I have worked in marketing and personal branding for the last seven years, publishing articles and posting blogs for a number of high-level executives around the world. These leaders are extremely particular about the content they produce, some are very protective about the language they use and don’t use, and it takes a lot of work to get their voices right.
But over the course of working with each one, there is one thing I have come to recognize that really makes them all successful within their industries as a “voice who should be listened to.” Even if the ideas they write about, or share on the TED stage, are old ideas that have been beaten to death, thousands of people still click on the link to their article when it appears in their social media feeds. They all share a common trait that makes their voice powerful over all the others.
That is: finding a niche.
Every one of the clients I write for has a different voice, a different manner, different backgrounds, connections, and everything in between. Yet, the ones who we’ve been able to brand successful vs those who have been more difficult are the ones who we helped to find a niche and focus their writing within that niche. The more focused that niche, the more powerful their voice was within that area, and the more people engaged with the topic.
OK, great, but how can you discover your niche as an emerging blogger?
It comes from answering three questions:
- What are you passionate about?
- What do you know a lot about?
- What market can you contribute to?
Answering these questions with the C-class executives I work for is extremely difficult because 1) they are passionate about a whole lot, 2) they know even more, and 3) they can contribute a lot of value to any market they focus their time in. Deciding what NOT to write about can sometimes be the hardest part about starting a blog.
It’s not your grammar, it’s not your voice, it’s not the length of your blogs.
It’s your niche.
Are you passionate about fitness? Do you know a lot about long-distance running? Do you have something you feel you can contribute to the discussion about preparing for a long-distance run?
Then your niche is helping people physically prepare for long-distance running. Focus on that, write about it, think about it, read about it.
You should live only within that world on your blog. When someone comes to your blog they should come because they know exactly what they’re looking for, and they know you will have the answer.
In today’s world, there are a half dozen different services that push and advertize articles on our web browser home pages, or our phones. Some are news articles, others are helpful articles, most are clickbait. Think about the ones you clicked on and read. Why did you click on them? Were they generic “How to get rich!” articles? Or were they very specific? “How to get better at reading during a quarantine.”
Most likely, they were specific to what you’re interested in.
Once you are established as a respected voice within your niche, then you can use that respect and authority to break into other areas, other niches — not before.
If you spend your time and energy writing about anything and everything under the sun, then you’re writing a journal, a diary, not a blog. You will not become a “great blog writer” because you’re not doing anything “great,” you’re scratching the surface of a million different topics, an amateur in everything without being an expert in anything.
Blogging, as hard as it is to believe, takes discipline. A lot of the frustration comes from having a great idea about something, but having to turn it away, or focus it on something else because it’s just noise that doesn’ contribute to your message and brand.
If you’re still not convinced, think of a very familiar example: movie stars. They have a well-known niche: act. What happens when they try to branch out and project their voice into politics, or policy, or something else without any experience in that area? Sometimes there is anger and frustration, sure, but the overwhelming majority of people simply ignore them. Why? Because they don’t command the same kind of respect in other areas as they do in acting.
Find your niche, and dedicate your time and attention to building on that foundation. Over time you will find that those who also live in that world will come to respect your voice and your opinion and share your view with the world.
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This was a GREAT article! Very insightful and some good advice. “Stick to what you know and what you’re good at”. Something for bloggers, writers and generally everyone to remember. Well written, and a pleasure to read.