Do you need a niche to be a successful blogger?
The short answer is no, you most certainly do not. But it’s a complicated question so let’s dig in deeper, shall we?
Before we get to digging though, can I just put a disclaimer here saying I happen to love the idea of a niche as long as it does not limit you. I also love niche blogs – the bloggers focus on a specific subject of interest and become a voice of authority in that and so as a reader, I feel safe learning from them while indulging in their expertise and attention. And to top it all off, I am enjoying emotional and monetary rewards of an accidental niche myself – thank you Scribe (my affiliate link) for the SEO – so all in all, niches can be very good, but there is a bigger question I want you to explore first before you go running to find your perfect niche. So keep reading.
I remember how I detested the idea of finding a niche for my blog when I first started out. It felt too much like declaring a major in college, (and that turned out really well since I ended up letting others declare for me), it felt like I was limiting myself. I mean, blogging was to be my way of letting my soul breathe after going through electrical engineering schools, except we would call them Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science instead. Blogging was to become my escape from my awful reality in the corporate world, except we would call them corporate initiatives instead.
Today, blogging is my favorite way of expressing my thoughts and opinions and I have plenty of those in more than one subject area and fully intend on expressing them. Blogging is my path to discovering myself and I certainly don’t enjoy the idea of being put in a little tiny box that has a specific color, size and name. Blogging is my way of exploring my passions, and I don’t know about you but I have more than one, and not exactly willing to compromise on any of them. And blogging is my way of giving, sharing and offering my gifts to the world, and I certainly did not want to do that through a very narrow lens.
Perhaps it pays to define it first. A niche is a specific focus area in a subject matter where you build your online business or content house. For instance, financial advice for debt management is a very specific subject and talking about “IVA advice from DFD” – which is obviously financial lingo – is a very specific narrow keyword phrase that can belong to your niche, so you would write content around it to then attract a supremely focused group of search engine traffic your way.
On the other hand, how to be happy or how to travel are not exactly specific enough topics. You need to go deeper, you need to add specificity, you need to identify what aspect of happiness and travel you want to cover in your blog. An example of a niche here would be how to find happiness in your 40s as a single man – there’s so much focus around women these day, hence my partiality to my male audience – or how to travel without checking in luggage. Now you are talking a possible focus area!
So I started Prolific Living without a niche but not without a focus. There is a difference between writing on several subject matters on your blog and being scattered all over the place. There is a difference between covering multiple passions and being unpredictable and unstable as a blogger.
Great, right? So what if I started my blog without a niche? Well, it would not make a good story unless I had some great success to share to prove, at very least to myself, that no, you are not required to have a niche in order to have a successful blog!
Since 2009, Prolific Living has grown fast with a strong loyal readership, and received a ton of attention and recognition. It managed to survive just fine but honestly, who cares about recognition? You wanna know if it makes money! The answer yes. It has for well over a year. It makes very good money but it is a platform for my business and my brand, more so than just a money-making machine.
So take heart, be encouraged that yes, you can be a very successful, even a professional and full-time, blogger without having a niche but with creating a unique brand that offers something of value to your readers. Focus on your branding first!
I attribute the success of Prolific Living almost entirely to the uniqueness of its brand. More important than anything is your brand and what you stand for. Because what you stand for is the way that you connect with your readers and followers. There may be hundreds of others talking about world travel, early rising, and a vegan diet, but why and how I have talked about those topics – as well as the fact that I have talked about all of them from the perspective of the same person – has made it unique and therefore, worthy of attention.
In other words, the subject matter you choose will carry less significance than your uniqueness, your brand identity, your true why for doing something and your style of expressing yourself through your writing voice and communication style. Those are the key areas to focus on, those are the main success factors in your blogging journey.
I also believe that because I didn’t exhaust myself in a narrow area, I now have a lot more motivation and energy to express myself through several pillars – holistic health, career and entrepreneurship, motivation and confidence-building – and each of them has the potential to grow much more than a single niche would have done. At least, that is my best guess; I suppose I will never know for a fact.
And that’s the thing – you too will never know with absolute certainty. You have to just decide your blogging strategy and go. You can only read so much, research so much, and be pulled in a million directions so many times. One day, you have to stand up and say, ENOUGH ALREADY! This is what I am going to blog about because of these reasons and this is how I am going to do it. Then wait to see how that makes you feel. Wait for a surge of emotion to come and validate your decision. Wait for it to FEEL right – yes, imagine an electrical engineer urging you to FIRST feel right before proceeding. Listen to your feelings!
You have to concern yourself LESS with the best chances of a blog succeeding if you focus on this versus that, and figure out WHY you are blogging and WHAT in this world you want to tell your readers and HOW you set yourself apart.
That message that is burning in your heart and bursting to come out, well, that may never fit in a niche, then what? It is a message that is unique to you, that is entirely yours, and thus by deduction, unlike any other out there, and you need to listen to it and write on your blog from that place and you are the ONLY you that can deliver that message, that belief, that conviction through YOUR writing voice and communication style.
Now the real question is whether you are willing to go for it?