For new writers, or those new to the coursehd at least, blogging is not simply about spewing information on a page and hoping that someone will pick up on it. Sure, in the early days – when a blog was still referred to as a web log – that was pretty much blogging best practice. Things have moved on, and while it has made it harder in some ways to garner success and a stable readership, many developments in internet technology have meant that in other ways it’s much easier to find success.
The key difference is in the way niche blogging works. The sheer weight of people on the internet, and the desperate hunger for new content mean that it’s easier than ever to create a niche blog about your life. With around 7 billion people on Earth, and around 75% of those (in the developed world) connected to and using the Internet, you have an audience of billions, just waiting to find your niche.
You Are Your Niche
Many writers think something along the lines of, “I can’t start a blog. No-one wants to hear my opinion,” or “I don’t have anything interesting to say.” However, let me debunk this for you right now – of the billion English-speaking internet users currently active in the world, you will be able to find a sizable niche.
Of course, that does depend to a degree on the quality of your writing, your salesmanship and your natural reader rapport, but in general, there are other people like you in the world, and they are interested in connecting with you.
Remember, not everyone has the desire to share their life. So the very fact you’re blogging automatically gives you something in common with other, involved web users. Making your life your blogging niche starts with recognising where your potential audience can come from. Look at the things you do in your life as a man: shaving, your Internet habits, your taste in music or your working habits, and think about just how many people do the same thing as you. You should, by now, be getting an idea of the potential readership you can build.
Getting the Message Out
Writing a blog is easy, writing a good blog is harder, and getting people to read your blog is the hardest element of blogging. However, there are plenty of tools you can use to automate distribution, build awareness and get your blog out to the world. Start with the channels you use personally: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and any other social media platforms you are comfortable with, then work outwards. Forums, other blogs, Amazon, comments and other community-building tools will aid you in making people aware that you have a message to share.
As mentioned before, blogging is no longer about simply putting your ideas down. It’s not even necessarily about great writing. It’s about salesmanship. Bad sales is about selling ice to Eskimos – selling people things they don’t need. Good sales is about finding out what people want or need and supplying it – selling portable gas burners to Eskimos.
If we’re sticking with the metaphor – and why the heck not – the ice salesman has a limited time in the market. Sure, he may be able to get one or two to buy, but word gets around and sooner, rather than later, he has to move on or change products. The gas burner salesman has a market that will grow and grow. He can eventually marry a beautiful Eskimo girl and settle down as a valuable member of the community. The point here is that you need to, in age-old sales mnemonic language, remember your readership and results.
This means offering benefits to your readership. Rather than writing a self-indulgent rant about your working day with an “I hate my boss” post, take a more reader-oriented approach, such as “10 reasons why your boss is better than mine.” Reference the reader, ask questions and make them feel like they are valued. You’ll be in with the Eskimo girls in no time.
Once you’ve built a readership, the next key question is how exactly you’re going to be monetizing your work. Selling your own ads is one way to do it, but if you’re not sales-inclined, it can be a tricky one to go for. There are two basic types, namely banner and text links, and a combination of those can net you a decent amount as a niche blogger. Look for an ad network that can help you get your blog earning as quickly as possible if you don’t want to manage your own ads. Affiliate advertising can net you large amounts, and also provide you with a way of using all your media outlets, such as Pinterest and Facebook, not just your blog.
You should also consider other, more specialized, forms of monetization as well, such as becoming a brand ambassador or setting up an e-shop through your blog to sell products that you talk about in your posts. Focussing on this kind of monetization can be difficult, so think carefully about the size and attitude of your readership before you look to monetize this way, and remember that brands are going to be more interested in marketing spend on your site if you have the weight in numbers.
The Long Term
You simply wont be able to build a solid readership overnight. Unless you’re providing high-level exclusive content, your readership is one that will build slowly, and provide you with hiccups and obstacles along the way. That said, with a little effort and self belief, it’s very possible – and indeed profitable – to make your life your blogging niche.