The Importance (and Unimportance) of Being Niche’d

Post by Ashe Mischief

Recently a blogger friend and inspiration said to me, “You should really get more involved in the plus size/fatshion blogging community.”  It was food for thought- after all, I am a plus-sized woman, but I don’t consider myself a fatshion blogger.  So I wrote about it– Fatshion vs. Fashion blogger.  And one thing I found that almost every comment dealt with– is where, when, and whether to put yourself in a niche.

 

I’m of two minds when it comes to defining a niche for your blog– from the personal side, I think it’s kind of irrelevant.  Write about what you WANT to write about; if it happens to be that you want to focus on sale fashions because you love deal-hunting, that’s awesome. If you’re like me, maybe some days you want to share tips on how to get through life, share great deals, show off your new fabulous shoes, and that’s okay too.  Because the fact is, I’m sure we’ve got a lot of Renaissance men and women on the web, and talking about one thing all of the time gets dull.

 

From a professional side though, having some basic idea of what your blog is about can be helpful: writing your elevator pitch, working with sponsors, and with promoting your blog.  When you’re networking at an event like the IFB Evolving Influence Conference, it’s easier if you can say, “I’m a budget fashionista,” or “I feature outfits of the day.”

 

Many bloggers, myself included, panic at the thought of describing their site.  Or worse, they feel pigeonholed and stifled by their niche. If content is king, why strain yourself, your inspiration, and creativity by trying to keep within a certain topic?

 

Tips for Delicately Balancing Your Niche:

  • Use rough guidelines to define your niche– I’ve stripped the intricate details of my blog down, and simply say that my site is “style, fashion, and lifestyle in New Orleans.”
  • Let yourself determine what those niche words mean.  You can decide what being a “style blogger” means– for me, I consider style not just your outer appearance and wardrobe, but also use my love of media (literature, film, and art) and design (graphic, interior) as part of my own personal style.  This keeps me from feeling as stifled (but can be a means of expanding your blog’s content within its niche).
  • Use your niche to par down topics when you’re feeling overwhelmed by a world of inspiration. One of the reasons I’ve long since abandoned my Livejournal, was I felt overwhelmed by the amount of information I consumed each day– how could I share that without feeling like I had ADD?  By focusing your blog in to a particular niche, you can streamline the information you’re sharing.  Just be sure not to let that stifle your inspiration too.

 

A niche is a great tool for growing communities: it allows people with common interests to easily find one another, gives a new visitor a glance into your site quickly, and optimizes your blog for search engines and social sharing.  As your blog grows, the niche you originally start in may not be the niche you grow or change in to.  Allowing yourself flexibility as a writer encourages you to always strive for producing great content.

Image via weheartit.com

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29 Responses

  1. Retro Chick

    There’s some really good advice there! I struggle with this a lot, but defining the words yourself is a really good idea.

    I think I define myself now as fashion and lifestyle. Pretty broad right!?

    Reply
    • Ashe Mischief

      I identify myself as just as broad! If people would ask, I could further break down and say, “well, I focus on this, this and this within the niche.”

      Reply
  2. DWJ

    I started as an accessories (shoes, handbags, jewelry and makeup) writer but then started talking about my personal style and life. Then somehow my love of food popped up. I’ve now started a separate blog just about food (Crumbsandcreativity.tumblr.com) but still blog on about my love of fashion. It’s hard to find a balance but you have to find your own voice and talk about what you genuinely love.

    Reply
    • Ashe Mischief

      “It’s hard to find a balance but you have to find your own voice and talk about what you genuinely love.”

      Yes! This is really what is most important– your readers, no matter what your niche, will be faithful to a passionate voice above all.

      Reply
  3. Mikelle S

    I find this problem alot. I have sufficed with saying that I blog art/pop culture with a heavy emphasis on fashion. I think this gives me room to move around while at the same time acknowledging that lot of my content is fashion based.

    Reply
  4. Fajr | Stylish Thought

    “As your blog grows, the niche you originally start in may not be the niche you grow or change in to.”

    This statement is so true and as bloggers we have to understand that growing and changing our blogs is not a bad thing. As we grow our interests expand and we shouldn’t feel that we have to pigeonhole ourselves. Very thought-provoking!

    Reply
  5. fuyume

    This is something ive been thinking about alot recently. i love japanese fashion and im currently wrestling with the idea of devoting my blog to japanese fashion. but will that be too limiting. i dunno. thoughts?

    Reply
    • Ashe Mischief

      I think there’s room for a blog dedicated to japanese fashion– but maybe you can expand it to any inspiring alternative fashion? One blogger who focuses on that niche well is the Fashionate Traveller– you should check out her site!

      Reply
    • Hana

      I don`t think it would be limiting at all. There is definitely a good amount of blogs dedicated to Japanese fashion. Not to mention, Japanese fashion has an amazing amount of subcultures/alternative fashion (way more than what I have experienced in other countries) that I can`t see it get boring at all.

      But then, I blog about Japanese fashion so perhaps I am biased 🙂

      It depends on what you want for your blog. There are Japanese fashion bloggers who make a living out of blogging, if that is what you are aiming for but there are many who do it just for fun. I say go for it, blog about what you are passionate about!

      Reply
  6. Christy L.

    Great advice! I find that the niche that I’ve put myself in, southern style, helps me streamline content otherwise my site would feel erratic. However that generally doesn’t stop me from writing about things outside of my self imposed boundaries.

    Reply
  7. Chic 'n Cheap Living

    Thanks for this article. I’ve certainly tried to follow the guidelines, particularly in defining style in my own way and not even bothering with content that is way too outside my niche (though it’s tempting if it’s fun!)

    Reply
  8. Alterations Needed

    Oh boy, I’m in such a niche, it’s ridiculous. I started my blog to solve a problem I myself was facing…finding clothes that fit when very very short (4’11”!). I call myself a petite fashion blogger, but the readers who follow me are generally around my height and body type, which isn’t very inclusive of all “petite fashion”. I have wonderful, loyal readers, which is great, but trying to find more of them, with my narrowly focused niche is difficult. Trying to branch out without becoming irrelevant to my readers will be a challenge.

    Reply
    • Ashe Mischief

      Maybe you could try and create content that would appeal to just other petite bloggers? Maybe posts on plus-sized petite stylings, or ones with suggestions for other body shapes (the “I love this piece, and it wouldn’t work on my body, but could look on this shape?”).

      I say try writing the occasional post, or different kinds of posts, and then seeing how your readers respond!

      Reply
  9. Michelle Christina

    Great post – I also think it’s important to allow yourself to develop and grow out of one niche/into some other as your blog progresses and changes (and obviously as you as the editor/writer change too). While it may seem unstable, even those frequently overhauling and still trying to find themselves blog-wise are giving themselves the best shot at finding their ideal target audience and creating content they really feel for.

    Reply
  10. The Fashion Buzz

    That’s a really useful blog you have just wrote- to always write about what you want, whether anyone else has done the same, it still wont be the same as your own words and feelings and people will still want to read it! Well done!

    Reply
  11. BILOTEcouture

    I really enjoy writing and although I think it’s important to find a niche, I think it’s also important to write about things that one enjoys, so I absolutely agree!

    Reply
  12. Cameron

    I, too, have a niche, which boils down to writing a blog that is semi-bilingual (français et anglais / English and French) and is about music, fashion and beauty, in that order… for now, anyway.

    When I started, though, I had wanted to also focus on the auto industry and sexuality, as well, as those also play a part in fashion. As I kept writing, however, those two just never really popped up.

    In the end, I guess I would say that I’m a music-focused fashion blogger. Thank you for writing this post.

    Reply
  13. Christina of Profresh Style

    Once again Ashe, you really hit it on the head. Defining ourselves with one niche can be a bore of a read and quite one dimenionsal. Thanks for writing this!

    It seems as of lately, us bloggers are coming together to support one another and more and more of these type of articles are popping up. It goes to show what a smart community we have and are in involved in!

    xx,
    Christina

    Reply
  14. lisa

    Fantastic and thought-provoking post, Ashe. I think one of the problems with creating a niche for your own blog is that we as individuals grow and change over time. Our interests are varied and it’s only natural to evolve. But if a blogger feels that her blog is only about one topic and readers may not follow her to the next stage, she can feel stuck. It’s important to not feel guilty about it. A blog is much more enjoyable when it’s a genuine extension of the person and a joyful outlet than when it’s an albatross around the blogger’s neck.

    Reply
  15. Angie

    I was getting discouraged because all I was hearing for a while was “you need a niche to be a successful blogger!” and my blog has never had a clear-cut topic. For many bloggers, its just not that simple. Thanks for this.

    Reply
  16. fuyume

    thanks for the advice guys. in the end i decided to put my blog into the niche of japanese fashion/beauty/designers as that is my passion

    @hana i read your blog regularly and follow u on twitter :)jus took me a while to realise it was the same hana lol xx

    Reply
  17. JESSU

    I like this post! I think you have a great point! When I started my blog I had such issues over what I want to post/focus on. Even though in real life I am a budget fashionista, and I follow such blogs, for some reason I don’t want to blog about it. I just want to discuss cosmetics and outfits so that I can build my own style.

    I like your definition of style. I think I will feel better about sharing other topics from now on.

    Reply
  18. adam

    This was a very interesting post, I want my blog to stand out from the crowd and one of the main reasons I created my blog was for the benefit of people in a similar situation as myself. By doing this it kind of puts me in a niche, I think to stand out in the crowd that is ‘fashion blogs’, you have to offer something different.

    Reply
  19. Kate

    When I first started my blog I was all over the place. Basically whatever I was interested in that day, I would post about it. Which can be good, but it can also be overwhelming. I find it easier for me to stick to a niche with Sweet Fuzz, it almost allows me to focus better on what I need to get done to take my blog to the next level.

    Reply
  20. Angeline

    Really well-said! I thought about my “niche” long and hard for nearly a year before I started blogging, but I still find myself struggling from time to time when asked to describe it, and I usually hesitate to call it a “fashion blog” or myself a “fashion blogger” since about a quarter of my posts are not fashion related at all. My running theme is work and office–I just choose to express it through my personal fashion most of the time.

    Reply