Starting a blog is a lot like enrolling in college. Similar to how new students can be distracted by extracurricular activities, new bloggers can easily get so caught up in the excitement of designing a blog that they overlook one crucial detail: defining their niche.
Without a mission statement to give your writing purpose and establish your content as worthwhile to readers, your site could end up dropping out of the blogosphere.
If you’re a freshman blogger, consider these tips for finding your niche:
Beginning a blog is a commitment, so remember that Keeping It Simple is Smart. No, you don’t have to introduce your work to your folks or put a ring on it, but your blog is an investment that demands nurturing and attention. Don’t overcomplicate the process by cluttering your blog with a smorgasbord of tabs and categories that you don’t have the time or energy to update. Once you are comfortable with the blogging process and become an upperclassman then you can choose a minor.
Tout Your Talents
Utilize your blog as a virtual resume. Occupying blogspace to showcase your industry expertise could lead to additional career opportunities including new consulting gigs or a better job offer from an employer intrigued by your writing. Keep in mind that venturing down the path of a career-focused blog is not only about posting information concerning your skills and past career achievements, but also about providing relevant content. Operate your blog as a vehicle to express research findings, weigh in on industry trends and news, and unveil your innovative ideas.
Explore an Escape
Instead of adding another layer to your professional persona, let your blog function as a diversion from the daily grind. If you need a break from the 9 to 5, use your blog to write about anything but work.
The focus of your blog is only limited by your imagination. Consider The Ramen Rater, a blog that reviews various flavors and preparations of (you guessed it) instant ramen noodles. Or how about The Kitten Covers, a photo parody blog that puts kittens on the covers of well-known music albums. Where there’s an interest, there’s an audience.
Don’t be afraid to tackle an overly saturated niche like pregnancy, fashion, or digital marketing if it’s one that grabs your attention. Make the topic your own by developing an original viewpoint.
Although there are more than 3.9 million mommy blogs in North America, aspiring mom bloggers can still garner a following by sharing their own unique experiences and insight.
Personal content wins over generic information every day. Are you a mom raising a house full of boys? Do you have a unique philosophy on childrearing or discipline? Have you experienced a personal tragedy in your family that you’re ready to share so you can connect to others with similar stories? That’s what readers want to know; that’s your niche.
Go with Your Gut
Call it cliché, but trust your gut. Think back to the first time that you felt a push to start a blog. What inspired you?
• Did you disagree with a fourth quarter call during the playoffs and feel the urge to share your opinion?
• Were you researching SEO optimization on a high-traffic blog only to find your personal knowledge was more valuable?
• Did your sister’s suggestion to share your recipes online finally validate your unspoken aspirations to be the next Pioneer Woman?
Listen to that initial instinct. Odds are it’s your Muse at work.
Are you a blogging alum with sage advice on finding a niche? Please share your feedback with the incoming class in a comment below.
Kimberly is the Social Media and Content Manager at Virtual Vocations, your one-stop shop for freelancers looking for legitimate telecommute jobs. Connect with Kimberly on Facebook and Google+.
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