In the world of blogging (and online life in general) there are two words that are bandied about almost constantly. Those words are ‘content‘ and ‘niche‘.
Content as the new buzzword for ‘stuff you post online’ is a key one. It’s interesting; the shift in awareness from blogs being a place to diarise any old shit that you want to get out of your head to a carefully crafted place to document specific ideas that your audience will want to read. It’s a yardstick for success – how much traffic are you getting? What are your stats? Your content needs to be compelling. Blah, blah, fuckety blah.
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 when you wiped. 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.
Your ‘content’ needs to be compelling because you’ve got something compelling to share, and that’s the bottom line. I really struggle to produce something that I don’t really give a shit about, and I think that more of us are feeling that way that perhaps we’re letting on.
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 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 early on is a great move.
I’ve spoken to lots of blogger friends about this and almost all of them have said that they’re sick of having the niche that they felt they had to have, but that it’s really hard to reverse down 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 stuff if I think it’s 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. More than likely it won’t sit well 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 fuck.
That’s not to say I won’t add new categories every now and then, or write about the stuff I get sent (here’s hoping), but in general I’ll write about topics I want to, fuck the niche mindset. I think its the only way to stop myself becoming bored as fuck 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 blogger. Has having a niche helped or hindered your work so far? Let me know what you reckon down below or over on Twitter