Today’s guest post is from Chris Garrett from chrisg.com.
My last two posts at ProBlogger focused on two successful individual bloggers, Darren Rowse and Robert Scoble. While we can learn a great deal from observing individual people, for this post I am going to look at examples of a particular type of blog; the Focused Niche Blog.
It’s standard advice to go niche but these bloggers have made their blogs so highly focused and so identified with their topic they are the leaders and standard bearers for their niche.
First, let’s take a look at how they define their blogs:
Strobist – At Strobist, our goal is to promote more effective use of small, shoe-mount flashes. To teach you to use your small strobe to get results like the professionals get.
Copyblogger – Copyblogger is all about helping you:
- get traffic
- gain subscribers
- attract links
- sell something!
Lifehacker – Lifehacker makes getting things done easy and fun. Delving deep into the technoweb, Lifehacker brings back simple and totally life-altering tips and tricks for managing your information and time.
macosxhints – To provide as many answers about using OS X as possible in one location
So what is the lesson here?
1. Identify an under-served niche - It is very very difficult to get a photography blog noticed in todays blogosphere, David chose a micro niche, a niche of a niche, and served it comprehensively with his Strobist blog. Make it easy on yourself, choose a niche where you can make a difference.
2. Define your blogs mission and articulate it in a benefits-lead way – if a reader sees your blogs mission and thinks “so what?” you have failed. How does your blogs mission help the reader? Each of Brians CopyBlogger bullet points would be enough of a benefit to make you want to read more.
3. Own your mission and stay focused - It would be so easy for any of these blogs to see their growing audience as permission to cover anything they like. Once in a while they can get away with it. Kind of like a popular pop star deciding to release a swing album. Too much though and the valuable and unique quality that attracted readers would go away. I know if macosxhints covered iPhone, iTV, iPods too much I would unsubscribe. Your focus builds your identity.
The benefits of a focused blog are many but here are the ones that stand out for me:
- Exponential Linkage – Once your blog is synonymous with a niche the link attraction becomes self-reinforcing. More people link to you, so your blog gets more attention, which attracts more links. This gives you top billing in search engines which further reinforces your position on.
- Fame and Authority – Who would you interview if you had to write a piece on Flash Photography? Or copywriting for blogs? Not a generic blogger that is for sure.
- Credibility Leverage – With authority comes leverage. You have to be known as an expert. It worked for Lifehacker so well they got a book deal. It helps to be a specialist if you want to sell products, get a book deal, speaking gigs, consulting leads …
When a visitor arrives at your blog could they describe what and who it is for? Do you blog about “stuff” or could you articulate your blogs purpose in a compelling sentence or so? Most blogs could benefit from a tightening of focus, I know mine could.
Do you know of any other focused niche blogs? Let us know in the comments.
Read more from Chris Garret at his blog chrisg.com.