What is your blog about?
It’s a question all bloggers get asked from time to time. How do you answer it?
It’s also a question I know many ProBlogger readers wrestle with – particularly when starting out.
What is my niche? Do I even need a niche? How do I define my niche?
Every time I run a Q&A webinar over on ProBlogger.com, I get questions around whether bloggers need a niche. I thought I’d put a few thoughts into a blog post and suggest three ways to define what your blog is about.
Lets start with the most obvious one – choosing a ‘niche’ to blog about.
Most bloggers I know would classify their blog in this way. I often do!
ProBlogger – at it’s most basic level is a blog about blogging (sad but true!).
Digital Photography School – it’s a blog about digital photography.
Everything that happens on my blogs comes back to these core topics – they’re very much niche blogs.
There are many other examples of great ‘niche’ blogs. For example Chris Hunter’s BikeEXIF.
Most ProBlogger readers fit fairly and squarely into a ‘niche’ but I know from experience that there’s quite a few of you squirming in your seat and resisting the urge to scroll to the comments section to tell me that your blog doesn’t fit into a niche.
Perhaps thinking about ‘who’ your blog is for rather than the ‘topic’ it is about is a better approach for you.
Over the last 10 years I’ve seen more and more bloggers developing blogs around a certain demographic of readers.
Gala Darling was one of the first I came across doing this on her blog (although there were others doing similarly.
A quick look over Gala’s blog and you can see she’s talking about a range of topics – Style, Beauty, Travel, Self Love are 4 categories but over the years she’s talked about relationships, horoscopes and much more. While her blog doesn’t really fit neatly into a ‘niche’ Gala seems to have a clear understanding in her mind of who she is writing for.
There are many examples of bloggers targeting particular demographics. Some are focused upon men or women, others are aimed at a generation, others are aimed at a lifestyle.
3. A Fight
At this year’s ProBlogger Event in Portland Oregon Jeff Goins gave a talk that presented another way to think about what your blog is about that I know many attendees found really helpful.
He suggested picking a ‘fight’.
For a gentle shy guy like me, this at first sounded a little confronting – but as he spoke, I realised I’d already picked a fight in my blogging!
By picking a fight Jeff was not suggesting you attack another person or choose something to blog about that is necessarily controversial – but rather to centre your blog around a struggle in some way that readers might identify with.
While I’ve already mentioned above that ProBlogger is a ‘niche’ blog, I realised that as Jeff spoke that when I started ProBlogger it was definitely centered around a ‘fight’.
When I started ProBlogger back in 2004, blogging was seen as a very ‘pure’ medium that was supposed to be used largely for self expression. To suggest that blogs could be used to make money was something that polarised people.
Some argued blogs should never be used for commercial purposes and suggested that to do so would be to slimy/scammy and others doubted that it was even possible to make money blogging.
Starting ProBlogger was me putting a flag in the sand and saying that not only was it possible to make a living from blogging (I was almost full time at that point) but that you could do it without selling out or entering into sleazy territory.
That was my fight and it turns out that while it was a little controversial at the time, a lot of others who shared my belief and who got some kind of inspiration from that same fight. Others gathered around that flag in the sand and ProBlogger gained momentum.
As I think about the three options of niche, demographic, and fight, I’m not sure there’s a right or wrong way to go about it. Each has its advantages and disadvantages but I do wonder if having a ‘fight’ might be a particularly powerful way to go.
A fight galvanises people and is something that you and others can get passionate about. These things are good for a blog.
Niches, Demographics and/or Fights?
The above three options for classifying a blog are certainly not the only ones, and I wouldn’t want to argue that they’re mutually exclusive.
In fact as I think about some of my favourite blogs, I see some that have niches, demographics, AND fights!
A prime example of this would be Vanessa’s blog Style and Shenanigans (Vanessa is my wife) who has a blog about ‘style’ (niche), which is written for women (demographic) and has a fight. Her fight is that you can retain a sense of style despite having three little boys running around your home destroying everything (as we do).
How Do You Define What Your Blog Is About?
Do you have a niche, a demographic or a fight? Or do you think about what your blog is about in some other way?
I’d love to hear your take on this!