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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

You Have a Niche! You Just Don’t Know It Yet

This guest post is by Heather Eigler of HomeToHeather.com

Yes, you do have a niche. You’ve likely read it a thousand times on blogs about blogging. Two of the number one pieces of advice are ‘choose your niche wisely’ and ‘write what you know.’

So what if you aren’t wise and don’t know anything? What could you write about that qualifies as a niche? And what does having a niche do for you anyway?

Your niche gives you focus. It gives you identity and purpose. A blog with no niche is like a magazine with no cover model. The model on the cover of a magazine tells readers instinctively what they are likely to find on the interior pages. A fashion model indicates articles about celebrities and shopping can be found inside. An athlete tells us we can likely learn how to improve our golf swing.

The same goes for blogs. A niche is our version of a cover model. We include it in our headers, our buttons, our posts and our SEO. Readers who land on our page will instinctively know what the blog is about—if we’ve done our jobs well.

There are blogs about food and blogs about cameras. Blogs about travel and blogs about sports. But what if you just write about your everyday life? What if there is no core subject matter and your blog is a grab bag of this and that.

What can you do then?

Yes, you do! It’s your location. Everyone lives somewhere. And there are other people who live where you do who might be searching for information on local events or restaurant reviews. And there are many people who don’t live where you do who might be interested in visiting someday … but how would they know if they can’t come across anything on the web that tells them what a great place it is?

When I rebranded my site, HomeToHeather.com, to be more of a personal blog, I knew that I was going to have issue expanding my readership because of my content—it’s a mom blog. Only so many people are going to want to read about my kids
and they certainly aren’t going to surf in from search engines to do so. Yes, I write about other things, too—like blogging and products.

I’ve had a small bit of success with traffic from StumbleUpon but not enough to keep the site growing. Since I live in a fairly large, dynamic city I decided that incorporating a local slant could be my niche. So I started incorporating a few posts here and there about Calgary. I added my city to my title tags and banner. Then I sat back and watched my stats to see if anyone arrived via search.

And they did.

What topics can you take local on your blog? How about:

eventsrestaurantsparkswildlifesportslocal celebritieslocal schools, clubs, and associationstourist info.

What’s going on right now that people are talking about? Read through your paper and write a post on the opposite view on a major topic. What are people talking about at work? Write about it.

I get a smattering of Google traffic every day for phrases such as Calgary Daycare, Calgary Blog or Calgary mom blog. I’ve attended a few events as a “local blogger” and have had one or two advertising inquiries from local
businesses. The new local focus is working and I’m excited about what’s next for me.

While HomeToHeather is still a small blog—very small, I am slowly working my way towards establishing a local readership, with local content. It’s a great way to round out the rest of my more random posts about blogging, motherhood and creativity. So try it yourself and take advantage of your built in niche—you never know where it will take you.

Have you done any local posts on your blog? Could this technique work for you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Heather lives, parents and blogs in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Grab her rss feed for more posts on local blogging.


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