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Weekend Project 2: Success Secrets of 5 Multi-topic Blogs

This guest post is by Natalie Webb of Leave Me to My Projects.

You try telling Martha Stewart she needs to pick a niche.

So why is everyone in the blogosphere telling you that doing just that is the key to achieving any level of success in blogging?

True, it is easier to build and write a popular blog when you stick to one topic. But now more than ever, there is an opening for multi-topic blogs to hit it big, if they do it right. Wait, you don’t see the opening? That’s funny, it has a big flashing sign pointing the way.

That sign says “Pinterest.”

What is Pinterest?

If I need to tell you what Pinterest is, I’d be mildly concerned that you have been in a coma for the last six months. But what is it about?

Pinterest is about collecting. People love to collect things. In the big wide world of the internet, this impulse is no different. As a matter of fact, it can be amplified.

Pinterest is where people collect pretty much everything they like from all around the internet and pin it to categorized and organized virtual pinboards. Each “Pin” is a nice large image with a description, which tickles our visual cortexes ever so nicely.

People … who are totally not me … have been known to spend entire days off getting lost in the inspiration. With Pinterest, you can visually create the life you are planning on living as soon as you get the time and money to do so.

I’m talking about lifestyle, folks.

What is the Pinterest niche?

The Pinterest niche, as this writer seems to have coined it, is the wide-open lifestyle area. Much of Pinterest, and therefore the Pinterest niche, centers around DIY (as in, things you can make).

The most popular topics on Pinterest, and in the niche, are Home, Arts & Crafts, Style/Fashion, and Inspiration/Education, according to Mashable. While those are the most popular, there tons of other topics to choose from as well—the Wedding category is also immensely repinned.

Because there are so many good topics to choose from, Pinterest niche blogs are not difficult to differentiate from each other. All you need is a focus. We walked though how to find your focus for a multi-topic blog yesterday. Now let’s get to some real-life examples.

The blogs selected here were chosen not necessarily because they are the biggest and baddest on the block. Some are run by whole teams of staff, some by one little ol’ person. Some have been established for a number of years, while some are newer on the scene.

What they have in common are all of the elements it takes to make an impact in the Pinterest niche. So what are these elements? Who better to show you than the Grand Dame of the Pinterest blogs, Martha Stewart.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart blog

A strong personality

A blog centered around a lifestyle, as Pinterest niche blogs are, need a face to associate with that lifestyle.

Martha Stewart has this so wrapped up that when you even think about homemaking, hers is the first face that springs to mind. She may run a media empire, live a life so beautiful it can make one green with envy, and have more prison street cred than some rappers, but when your mind turns to homespun craftiness, you think of Martha.

A strong message

Martha gives her readers and followers tools to simplify and beautify their homes and their lives through the power of DIY.

A super-specific customer avatar

All of Martha Stewart’s work is geared toward moms with kids and pets. They are a little older, settled down, and they own homes.They enjoy entertaining, gardening, cooking, crafting, and simply making their lives more beautiful.

Incredibly helpful and informative

I hardly have to mention how much how-to power Martha Stewart packs into her website, blogs, books and magazines. She has literally written the book(s) on homemaking.

Beautiful photography

Although Martha Stewart’s photography resources are nearly unlimited these days, her photography has always been top notch.

The good news is, with as little as a smartphone, paired with a little creativity and practice, anyone can take beautiful photos these days.

5 Great Pinterest blogs

Now let’s explore five innovative multi-topic Pinterest niche blogs, including those all-important five secrets, the important stats, and what they are doing so well.

1. Hello Giggles

Hello Giggles blog

  • Personality: Founded by Zooey Deschanel and two friends, Hello Giggles has some serious starpower behind it in the indie darling. She is known to have coined the phrase “Adorkable.”
  • Message: Entertaining and empowering inspiration for young women. Girly feminism, if you will.
  • Reader: Young women in their “finding themselves” phase of life.
  • How they help: Hello Giggles features tons of reader-submitted work and guest posts on a huge range of topics and creates a positive, female-friendly environment for reader interaction.
  • Photography: A combination of professional and reader-submitted photography keeps the look of the site both polished and approachable.
  • Topics: Entertainment, Treats, Beauty, Cuteness, Home, Social Issues, Opinion, Parenting, Humor and more.
  • Twitter Followers: 97,492
  • Facebook Fans: 165,000
  • Bloglovin’ Followers: 3,138

Secret: Besides the starpower behind the blog, the best thing Hello Giggles has going for it is its feel-good factor. It absolutely oozes “Yes you can,” and that is what keeps its readers coming back.

2. A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess blog

  • Personality: Perhaps it is no coincidence that the force behind A Beautiful Mess looks so much like Zooey Deschanel. Elsie, however, is more vintage indie than cute and dorky indie. She is always incredibly positive and upbeat, and lets you inside her life, home and business in such a way that readers powerfully connect with her.
  • Message: Pretty things that you can make and wear.
  • Reader: 20-somethings living in apartments or other semi-temporary residences who love to make things themselves.
  • How they help: Loads of tutorials and inspiration, as well as comprehensive ecourses.
  • Photography: Elsie is a fantastic photographer, and uses everything from Instagram to vintage cameras to fancier photo-takers.
  • Topics: Projects, Outfits, Treats, Beauty, Photography, Decor and more.
  • Page Views Per Day: 170,859
  • Page Views Per Month: 5 million
  • Twitter Followers: 29,412
  • Facebook Fans: 35,399
  • Pinterest Followers: 23,312
  • Bloglovin’ Followers: 32,600

Secret: Elsie (and her sister Emma) over at A Beautiful Mess own a vintage clothing boutique called Red Velvet. While their business may be clothing, the blog is all about inspiration for the vintage, indie lifestyle. Elsie lives and displays the beautiful life her readers aspire to, and shows them how to create it.

3. Cupcakes and Cashmere

Cupcakes and Cashmere blog

  • Personality: Emily is a girl who makes chic style look easy.
  • Message: A guide for defining your style, reinventing your space, and entertaining with ease.
  • Reader: The late 20s-early 30s married professional woman with no kids.
  • How they help: Cupcakes and Cashmere is about personal lifestyle refinement with plenty of written and video tutorials featuring both Emily and industry pros.
  • Photography: The photography here is spacious, simple, and beautiful.
  • About: Outfits, Recipes, How To, Decor
  • Twitter Followers: 56,769
  • Facebook Fans: 61,439
  • Pinterest Followers: 22,945
  • Bloglovin’ Followers: 8,1505

Secret: Although Emily is sweet as pie, she brings a serious sense of authority to her style mentoring. She more than walks the walk herself, and she brings in the pros to truly help you up your game.

4. The Dainty Squid

The Dainty Squid blog

  • Personality: Brightly colored hair does have a certain draw, and Kaylah the thrifting queen, amateur mycologist, cat lady, and collector of many many things goes through so many shades. She also has a cat named Dr. Octopus that lets her dress him up. Full of personality, this one.
  • Message: Explore and be colorful.
  • Reader: Shy, quirky, quiet, studious 20-somethings with insatiable curiosities and a love of multi-colored things. And they also love cats.
  • How she helps: Inspired style inspiration, lots of laughs, detailed tutorials, and thought-provoking explorations.
  • Photography: Kaylah is a photography fiend. Her style is whimsical, creative, and curious, and it always makes you think of her skipping around in the woods and fields with multiple cameras swinging around her neck.
  • About: Beauty, Cats, Crafts, Fashion, Food, Hair, Photography
  • Google Friend Connect: 6,104
  • Twitter Followers: 5,278
  • Tumblr Followers: 28,400
  • Facebook Fans: 5,241
  • Bloglovin’ Followers: 3,350

Secret: It is all about the personality. Kaylah is a shy girl (she even says so on her about page), and that is the kind of reader she attracts. The fact that she is so bright and colorful and outgoing on her blog is an inspiration to her readers, and she shows them step by step how to bring her carefully curated aesthetic into their lives.

5. Sincerely, Kinsey

Sincerely Kinsey blog

  • Personality: Kinsey is a wedding photographer who exudes and air of calm and tranquility that you can feel in every aspect of her blog.
  • Message: Inspiration and exploration of the small, simple sweetness of life.
  • Reader: Festival-going flower children that live with a camera in their giant hobo bags.
  • How they help: Inspirations and tutorials for a creative life.
  • Photography: There is a dreamy quality to all of Kinsey’s photography. She weaves magic with morning sunlight.
  • About: Fashion, DIY, Photography
  • Page Views Per Month: 265,000
  • Google Friend Connect Followers: 2,434
  • Facebook Fans: 1,077
  • Pinterest Followers: 2,647
  • Bloglovin’ Followers: 2,662

Secret: Kinsey makes this beautiful life look effortless. Her style, crafts and tutorials are presented in a way that makes them incredibly accessible and doable. On top of it all, her light, energy and passion shine through on every single page.

Have it all

Whether you already run a multi-topic blog or are thinking about starting one, you really can have it all, if you do it right.

If you can identify and focus your personality, message, and reader, provide them with real, concrete help and back it up with beautiful images, you will have a lifestyle blog that readers yearn to emulate and will come back to again and again. Why? Because it feels like home.

What are your favorite multi-topic blogs, and what keeps you coming back as a reader? What are your secrets to multi-topic success? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Natalie is a truly Edward Scissorhands living in a Martha Stewart world. A Chicago-based writer, barber and obsessive DIYer, she blogs over at Leave Me to My Projects about her adventures in the DIY lifestyle with loads of how-tos and inspiration. She also spends way too much time on Pinterest.

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Comments

  1. Graham Lutz says:

    Fitness has a lot of activity of Pinterest as well. That’s where I am and have seen good results from pinning!

    It is very important that the content on the other end of the pin is VERY relevant to the picture, otherwise, you’ll have 1,000,000% bounce rate.

  2. Justin Mazza says:

    I just joined Pinterest a few weeks ago and I am still trying to figure it out for myself. When I joined I was automatically connected with my Facebook friends which was kind of cool. Thanks for making more sense of Pinterest in your post.

  3. Andrés says:

    Great post, again. I was wondering if there are any multi-topic blogs for guys or made by men? Or am I the only guy who enjoys and has a multi-topic blog? I hope not. Thanks again for the advice.

    • Natalie Webb says:

      Thanks Andres! There are certainly plenty of multi-topic male bloggers (you can find some of them in the comments here!), but the Pinterest Niche, like Pinterest, seems to be more dominated by the ladies. If anything, I see that as a giant opening for the guys to make a splash. *Hint hint*

  4. I love the post. It was very entertaining.

    I just wonder what type of products these people are selling, and what is the percentage of profit/visitor. I’m only interested because it could mean someone might have to do 10x the work to earn the same living.

    Also, I wonder how much of these blogs succeed compared to focused ones. I appreciate giving people courage to follow their passions, but I hope it won’t lead people to failure or 10x more work than needed.

    • Natalie Webb says:

      Good question Jamie! These blogs do take more work, there is no arguing that. 10X more work, I don’t know about that, but every blog is different, right?

      Most of the blogs featured here expand upon the blogger’s real life business in some way. Elsie owns a vintage dress shop, Kinsey and Kaylah are photographers, and we all know what Zooey does. The back and forth from the business to the blog seems to be invaluable in these cases. It’s definitely a different animal than a blog like Problogger here – I certainly wouldn’t compare the two.

      Many of these bloggers do still use similar monetization methods though. Elsie and Emily (and Martha, of course) have written books. They all sell advertising and sponsorships. Some of the writers are consultants, some sell E-Books and E-Courses – the options seem just as varied as with other blog. A Beautiful Mess would probably be the best example of monetization on this list ($780 a month for a 1-month XL ad – you can get a decent apartment for that!) – they really do kill it over there.

      There was a great series here on ProBlogger last week that profiled a handful of monetization methods with some really interesting and unique perspectives on each one.

      Hope that helps!

  5. I really don’t like Pinterest that much, but the cool thing I learned from this is that it almost doesn’t matter what you’re blogging about. As long as the multiple topics are somewhat congruent (like the example blogs) then all you have to focus on is your personality, message, and ideal reader.

    Another thing I noticed is the common outlets of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Bloglovin. I am checking out Bloglovin as I type this comment, and it seems pretty awesome!

    Thanks a bunch,
    -Gabe

    • Natalie Webb says:

      Bloglovin’ is essentially just a reader, but somehow I’m a big fan. Like Pinterest though, it’s heavily female-dominated.

  6. I like it! So, if I think of my blog as a mini Pinterest I can keep most of my topics? Sounds great to me. Thank you for introducing me to some new sites, off to explore now.

    • Natalie Webb says:

      These are some that I read every day – A Beautiful Mess is probably in my top 3 of any niche though. Love those girls so much. They do everything just beautifully. As the name would imply…

  7. Thanks for the post about pinterest and analyzing those blogs for us I really appreciate it. I’ve actually heard of pinterest before, but never checked it out actually, however it does look nice and interesting. Thanks for the post!

  8. Thanks for this well written post. I agree that multi topic blogs can bring in the success but what i fail to understand is that a person can’t have authority over different topics and that would eventually not let him write authority articles about some specific things. That is the only reason why i see niche blogs to make more sense.

  9. Erin says:

    Great review! I read Cupcakes and Cashmere and love her simple, yet effective approach to blogging. I’ll check out the others. Thanks!

  10. GjiVan says:

    The post is informative, firstly I wanna thank for that. The examples of blogs mentioned here are somewhat pinterest type or having bunch of images. But, what do you suggest to a multiple topic blog having more unique and quality content in text rather images??

  11. Sara Lake says:

    Pinterest???? Ok, ok, I’ll try it again. For some reason, actually making it work has eluded me, or maybe my 2 second concentration span was my undoing.. I gave up. I will try it again.

    I used to have a multi-topic blog but found that, for example, when I was travelling (and using it as a travel blog) my fitness/food readers would vanish and not necessarily come back. So, I separated them out, but as I’m using Blogger, this meant making new blogs, rather than just adding tabs. Maybe WordPress is better for this?

    • Natalie Webb says:

      I started on Blogger as well, Sara. I’ll tell you right now, moving to WordPress is the best blogging decision I ever made. My hesitance was based in the fact that I’m not the most tech-saavy person on earth, and I thought WordPress would kneecap me. In fact, it’s really hardly more involved than Blogger – its easier to use, actually. So much less messing around with just getting everything to function and format properly.

      Go for it! I promise you won’t regret it.

  12. Anna Simmonds says:

    Anyone else think it was interesting that these were all blogs by women? I wonder how common multi-topic blogs by women are outside of the “Pinterest niche”, in comparison to men. It’s understandable that the pinterest niche features women more prominently: after all, the site itself is used almost exclusively by women.

    Another blog related to covering multiple interests, also by a woman: http://puttylike.com/

    Another thing to question is, are these blogs truly multitopic? Couldn’t you say that the DIY/crafty spirit is the topic/niche in itself?

    If these are considered multitopic blogs, couldn’t you say all popular magazines are multitopic? Are blogs truly so different from magazines? Maybe we could learn more about multitopic blogging by looking at the branding, topics, and personalities of popular magazines.

    In fact, I can’t think of a single blog that only talks about one thing exclusively. Perhaps exclusively from one perspective, but it’s never the same exact topic. How broad do the multiple topics have to be?

    What about other blogs: Chris Guillebeau’s travel and business blog comes to mind, a good example of two very different things put into one place. I think of Forbes.com.

    Even Digital Photography School can be seen as multi-topic. Yes, it’s all about photography, but there are blogs out there that focus on JUST the cameras, or JUST post-production, so in comparison DPS is multi-topic.

    Just my two cents.

    This series has been very good food for thought. I’ve been wondering how to mix, or whether to mix, a few topics into one site myself. :)

    Cheers!

    • Natalie Webb says:

      Lots of nodding going on while reading your comment Anna. Sounds like a great exploration – perhaps a post of its own!

  13. John Banks says:

    Really usefu post – Pinterest is huge, or at least it is going to be. I read that it serves up more referral traffic than YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter combined……

    Also about 80% of its users are post-grad females between the ages of 24-35, that probably is the reason the blogs you mentioned in your post are so successful with it.

    Regards,
    John

  14. Becca says:

    Nice post. I agree with you that targeting your audience especially in social sites is really essential for a blogger and knowing that people who are relevant to his niche are watching his blog. After all, targeting is one big marketing rule on the sales field.Thank you for sharing.

  15. Cheryl says:

    Thanks for introducing all of these bloggers – none whom I have ever seen before, sans Martha Stewart of course, I think just about every woman know her! I have been giving Pinterest some serious thought, just not sure quite yet how it fits into my style of natural life. Need a few more sleeps to figure this one out.

    • Natalie Webb says:

      That’s the great thing about Pinterest, Cheryl. It is completely what you make it. Your boards are your personal aesthetic, it’s just a way to collect and share what you love! Just like a blog.

  16. cintia says:

    All amazing blogs with inspiring and original photography. I think the most important part to getting referal traffic from pinterest is taking and using your own amazing photos.

  17. Johanna says:

    Another great post, and thanks for introducing me to some fabulous multi topic blogs which are so successful. The research you did in breaking them down for our instant review must have taken ages – thank you.

    • Natalie Webb says:

      So many great bloggers, so little time. And as for the research, this right here is the girl who read the entire encyclopedia between ages 8 and 10. It’s sort of obsessive really, but fun! But really, it’s just yet another kind of hoarding ;)

  18. Emmanuel says:

    Hi there,
    your intelligent research of those listed sites has opened my eyes to see a whole new approach to building an online business, now i know PERSONALITY does sell you online.

    Thanks for the advice, you opened my eyes more on Pinterest.