Niche Blog If You Can Get It
Focus on a niche. That’s the common advice for bloggers, when it comes to starting, growing and marketing a blog. Focussing on a niche makes it easier to target a specific audience, attract sponsors, sell ads and grow a “brand.” As a blogger, I’ve resisted that path. Instead, I’ve chosen personal blogging, or as I […]
Focus on a niche. That’s the common advice for bloggers, when it comes to starting, growing and marketing a blog. Focussing on a niche makes it easier to target a specific audience, attract sponsors, sell ads and grow a “brand.”
As a blogger, I’ve resisted that path. Instead, I’ve chosen personal blogging, or as I like to call it, “blogging what you do.” This blog doesn’t fit any clear niche, but instead reflects a personal creative journey.
But, in 2012, I’ve launched two niche blogs, The Society For Film and Beef & Steel. So, I thought it was time to explain why I’ve gone against my own advice.
A Brief History Lesson
I started blogging in 2001. My first attempts reflected an academic interest in philosophy, religion and culture. I was working in a university at the time and really liked the way some academics were using blogs to talk about their research, the conferences they attended and the papers they wrote.
In late 2003, my blogging changed and until 2006 it was focussed on my relocation to India (and then Hong Kong) and the transition out of academia and back into music. The blog you are reading now started in that period.
2007-2008 were lost years for me. I made a decision, for the sake of my family’s privacy, not to focus on blogging about being a parent or expat, even those were the dominant themes in my life. I’m not sure which declined faster in those years; my output, my passion or my readership. Perhaps they all fell equally.
Blog What You Do
In 2009 I started to look again at my motto, “blog what you do,” especially as some focus returned to my music and writing. And, there was a new passion to discuss; photography.
Blog what you do, is powerful because it cuts through the question of what to write. It connects you with both your work and your passion. Instead of labouring to sound authentic, you can just be authentic; speaking from experience and the things you learn from experience (the Action/Reflection model of blog-writing).
Speak Broadly From A Position Of Mastery
Sounds, images, words, isn’t just a catchy sub-title, it’s also a statement of fact. For almost all my adult life I’ve been paid to produce sounds, create images and craft words. In fact, that’s all I’ve been paid to do for well over a decade now.
I believe our ability to address broader topics (in my case creativity, art and culture) is enhanced by the depth with which we engage a few topics. Although I’m no master musician, photographer or author, I do work and study these pursuits. The things I say about creativity arise out of practical engagement in these fields.
The Interested Amateur
Although I’ve tried to keep a wide perspective on this blog, I’ve noticed over the years some topics seem to attract little readership or comment. In particular, I’m talking about food and film.
Apart from a very brief stint in a pizzeria (during my teens) I’ve never been paid to cook. And, I’m not a professional film critic or reviewer. My expertise in these areas in fundamentally different to my expertise in music, photography and writing.
Beef & Steel is very much a niche blog (without the monetisation aspect). The Society For Film is also a niche blog (and podcast), though it blends things a little, since my Collaborator James Marsh, is a professional film critic.
Do It Your Way
After more than eleven years as a blogger my advice (apart from blog what you do) is do it your own way. Blogging has changed so much over the years, fashions come and go and most of the snake oil the gurus pedal doesn’t work.
While I find niche blogs really helpful, when researching a topic, the blogs I subscribe to and read over and over again are not niche at all, they engage a number of topics and interests.
Like anything, it’s a choice. Make yours and make your mark in your own way.