Victoria Jackson, creator of award winning interiors blog, Apartment Number 4, knows all about making your blog content work for you. Finding your niche is a key part of building a successful blog within any industry and here Victoria reveals to the IBA Blog her top five tips for discovering your own blogging niche…
When I first began blogging in 2008, the internet was nowhere near as saturated as it is now. The word “blogging” was an alien term to many, and because of this I felt like I could write whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. It wasn’t until I realised I could actually make a living from my words, that I decided to take blogging a little more seriously.
Whilst writing about anything and everything is absolutely fine – I used to write about celebrity fashion to baking to bath bombs – but if you really want to grow your readership and stand out to brands as someone with a direct focus and engaged following, then honing in on a specific niche will help you immensely.
So with that said, today I wanted to reveal my top five tips to help you identify your blogging niche, which in turn will take your blog up a notch and strengthen your brand.
What is your passion?
The first thing you need to do is to work out your passion. What are you interested in and what really gets the fire in your belly going? I used to write about fashion, but as the years went on and more and more bloggers started to launch fashion blogs, I realised my heart wasn’t in that industry anymore. I found it a chore to write about clothes and blogging should never, ever be a chore. Sit down and brainstorm all the things you really love, and don’t miss anything off that list because you think “people won’t be interested” – trust me, if you’re a fan, then there will be a whole community out there with the same passion, just waiting for a blog like yours to come along. It can be anything, from food, to Dr Who, to city breaks.
Match your skills
So you have a list of your passions and interests. Now consider your “skills” and see how they can relate. By skills I mean, are you great at photography? Or perhaps you have great skills in teaching. Perhaps you’re a mean baker. If you have great photography skills and your passion is trying new food, then why not combine those and launch a blog focusing on new independent eateries that have opened in your city, photographing the food and interior with your own distinct style? If your skill is teaching, then use that in your blog in some way, perhaps with tutorials or how-tos that help people. It’s about taking both skills and passion and matching them to create your niche.
Stand out from the crowd
When every man and his dog has a blog, it can become hard to stand out to readers and brands alike. One of the main reason a blog usually captures my heart is because they’re doing something no one else is. There are so many copycat blogs out there, all reviewing the same products and writing about the same trends, that discovering a blog that’s creative in the way it photographs things, or writes about a topic is so refreshing in this oversaturated market. When I made the move from fashion to interiors in 2014, I took some time to work out what I wanted to achieve for my readers. I wanted to create inspirational interiors that were affordable and achievable. There’s nothing worse than finding a blogger that you love, only to realise everything they post is completely out of reach for your modest disposable income. So subsequently my niche became creating a beautiful home on a budget – think supermarket homeware and luxury living for less. That way readers know that when they come to Apartment Number 4, they will hopefully leave, not only feeling inspired, but also knowing they can recreate the look in their own home.
Brainstorm blog content
If you’re really passionate about your niche and you have a keen interest in whatever it is you’re writing about, then coming up with 20+ blog post ideas should be fairly easy. Coming up with 100 ideas might be a little difficult at first but if you keep a list somewhere, on your phone for example, then you can add to it daily and creating content becomes so much easier. You know you’re focusing on the wrong niche when you find yourself struggling for ideas. Blog post ideas come to me at the strangest of times, from the shower to the middle of the night but I always make sure I write them down and see how I can work them into my editorial calendar for the month.
Get in front of the right audience
I’m hoping that if you’re writing about something you’re truly passionate about, you’ll already know of some form of community out there with similar interests. Social media is great for finding these readers, especially by searching for Facebook groups and hashtags on Instagram. There’s also so many great Twitter chats to consider so try following some of your favourite people and see if they lead you to anywhere where you can share your shiny new blog. The interiors community is amazing for sharing and discovering new talent, so don’t be afraid to join conversations, discover hashtags to become part of and just generally spread the word about what you’re writing. You might think your audience will be smaller than before, but I can guarantee you’ll have a more engaged following, hopefully become an authoritative figure within your specific topic and brands in your field will start to reach out to work with you because of your direct focus.