I’m 6 years into this blogging thing and couldn’t be more surprised by how much I love it, what it has added to our family’s life, and how it has given me a place to be me (I honestly didn’t even know I needed it! But I feel like a better wife, friend, mom, person because I have a interest and passion all of my own).
When you start identifying yourself as a blogger, and make it your job, your real-life friends and online ones, too, start asking for advice. How did you start? What platform should I use? How do you get readers? Where do you find inspiration?
These are not topics I generally post about (although I have from time to time like in this longest-post-in-history called the Truths about Blogging) mainly because creating, crafts, daily life and decorating is more my focus on here, but that doesn’t mean I don’t LOVE talking about blogging. Sit down with me and Ryan and we’ll talk your ear off and answer any question you might have about growing a blog, figuring out your passion, choosing a domain name, coming up with a logo, how best to start … all of it.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve been working non-stop preparing an awesome FREE Blogging Workshop for you. In order to make it as applicable as possible, we ran a quick survey asking for your most pressing blogging questions. What is hanging you up, stopping you, holding you back from either starting a blog or carrying on with the one you have?
Well, you all had some great questions! We’ve poured over the 500+ questions, organized them into categories and in preparation for the free workshop launch, we’ll spend the next few posts talking about all things blog related.
Curious about what your most common blogging questions are? Here you go:
Do your questions fall into any of those categories?
I’ll touch on a handful of these topics over the next few posts and we’ll go deeper and more specific in the Workshop (sign up below to grab a spot!) to really give you helpful insights, tools and next-steps for your blog.
Okay, so let’s jump right in and start with #3:
Before you even begin to blog, it’s important to identify what you want to blog about. The first step to figuring out what to write about is to choose an area or a topic you’re excited about. If not, you’ll lose interest and run out of things to share. This is referred to as identifying your blogging niche. So let’s talk about how to choose a topic for your blog.
To help identify what your niche is (or could be), take some time to thoughtfully answer these questions:
1. What am I passionate about?
We all have areas of our lives that make us feel more alive. Something that gives us purpose or enjoyment, maybe we’re talented and skilled at or have a deep conviction about. If the word passion sounds a little dramatic to you, think of the things you are interested in instead. What do you like to talk about? What do you spend your time on? What topics really get you excited or motivated or energized?
For a few minutes, grab a piece of paper and jot down all of your interests – big and small. Things you loved in the past, things you’d love to do more of in the future.
(SIDE-NOTE: If you find yourself unable to identify what your ‘thing‘ is, you are not alone. Keep searching, rediscovering what makes you light up. Ask your friends to help and maybe try out a few new skills, projects, adventures to spark your creativity).
2. What do friends ask for my advice on?
One great way to figure out what topic to base your blog and content on is what your friends naturally come to you for your advice on. What others see in us, we often overlook. Think back to conversations you’ve had recently and where you have a unique point of view or expertise.
Examples: parenting, sewing, decorating, marathon training, marketing, photography
3. What sounds fun?
The truth is, if you’re going to find success with your blog, you’re going to have to write really great posts and publish regularly. Blogging will become an ongoing part of your days, so choosing something you find enjoyment in is crucial! People are most often motivated by either experiencing pleasure or avoiding pain – so if you feel pigeon-holed into a topic that you really don’t find interesting or compelling or FUN, you’ll most likely end up unmotivated to continue.
A second part of this is finding (or creating) a niche that is positive. As a general rule, stay away from complaining and criticizing. When you set a negative tone in your posts, it will likely be followed up with negative comments, which, believe me, do not feel good. Start off on the right foot by putting a positive and fun spin on every post to make your blog an enjoyable experience for your readers as well.
4. What can you offer that’s somehow unique?
Obviously, there are a lot of blogs. Is there room for one more? Absolutely. Are you guaranteed to find success? That all depends. It depends on your effort, your growth strategies, your viral luck, and creating a space that offers unique and valuable content. You can look around at your favorite blogs and model yours just the same. OR you can take what you love about those blogs and put your unique spin on it. Figure out where there’s a hole in the market and come up with a way for you to fill it.
5. Who are you writing to?
One great way to help define your niche is to identify who your ideal reader is. How old is she? What are his interests? What are the biggest challenges they face? What do they do in their spare time? Does she have children? What are her hobbies? By knowing who you are writing to, you’ll have an easier time coming up with a niche.
Once your target audience is identified, ask yourself what value you can offer. What is a fun, unique, area of expertise or passion of yours that will keep your readers engaged and coming back time and time again? Discover that answer and you are ready to begin!
A few more helpful tips for discovering, identifying and creating your blog niche and coming up with what to write about:
- choose a topic that is broad enough so you can continue to post fresh content (ie. baking)
- but specific enough that it’s clear what your topic is (ie. baking with kids)
- let your blog grow with you (don’t feel stuck. If you want to adjust or narrow your focus along the way, go for it. Just try not to change niches completely or you’ll confuse your readers)
On a personal note, it has taken me several years to hone in on what my unique point of view is. I started blogging for the hobby of it – to share snippets of our family, projects around the house, share my artwork. As my interests have become more clear and community of readers has grown, I’ve been able to articulate better what JDC is all about: encouraging, inspiring and equipping women to be creative in their everyday lives. It’s still broad, for sure, and sits in the very saturated lifestyle blog niche but I am deliberate about having each post fall under the umbrella of offering ideas and tools to encourage creativity.
I hope all of this information helps you as you define what your blog is all about!
If you could use more specific post prompts and ideas, come back tomorrow and we’ll be sharing what Ryan titled our Ultimate Collection of Blog Post Ideas.
You’re invited to join The Blog Class, an online class that will teach you everything you ought to know about blogging. From starting at the very beginning, to growing, designing, using and earning a profit, this class will walk you step-by-step through a seven part framework for building a successful blog.
We’d love to keep the conversation going! If you have additional blogging questions, specific thoughts about creating a niche, or anything you’re hoping to learn in the next few days, please leave a comment.