Today I feel a bit like Casey Kasem--I'm blogging by request. : ) Shain Brown asked if I would mind blogging about how I found my niche as a blogger, which is a great topic idea. So Shain, (*said in my best Casey Kasem voice) here is your request and dedication...
There is a lot of information out there about building your social media presence and your author brand. You can hear from experts from every walk of life. And oftentimes, you hear conflicting points of view, which can leave you frustrated and unsure of what direction to go in.
I most often refer you guys to Kristen Lamb because I think she really focuses on what works best for writers. However, as I've noted before, I've broken many of her suggestions. My biggest one being that I created a blog for writers vs. something more broad that could attract both writers and readers.
I totally see her point about why blogging about writing exclusively kind of paints you into a corner. It's put me in the position to where I now have two blogs because I don't want to do a bait and switch with you guys and move away from the reason you signed up to follow this blog in the first place.
But here's the deal: This blog wouldn't have the following that it does if I hadn't made this a niche blog.
If you are trying to build a presence online, you are going to get a lot more traction by keeping a specific focus then you will being all over the place. People like to know what they're getting when they come to a blog. Consistency = following and Consistency + Great author voice = Magic
So hopefully you guys enjoy my voice and style and that's part of the reason you read my posts, but ultimately you probably come here to get writing and publishing info. If that weren't the case, then all of you would've hopped over to follow my author blog as well. But you haven't because you may not be interested in things like Boyfriend of the Week or Sappy Sunday. : ) And that's fine.
But before you get all freaked out if you don't have a niche or clear focus, also give some thought to what you want from your blog and what you want your blog to be.
Four Types of Bloggers
1. Community Blogger
Purpose: If you are blogging mainly to connect with other writers who are on the same journey as you so that you can all provide mutual support and cheerleading for each other, then you may be a community blogger. You are blogging as part of a specific community. You each comment on each other's blogs.
Action Plan: You don't need to have such a tight focus or niche. You're hanging out with friends and any topic is fair game.
Benefits: You can build a very loyal, very supportive group that you feel totally connected with.
Drawbacks: You may have trouble building a massive following. Posts about your word count or how far you are in your goals probably are not going to get lots of retweets or traction.
2. Information/Niche Blogger
Purpose: You are providing information or service for your reader. Maybe that's writing tips like this blog or maybe it's giving book reviews or keeping people up to date on the latest movie releases.
Action Plan: This is where a niche is helpful. What types of information, advice, or tips are you going to give? Make sure you blog in a way that gives people a takeaway when they read your post. You give them some nugget they can deposit in their mental bank after they close your post.
Benefits: If you are giving good information, you can build a significant following because people know they are going to get something worthwhile most of the time when they visit you.
Drawbacks: It can restrict you in your topics and you may only be appealing to a specific group. If you go too far afield from your main niche, you will lose follower engagement.
3. Entertainment Blogger
Purpose: Most often, this blogger's purpose is to make you laugh--that's your takeaway.
Benefits: People love to laugh, so you can get a lot of followers and interest in your posts. You're not limited to a tight niche on topic because humor and your voice are the binding element.
Drawbacks: Being funny all the time can be hard. And if you don't have a natural talent for it, it can come across as forced.
4. Established Author Blogger
Purpose: These bloggers already have their books out there and followers typically come to them BECAUSE of their books.
Action Plan: This is when niche can go out the window. YOU are now the niche. You can write about the tomatoes in your garden and fans will be interested in seeing a peek into your life. However, the authors who stand out in this group are the ones who aren't just writing about their tomatoes. They are the ones who can attract non-fans to their sites based on their blog and THEN get them to buy their book. Think John Green, Seth Godin, etc. This last group is what we all should strive to be once we're published.
Benefit: When done right, you can engage with your current fans and make new ones who may have never thought of buying your book.
Drawback: Easy to get complacent and just phone in your blog.
So there is no wrong or right type of blog to go with. You just have to know what your goal is and what you want your followers to get from your blog. And obviously, if you do any of these types and have a boring voice or don't engage in conversation with your readers, then you won't get traction regardless. Connecting with others is the first goal no matter how you go about doing it.
I could write a ton more about this, but I'm going to stop before I ramble on too long. : )
So what type of blogger are you? Which type do you hope to be? Which kind do you prefer to read? And do you think having a niche is important?