How many of you started your blog thinking, “I just want a blog that's just like everything else out there.”
Perhaps I'm projecting my own ambitions, but chances are, if you wanted a successful blog, you want a blog that stands out. How do you do that? Well, of course advice like: “Create good content!” and “Be original!” and “Be yourself!” come to mind. But there is more than that. Blogs these days stand out because they transform their niche. Fashion Toast transformed fashion blogging by being one of the first to post editorial style professional grade photos on her blog (as opposed to the digi-cam in the mirror shots of the day), PS I Made This transformed her niche by contextualizing her DIYs to runway trends (as opposed to the crafty DIYs of the time), Into The Gloss transformed her niche by doing kind of The Selby for beauty, Man Repeller transformed her niche with her humor and by connecting high fashion with feminism.
So, what I'm saying is that to REALLY stand out, you have to be a game changer.
Creating a blog that stands out is more difficult today than ever. The truth is that fashion bloggers have it both easy and tough. Easy because basically everyone needs to wear clothes, and a lot of us like to talk about clothes. Hard because it's so easy to just start a blog and talk about clothes.
Research your niche
Do you know what's going on in your niche? Sure, you can just start from anywhere, but then how do you know that your ideas haven't been done already? Look at your niche as objectively as you can, and ask the following questions:
- How saturated is this niche?
- What are the people in your niche doing well?
- What kind of sucks about your niche?
- What are the best blogs doing?
- What are the best blogs NOT doing? Why?
Compile a list of your favorite blogs/magazines/books/tv shows/films across all verticals
Like chocolate and peanut butter, your cell phone/camera/internet device, amazing things happen when you mash things together. It's called transformation. This is where copying an idea a little here, a little bit from another idea there and transform it into something that makes sense for you. IFB was born from reading “how to blog” blogs like ProBlogger transformed to make sense for fashion bloggers. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but you do have to things together in a way that transforms the wheel.
A great way to start is to put together a list of everything you love, blogs that have nothing to do with your niche, tv shows that have an element you really love, magazines of all kinds, and list out how they could transform your niche. The sky is the limit here!
Ask yourself : Where would I want to see this niche evolve?
The next part of figuring out how to be a game changer is to not so much look at what's happening now, but to think about where you would like it to be. Do all the blogs in your niche have crappy design? Could they look more professional? Do you have access to information or people that would elevate your niche? Can you get that access if you don't already?
Don't wait for someone else to evolve your niche. Be that person. Don't make excuses like “I just started.” or “I don't have a professional background.” just go in an do it the best you can. Maybe it's not the best right now, but it will be if you continue to try to create professional-level content.
Take the best elements of your research and develop your mission
This is where the magic happens. Take the best of everything you find and develop your mission. When I was creating Eat, Sleep, Denim, I saw that most of the denim blogs focused on celebrity style. I wanted to create a blog that had personal style elements, like your best friend who knows all about denim. Now, it's not the most popular blog in the world, but it does garner a bit of attention for being different within the niche.
Having a mission is a great way to keep focused on what you goals are. Of course, missions evolve over time. Maybe technology changes, or someone else comes along and does it better than you, or you niche goes out of style, or better yet, you accomplish your goal and have changed your niche. Either way your mission is not set in stone. Once you get started on this path, you'll realize the work is never done, you'll always be looking for ways to transform your niche. That's what game changers do.
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