Do I need to pick a specific topic to blog about?
Blogging experts often advise new bloggers to find a niche to build an audience and grow their blog.
I beg to disagree.
But I haven’t always felt this way. From my anonymous lifestyle blog in college to my book review blog that I ran from 2009 until early 2012, I’ve always found a niche; a community of bloggers who wrote on similar topics. I wrote content that fit into the neat little category I selected for myself and my blog.
It worked for the most part.
Other lifestyle bloggers regularly read and commented on my blog. Fellow book reviewers and authors frequented the pages of my book blog. There’s nothing wrong with niche blogging, but I knew it wasn’t for me. I still wasn’t happy with my blog.
You see…I felt cornered. I buried myself deep inside my niche and struggled to find my way out. The people who read my book review blog were interested in just that: book reviews. They weren’t interested in my running journey or my career in public relations. On the off chance that I did write about those topics, the posts weren’t as well-received as what my readers had come to expect from me.
When I sat down this past summer to rebrand my website and blog, I took a lot of what I’ve learned over the past five years of blogging into consideration. Perhaps I had just outgrown my niche and needed to find a new one.
I dabbled with the idea of a blog solely about my fitness journey (but the thought of taking pictures of all my meals and detailing every single one of my workouts bored me to death). I considered writing a blog about public relations and social media (but there’s already tons of those out there and I didn’t want to get lost in a sea of voices). I thought about blogging about my life as a young professional in the Philadelphia area (but figured that I won’t be a young professional forever and want this blog around for the long haul).
Ultimately, I decided….the hell with it.
I don’t want to have a niche blog.
I’m a multi-passionate person with many interests and I wanted my blog to reflect me as a person. I wanted to build a brand around my name and personality, not a specific interest or area of expertise.
So I set out to a build a blog where I can talk about whatever I want under the umbrella of forcing yourself out of your comfort zone to live a life that makes you truly happy. I’ve blogged about running a half marathon, getting over my fear of public speaking, my experience with awesome brands, writing and more. And you know what? It’s working.
Five months later, I’m extremely happy with my somewhat unconventional blogging approach.
One of my main worries when making a decision to blog about whatever I want was losing my audience and website traffic that I had spent years growing. I had built a name for myself as a book blogger and had a loyal following of fellow book lovers. Could I rebrand myself and continue growing my audience?
I compared traffic to my website from the past five months to my traffic at the height of my book blogging and my numbers are virtually the same.
Of course, in the beginning, it was frustrating. I saw my subscriber numbers drop and my traffic waned a little. I knew that people who followed me for my book reviews might not be interested in my new approach. But that’s okay!
With hard work, consistent posting and promotion, my blog’s traffic is right back where I want it and continues to grow each month:
- I’ve started an e-newsletter and just surpassed 100 subscribers (subscribe here if you’d like to join the list).
- My Twitter following has grown by nearly 500 people since switching my approach.
- I’ve been interviewed on a few different blogs including Venturesome and Your Super Awesome Life.
- My writing has been featured on major blogs including Brazen Careerist, Muck Rack and DIY Writing.
But most importantly, the people who have joined my new community are exactly the kind of people I want reading my content and want to engage with. I’ve opened the door to so many different kinds of opportunities and allow myself the freedom to explore any topic I desire. I’m no longer stuck in a corner, confined to one specific topic.
I know that I’ve set myself up for long-term success and growth when it comes to growing my blog and building my personal brand.
I’ve found my niche. And guess what? It isn’t a niche at all.
Do you blog within a specific niche or do you take a more general approach to growing your blog? Share in the comments below.