Being a newbie blogger, I’ve been struggling with the common issue of what to blog about. To be honest I never had any intention of starting a blog. If blogging had been invented when I was young and had all the answers to the world’s problems, I would likely have jumped right in. But now that I’m older I’m a little humbler. Also busier. And less energetic.
So why did I start? Well, I want to be a writer. People in the know, like Seth Godin, Joanna Penn, Lindsay Buroker, Writer’s Digest and many others say I have to have a platform, a brand. And they say I have to start long before my first book is launched if I want the book to be a success. Godin says three years. Someone else said at least a year. So I decided I should start right away, while I’m still outlining my first novel.
There are many blog posts, books and courses about how to get more traffic to my blog. A lot of them have to do with search engine optimization, writing catchy headlines, or ways to get links to your blog. But in the end it comes down to content — without good content anyone who does find my blog isn’t going to stick around. Makes sense.
There are of course some dissenting opinions, like Joe Konrath, who says publicity hasn’t done him any good, and the only thing that helps sell books is writing more books. But these seem to be the exception.
Here’s the problem: a common theme is that I have to pick a niche, find a need that’s not filled and fill it, create a Unique Selling Proposition. To do this I have to know my audience, and know what they need. Well, right now I don’t have an audience! I don’t even have friends and family reading, because I want to keep my writing separate from my personal life (so I’m free to write about them if I want 8^). I’m not trying to sell anything right now. And I’m not planning to proposition anyone. So what should my focus be for this blog?
As I said on my About page, my main focus is my journey as a writer. But that’s not specific enough. What need am I filling? What value am I providing? Since I’m new to writing I don’t have any deep insights to provide. What possible niche could I find that’s not covered by the 16,559 Book blogs listed by Technorati? And I’m not sure I want to have such a narrow focus anyway.
Thankfully, I came across just the answer I was looking for. Mike Duran basically says that if finding a niche is a problem for you, forget about it. One line I particularly liked is: “my life isn’t about one thing, so why should my blogging be?”. I also liked the comment from Rachelle Gardner that “…many writers can find their audience simply by being who they are just like you have.” Now that works for me!
So forget about niche. I’ll write about my writing and about anything else that interests me that I think might interest others. If that clicks with some people, great! Hopefully they’ll become a fan (when I have something for them to be a fan of). If not, that’s okay.
Of course I’ll do what I can to get noticed without feeling sleazy. Like participating in the community of writers and readers. What I’m not going to do is make it read like an infomercial, because that’s not me.
What do you think? Let me know in a comment.