Many of the posts here that talk about starting your blog or site mention the following advice…
Find your niche.
Now this always seems to be pretty high up the list, but for me there’s something a bit more important, The Passion of the Writer. With that passion does it really matter if you are in an already crowded market?
For two and a half years I wrote for quite a big film blog, and for reasons better left unwritten I left and began my own site. I entered a marketplace where the most interesting niche areas are covered and the ones that aren’t are either uninteresting, don’t command an audience, or just don’t arouse my passion.
The film blogging community is crowded, there are many smaller film blogging sites and even those that command a larger audience are still standing shoulder to shoulder with others. Pretty quickly I found I was fighting for an audience alongside many other sites, so what was left?
Well the next piece of advice I see a lot is…
Write an exclusive.
There lies another problem. When you’re a small site in the film blogging community none of the Film Studios or Marketing companies care about you since you don’t have a large enough audience for them.
So that takes care of that one, so what is left? Well for me there are
- Write well and passionately
- Create discussions
- Build an informed opinion
The first is obvious, whatever you’re writing about write about it well and put your passion into every article.
Secondly, make sure that you’re not just lecturing to your audience or reading the news to them, engage them in the discussion, ask their advice, get them to do something and respond back about it. This doesn’t always work, but when it does it’s very gratifying. Oh, and remember to keep the discussions going, don’t just fire and forget your articles.
Next up is to build an informed opinion. This is pretty easy, if you have a passion for your topic then you already have your informed opinion. If you don’t and you’re writing constantly about your chosen topic, then you soon will. Except having the opinion doesn’t count for anything unless you voice it. Don’t just voice it post to post either, make sure that it spreads across your site and follows through articles on the same subjects, it makes for much richer and deeper reading.
Lastly, market. Get the latest tools on your site, but only those that truly help you and your readers connect. Get your stories out on social bookmarking sites, but try and enable your readers to do it rather than you, posting your own stories can cause quite a lot of negativity on these sites.
Doing these things creates quality and a site that your readers can interact with rather than just read. Of course there are a lot more points to it than just these, and a lot more work, but I’m not giving away all the secrets!
So you see, entering an already crowded blogging community is not necessarily a bad thing or something that should be avoided. If you have a passion and a strong voice, and a lot of time in which to build your site slowly, then you can, a niche isn’t necessary.
Beware though, it’s a long process, and a lot of hard work. Sometimes I really wish I had a niche!