowledge of them.
What happens is these groups have the other members follow each other. That is great as long as they fit in your writing niche. If they don’t fit in the niche you want to blog about you’ll have a lot of un-followers very quickly.
It is important to find blogging support, or tribe, that fits your niche and goals for two reasons: 1) they can give you quality feedback, 2) they can help pull in more of your target market.
If you don’t love what you blog about blogging will become a chore
In all honesty I don’t wake each day going “Yea, I get to blog!” Since I haven’t found my niche blogging has become a struggle. I love to write, find it fun to make silly graphics, and put my thoughts out there. However, I am so focused on what my niche should be that I don’t have a direction any more. Many mornings I get up and just groan at the thought of deciding what to put up on my blog. I have a feeling it would be different if I loved what I wrote about.
There will always be tasks that are not fun as a blogger, like planning out your blog months in advance, getting the pictures of recipes just right if you don’t have the correct equipment, and filtering out spam comments.
To keep the joy of having a blog it has to be something you love. I heard quite often in the business world the idea that “It isn’t work if you love what you do. What do you love to do?” All I can say is that having a blog falls into that smae thought pattern. Blogging is work, and no fun, if you don’t love what you write about.
And, I don’t think there is a “What Color is Your Parachute” for bloggers. Maybe there isn’t a book because so many bloggers out there have their own version of it on their blogs. And, they pretty much all say the same thing. Focus on what you love and find where those who love that niche hang out on-line.
Don’t give up
Even though I don’t know my niche, I haven’t found the right on-line support groups, and I don’t have an all out joy of blogging, yet, I am not going to give up. Maybe I am supposed to write something other than a blog. Maybe I need to have more faith in myself and my life plan. I don’t have an answer.
All I know is that I do enjoy writing. I had a young adult author (my English professor) tell me in my early years of college that I had a gift in creative writing. I’ve had family members and friends tell me I write well. Thus, onward I go. I’ll find my niche eventually and my audience, whether it is this blog or some other writing avenue. I will keep searching and pressing on.
You will, too!