In the world of content creation, 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. Etcetera, etcetera.
A lot of this is absolutely right; what you put out there on the internet matters more than ever before. The digital footprint you leave behind you has a potential knock-on effect on your future prospects. So it does pay to think carefully about the content you’re creating. In this post though, I’m going to be looking at the idea of keeping your writing within a niche. Is it something you need to be doing?
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 than perhaps we’re letting on.
Working out what writing themes are actually important to you can make a huge difference here. If you’re regularly producing posts that don’t really have anything to say, you’ll quickly find your enthusiasm for writing vanishing. Take some time to plot out the themes (plural) that you’re passionate about, and use those as building blocks for your body of work.
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, there is some sense in 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 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. They’re sick of having the niche that they felt they had to have, but 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.
So while it can be useful to write on one specific topic and establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, it can also become stifling. The idea of picking and sticking to one main theme for your website or blog seems so limiting 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’? It’s something of a catch-22 for digital creatives; knowing where to create and curate all the different themes of your interests.
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 games, sports, health, fashion, family and current affairs, can’t I? Do I need to strip down the strands of my interests in order to be successful?
It’s a difficult balance to strike, and one that needs to be revisited and reevaluated in order to stay relevant. Personally, I think that it’s a good thing to showcase the different interests we have as writers. On the other hand, it is key to establish your authority on a specific topic in order to attract a consistent audience. The problem of ‘niche’ is something of a niche problem, so to speak.
Do you sometimes feel trapped by your niche? I’m genuinely interested to know what you think if you’re a writer, blogger or digital 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