The Art of Focus: How to Discover Your Niche

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Focus
Photo by Mark Hunter
Image via Creative Commons



Ask me about my websites and I will most likely tell you that I'm a lifestyles blogger. But lately I've realized that for me "lifestyles blogger" is the answer I give instead of saying "Frankly, I have no idea what my blog is about!" Now, I'm not saying this is the case for all lifestyles bloggers. In fact, pretty much all my favorite blogs would fall under that category. But even lifestyles blogs, the good ones at least, have focus, something I've struggled to find in my 3+ years of blogging. 


In last month's issue of Upscale magazine Angel Laws, founder of the internationally recognized celebrity blog ConcreteLoop.com, offered a few tips for finding your niche. She recommended making a list of five things that really interest you then mixing up a a couple of those into a topic that has your personal touch. 


I am very interesting in women's issues, faith, fitness, race matters, and maintaining healthy friendships and relationships.  I've always wanted to have a blog about feminism, but one that all women would feel comfortable visiting and one that also explored my Southern values and how I work to reconcile them with my feminist ideals. My plan is to slowly move my other blog, GeorgiaMae.com, in this direction. 


As for this blog, I decided to to follow the advice of Jeff Goins. I'm currently taking his free blogging tutorial Intentional Blogging (which I highly recommend). He suggests a three step process to discovering your niche. First, choose your subject based on your passion. Next, choose a theme, which is a particular area of concentration within your topic. Then you'll decide on your objective. What do you want to accomplish with your blog? What's your goal? 

Here's my objective for this blog:
To help women writers achieve their goals as I share inspiring (and sometimes funny) stories of my journey to make my own writing dreams come true. 

Ta-da! I have a niche. 

So why is it so important to have a niche? I think it can be liberating. In the past I have felt so stressed about my other blog because I felt it necessary to post commentary on EVERYTHING going on in pop culture and news. But that pressure is eased when you have more focus. And Jeff Goins says "The rule of thumb is this: The more narrow your focus, the more you broaden your audience."

Believe it or not, it's also easier to come up with ideas. I once feared establishing a niche because I thought it would be limiting, but I believe having a niche inspires you to be more creative as you think of all the ways you can explore your topic. Taking just a few minutes to brainstorm ideas based on my objective for this blog I came up with dozens of ideas. Here's a sample: 

  • Business cards for bloggers and writers
  • How to cover events as an independent writer
  • The art of guest blogging
  • How I used my blog to help me fall in love with my hometown
  • How to make a media kit
  • What to wear to a blogging or writing conference
  • Signs you’re a real blogger
  • Signs you're a real writer
  • How to throw an event to promote your blog

8 comments:

  1. Girrrl, I'm *always* struggling with that "niche". I find myself ebbing and flowing out of my intended focus, and I sometimes give myself a hard time about it.

    Love this post and the ideas are so great!! I'd sho'like to see those lists that cover "Signs you're a real blogger" and "Signs you're a real writer".

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  2. Great post! I always feel like I'm all over the board when it comes to selecting a topic. I'm going to make my list now!
    And I agree with LK, I can't wait to read more about "signs you're a real writer" and "signs you're a real blogger"!

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  3. Thanks so much for reading, ladies. Finding a niche (and sticking to it) has always been a struggle for me. I've been looking closely at my other blog (Georgia Mae) lately and realized I've been so off track from my initial mission and purpose for that blog. But my plan is to refocus starting this week.

    Glad you all are looking forward to those two posts. Stay tuned!

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  4. You are meeting your objective, my dear because these posts are so helpful! Thanks for the insight!

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    1. Thanks so much, Amber. That really means a lot.

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  5. Javacia! Thanks so much! This was so helpful~ I continue to wander through my interests...writing, painting, photography..still working on melding that with family and travel into a uniform platform for DAILY WRITING...I can't wait until your November blog a day challenge. I have tagged your 100 post ideas and hope to crank up on day one in Nov. with a poem where I will get some inspiration for blogs from CREATIVE IS A VERB~ by Patti Digh~ as well as your daily suggestions~

    If we can't get inspired to blog by reading her or your inspiring prompts....we might need to hang up our fingers!

    You have truly done so much to crank-start idling writing in Birmingham~

    Blessings!

    Allison Adams

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    1. Thanks Allison! That really means a lot to me. I'm excited about the November challenge too. We're going to have a blast!

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