Last week, I wrote about leveraging a blog for your personal brand. In the article, I said that one of the most important aspects of creating a blog is deciding on a specific topic – or niche – to write about.
What’s your niche?
But how do you decide on a niche to focus on? This can be hard for some people who have expertise and education in multiple different fields or industries. To find your niche, follow these seven easy steps:
- Write down your expertise, education, experience, and interests. Much like searching for a job, you’ll need “qualifications” and “skills” to write your own blog. Why should people listen to you? Choose a topic that you have interesting viewpoints or advice on in order to get people reading. Above all else – you need to choose a topic that you have a passion for! Being phony is not something you should do when blogging. Your audience will be able to tell if you don’t truly believe in your topic.
- Check out other blogs in your subject area. What are these blogs focused on? How can you make yours different than theirs? What advice are they lacking? For example, if you wanted to write about social media, there’s a lot of competition out there in terms of blogs. Do you have specific expertise in a certain part of social media? Are you a Twitter guru, or great at designing Facebook pages? Segmenting your expertise is key depending on your subject area.
- Write down all of your ideas for content. If your niche is too narrow, it will be difficult to come up with new posts every day or every week. If it’s too broad, it will be difficult to target a specific audience of readers. See how many topics for posts you can come up with and determine whether to tweak your niche from there.
- Research your audience. Will enough people be interested in your niche to read your blog? And what types of advice and expertise are they looking for? Search for keywords on Google and Twitter to see what people are saying. Understanding your audience is an important part of creating a niche blog. You may even want to monitor your audience for a few weeks before deciding on a topic that will be successful.
- Get started. Sometimes, it’s hard to determine what needs fixing until you start. Once you’ve begun churning out content, your readers will start commenting and leaving their opinion. You can also poll them on what types of advice they need.
- Listen to your audience. Read all of the comments on your posts. Search Twitter for what people are saying about your blog and posts. Truly listen and incorporate their feedback into your blogging strategy and topics.
Blogging can be a great asset to your personal brand. However, it’s important to first identify a niche for your expertise so you don’t get lost in the noise of other more established and popular blogs.
If you have a blog, what steps did you take when identifying your niche? What worked and what didn’t?
Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, a career and workplace education and consulting firm specializing in young professionals. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist for Examiner.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com. Follow her on Twitter at @heatherhuhman.