This post is a part of the Newbie Blogger Initiative 2016. For more information check out these links:
Though this blog is only a few years old, I’ve been blogging a whole lot longer than that. Back when everyone seemed to want a piece of the Problogging pie, and folks imagined making money was as easy as throwing up some ads and posting a few times a week, one buzzword you heard thrown around a lot was “niche blogging.”
In fact, you were told that before you started a blog, you must have a niche. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t make it. Then again, this was from people who were looking to cash out on their blogs. I think blogging has moved more into the realms of hobby writing now days.
I’ve fallen out of reading all those Problogging type blogs, so I don’t know if this is still a thing (apparently, it is). However, I want to take a moment to address what niche blogging is and whether a blogger (new or old) should consider a niche.
What is Niche Blogging?
Wikipedia has a page dedicated to niche blogging. And it says:
Niche blogging (CanE, UK /ˈniːʃ/ or US /ˈnɪtʃ/) is the act of creating a blog with the intent of using it to market to a particular niche market. Niche blogs may appeal to “geographic areas, a specialty industry, ethnic or age groups, or any other particular group of people.”
So, for example, maybe you’re a girl gamer and you’re really into Hearthstone. So you decide it would be awesome to create a new blog dedicated to girls who play Hearthstone and you call it something like Ladies of Hearthstone. Feel free to steal that if this is you. XD
This would be a niche blog. Not only do you define your audience as primarily Hearthstone players, but you also define them as female.
The idea behind niche blogging is to find an unusual population combination and “corner the niche.” It zooms in on a very specific audience, tells them “this blog is for you,” and makes your blog unique because it has its own unusual identity.
And while this sounds very cool, and some folks can pull off a niche blog well, there are both pros and cons of niche blogging to consider. So before you jump feet-first into branding your girl gamer Hearthstone blog, think of the big picture.
There are a number of pros with niche blogging. These include:
Knowing your audience. You’re pretty sure who you’re writing for, so you can really target in on topics that matter to them.
Standing out. If you can find a niche no one else has claimed, you’ll be the first and the only. Your blog will stand out.
Being memorable. Because your niche is different and unique, readers may remember your blog better.
Stability. You pretty much know what your blog topics are going to be about, and you can establish and hone your authority on the topic.
This all sounds great, but what’s the downfall?
Being stuck on a topic. Especially once you’ve grown bored of it or become passionate about other topics. What happens when you’re no longer interested in playing Hearthstone? Abandoned blog.
Earning copy cats. Just because you’re the first Ladies of Hearthstone blog doesn’t mean other girl gamers who play Hearthstone can’t come along and imitate your idea. If you’re blogging in a niche to be original, that goes right out the window when other people start following in your footsteps.
Missing your target audience. Having a target audience is nice… but what happens if your audience is only a handful of people? Will you still be content with a small number of readers? What happens if the content you’re writing doesn’t seem to appeal to ladies or to Hearthstone players? Oops.
Narrowing your readership. Following up on the above, once you target a topic, you have to accept that folks who are not Hearthstone players are probably not interested in what you’re writing. Guys may or may not be interested in a girl gamer blog — it depends. So you are willingly narrowing your readership by choosing a niche.
Running out of stuff to write. When you narrow down topics you allow yourself to write about, there’s always a chance you’re going to run out of stuff to write. This isn’t always true, but I know there’s only so much I can think about to write, even with my favorite games.
Niche Gaming Overview
So should you create a blog with a niche in mind? I can’t give you an answer about that because I believe it totally depends on two things:
- the topic you choose
- you as a blogger
I know a number of passionate bloggers who can choose a specific topic and just churn out content on it. Somehow, they blog and blog and blog and don’t run out of interest or things to talk about.
I’m not one of those people.
I’ve learned very quickly that all my niche blogs fail within the first two months. I just get bored.
I can’t just say, “This blog will be about fiction writing. This blog will be about old skool gaming. This blog will be about webcomic art.”
I have too many interests that go all over the place, and these change with the weather. That’s part of the reason why I didn’t narrow down the topic of this blog to be just overall “gaming.” There are days I want to write about writing or art or post a song I heard… or blog about blogging like this!
So I chose to do the opposite of niche. I chose to embrace everything I enjoy and just create a “geek blog.”
Or maybe, “geek blog” is a niche? It’s just a wide one that encompasses many topics. I don’t know, but it’s working for me. This blog has lasted much, much longer than my previous attempts.
So my advice is, choose your blog’s theme wisely. Don’t corner yourself with one game or one topic just because you feel like that’s what’s going to earn attention or is what you love right here and now. That may change. But only you know if a niche is something you can maintain in the long run.
Good luck! 🙂
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