Monday, March 10, 2008

Tip for Young Bloggers: Find Your Niche

Do you want to create your own public blog, but just have no idea know where to start? This is something I struggled with when I first started my own blog – I didn’t have a solid direction of where I wanted to go with my ideas. I knew I wanted to have a blog, and one that related to PR since that is my main area of expertise (heck, I spend 40+ hours per week doing it, might as well blog about it), but other than that I really didn’t have a clue as to what I wanted to write. After my first few posts, I began to lose interest fast. Blogging started to feel more like a chore as opposed to something I liked to do. Why? Because I didn’t have any direction in my writing or where I wanted to go with my blog or who I wanted to see it.

After taking a break from blogging I began to reevaluate my goals and asses what I wanted to get out of it. Then it dawned on me – I needed to find something about PR I was interested in, something I could provide a fresh but interesting perspective on, and *stick to it*.

So what about me? I like PR, and I like giving advice. Ok, so… how do I combine the two? In other words, what’s my niche? There are plenty of blogs that provide advice to young professionals from an expert perspective. I am by no means an expert, so what do I have that sets me apart? Answer? I AM a young professional, and who better to share PR experiences with PR students and young professionals than someone who can relate?

There we go. I FOUND it. So what's my advice for you soon-to-be bloggers?

Find Your Niche
It seems simple, right? I mean, that was my original intent. I was just so focused on writing posts from an expert perspective (which I obviously am not) that I lost sight of my unique characteristics – the fact that I am a new professional on my first PR journey. See, there are dozens of blogs that provide expert advice to young PR people, but not many that provide advice as they are currently learning it. (You would have thought this would be a no brainer – duh, have a target audience! And yes, this does apply even to blogs.)

Stick To It
Once you find something you are interested in, make sure you constantly revisit the topic in your posts. An analyst blog I read for work daily and have really come to enjoy, The Kelsey Group blog, is a great example. Kelsey Group analysts write on topics that relate to local (national products that are localized, such as the yellow pages online, national advertisers that go local, and local search). Their blog posts explore a wide range of topics but always come back and revisit one, central question - "what about local?" This is important, one, because readers can always know what to expect, and two, because it helps give the blog posts a direction to follow. How can I apply this tip to my blog? Well, since we decided that I will have a PR blog focused toward young professionals, each post I write will always ask the question "how does this topic apply to the new professional?"

Develop Your Own, Unique Voice
This is perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice. Blogs are meant to be conversational (which is probably why they are the most trusted source of information out there), therefore you should speak as if you are having a conversation with someone. Aka, if you aren't an expert on the topic you are writing, don't pretend to be. If you don't always speak using a report-writing tone, then don't. Remember how you learned to write in Writing 101? Remember how your teachers told you to have a thesis and always take out the likes, ums and totallys? Well you can throw all that out the window. Your blog should be unique and reflect your own personal style.

So, now that you have found something you are interested in and want to blog about, make sure that you always tie your posts back to your topic and target audience, stick to it, and develop your own voice. Happy blogging!

2 comments:

Alyssa Carter said...

Hi Andrea, great post -- I've just started playing the blogging game and am still looking to find my niche as well. I may have yet to find it, but I always love getting inspiration from other bloggers out there! Keep up the good posts and I look forward to reading!

Anonymous said...

Keep the Both Thumbs Up!
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