I get a lot of push back from bloggers when I talk about blog niche.
Some know immediately what they want to write about while others hem and haw and assure me they don’t want to pigeon-hole themselves.
I am sympathetic to a point.
See, the thing about niche is, I don’t think it means what you think it means.
Let’s start at the beginning.
First, it’s pronounced NICH, not NEESH.
Second, your niche is those topics about which you are the resident expert.
This is not a rule chiseled in stone. There is no secret blog police who will come after you if you blog off topic.
However, if you blog about gluten-free cooking and suddenly write a post about how to change the oil on your car I think it would be fair to say there could be some confusion among your readers.
If you have decided to blog without a niche that’s your prerogative. I’m not going to argue with you. But if you’ve been thinking of narrowing down your topics and finding your niche I’m behind you one-hundred percent.
My job today is to tell you why you should have a niche and how it can save you time if you do.
1. You will immediately know your reader
One of the most important parts of blogging is knowing who your reader is. From Blogging 101 you should have already written out a profile of your ideal reader. And no, it isn’t everyone in the world.
If you need help with this let me recommend these:
By knowing who you are writing for you will easily be able to decide what to write about. You will know what your audience wants and this saves a ton of time when sitting down to write a post or share on social media.
If you know who you are writing for, your posts are directed, planned, purposeful. You know who you want to read your words and you write just for them. There is no guesswork involved. You don’t have to wonder what to write about because you know what your ideal reader wants help with.
This is a huge time-saver. The mystery is gone. What’s left is a clear, concise message for someone specific. Bam!
2. You will know right away what to write about
This point is best made in reverse. When you know your niche, you also know what you won’t be writing about. Ever.
Your niche defines your topics. It gives you parameters for what your audience wants to read. It keeps out the junk.
Writing about everything under the sun takes up a lot of energy. It’s hard work to write well about faith and how to choose paint colors and how to travel with kids. That’s a lot of ground to cover and no one can do all of it well. Not even you.
Knowing your niche is imperative for keeping you on task.
Do you have a to-do list for your home, your kids, or your housework? Why would your blog be any different? Examine the areas in which you are an expert. Then, write about them often and well.
When you know what to write you can also dig deeper. As a blogger your job is to serve your readers. You are writing to share information, solve a problem, or even entertain. With a niche you can go into great detail about the topics your readers want to know more about.
This opens up numerous opportunities for subject matter. No more do you need to sit and wonder what to write about. Your audience has specific needs and you can help them with countless posts about your area of expertise. What could be more time-saving than that?
Your time will be focused and well spent when you know exactly what you are going to write about. You don’t have to wait for inspiration to hit. I mean seriously, that could take forever.
Knowing your niche will narrow down your topics and make them very clear. Sitting down to write will be less complicated and take less time but you will have a richer pool of information to talk about because you can go deep.
3. You will immediately understand what to post on social media
Social media is complicated enough without having to wonder about what to post. A niche eliminates this difficulty. Your time is laser focused when you are online because you know exactly what your audience wants to see.
This doesn’t mean you have to share only about your niche. It does mean you consider your topics and your ideal readers and post accordingly.
My niche is blogging. My ideal readers are women. I post pretty pictures that are encouraging, informative and mirror what women like.
I also share articles about blogging and social media. My readers count on me for relevant information about those topics.
What I don’t share are articles about politics or the zombie apocalypse or couponing. I may have an interest in these things, but that is not my niche. I leave those things to the people in those niches. My readers aren’t counting on me for info on those topics. They are counting on me to help them become better bloggers.
By knowing what my niche is, I save a TON of time as I’m perusing through Pinterest or Facebook. As I explore the web I know exactly what to stop and read and what to let go. I don’t have to look at everything because I already know exactly what I am looking for.
Sounds kind of like shopping right? A shopping trip with a specific item in mind goes much quicker than a long, slow ramble through the store where you look at everything and wait for something to catch your eye. Focus. It’s a huge time-saver.
When you know what you are looking for, it’s much easier to hone in on the good candidates and leave the duds behind. You will save immeasurable time on social media, which is a time-waster as it is, by staying focused on your area of expertise.
Get in, find what you need, get out. Post great content on the topics your readers are counting on you to help them better understand. Serve your followers and fans with things that are helpful and interesting. Then, watch your audience grow. This is key for making social media work for you.
4. You will always know how to spend your time researching and studying
Do you remember writing a term paper in high school or college? The hardest part was deciding what to write about. Once that choice was made, however, it was a lot easier to go into the library and find the books you needed.
Think about not knowing your topic and then going to the library. Where would you even start?
It’s the same with your blog. If you know your general topics you can research and study with much greater efficiency. You know exactly how to dig deeper.
I think it’s safe to say there are millions of articles and posts out there about blogging. But not all of them are what I’m looking for. Not all of them are helpful to my readers. I know who those readers are and I understand what they need help with. That knowledge helps me to eliminate thousands of articles and zero in on the best ones.
If you know your niche you also know what you are looking for when you open your computer, or get a book recommendation, or see an article in a magazine. You know immediately if it’s something helpful for your audience or not. You won’t waste time on the unnecessary.
Information is flying at you all the time. When you know your niche you can easily wade through the junk and find the gems.
5. You will quickly identify your competition
I talk a lot about staying away from comparing your blog to someone else’s. Many times I hear bloggers worrying about what someone else is doing, or how many followers they have, or books they are selling. I think to myself, “Yeah, but you don’t even write about the same things.”
For some reason we think all blogs and bloggers are the same. They’re not. We spend a lot of time comparing, instead of writing and serving, and it’s all for naught.
When you know your niche you know exactly who to be looking to for inspiration and motivation, and who to cheer on from the sidelines.
Even within your own larger niche you will have better perspective. If you blog about toddler crafts you can’t possibly compare yourself to someone who writes about french cooking or tech innovations. Your focus is different. Get over it.
If you have to compare, make sure it’s with someone who is doing exactly what you are doing and for the same audience. I’m pretty sure this will narrow down the field considerably.
Your niche shines a spotlight on how silly it is to compare yourself to others. When you know what your topics are and who they are for, you will quickly realize that your audience is unique to you. Serve them with superb content and you will grow a loyal following all your own. You don’t need or want to waste time worrying about things you can’t control. Mama ain’t got time for that.
6. You will swiftly learn to serve well
What is the definition of a department store? A store with many different departments. They are all housed under one roof, but are all separate from one another. You can’t buy a chainsaw in the men’s department and you can’t buy a mixer at the jewelry counter.
What else defines a department store? Each department is manned by different people. The lingerie department is not serviced by the same people in the appliance section. Each area has it’s own experts and not one person running around and around.
Do you know what happens because the store is arranged this way? Customers are served well.
If you write a blog and you cover a wide range of topics you are like one person trying to serve every department in a store. You cannot do it well.
When you know your niche you can serve readers extremely well with a small amount of topics. When your audience feels well served they will come back for more.
I read a lot of posts about blogging. Most of them are not from blogging sites, per se. Everyone who has a blog considers themselves an expert. Sometimes the advice they give is good, but I can guarantee I will not be returning to their site if their niche is DIY or knitting.
I frequent sites that serve me well. These are sites that offer me quality content on a consistent basis. These are sites in a specific niche solving a specific problem I have.
Knowing your niche will allow you to serve your readers like a boutique. You will have a select number of products that are made with quality and are consistently good. Every time your audience shows up they will know what to expect. This means repeat customers and growth.
This also means you are saving time. You don’t have to try to serve a bunch of different people with different interests. You can serve the ones who want to know about your area of expertise and you can do it quickly because you know the topic so well.
Writing about everything under the sun takes a lot of time and energy. Offering a narrow product line means quality and consistency. You can serve well when you know who you serve and what they need. It saves time you can use on your family, your hobbies, and your life.
7. You will instantly open yourself up for opportunities
If you are looking to make money with your blog having a niche is the fastest way to get there. Companies and advertisers want to see their products featured on blogs. Many pay good money for it. If you consistently write about a topic where their products can be featured you are much more likely to be courted by these opportunities.
A well defined niche creates a funnel for sales. Companies and advertisers are much more likely to come calling if they can see how their product fits with your audience.
If you write about stamp collecting regularly and then throw in a post about frugal living, don’t expect the opportunities for those types of advertising to be lining up at your door. Opportunities come when you create space for them.
This doesn’t only apply to advertising, itt also lends itself to speaking, books, guest posts, and collaborations. A clearly defined niche makes a statement about your professionalism, your commitment, and your intent.
Opportunities make blogging worth your time. Define your niche and create a open channel for them to come to you.
Knowing your blog niche is an important time saver. It can lead you to the right audience, create space for opportunities, keep you focused, and help you prioritize.
Blogging isn’t easy, it takes hard work, but if there is a way to be productive with your time why not use it? Take time to discover your niche and both you and your blog will be better for it.
Photo credit: K2, age 8