In the world of blogging (and the online world in general), there are two words that are bandied about almost constantly. Those words are ‘content‘ and ‘niche‘.
Content as the main buzzword for ‘stuff you post online’ is a key one. It’s interesting, the marked shift in awareness of blogs no longer being a place to diarise any
It’s a yardstick for success – how much traffic are you getting? What are your stats? Your content needs to be compelling. Blah, blah, blah.
Your Content Matters
It’s true of course; nobody really wants to read about the deep emotional connection that you felt with the latest brand of quilted toilet roll you use, or what your stance is on a random gadget that doesn’t fit whatsoever with the themes of your writing.
However, it’s apparent that more and more, we’re writing things because we think they’re good content, rather than being content with our writing.
For me, your ‘content’ needs to be compelling because you’ve got something compelling to share, and that’s the bottom line. I really do struggle to produce something that I don’t really care about, and I think that more of us are feeling that way that perhaps we’re letting on.
Is It A Niche Problem?
To this end enters the other term I mentioned – niche. I see so many people talking about having to have a niche for writing. Again, I do get the sense of this. Consistency in a topic area is important, but I sometimes wonder if having a niche runs the risk of your writing becoming stale, predictable and also somewhat limiting. I’m probably wrong, but I don’t know if pigeonholing your writing style so early on is a great move.
I’ve spoken to lots of writers and blogger friends about this and almost all of them have said the same thing; that they’re sick of having the niche that they felt they had to have, but that it’s really hard to reverse back up that road once you’ve started out on it.
I can see why, to be honest. You’ve got to be engaged with the work you put out there yourself, otherwise, how can you expect other people to be? I’m the first to admit I’ll only read posts and articles if I think they’ve got some use or relevance to my life. I can’t be the only one, surely?
So I’m chucking the advice of the current trend out of the window and explicitly saying no to niche. The idea of picking and sticking to one main theme for your website or blog seems so stifling to me – why do we need to do so?
Are You Trapped In A Niche?
I want to write creatively as well as cover topics that marketer types might refer to as ‘content’. I like to create poems, tell stories and write rhymes. But that’s not all I can do, so why limit my output purely for the sake of being ‘niche’?
This is what I find hard to balance when it comes to taking much of the marketing advice out there for writers and bloggers. Surely I can be a creative writer who also blogs about sports, health, fashion, family, current affairs, can’t I? Why do I need to strip down the strands of my interests in order to be successful?
More than likely it won’t sit well long term and I’ll never make a billion Ugandan dollars for writing sponsored articles about the latest cleaning contraption to revolutionise the nation, but hey, so what?
That’s not to say I won’t add random categories every now and then or write about products and items I think are worth it, but in general, I’ll write about topics I want to, regardless of the niche mindset. I think its the only way to stop myself from becoming bored out of my brain with my own writing.
Do you sometimes feel trapped by your niche? I’m genuinely interested to know what you think if you’re a writer, blogger or content creator.
Has sticking with a niche for your writing or blog helped or hindered you so far? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or over on Twitter.