Are you still looking for great books to read this summer? Stop by the blog every Friday for our special summer reading series, Writers Read. Last Friday, Maggie Lux Cumings wrote about fantasy novels. This coming Friday Jacqui Corcoran will blog about mystery novels. And, nearly every Friday, we will have a contest with an exciting opportunity for you to win a book!
Speaking of winners, last Thursday Nina Amir wrote a wonderful blog post on, How to Blog a Book Fast. Karen Davis won a copy of Nina Amir’s awesome new book, How To Blog a Book!
Today’s tip continues our social media summer series by giving you a list of questions to help you develop an amazing niche for your blog. Hopefully, you’ll get a twofer—a great blog that will lead to a big old book deal!
Need more? Check out my article on Twitter and Facebook feeds to watch in the July issue of The Writer.
Happy writing, Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
by Rochelle Melander
If you want a blog that succeeds, you need to find a niche and fill it brilliantly. Great blogs have niches. One look at a blog and readers know who the blog is written for (and who would hate it). Great blogs do not cater to the masses. Instead, these blogs root themselves in a clear place and then do what they do exceedingly well. They do not care who they piss off.
Here are five questions to help you determine whether your niche rocks or not:
Can you state your blog’s niche in one sentence or short phrase? Think about the most popular and interesting blogs online—their niche is easily articulated:
Smitten Kitchen: Delicious home cooking from a small kitchen in NYC
Bag Snob: Great handbags for fashionistas.
Terrible Minds: Frank, brash writing advice.
Can you explain why you are the perfect person to blog on this topic? Most writers are smart and well-rounded enough to blog on lots of stuff. But tell me this: why are you specifically qualified to blog on your topic? Readers today want authenticity. Who you are on the blog and what you are writing about has got to gel with who you really are—or your blog will fail.
Can you describe your ideal reader? When someone asks you about your ideal blog readers, you need to be able to define and describe them. Who are they? What is their gender? What do they value? Where do they shop? What do they buy? Why would they seek out your blog? (Don’t forget: if your blog is going to succeed, NOT everyone will like it!)
Can you articulate how you meet the needs of your ideal reader? In more traditional marketing language, what will be your unique selling proposition? Let’s go back to one of the blogs mentioned above. Smitten Kitchen teaches readers how to make great food without pretending that the reader should know this stuff already. In addition, Smitten Kitchen provides step-by-step instructions and a ton of beautiful photos.
Can you list (at least) 25 potential blog topics? You will need to have enough unique material to sustain a reader’s interest over a long period of time. Otherwise, what you thought was a great blog idea might be better suited to an article.
Whew! If you can provide detailed answers to each of my five questions, you are well on your way to finding a blogging niche that works!