Focus, focus, focus. It's my mantra; I can't stop talking about defining and writing within your niche and keeping your focus on what you're passionate about. BUT…just because you're passionate about something doesn't mean you're good at it. And not everyone who does something they're passionate about, will BE good at it, or be able to make a living doing it.
The key, if you want to monetize your blog, or use it as a jumping off point for something else, is that you find the intersection between your passion and what you're good at. The sweet spot, if you will.
Of course being “good” at something is somewhat subjective, but for the most part, if you're good at what you do, people will start to acknowledge that. And you can be “good” at something to a select group of people. As long as they're your target audience, that's fine. But even within “your niche” there may be some things you're better at than others. Over the years, I've used the tools below to figure out what I'm better at, and in turn, what I should focus more on (not videos!).
If you have a blog already and you're still feeling out your niche and within it what you're best at doing, asking these questions should help you narrow them down:
Does your content resonate?
Does your blog resonate with readers? Does it fill a void? Answer a question? Do you get emails and comments that something you wrote connected with your readers? This is where I do think that comments are important; honestly if you're writing for years and never get a comment or feedback in any way, maybe you're not as good at it as you thought you were? In the end of the day, it doesn't really matter if you're good at it if you are writing for yourself, and you don't want it to turn into a career, but eventually, if your goal is to be a writer, for example, your writing has to resonate with SOMEONE besides yourself (or your mom).
Does your content inspire social sharing?
Is your content so good your readers not only come back to it, but they want to SHARE it with their friends? This is the next step that isn't easy to get to sometimes; we all have loyal readers, but are they EXCITED enough about our content to want to share it? This is when it really starts to get interesting, when you see your content going viral – this is when you really know you've hit on something.
Does your content get attention?
Do you get inquiries from PR companies interested in working with you? Are you fielding advertising inquiries? Press inquiries? Do your posts get noticed by the brands you feature?
Are you financially rewarded for producing content?
Are you making money already from your blog? Are you working with brands you love? Are you starting to see that this could turn into an income-producing endeavor? Of course this doesn't happen instantly, but over time, years perhaps, you should start to be financially rewarded for doing what you're good at, assuming you're working very hard at it too…
Ask everyone you know – and don't know
Ask a respected blogger to look at your content and have her give you her opinion. Ask your readers to let you know what they like more and less. You'll never know for sure unless you ask the people who are consuming your content, analytics alone doesn't answer every question; it can give you an idea of what your most popular posts are, but not why. Do an open post one day on your blog and ask your readers to let you know which posts are their favorites. If they need an incentive to leave a comment, combine it with a nice giveaway (Starbucks giftcard for pumpkin spice lattes??) or similar.
Maybe you answered “no” to all of these questions. That doesn't necessarily mean you're NOT GOOD at what you're doing; give it more time – you can be good at something and no one notices, which again, is fine if you don't want to make it your career. Work harder and smarter and over time, if you're good at it, you'll start to be able to answer “yes” more often. If not, maybe rethink what you're doing. Put your focus more on the things you do that you CAN answer “yes” to and nurture the other things on the side.
How have you discovered what you're good at? What have you done with that knowledge?
[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]