There's an old adage in blogging: content is king. And it used to be that a surefire way to bring focus to your content and build your blog brand was to figure out your niche, then stick to it.
Wait—did we say used to? <record scratch>
Yes, yes we did!
Here's the thing. While it's still important for your blog content to remain consistent in its voice, tone, and publishing schedule, these days we think it's less important to define and stick to an ultra specific niche. How come? Well, in an age where information spreads faster than ever and readers are craving connection and authenticity, expanding your niche may be just the thing that can keep readers engaged, and keep you from getting bored.
Think about it this way: like humans, the Internet is not static. In that vein, when it comes to writing a blog, it's unrealistic to “stay in your lane” for years or even decades on end. After all, it's inevitable that your own interests, causes, and general approach to life
might will change over time. The challenge (and key!) to continuing to build on your blog and brand is to figure out how to integrate new content items and points of view into the person(ality) your readers already trust.
This isn't to say that if you've built an entire blog around your love of polka dots that you very suddenly change gears and talk exclusively about underwater basket weaving. That's not widening your niche; that's just going from one to the next. But if it's been 5 years of polka dots, maybe you can talk about stripes. Sustainable stripes! Stripes in myriad colors! Stripes for everyone!
Okay, is this getting too obscure? Let's look at a real life example that's taking the blog world by storm.
Recently, you might've seen bloggers thinking and talking about sustainability. Whether it's in beauty, in the food we eat, the products we're buying, or in the clothing supply chain, sustainability, environmental consciousness, and morality have been a hot topic of conversation on blogs and on social media. Just as it plays out online, so too are people learning and educating themselves about these issues, in real time. If you're a style blogger who has long championed budget, affordable fashion as your niche, it could feel threatening to suddenly take on the cause of sustainability. But instead of worrying about “staying in your lane,” why not just widen it? How can you still champion affordable fashion, but with a new angle of sustainability too? Does sustainability actually compliment the niche of spending less and saving more? If you begin to talk about sustainability, does it lead you to talk about beauty choices, or even mindfulness in your everyday living?
We'd wager that widening the focus of your blog might actually give you more to talk about, over a longer period of time, and present a range of topics that a broader audience finds interesting.
This doesn't mean if you've been an ultra-niche blogger you suddenly blow the door open to your content verticals and announce yourself as a general lifestyle blogger, who talks about every topic under the sun. Expanding on a niche (or even moving between them) should feel like a natural progression from what you're already doing. And if you're just starting out with your blog, or are still figuring out your audience, it can make sense to stick to one thing while you get your bearings.
Our point here is that you don't need to live and die by the original niche you started with. Don't paint yourself into a corner—we don't operate that way in real life, so you don't have to operate like that in your blog life either. In fact, your readers will probably enjoy it more if the multi-faceted version of real life you is similar to the online version of you. And take it from two gals who have been blogging and creating content for well over 10 years—giving yourself the permission to expand and grow and share it with readers is ultimately what will keep you excited and inspired to blog.
What do you think? Have you ever felt like your declared blogging niche held you back? How did you adjust and find a new content path forward?