- It establishes you as an expert.
- It creates a consistent flow of information and content.
- The blog and you become a source for information, not just a link.
- Increased incoming referrer links and increased likelihood of being blogged about, not just linked to.
- Like attracts like.
While it is wonderful to be the “source” and “expert” on your subject, the best part of keeping your blog focus on track is that you attract like minds to your blog, those seeking what you offer and eager for your next blog post. It’s like feeding the hungry. As long as they continue to have a need for your words and expertise, they will keep coming to the table.
As part of this ongoing series on Blog Struggles, discussing the hard work and challenges of blogging, we covered the first part of blog focus by defining what blog focus means. Today, I’m going to talk about why you should have a narrow blog focus. Next week, I’ll cover how to find your blog’s focus.
Benefits of a Narrow Blog Focus
I’ve found amazing benefits from keeping my blog focus narrow.
- No more hunting for something to write about. I know what I’m hunting for.
- I have self-imposed constraints that keep me on track on my blog’s subject matter and topics.
- I know what I do.
- I am confident about my blog’s content and subject.
- An expectation as an expert is created and evident by the blog name, post titles, and post categories.
- I’m considered an expert in my field.
- I’m considered a “source” and resource in my field.
- Others recommend me and my blog to their readers.
- Links to my blog come with descriptions of “spend some time there – she has written plenty you need to read and learn on the subject.”
- I’m invited to guest blog, speak, publish, talk, and write for others as an expert.
- I blog better.
The best part of blogging with a narrow blog focus is that I have less self doubt about my abilities and my ability to blog. I know my subject matter. I know it from a variety of perspectives. I’m constantly challenging my information, resources, sources, and expertise as I write on the subject from different angles and points of view.
Because I have that familiarity, I feel more confident to take risks like blogging about controversial subjects within my niche, or tackling subjects that people need to be talking about but aren’t. I get to ask the hard questions.
When I’m self confident about my blog and blog content, the readers know. They can feel it. And they like what they see and feel and come back for more.
The Challenges of a Focused Blog
In Star Trek: Next Generation’s episode, Tapestry, Picard gets a chance provided by Q to change a regrettable event in his youth. When Picard changes the past, it changes the future by turning him into a “dreary man in a tedious job”, not captain of the Enterprise. Q responds:
The Jean-Luc Picard you wanted to be, the one who did not fight the Nausicaan, had quite a different career from the one you remember.
That Picard never had a brush with death… never came face to face with his own mortality… never realized how fragile life is… how important each moment can be… so his life never came into focus. He drifted through much of his career, with no plan or agenda… going from one assignment to the next, never seizing the opportunities that presented themselves…He didn’t lead the Away Team on Milika Three to save that ambassador… he didn’t take charge of the Stargazer’s Bridge when its Captain was killed… and no one ever offered him a command. He learned to play it safe. And he never, ever got noticed by anyone.
You can play it safe by blogging about everything and anything you want, hoping to expand your readership by building a giant basket to catch all the balls that come your way, turning your blog into a thrift store. People stop and visit, drawn by the sheer volume of information and keywords, but then have to dig hard to find any really good treasures.
Or you can narrow your blog’s content down, taking charge of it and taking the risks that make you an expert on the subject. The treasures are out on display, eagerly grasped by readers. They know without a doubt that you know what you are blogging about.
Which makes you the captain of your blog’s content or the ensign?
Playing It Safe With Your Blog’s Content
In the early days of Lorelle on WordPress, I had several people ask me how I could continue to produce content limited only to the subject of WordPress and blogging. “I’d run out of things to say.” “I’d get so bored.” “Aren’t you going to bore your readers unless you stir things up once in a while?”
Let’s see, it’s been almost four years of writing about and for WordPress and I haven’t run out of things to write about or say. I did explore more into the subject of blogging because WordPress is about blogging and blogging is WordPress, so the two go hand in hand. I’ve not run out of things to write. I’ve not been bored – not a day or minute. And my readership keeps growing, so I must be doing something write.
I honestly believe that writing in a catch-all way, jotting down anything and everything that pops into your head at any moment, is playing it safe with your blog. Anyone can do that.
It’s hard work setting up parameters for your blog. I’d love to rant about stupid things happening in our governments around the world right now. I’d love to rally behind freedom fighters who fight with words. I’d love to blather on about how frustrated I am about chasing down leaks in my trailer now that winter is here. I’d love to share with you the pleasure I’ve found in shoveling horse crap every morning when I’m on the farm, a task I hated as a child. I know I would feel better if I could bitch and whine about…okay, a lot of things. But on this blog, it’s WordPress or blogging, or silence.
How narrow should your blog focus be? That’s up to you. Mine is considered very narrow, but when I look at it, I’m overwhelmed with the number of topics I could cover on WordPress techniques and tips, WordPress Themes, WordPress Plugins, WordPress blogs, the WordPress Community, customizing WordPress, and so much more. With the added topic of blogging, I have no end of subjects to cover on how to blog, why blog, and what to blog about.
A narrow blog focus is a matter of perspective. I consider my niche fairly wide. I CAN HAS CHEEZBURGER? offers nothing but pictures of cats doing dumb things that readers submit to the site. You can’t get much narrower than that, but the site continues to be one of the most popular on the web. There seems to be no end to the silly subjects they can create with pictures of cats, and the amount of traffic and attention they inspire.
Focusing Your Blog
Tomorrow, I’ll cover more on finding your blog focus, but I want to return to the Star Trek: Next Generation episode. In the end, Picard realizes his mistake in wanting to fix his past regrets, and admits later to Ricker:
There were many things in my youth that I’m not proud of…they were loose threads…untidy parts of myself that I wanted to remove. But when I pulled on one of those threads… I unraveled the tapestry of my life.
As you consider your blog’s focus, I want you to look at your entire life, all the threads that make up the tapestry of your life. They all make you, the resulting “fabric” of your life as it is right now. On that fabric you will find colors and patterns repeating themselves. Loudly. Vibrantly. Or possibly they are subtle and almost invisible, but when you look with fresh eyes, they start to stand out from the rest of the threads.
It is these specific colors and patterns that repeat themselves throughout the fabric of your life that could define your blog’s focus and content. The thing that makes you a learned expert. The knowledge that comes from repeating the same behaviors or experiences over and over again until you get them right. The skill that defines you and your abilities. You can call it what you will. I call it your passion.
I know above all else, when you are blogging your passion, the world is a better place for you and your readers.
The Blog Focus Series
- Blog Struggles: The Blog Focus
- Blog Struggles: Why Should Your Blog Have a Focus
- Blog Struggles: Finding Your Blog Focus
- Blog Struggles: Changing Your Blog’s Focus
- How People Search the Web and How They Can Find Your Blog
- 10 Things You Need to Know Before You Blog
- Writing With Culture – The Insidious Pull of Pop Language
- How Easy is Your Writing to Understand?
- How to Write Good – Tips For Bloggers on Blogging
- Horse Sex and What is Dictating Your Blog’s Content?
- How is Blogging Like Stand-up Comedy
- Writing a Blog and Engaging Readers
- Are You Writing Well for the Living Web?
- Do You Ever Think About What You Write About?
- Hook, Line and Sinker: Luring Blog Traffic to Stay
- Blog Writing: I lk yr blg
- 20 Answers to the Question: What Does It Take to Blog?
- Writing on the Web is Like Writing on Paper But The Rules Change
- You Got To Earn Your Reputation
- Too Much To Write About
- Blogging Challenge: Blog About What You Know
- Writing With Post Excerpts and Feed Excerpts in Mind
- Blog Challenge: Who is Writing Your Blog?
- Cultural Colloquiums and Blog Writing
- How Not to Blog in a Blogathon Blog
- How NOT to Comment on Comments
- How Do You Know If a Blog Has Integrity?
- How Not to Tick People Off and Keep Them Coming Back For More
- One Year Anniversary Review: Blog Writing
- Echo Chamber: 10 Tips on Blogging Original Thoughts Originally
- Writing Effective, Attention-Getting Headlines and Titles on Your Blog
- How to Know When to Stop Blogging
- Your Blog is Your Unedited Version of Yourself
- Learning Lessons from The Planet Blog
- Do You Get to The Point or Ramble to the Point In Your Blog?
- Don’t Guest Blog Until You Have Content
- I Love Your List! I’m Going To Copy It!
- Lessons from a Bookstore on Blog Writing
- Blog Success: It’s the Linkable Content, Folks
- Public vs Private: Cryptic Writing For Personal Blogs
- Nine Years Writing: How I Generate Writing Concepts, Tools, and Strategies I Use
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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, member of the 9Rules Network, and author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.