Reach Beyond Your Niche: Should you Expand Your Content?

fashion blog
When Christine White started her blog, Court + Hudson, she intended for the focus to cover a few different lifestyle topics. Fashion was amongst them, and with that came outfit posts. With only spare amounts of time to work on her blog when she wasn't working professionally, her content became more and more populated with outfits because the posts were easy and accessible. Her personal style became the driving force behind the growth of her blog.
We talk a lot at IFB about how important it is as a blogger to have a niche or specialty that drives and defines your content. The general consensus seems to be that in order to stand out from the pack, your blog has to have that special something. The market is so congested with blogs that if you don't figure out what sets you apart (and fast) you're going to get lost in the crowd.
There's a flip side to this theory, though. Over the past year or so, we've noticed a spike in the amount of very well done, well-written blogs that cover a range of lifestyle topics from food to fashion, travel and decor – and they're tremendously popular. (Look at blogs like A Piece of Toast, Apartment 34, Mimi + Meg, Oh Joy, Gala Darling and …Love Maegan.) These blogs, some older and some newer, prove that you can still have a specific identity and talk about the many aspects of a fashionable life, not just clothes.
I think most of my readers are pretty multi-faceted women,” says Victoria McGinley of her blog, Vmac + Cheese.  “There's so much more to them than just great style! As far as balancing the topics go, keeping an editorial calendar and referencing what the content has recently focused on keeps me semi-organized and helps me mix things up.”
When Victoria started her blog, she had the opposite approach of Christine. She began with the intention to only blog about food. “Over time, I felt like I posted less because I had boxed myself in and only allowed myself to talk about this one topic. Once I gave myself “permission” to talk about whatever I wanted, I had so many more ideas and was able to push myself creatively in new directions.
After recently deciding she didn't want to cover just personal style, Christine redesigned her site and started transitioning her content back to it's roots, by diversifying her posts with more food, DIY projects, entertaining and “guides on how to live a creative life,” she says. Good for her? Yes. Good for her traffic? Not necessarily.
“[The change] has definitely affected my audience,” Christine says. “My traffic is much lower now than when I was posting daily style photos. But that is to be expected. The audience I grew came to my site because their interest was personal style. So, I consider this period to be my growing pains, and I'm okay with that. I'd rather lose followers to create the content I want to produce. If that means I have to take a step back to do so, then so be it.”
This is where the “personal” part of running a personal blog comes in. It can be a real struggle to balance what you want to post about, and what content you know might make your blog more successful. Can you have both? Certainly. Both Christine and Victoria agree that no matter how broad or narrow your content spectrum may be, high quality with directional consistency is key. “Your interests change as your life changes, and as long as there is that underlying thread within your content as it evolves and expands then people will still care about what you have to say,” says Christine.
She concludes, “Listen, if you have great style, people will find you amongst the millions of style bloggers that are out there. If all you want to talk about is personal style, then do it. People are attracted to authenticity and if you have a discerning eye for your craft then that will shine through. I think Blair from Atlantic-Pacific and more recently, Lauren + Mico from The Marcy Stop are great examples of how quickly a personal style blog can grow by having a great eye.”
From Victoria's perspective, even if our (rather short) history  implies that a finely tuned niche is the best way to single yourself out and achieve a certain level of popularity and build a business around your blog, it's not how she wants to approach it. “These days, if I'm honest, I do think it's easier to find success in the blogging world if you're singularly focused…however, I don't think that would ever be an option for me. I have so many different interests, that even if I tried going back to talking about one specific topic, it'd be boring to me.”
As far as we have come as a community from our infancy in the mid-2000s, we are still for the most part blazing our own trail as style bloggers. There are no set rules, no guarantees. All we can be sure of is that in the blogosphere, nothing amazing comes without hard work. Christine's analogy sums it up well:
“I like to equate growing a blog to being good at a sport or hobby. If you stick with it, invest the time, be yourself, and recognize opportunities you will be successful.”

We would love to know where you stand on this. Do you think a niche is necessary for success in blogging?

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14 Responses

  1. Jaspe

    I think bloggers should keep in mind that THEY need to feel good about their blog. Because if you blog about stuff you don’t really like, only because it gets you a lot of followers/traffic you will soon lose your passion of blogging… that would be sad!

    Reply
  2. Christina of Profresh Style

    It’s simple. Absolutely not. I don’t think you need to know who you are or necessarily what you want to portray when you start blogging. Going into it with an open mind allows your readers to follow along and grow WITH you. You may lose or you may gain, it’s all about of blogging. I agree that having one niche is great professionally if it’s a FOCUSED niche.. but we’re already so over-consumed with bloggers in the same bracket, it becomes a huge melting pot of unrelated nonsense.

    Originality, honesty and being brave are the KEY things to have nailed down before you start blogging. I truly believe that the growing process on the blog is the most rewarding part about it- your faithful, true readers will be there through it all. That’s my most rewarding attribute of the blog. Not the money, not the projects, not the exposure. It’s truly from the readers who’ve been following along this whole time, supporting me, motivating me and keeping me strong.

    I WOULD NOT blog if it weren’t for my faithful and amazingly awesome and rad readers.

    But like Christine said, “I’d rather lose followers to create the content I want to produce”. This is the truest thing to come out- honest blogging.

    xx

    Reply
  3. Catherine @ Not Dressed As Lamb

    Great article… I’ve just decided to continue my blog after the one year I originally decided to do it for, not really expecting anyone to read it (I couldn’t have been more wrong)! But I’m planning a bit of a design makeover after my bloggiversary, and had also been wondering whether to branch out a little into more than just outfit posts (for example sharing my “other” skills like posting photo tips, as I have a photography degree).

    I now think it’s definitely worth a try – before I thought it would reduce my traffic, but I guess if I don’t try it I’ll never know. So thanks for the inspiration and the push I needed!

    Catherine x

    Reply
  4. Elise

    Great post! I love the idea of blogging about multiple topics and it’s refreshing to see someone say that’s ok! I recently started WTFab (www.w-t-fab.com) with the idea that I’d talk about multiple topics (mostly fashion, food, DIY, and some fitness) because those are the things I love. And I figured if I didn’t box myself into one category, I’d have an endless supply of content and passion for what I’m blogging.

    Reply
  5. TheStyleGent

    Thank you for such an encouraging and inspiring post. I’ve been blogging for about two years now and I’m learning new things as i go along. I write mostly about style and etiquette with an emphasis on relationships (a zen approach to style) but I’ve been recently looking to write for those who may be disabled or confined to wheelchairs (I’ve been in one since 2009) this post has inspired me to move in that direction. I believe if your writing can empower others or bring value to the readers you will automatically build your audience and deepen their connection to you and your passion. Thank you so much for encouraging us to expand our thoughts and our blogs.

    Reply
  6. fashion accessory

    I thought it would reduce my traffic, but I guess if I don’t try it I’ll never know if your writing can empower others or bring value to the readers you will automatically build your audience and deepen their connection to you and your passion.

    Reply
  7. Robin

    Yeah I think a niche is important. I got some feedback from a reader, saying I needed to catch up with what other local bloggers are doing. She does not understand that niches differ and amount of equipment and time to have to post my outfits. It is all about staying true to your blog identity. My blog is by me, for me and people who share the same passion.

    If they find another blogger better. They should follow them. A niche makes the personality of the blog and blogger’s passion

    Reply
  8. Heather

    I am mostly interested in personal style and as an older woman with a blog about my outfits I’m already in a fairly tight niche. Because I love makeup i have always included a bit about that as well, and those posts are the most popular with the search engines for sure. I’m considering branching out into more lifestyle posts because they seem to interest my readers as well. Certainly I like reading about people’s lives on the blogs I read, so I assume it’s something that sets blogs apart from magazines.

    Reply
  9. Martha

    I totally agree! Sometimes I wonder if too many topics will drive my readers away…but I am not interested in just shooting my personal style. I want to share with everyone my thoughts on the newest collection, the amazing art exhibit during Art Basel, the new tiny restaurant in South Beach, the most scenic road in Switzerland…and so on and so on.
    I think with time my readers will be those that want to hear a little big of everything…
    For now, I definitely see a more active response when I post personal style photos, but I’m staying true to me and I know everything will grow in time 😉

    Reply
  10. Daniel

    When I first started blogging I focused predominately on the larger brands, yet I changed my content and now focus on the emerging and independent brands only. It’s not that I don’t like the larger brands, but instead that I want to be a niche blogger. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t lose readers when I changed my content, yet I’m happier with my content. You should blog about what you want to, even if it does mean taking a step back.

    Reply
  11. Glam Slam!

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hear that “you have to find you niche”. While to a certain extent that is true, I don’t think you should stress out too much about it. You need to be YOU and write about what your inspired about, what you’re interested in and what you want to share. Tell the blogsphere who you are.

    I believe that even if it takes time, if you stay true to who you are and are authentic, then you’ll find your audience.

    As always, thank you so much IFB for such great content and advice! I <3 you! 😉

    Reply