Blog niche is a bit of a buzz word at the moment in the blogosphere. Every blogger and his/her dog is out there trying to find their niche, and there is no shortage of information on the subject. A quick google search will give you countless articles about various strategies that involve finding keywords, SEO ranking, social media, networking, copy writing and web design just to name a few. But today I'm going to share with you 5 little known secrets to finding your blog niche. And I'm not talking about just any blog niche, but one that inspires you and feeds your soul.
If you are here, reading this post, chances are you are like me. Finding a niche market by doing some keyword searching in google feels icky and somewhat sales-y. It feels like your taking shortcuts to winning some popularity contest that you don't even want to be in in the first place.
Instead you want your blog to be fuelled by your passion and aligned with you on an authentic soul level. And you want your niche audience to be in alignment with that too. But how the hell do you figure out what all that is?
This is something that I struggled with for 2 years of blogging. For me, like so many bloggers, I felt that my blog was somehow connected to my passion and purpose in life, but I was struggling to find it. I saw so many other bloggers out there absolutely killing it online, doing some amazing things, building big followings and living their passion. I aspired to be like that.
It seemed however that the harder I tried, the more confused I got and the more disconnected I felt. It wasn't long before blogging was no longer a joy and instead felt like a chore. Now my blog is my creative outlet and an absolute joy in my life. I feel I have found my groove and these 5 secrets I am about to share have come from my own experience. I hope that they can save you from learning the hard, and long way like me.
1. Start Where You Are
I know it seems really obvious, I mean, hello?! Where else are you meant to start? But actually the trap I fell into, and the trap I see many other bloggers falling into, is trying to not be where they are.
There are so many inspiring bloggers out there who are where you want to be and it's all too easy to feel that you need to rush to get there too. This only takes you away from where you are. Your focus goes to where you want to be and then subsequently ALL the things you have to do to get there. Overwhelm sets and this is a killer to finding your niche.
The other thing that happens when you are rushing to be 'there', is that you start to copy your mentors and blogging idols. This is not necessarily intentional, but you see that what they are doing is working for them and because you are in such a hurry, you just don't want to waste time finding things out for yourself when you can just do what they are doing.
However you will never find your niche by doing this. You will only ever be a diluted version of your favourite blogger. And that does not feel very inspiring or aligned to your truth which is what we are aiming for here.
So if you only have a handful of blog posts, on a shitty DIY website, with 2 newsletter subscribers and 10 Facebook fans who are all your friends, then so be it. If you still don't really know what one area you want to dedicate your blog to, that's fine, you don't have to lock into anything now.
Learn to be ok with where you are. You don't need to be an expert yet. You don't need to have a massive following, or beautiful branding. You don't need to be earning money from your blog and have it supporting you full time right now.
The main reason why we feel like there is a rush to do all this, is so that we can feel validated in ourselves. We must remember and then keep reminding ourselves that our worldly success (i.e. having a successful blog) does not define us. It is not who we are and does not determine our worth as human beings. I believe our blogs and business should instead be a reflection of our worth as human beings.
2. Follow Your Inspiration
I really believe that inspiration is the key to finding your blog niche. The things that inspire you and stimulate your curiosity are not random, they are whispers from your soul. The word inspiration comes from the Latin route which literally means 'in spirit'. That's why inspiration feels so good.
But just to be really clear, when I talk about inspiration, I'm not just talking about those moments where you feel like you have been struck by a thunderbolt of inspiration from the heavens above. Those experiences are great, but it's not the only form it can take. Inspiration can also take the form of a quite curiosity that feels more like a gentle tugging rather than an electric endorphin rush.
My Nan recently went to a talk and book signing by the author Fiona McIntosh at her local library. I was fascinated to learn from my Nan Fiona's creative process that she shared in her talk. When Fiona sets out to write a new book she has no idea of the plot or the characters. Instead she starts with a topic that is catching her interest at that point in time and then begins researching.
For her latest novel The Perfumer's Secret, she spent 3 months in France researching and learning all she could on perfume. She even learnt how to make her own. When she set out she knew that she wanted to write a novel about perfume but that was all. She didn't have a plot or any ideas for the characters, because she knew that as she got into her research the plot and the characters would just appear in her mind. And appear they did. I think this is such a wonderful way to create!
If, like Fiona, you focus on what inspires you, your blog (or any other creative endeavour) will always remain a joyful creative outlet. We don't want it to become a chore, like it did for me for a while there. When you blog about topics that inspire you, you are naturally coming from a place of authenticity, ease and joy and that is exactly how your blog should feel.
In the beginning you will probably feel inspired or interested in many things. That's ok. You still don't need to decide on the one thing that inspires you the most. And that leads me to the next secret.
3. Don't Be Afraid To Experiment
If you love food, DIY, health, fashion, personal development and design then write about all of it. You have to try it all out to figure out which areas you love the most. Remember Secret 1 - start where you are - there is no rush. If where you are right now is that you are interested in and want to write about many different somewhat unrelated topics, then do it! Your blog is yours and you get to set the rules.
Over the years on my blog I have written posts on personal development, holistic health, recipies, spirituality, travel, design, blogging and branding. That's a lot of unrelated topics, and I still am interested in all of them although now I don't write about them all.
Even though I spent 2 years feeling frustrated that I couldn't seem to find my passion, purpose and blog niche, I now feel that those 2 years were invaluable. If I didn't experiment I would not have figured out that design, branding and blogging with a side serve of personal development is my jam.
So I encourage you to experiment. Write about all the things that inspire you and pay attention to how much you enjoy each topic. Also pay attention to what your readers say. Which topics do you get the most comments, questions and compliments on? Your blog niche sweet spot will be a combination of what you AND your readers enjoy the most.
4. Stop Looking For Your Passion
Woah! Say What? Yes you did read that correctly. I know it sounds counter intuitive but hear me out on this one.
For us heart-centered bloggers, our blog niche and our passion and purpose in life are almost inextricably linked. I know I certainly felt that my blog was to be a part of my life purpose and that I just needed to find my niche to be living my purpose. I spent 2 years desperately searching for my purpose/passion/blog niche but things only started to fall into place when I stopped looking.
There are a number of reasons for this.
- Firstly, I was buying in to the belief that I needed to find my passion/purpose/blog niche in order to have a successful blog and business. I believed that once I had cracked that, then everything would fall into place - I would be the person I wanted to be and I'd be living the life of my dreams.
- I didn't feel I or my life were ok as it was. I felt that I needed to find my passion, create a successful blog, establish myself as an expert within my niche and build a profitable business in order to feel good in myself. Basically I felt I needed to prove myself to myself and others to validate myself
- As a consequence of 1 and 2, I was operating from fear. My deep seated fear that I wasn't good enough was running the show.
- With fear is in the driver's seat I quite unconsciously focused on my own internal dialogue that was constantly trying to come up with a solution - "Where should I look? What can I do to make this situation different? Am I ever going to figure this out? Probably not, OMG my life is a mess, OMG I'm a mess! Ok get it together. Maybe I should do what this person over here is doing because they seem to have it together" And so it goes on. But what this did is kept me from listening and hearing the guidance of my intuition.
I got to a point where I was exhausted and couldn't do it anymore. I had been so stressed out about it for so long that I got to the point where I just didn't have the energy to care anymore. I was so tired that it felt better to just accept that I didn't know what my niche was then keep struggling to find the answer.
When this happened the fearful chatter in my mind dialled way down and I was able to hear my intuition. Things started to feel light and I started feeling inspired once again. So actually this secret is key to following your inspiration and curiosity in number 2 above. Rumi said it best:
5. Let Your Blog Niche Reveal Itself
This leads me directly to my final secret. If you start where you are, follow your inspiration, experiment and stop pushing to find your blog niche, you will open yourself up and it will naturally find you. How amazing is that?!
Let go of your need to define your blog (and yourself coz we all know our blogs are all sorts of wrapped up in our self perception) and allow the process to take care of itself.
To make it super simple, your only job is to be open to inspiration and bring that inspiration to life on your blog. The rest, like finding your niche, will unfold of it's own accord. You will know when you have found it because there will be a fire in your belly. You will know without being able to fully explain why. You will feel drawn to it and inspired. It will just feel right. So keep a look out.
Now it's time for you to put this into practice. Make the commitment to yourself now to start where you are, follow your inspiration and start experimenting. I would love to hear from you in the comments below, where you are starting from, what is inspiring you now and how you plan on following that inspiration.