This is post #6 in the series: CHOOSING A NICHE
How can you choose the perfect niche for your blog? Here are some tips:
- Make a topic uniquely yours: Perhaps you already have a particular idea in mind. For example, if you are a novelist, you may want to market your new book. So your planned niche might be “author’s blog.” Simple right? But there are numerous novelists out there with the same goal. How will you make your author blog stand out? One important way is to narrow your niche to your particular genre – and then to what makes your book stand out with in the genre, or what makes your life experience relevant to the genre, and so on. Choose a unique element and make it uniquely yours.
- Avoid being unfocused: Perhaps, on the other hand, you just want to write, and have people read what you have to say. You figure that you’ll just splash your daily thoughts and activities out there for all the world to eagerly soak up every day. That just might work if you are already someone extremely famous or extremely infamous. Or if you are very, very, very lucky. But the vast majority of unfocused blogs die a very quick death.
- Meet specific interests and needs: So how can you come up with a great idea for your blog niche? How can you find a niche that you will love to write about, and that a reasonable number of people with love to read and learn from and interact with? How can you meet your goals and interest others in them as well? How can you find a topic that will meet specific needs related to a specific interest right now, but that has the potential to grow and develop to meet new needs in a variety of aspects of that interest?
Try this plan. And don’t just read the plan, DO IT! Bloggers ACT!
- Brainstorm. Make a wild list! Grab a pen and a huge sheet of paper and wildly jot down every idea you have that you think you would like to write about some day. Let yourself go. Don’t edit your brain. Include every idea, no matter how sane or how crazy as they might sound. If you already know your general topic (ie Author’s blog, or Skating, or whatever), you can narrow your list to anything remotely connected with that topic. When you’ve emptied your brain, take a short break, and then…
- Delete the boring. Go through your list and cross off all the boring ideas. Boring ideas lead to boring blogs which lead to a bored audience and a bored blogger which leads to a dead blog.
- Be personally passionate. Now go through your list and cross off all the ideas that other people have “helpfully” suggested to you, or that your English teacher said you “should” write about, or that some other blogger swears will make you tons of money … even though you personally have no real interest in those topics. You need to be personally passionate about your niche!
- Avoid non-blog-ready topics. Delete topics that aren’t “blog-ready.” That is, delete topics that aren’t suitable for an effective blog, for example topics that are so narrow that you’ll quickly run out of blog post topics (your favorite types of toilet paper, perhaps), or topics that you really don’t know enough about, or that you don’t have the skills or talent or equipment to present well and consistently (a personally created how-to-paint-masterpieces video blog, for example).
- Be competent. Delete topics of which you realistically don’t have a reasonable degree of expertise, competency, and experience. Even if you’re passionate to learn about a topic, you need a decent basis on knowledge and skill to get started. (On the other hand, you can practice your blogging skills by creating a blog in another niche where you have more confidence; and meanwhile build your knowledge and skills in your niche of greatest interest until you are ready to start a blog with that focus).
Summary: What you should have now is a list of topics that:
- You personally find interesting or intriguing or exciting enough to focus on and write about for a long time;
- You have some expertise in the topic, or are totally willing to explore and learn about the topic;
- You are pretty sure someone else out there in the wide world would be interested in as well!
- You have some qualities that make you uniquely qualified to create a blog in this niche that will make it stand out. (List them! Try for at least 10 of your qualities).
- Prioritize. Prioritize the remaining topics on your list. Choose three that fulfill the requirements of the three points listed above.
- Analyze. Go through your prioritized topics. Analyze. What patterns do you see? What is consistent? A particular topic area (even a broad one)? Something that reflects you (your emotions, your character traits, your educational background or job experiences, family)? Are these topics that are exciting, or analytic, or active, or theoretical, or?? Jot down your observations.
- Conclude. Think about writing you have done in the past. What is unique about your writing style? What are your writing strengths? Jot down your conclusions. Then think about how your writing strengths would work within each of the three topic areas you have prioritized.
Is there one topic area that now particularly stands out as a good potential general subject for your blog? Great! If not, don’t worry. Either way, put away your pen and paper, and let your brain take a break. Do something entirely different for the next 24 hours or so. By then, you’ll probably have a better sense of your general topic area.
Then come back and read our next post, where we’ll use mind-mapping to help you narrow your topic to a great niche for your blog.
Question of the day: Have you actually DONE the exercises above? If you have, great! If you haven’t, why not?
Tip of the day: Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today! (Don’t procrastinate!)
Put it into action: If you have already completed today’s plan, go put up your feet and take a well-deserved rest; then come back tomorrow for our next post. If you haven’t completed today’s plan, what are you waiting for? DO IT NOW 🙂