There are so many arguments around niches and whether or not you need to have one in the bloggersphere.
This week’s episode, I’m going to talk to you about why you do need a niche, but why that niche may not be what you think! Let’s go…
Are you a fashion, travel, lifestyle, beauty, toenails, breadcrumb recipes, yoga for the criminally inflexible style blog?
It can often seem like talking about blogging niches is so 2014, when we introduced ourselves on blogger chats with a run down on what our blogs were about and used Grazia magazine as a flatly back drop.
But the conversation is OH SO relevant in 2018, and even more so going into 2019.
Next year over 37 million people will call themselves a blogger.
Now pick any niche – fashion, beauty, travel. I bet you can name 4 or 5, ‘big names’ within that niche. And they all have over 500k followers with hundreds of thousands of blog views per month.
And then if you’re anything like me, you probably sit back and go, ‘well fuck it, why should I bother? I’ll never compare? Why am I trying?’ Well let me tell you that is NOT THAT ATTITUDE TO HAVE.
Like with everything I aim to do here through Exciting Emails, I want to share with you my experiences of niches and tell you exactly how it helped propel my blog enough so that I could go full time.
I started off as one of those ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ bloggers. From posts on my favourite Mac lipsticks one day to my insecurities with my legs then next. I know… just…don’t.
I was really present on Twitter. Chatting to bloggers. Getting involved in discussions. Sharing and devouring other people’s content and I was lucky that they’d do the same back. Even though it was a load of bollocks!
Then I became single.
I know I bang on about it a lot but honestly, shedding 15 stone of man crap reeeeaaaallly frees you up and gets your juices flowing.
So I decided to blog about my dating experiences, as a late twenty-something, normal air quotes average girl who was looking to enjoy singledom.
What I didn’t know though was that I’d stumbled on a very specific niche that didn’t have much competition.
Most traditional dating blogs either veered more towards sex or towards doing the 15 things on a first date that would want to make him wife you up and I wasn’t about that, ‘no putting out’ life.
My audience loved reading my views on modern dating as I wrote from an observational point of view. And as I had many a terrible date, I applied my blogging voice with humour and sarcasm. It made me stand out.
I also won an award! Not because I was amazing per se just that my audience were really behind me on my dating journey.
I wrote about sex and relationships predominantly for over a year and a half, until I met Ben. In that time I spoke on TV shows, radio and was featured in magazines and newspapers – all because I was standing out for being different.
Obviously Ben then came in and put a kibosh on my frigging gold-mine, CHEERS BEN, but by that time I’d built up such a solid audience and loyal following who realised that as long as I applied my same blogging voice to any topic, they’d still hang around. Which is keeping me in rent payments and Gousto deliveries at the moment so cheers for that.
But I’ll be honest here. My growth has suffered. And I believe if I was still solely talking about dating from my perspective and in my style, my growth would’ve been way more than it has this year.
Obvs I’ll take a super healthy relationship, a hottie in my bed every night and his monthly trips to Oliver Bonas for me over silly things like followers and traffic, but it really did solidify the lesson I’m about to pass on to you.
And that lesson is you really need a niche if you want to stand out BUT your individual voice and experiences can help you shape it if you don’t suddenly want to start writing about buffalos.
I’ll also put a lil plug in here to say that if you go to Vix Meldrew.com you can get a free guide on niching your blog for profit in 2019 which I hope serves as a great companion for this episode so head over there once you’re done with me but try and stay til the end plskthx.
So how do you create a niche for yourself? In my mind, there are two routes and I’m going to talk you through both. EITHER you’re going to write about a narrow set of topics OR you want to talk about a whole host of crap and want YOU to be your niche.
I’m going to let you in on a lil secret though. The second route is going to be a LOT harder to grow in but it can be done.
So let’s start with the first route – you got some note-taking stuff to hand?
For arguments sake, we’re going to imagine that you’re most interested in ‘beauty’ or ‘make up’ – I’ll do some other examples but let’s go with this one first.
Well, you know you’re not going to be the next Caroline Hirons but you’re still super passionate about it and want to make a name for yourself in that industry.
So now you need to mind map more specific things you can talk about. Is it Korean beauty? Make up for darker skin tones? High street? High end? Niching down to a topic like this may narrow your audience but if you can’t already think of your favourite Korean beauty blog – you could become everyone’s favourite Korean beauty blog.
Now make a mind map of what makes you different to other beauty blogs. Do you have a specific skin type? Or skin complaint? Are you a young adult just venturing in for the first time? Are you older? Are you skint, and can’t afford more than £12 for a foundation? Niching down to a value that is most relevant to you will really help you align with your audience.
Do you see what I’m getting at? You might not be the UK’s best beauty blog (I mean you might, I don’t want to shit on your parade) but you definitely could be the UK’s leading beauty blog for women with eczema. Then think of the opportunities that could come from being a kind of, ‘expert’ in that field? The brands you could work with, the publications you could feature in, the foundations you could be an ambassador for!
Let’s look at lifestyle as another example. One of the girls I coached, Katie, I’m going to put her blog in the show notes, came to me because she wanted to take her lifestyle blog full time but had no idea how. I gave her my coaching questionnaire and through that found that she had a stoma and IBS.
Through our coaching I suggested that she niched on lifestyle content but with a chronic illness twist.
Approaching much the same topics that lifestyle blogs broach – like travel, books, self-care and recipes but from a chronic illness viewpoint. So instead of writing a travel guide to her latest holiday place, she’d write it from the experience of having a chronic illness. Where were the most accessible places? What food might not set off her IBS etc. Do you see what I mean?
From that, she started a newsletter all about living with a chronic illness and has had some huge YouTubers and bloggers contribute. Plus she’s seen a stark growth in traffic, followers and opportunities.
So how can we apply this to you? This is where we’re going to do some tasks.
I want you to note down what your blog is about. Then I want you to niche it down to 3-5 topics you’re most passionate about writing about.
Then I want to see if you can kinda ‘package’ that up in a specific niche – something that is not widely done. For example, solely about mental health, spirituality, elderly skincare, high street fashion, veganism etc
If your 3-5 topics are wide ranging, I want you to note down 3-5 things that are different about you that you could start approaching those topics from. Is it your age? Background? Beliefs? Skin type? Hair colour? Personality? Interest?
Do you see what I mean? So rather than writing those generic posts like, ‘My Lipstick Collection’ it’s, ‘My Date Night Lipstick Collection’ if you’re a dating blogger, ‘My Moisturising Lipstick Collection’, if you’re a dry skin beauty blog or, ‘My Confidence Boosting Lipstick Collection’, if you’re a mental health blog.
Do you see what I’m trying to say? I hope I’m explaining it well enough and articulating what I mean well enough.
If you want some more bespoke guidance with this, obvs you can book in for some coaching but you can also go to our Facebook group – Exciting Emails and we can have a chat about it in there! Our group members would love to give you some ideas or feedback.
Finally then, we’ll look at what the predictions for the most profitable niches are in 2019. If you haven’t started a blog, consider one of these niches. If you have but you’re totally stuck, take inspiration from these niches!
They are; mental health and wellness, spirituality and healing, parenting (always) and solo travel
I think it’s great that more brands and audiences are seeking out mental health blogs as raising awareness and reaching an audience so they feel less alone is SO important.
Wellness can also encompass things like self-care, routines, confidence boosting, self-development which are all such interesting topics that can be applied in so many different ways!
Spirituality is banking on the current trend for everything ‘witchy’ and I say that with complete love as some of my best friends are witches and are seeing this growing as a cynical trend with high street retailers jumping in and taking advantage BUT the interest in things like tarot, horoscopes, planet affects and crystals is so huge at the moment that if these are your genuine interests, it’s time to explore them on your blogs.
Parenting will always be a hugely profitable niche so if you’re currently upduffed or thinking about it, that could be an area to explore.
And solo travel! Travel is such a broad niche that you’re really going to have to niche down if you want to grow. Things like solo travel, spontaneous travel, nomadism and plus size travel are starting to be explored – what angle could you put on it?
Before we leave each other though, I want to go back to that statement about you not needing a niche that lots of people declare.
I do agree. If your blog is a hobby. Or you’re more of an Instagrammer type of influencer and you use your blog as a fun hobby or side hustle to be creative – you absolutely do not need a niche and you are more than welcome to use your platforms in whatever way you’d like!
However, if growth is your game and you want to grow your blog enough so that you can turn it into a business or a full time hustle, I’d really argue that you do need a niche. I’m trying to find a new one if I’m honest! Maybe you can let me know what you’d niche me as? But also having a niche helps you to explore your individual blogging voice which is something I’ll be covering in an upcoming episode.
So come and chat to me about niches, your opinions, your ideas, anything I’d love to chat! You can message me on Twitter or Instagram @vixmeldrew or on the Facebook group.
Until then, make sure you’re subscribed and I shall see you next time where I’ll be joined by Cat from Gatto Web. We’re discussing the importance of your blog design and she’s got a great lesson on easy things you can do instantly to make your blog more YOU so hopefully you’re looking forward to that!
Speak soon, byyyeeeee!