FINDING YOUR BLOGGING NICHE: HERE ARE MY TOP 5 TIPS
I've been referred to as an OG writer and editor (it's warranted since I have 20 years of experience under my belt), but when it comes to having my own daily lifestyle site, I'm still a newbie. Back when I started, you studied journalism and worked for a magazine or newspaper or in radio, and there was no real concept of having a personal brand beyond your byline and what you did at your 9-5 job. And when blogs really started to gain attention over a decade ago there was no real business strategy behind them.
Fast forward to 2017, and the creative digital world has blown-up to become a full-fledged career option, with the digital space opening the doors for not only writers, but photographers, stylists and social media influencers to make a living doing what they love. This is where my experience as a writer, editor and content creator comes in handy because most of the writers I've worked with over the years would freelance for the publications where I worked while working on their own personal brands and blogs.
As an editor, it was my job to find a writer's strengths and help them find their voice, figure out the types of content that they are best suited to cover, the style of writing that fit them, and I also gave them tips on how to navigate the writing industry (reaching out to editors, pitching articles, etc.).
All of the above = finding your niche.
The fact that an unprecedented number of female entrepreneurs are launching businesses today is reason to celebrate, but it can be daunting if you’re thinking about jumping into an already crowded space. Also, as news broke in the last couple of years that Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs (yay!), there's the disheartening fact that our revenues are comparatively very low. Read here for more on this subject.
My mission is to help as many of my sisters as I can get their game up, get focused and build beautiful brands, websites and companies that bring all the friends, fans and money that you deserve.
These are some of the topics I will be speaking on this summer as a panelist at the PR Blog Intel Retreat in Manassas, VA on August 21, and it got me thinking that many of you guys may be curious about some of the same challenges as you grow your careers. So here are a few of my thoughts on finding your niche, growing your brand, and getting paid to do what you love.
1. Be you.
Social media has everyone revealing what they're doing (or what they want you to think they're doing) all the time. This is great because it can serve as a source of endless inspiration from people and companies all over the world. On the other hand, it can be somewhat tempting to try to replicate what someone else is doing successfully. In reality, we all have everything we need in us to create and put our stamp on the world ... the trick is having the confidence to be you.
2. Follow your passion.
If you've already been thinking about carving a niche, you've been thinking about what you really love and what gets you excited, your passions. When honing in on your passion, think about the thing you’d be doing even if you weren’t getting paid for it. Also think about this: What is the world looking for and what can you provide? Think about what is going on in the world around you and what you may be able to or already bringing to the table. Then you've got to figure out how to do that thing better and differently than anyone else. Show the world who you are with your unique and personal story. Here's a graphic that I found years ago and it was a great motivator for me:
3. Stay in your lane.
On this site, I decided to talk about many subject matters, from food to fashion to beauty to careers, because these are all off the things I actually love and have experienced through my personal and professional lives. Since I'm the only writer, it's easier for me to be consistent with my unique voice when covering such a wide range of topics. As KW grows, I know I'll have to work harder to maintain a certain point-of-view from the different voices that will be shared by different contributors. I see myself as the audience I'm writing for, so the content I create answers my own questions and dives into topics that I'm curious about, talk about with my friends and that we want to learn more about ourselves. This ties into the tips about finding your passion: Have you noticed an unmet need in your industry or a problem of your own that you’d like to solve? Maybe you’re just the person who can go out there and solve it.
4. Write down your vision.
Of course I love fashion and beauty and food and pretty things, but I'm also concerned about empowering women, and I'm always looking for ways to share the stories of empowering women to lift up my readers and help them become the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves.
Career and life coach Marie Forleo says: "If it's not scheduled, it's not real." But I also carry this bit of advice into writing down my vision, write it down so it feels real and you can see it everyday. This not only helps me articulate my thoughts and hopes for my brand, site and company and but it keeps me on task when I'm thinking about my theme for the coming months content, whether or not to interview someone for the site, or choosing products to feature on KW.
Once you do this this, you can start to be more strategic in the messaging you’re putting out there. This statement can be long or short, it can be written as key descriptors like fresh, playful, or modern. You can also write down your vision as a mission statement that shows what you’re all about.
When you’ve honed in on your vision and what you want to be about, remember that everything you put out there, from the way you dress to the way you speak to what you post on Instagram, is a building block that defines the message you’re sending to the world. Be you!
5. Put in the work and be great.
Once you’ve really considered your strengths, discovered your passion, and honed in on your vision… now comes the hard work! The building blocks I've outlined here, combined with a strong work ethic and smart daily decision-making, can lay the foundation for a successful creative business. It may not come to you right away, but keep working at laying out your goals and dreams ... it will come to you.
After working for more than my share of websites over the years, I decided that KW would focus on creating high-quality, original content. Writing good stories and creating new content takes a lot more time and work, but original content is ultimately what sets this site apart and will allow me to grow it into the business I've always dreamed about.
Through all the challenges, I love the freedom I have to be creative every day and use my platform to positively influence my readers’ lives (in even a small way) is what keeps me going and proud of what I'm doing.
If you're interested in having me help you build your blog and/or brand, feel free to review my list of services and contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.