One of the biggest struggles I’ve had with my blog is trying to decide what kind of blog it would be. A fashion blog? A blog about blogging? A millennial lifestyle blog? Today I’m going to take you through the process of how I’ve finally narrowed down my blog’s focus. You’ll learn why I don’t think a blogging niche is necessary, why branding is so important, and why a blog mission is more important than a blogging niche.
Let’s start back at the beginning of this little blog’s journey
Don’t worry, I’ll try to keep this brief.
Originally, when I first had the idea for Hustle and Hearts, I considered strictly targeting aspiring freelance writers. I figured this was super niche, I knew a lot about the topic, and I’d be able to attract people who had a focused and specific goal in mind. A highly engaged and interested audience? #bloggergoals
It wasn’t long before I realized there was no way I’d be able to stick with that topic. I have the attention span of an ant. How could I just talk about one (kind of dry) topic day in and day out? I couldn’t! Plus hey, the whole point of having a blog was to have a creative outlet. There was nothing creative about consistently talking about the same, one topic.
So what was I passionate about? Fashion and beauty, of course!
Long short short: I decided I’d marry these two topics together. Hustle and Hearts would be a blog for people who loved fashion & beauty. I would show the fashion/beauty obsessed ladies that they could take their passions and make them into a career as a freelance writer.
Viola! I had my blog’s focus!
Well, not so fast…
Once I started actually creating content, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see that my “blogging about blogging” posts were performing much better than any fashion or beauty posts I was putting together.
This caused me to doubt myself.
RELATED: How To Manage Self Doubt When Pursuing a Dream
Should I just be blogging about blogging?
Did it really make sense to have posts about business and blogging, while also having the occasional random fashion/beauty post thrown in?
Nahhhhhh. It didn’t. And I knew it didn’t, which sent me into a tailspin of self doubt, confusion, and total lack of focus for my blog.
But here’s where the epiphany came in…
Why You Don’t Need a Blogging Niche
What’s the ultimate goal of any blogger who is trying to build their blog into a business? Is it to have thousands of Instagram followers? Is it to drive massive traffic to their blog? Is it to land a partnership with their ultimate dream brand?
Or…Is it quite simply to have a highly engaged audience?
The answer is (and always should be) to have a highly engaged audience. If people don’t care about what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter if you’re getting thousands of pageviews, or if your favorite brand noticed you. You need people who actually care about what you’re doing, saying, and recommending. That’s the true blogging gold.
[bctt tweet=”You need people who actually care about what you’re doing, saying, and recommending.” username=”HustlenHearts”]
Once I realized this, I understood that perhaps my “blogging about blogging” posts would help me get the page views, but would it really help me build an engaged audience?
See, what was happening was people were finding my “blogging about blogging” articles through Pinterest, they were reading what they came for, and then they were leaving the blog. People didn’t actually care about what I had to say. They just cared about finding the answer to their problem.
There are plenty of ways you can help keep people around longer on your blog, but for me, even when I implemented some of these strategies, I just knew I wasn’t building the engaged audience that I craved. With so many others already blogging about blogging, I felt like I was just adding to an already very noisy crowd, repeating the same kind of advice that every other blogger was talking about (because yes, at this point I think we all know that Tailwind can explode your blog traffic, right?).
This is not to say that you can’t build a highly engaged audience through a blog about blogging.
You absolutely can!
But today, my hope is to reach the fellow blogger who feels trapped in a niche, who feels confused about her blog’s focus, and who wants to build that highly engaged audience that every blogger craves.
How To Build An Engaged Audience Without a Blogging Niche
Well, first off, you need to get the niche mentality out of your head. You don’t need a niche in order to build a highly engaged audience for your blog. In fact, not having a niche opens up more doors to have an even more defined audience.
[bctt tweet=”You don’t need a niche in order to build a highly engaged audience for your blog” username=”HustlenHearts”]
Having said that, though, this does not mean you can just blog about anything and everything that you’re passionate about. That will do nothing for improving your content.
What you need to do is define your blog’s mission, or your blog’s “why”. The reason why your blog exists. And no, I don’t mean why you created it. I mean why it exists for your ideal reader. What are you doing to help your ideal reader? How are you improving on your ideal reader’s life with your blog content.
It is absolutely and one hundred percent possible to define that “why” without defining a niche.
Your readers are complex people. If they’re coming to your blog for a recipe, for example, there’s a good chance they have more interests than just food. Sure, there’s a possibility of losing some readers if you start diversifying your content too much. Because yes, some people are specifically on your blog because they want that brownie recipe.
But ‘ya know what?
There’s also a huge possibility if you diversify your content, you’ll find that reader who relates to all your content. Who wants to know you. Who wants to buy from you. Who wants to take your product recommendations because that readers relates and connects to you.
And really, how is somebody going to relate to you if you’re just sharing a brownie recipe?
Chances are, they’re not.
Why Sharing Your Story When You Don’t Have a Blogging Niche is So Important
If you’re a blogger who doesn’t want to be pigeon holed into a niche (like me), there are two things your blog absolutely must have:
1. Your story/personality
Because if readers aren’t going to be connecting with your niche, they need something to connect with. And that something is you. You have a story. Your story matters. And people are going to care. If you let them.
[bctt tweet=” If readers aren’t going to be connecting with your niche, they need something to connect with. And that something is you.” username=”HustlenHearts”]
If you’re just sharing content, with no personality, sure, you might get page views, but you’re less likely to get engagement and keep people coming back for more. Here are three ways you can share your story:
1. Have an awesome About page that tells readers about you, your blog, and your blogging “why”
Nothing drives me more crazy than an “About” page that is just a short paragraph. If I clicked on “About,” I’m clearly interested in you. Please don’t let this golden opportunity to share your story go to waste by giving me a measly paragraph…
2. In Your Content!
You all know how I feel about sharing too much personal content in your blog posts (spoiler alert: not good). But if you’re able to share your story, while also providing value for your readers, you’ve hit a blogger gold mine. Basically, if you’re not sharing your story in your content, you’re really just writing content that anyone could have written *yawn*
3. Social Media!
Social media is great for sharing content and driving traffic to your blog, but even more importantly, social media should primarily be used to share your story. In particular, you all know how obsessed I am with Instagram. It may not be the best source of traffic, but it is the best source for building relationships, letting people get to know you, and finding your ideal audience (they’re called Instagram stories for a reason; use them and let people get to know the blogger behind the blog)
Okay, so you’ve thrown that niche mentality out the window and you’re sharing your story. What’s the next and final step for building this highly engaged audience without a blogging niche? Branding, of course!
Why You Need a Brand When You Don’t Have a Blogging Niche
I’d like to quickly preface this by saying if you’re just launching your blog, don’t worry too much about your blog’s brand. Too many people get caught up on this because they see it as the “fun” aspect of starting a blog. Your first priority should be about getting your blog out into the world and creating awesome content. Your brand will develop with time.
But, if you’ve been creating content for a while, you’ve defined your blogging mission, and you’re ready to take your blog to the next level, it’s time to put some time into your blog’s brand.
And no, this doesn’t just mean your logo and brand colours. While these things are important, they’re not nearly as important as determining your blog’s brand personality.
Good news is that a brand personality is relatively easy to create (most people tend to overcomplicate and overthink it). Your brand personality really should just be you summed up in every piece of content you put out.
And if you know yourself, this really isn’t hard to do. It should just come naturally if you’re being real and authentic in your posts. You basically just have to make sure everything you create is something you would personally like. Simple.
See how my Instagram feed has a clear feel to it. This is easy for me because I simply use images that reflect my personality and the things I like:
(remember if you’re having difficulty finding images to reflect your brand, I highly suggest looking into the Styled Stock Society for beautifully branded images)
I know most people say your blog is about your reader, and not you, and while this is true, if you’re creating a brand personality that revolves around you, this will 1) make your life easier (you really don’t have to think about brand personality too much; just create content that feels authentic to you), 2) will keep everything consistent, and 3) will attract like-minded individuals to you.
It makes sense to work on building that engaged audience who is like minded, right?
Let’s look at Hustle and Hearts, for example. My brand personality is young and feminine. This doesn’t mean everyone who visits my blog needs to be young or into girly things, but it does mean that anyone who visits my blog and connects with that personality is much more likely to become a part of my audience, rather than just someone who reads a blog post once and never comes back. By using that brand personality I’m trying to attract a particular group who will hopefully become my highly engaged audience, because they connect with that brand personality I’m putting out.
Summing Everything Up + My Blogging Mission
I definitely believe that for some people having a blogging niche can be the right path.
But, I strongly feel if you’re trying to build an engaged audience, it’s more important to define your blogging mission than a blogging niche. To do this, you need to put your personality behind everything you’re putting out. You need to share your story and let people connect with you.
I know the blogs I visit time and time again are the ones where I actually like the blogger behind the blog.
I may not know them personally, but I feel like I do.
And the reason for that is because that blogger opened herself up to me. She shared her story. She created a brand personality. She didn’t put herself into a niche that felt dry and stale. Instead, she created content that always lead back to that blogging mission. The icing on the cake? I could relate to her. I could connect with her. Her blog got me.
And that’s what inspired me to change the focus of my blog from a “blog about blogging” to a lifestyle blog that supports your dream (whatever that dream may be).
Because no, simply being a one stop shop for a piece of advice just isn’t going to cut it for me.
I want to be someone that other millennials can relate to. I want to inspire ladies to reach for their dreams. To blog. To write. To share. To create. To live an inspired life she feels good about.
And I want to show them how they can do this with great business + blogging advice.
But more importantly, I want to show them how they can create a lifestyle that supports all those big dreams.
Because yes, as much as the advice is important, it’s even more important to create a lifestyle that supports your dreams. This means I could put out a blog post directly about business/blogging (like today’s post), but it also means I can share content about food, health, fashion, beauty, finances, home decor. If it helps you support your dream, I wanna blog about it.
Because, to me, there are few things more important than living your best life, following your dreams, and making sure both of those goals support each other.
And that, ladies, is how I got rid of the niche mentality and decided what the mission for Hustle and Hearts would be.
Do you have a blog mission? Do you think having a blogging niche is important? This is definitely my most thought out topic on blogging, so I’d love to hear some opinions! Leave me a comment below.
Also, if my blogging mission resonates with you, I’d love for you to join my Hustle and Hearts newsletter. I won’t spam your inbox (ew, those people are the WORST), and I’ll send you allllllll the good advice for how you can build a lifestyle that supports your dreams. Sign up below!
Keep dreaming, my friends.
oh and p.s., if you agree that a blog doesn’t always require a niche, feel free to share this image on Pinterest 🙂
I love this. I struggled with this when I first started blogging. I started out blogging just about fashion and while that is one of my biggest passions I soon realized that I had so much more to talk about than just fashion. So, I took a break from blogging and came back and made more of a lifestyle blog to not only give me a wider range to write about, but to give my readers more to learn about. It is still a work in progress, but this definitely helped me better understand what direction to take my blog in. Thanks for sharing.
@stylingsofstacey | http://staceylyynn.wixsite.com/stylingsofstacey
That’s awesome, Stacey! I totally relate. My first blog ever was a fashion blog. I then found myself wanting to talk about allllll the things, which basically lead to that blog becoming an online diary of sorts. It had absolutely no focus. I think finding the balance between giving valuable advice and letting people into your life is where the magic happens. Hopefully we can both start to find that balance. Good luck, girl! 🙂
I recently started my own blog and I don’t know what to write, after reading your post, it’s time I have my own blogging mission. Thanks so much. 🙂
That’s awesome, Joce! Your blog content usually evolves and grows with time once you start putting it out there, but it is definitely always helpful to go in with a blogging mission in mind. Don’t worry so much about niche! Good luck on your blogging journey! 🙂
I have decided to not have just one niche either and I’m really excited to see where my new blogging adventure takes me! http://www.lifesortedout.com
Mayya @ The Sewist says
Thank you too much for this post, I have been suffering with finding *a niche* for a while to the point that I have taken a step back from blogging because I had lost my focus and just like you I don’t fit into one box. After reading this post I now have hope.
Hey Mayya. Yes, I totally get that. Even since writing this post, I’ve STILL struggled with a niche. It’s probably been one of the toughest things for me to navigate with my blog, but within the past two months I’ve really abandoned all ideas of a niche, and I would say my blog is at the best it has ever been! It’s really exciting, so if you’re struggling, I say just write about what interests you and then promote it! There’s this weird misconception that you have to the same people come back to your blog over and over again (a niche helps with that), but if you can write content that other people are interested in, you don’t need that. You just need content that is interesting and appeals to people. Or, at least that’s what I’ve found. Hope that helps 🙂
I’ve been troubled with this idea that blogging requires a niche. I’ve had several blogs over the years that I’ve deleted out of frustration. I am currently trying to create an About Me page and 10 posts to open with. None of my topics are related (drawing/crafts, learning Japanese, being a new mom)
I feel a little less foggy about this since reading your post. Thank you!