Drilling Down Your Blogging Niche?

Filed as Editorial, Features on March 27, 2008 11:57 am

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Over the past year alone, I can’t count how many hundreds of people who have told me that they’ve just decided to make “beginning blogging” be their blog’s focus. They wanted me to tell them what I thought of their plan.

I told them they weren’t done, yet.

Yes, this news can be crushing, but let’s look at the example of creating a blog for beginner bloggers. Most summarize their blog’s plan of action with this purpose statement:

I want to create a blog to teach beginner bloggers, people who are totally new to blogging how to blog. It will cover the basics, step-by-step of blogging, including how to monetize and build a successful blog.

The target audience? Beginning bloggers. The style? Step-by-step introductory basics. Content stretch? Monetization and commercialization of blogs.

Good start. But not done yet.

Who Will Search for Your Blog?

Who are the beginning bloggers? Where are they coming from? How old are they? Are they specifically interested in a type of blogging? Will they ever really want to turn their blogs into businesses? Are they doing this for fun? Are they determined to create supplementary income from their blogs, or is their blog part of their business?

By clarifying the people you want to attract to your blog to the minute details, you can aim your blog content’s directly at them. The more directed the aim, the more likely you will attract the right folks to your blog.

Maybe you specialize in teaching students, those still in the educational system, about blogging. Or maybe aim at teachers who want to introduce blogging into their classrooms.

What about senior citizens? They have a lot of stories and photos to tell and share with their families and the world. Maybe helping them learn how to blog is more important than aiming at everyone and anyone interested in blogging.

I write a genealogy blog and get a lot of inquiries from people who want to start their own genealogy blog, so much so, I’m thinking of starting a blog aimed directly at the lucrative industry to teach genealogy and family history enthusiasts how to blog. It’s a huge market.

Think about what it is about blogging that really interests you, especially the subject matter you tend to blog about the most, and consider teaching that demographic about how to blog.

What is Your Blogging Style?

Step-by-step technical is good, and needed, but is that the only way to teach through your blog? Blogging offers a ton of venues for providing content and educational media, from writing and showing graphics and photographs to podcasting and video. Will you use only one media or mix it up?

Will you be strict and serious, sticking only to the dry facts and figures of teaching the world how to blog? Or mix it up with some fun and games to make it a little more interesting? Or will it all be lighthearted and fun with a lot of giggles?

Will you only write original content, or include quotes and references from other sources? Will you include blogging news or not? What qualifies as blogging new? Information about a fellow blogger or only information about blogging software and programs?

Will you write short posts or long, or a mix? How often will you publish?

Will you only cover the basics of blogging, like finding a blog host, setting up the blog, and then the beginning steps of writing a blog? Or maybe you want to focus only on developing and writing blog content? Or is the business side of blogging you want to specialize in? What about social networking? Maybe you want to cover the social side of blogging, talking about blog comments and the blog conversation? There are so many aspects to blogging, it is overwhelming to so many. What will you cover, and what won’t you?

In addition to the content, there is a lot that can define your blog’s style to make it stand out from the rest of the blogging about blogging crowd. What are you going to throw into the mix to make your blog be different from the competition.

Can You Blog On Blogging for Five Years and Still Be Happy?

What can I blog about that I know nothing about today?I’ve been writing almost consistently about blogging and WordPress since 2003. I’ve been blogging since 1994, publishing personal and technical writing online. I’ve been writing about blogging here on the for over a year, five days a week without missing a day. That’s a very long time, and a lot of articles on blogging. And I haven’t run out of things to write about blogging.

In one year, will you have run out of things to write about blogging? Will it still hold fascination for you? What about in two years? Five?

More specifically, in one year, releasing three posts a week, you will have published 156 blog posts. In two years, that’s 312. What if you want to publish five times a week? One year, that’s 260, and two years that’s 520 blog posts. Do you have 520 things you can write about on blogging?

Blog evolve. They change over time as the blogger’s interest changes. Many bloggers start out full power enthusiasm on the subject of blogging, because that are involved in the process of blogging. It’s fascinating when you start. Keeping it up a year, 260 articles on the subject of blogging later, is hard work. Blogging just isn’t that interesting unless you are seriously passionate about everything involved in blogging.

We’re talking about blogging in this example, but let’s say you want to write a blog about cooking. The challenge is to come up with a minimum of 156 blog posts on cooking in the first year of your blog. Do you have 156 blog posts on cooking within you? You might. But what about 260? Or 520? Do you have that many articles about cooking you could write before the enthusiasm wanes?

I recently changed my diet and I’m now obsessed with this new way of eating. I’m reading tons of books, magazines, and blogs about it, and the thought keeps crossing my mind to start on a blog on the subject. But changing your eating habits is a fad. Two years from now, will I be eating this way or differently? Will I still be interested in the same foods and cooking methods? What will modern science learn in the meantime about what and how we eat that will change how I eat?

Trust me, I do not have 25 let alone a couple hundred articles I could write on cooking. It doesn’t stop my enthusiasm and interest. It does stop me from blogging about it.

The same is true for those who want to blog about blogging. Many do, but in time, they just run out of steam and fret over abandoning their blogs instead of working through the process of digging into their specialty niche and finding the true source of joy in their blogging subject.

The more specific you can be with your blog’s focus, the more enthusiasm you will have over the long term for your subject matter and your audience. My specialty is targeted at the beginner to intermediate blogger. My greatest reward comes not from the prizes, awards, and honors that come my way, but from a simple “Oh, you just saved my day. I was trying to figure this out for HOURS then I found the answer on your blog. Thank you.”

It doesn’t make me money, but I live off those comments and emails. It keeps me going, continuing to write over the years about this blogging phenomenon because my true purpose in writing about blogging is not to blog about blogging. Anyone can do that. I blog about blogging because I know that blogging changes people’s lives. It helps them to change other people’s lives and make a difference in the world. As long as I’m helping people do that, I wake up every morning eager to blog about blogging for you.

What is your true purpose in blogging? The underlying reason you choose to blog and continue blogging? Serve that niche and you will have a long blogging career.

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  1. By Jeremy Steele posted on March 27, 2008 at 12:18 pm
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    Heh, My blog has had too many focuses. First it was tech news, then programming, then basic blogging/seo rants, and now it’s just about my thoughts on recent Internet and internet security trends.

    Reply

  2. By Barbara Ling (aka Owlbert) posted on March 27, 2008 at 1:48 pm
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    I’m finding that as my blogging skill grows, I can add separate distinct blogs when I want to write out of context. I have my beginners/advanced ‘how to blog’ blog, my mom blog, my coffee blog, etc.

    It helps me really stabilize how I write and where I write.

    Great article,

    Barbara

    Reply

  3. By Stamford Talk posted on March 28, 2008 at 6:34 am
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    Lorelle, I always admire your posts- thorough, engaging, incisive, fresh approach. I love the blogging community because I get to read the excellent work of others.

    I’ve been writing about my city for 7 months- I’ve written almost every day (217 posts). I have a huge backlog of drafts and a list of topics and places I can research if I need more ideas. I’ve got a group of dedicated readers who comment and keep the conversation going.

    I hope I can afford to buy a house in this city so I can continue to write about it. It’s a perfect subject: a diverse city between two super-rich towns. Gotta love the issues of race and class that brings up! (Not to mention all the great restaurants.)

    Reply

  4. By Phil posted on June 10, 2008 at 9:09 am
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    Hi…

    Great info…..focus and persistance. I’m learning about persistance and learning curves being new to this.

    I’ve made some mistakes too. Put an ad on a blog and found out that is a no no……

    I have to find in WordPress…what is not allowed and what is allowed.

    I read so many posts about spam problems today.

    Thanks for your pointers….helps us alot.

    I enjoyed your cool style too.

    Reply

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