In blogging, I tend to *cringe* at some rules, like finding your “niche” before you start.”
Fellow bloggers, don’t hate me. I know the advice is to mean well, and I do get your point. I also don’t completely disagree with this rule. If you’re using your blog as a business, you do need a focal point. “Why should people trust you?” Having a blog for a business without a niche is an entrepreneur of no specific field. “I own a lot of different businesses.” Sure Jan.
Back in the day when I started, I knew one thing: I wanted to write about what I liked and my work: design and pretty things.
Broad topics, but it was a start. With no audience, I opened up a Blogspot account and started posting. Fumbling around with different topics helped me weed out what I talked about and helped me grow as a writer. Along with the design and pretty things, I added DIY projects and recipes to the mix. That all changed when I realized I didn’t care about half of those things. DIY was costly for a post-graduate between contract jobs. I wasn’t creative enough to come up with my own recipes (and wasn’t gluten-free at the time). The pretty things I blogged about I couldn’t afford. It was dead-end.
As of late, I can’t say I have a niche for my blog (or maybe I do).
Blogging, design, Photoshop, and freelancing are the main things I like to write about. Using my experience and wanting to help people allow content to happen. I tried forcing topics and it didn’t pan out. I got exhausted (and almost quit!). Now I’m letting go of that pressure and it feels good to create content.
Other advantages of starting without a niche?
1. Gets you started without pressure. When you decide you’re ready to post your first post, the fear of starting is over. You’re not starting because you’re perfect- you’re starting because you have something to say. Go you!
2. Helps your niche grow on its own. Think of it as a plant. You don’t plant the seed and have a full-grown plant right away. You have to water it, give it enough light, and help it grow. Your blog is the same way.
Have you read a post and thought, “That sounds fake but OK”? It’s obvious they feel the need to be specific off the bat and it’s not authentic. I say it often: you don’t have to jump on board with what you believe you should write.
So…are you ready to let go of the pressure? A few more tips:
1. What are you interested in? Not what can you do, what are you interested in? Is it music? Are you the person people turn to for new music? Do you know more info than the average listener? You might be on to something. You might be an accountant, but you may not want to blog about accounting. Find your interest. Start broad, focus in.
2. Brainstorm how you can contribute to the blogging world. What you find is missing? I find openness about creatives who struggle with mental illness is missing. BUT I don’t want to be a mental wellness blogger. Being open about mine has allowed me to connect with my audience on a personable level.
Blogging for passion? For business? To promote your business? These are three different (yet legit reasons) to blog and will determine if you need a niche in the first place.
– Blogging for passion? It’s all whatever you want on your terms, no pressure.
– Blogging to help your business? The topic is there for you. Sharing your experience and client stories will help your niche develop over time.
– Blogging as a business? Yes you’ll need a niche, and you’ll need to do some planning, but you still need to start. Your business idea will help your “blogging as a business” niche.
The takeaway? Don’t rush it – just start. Remove the pressure that’s become a roadblock and keep writing. Think about your interests and purpose- your why, and your niche will form itself.