Blogging. I remember back in the day when having a blog meant having a diary online. Figuring out what to blog about was easy. Our life! We would write down all that happened in our lives and have a creative outlet to express our feelings and experiences.

That was pretty fun.

But blogging has changed over the years, and has become a valid business model. That means making money blogging is now widely popular. Even more fun!

Oh wait. Blogging = business. Doesn’t that also mean that we should think about blogging in a strategic way?

Yep.

Blogging does not mean snapshots of your life anymore. I mean, it could be, but most of us plan to pay (at least some of) our bills through blogging, so sorry but nope. 

In this article I’m going to explain you why you should choose a niche in order to be successful, and… HOW to discover that niche!

 

What to Blog About the Ultimate Guide to Discovering your Niche

 

1. DIARY OUT. VALUE CREATION IN.

What do I mean by that? Let me illustrate this with one of my real blog examples. I’ve run 5 blogs now, so I can take my pick ;).

Blog example nr. 1: Pull a Sophie

Blog example nr. 2: Fashion & Figure

Pull a Sophie

Pull a Sophie was a blog I created when I was crazy addicted to… can you guess? Let me know in the comments!

That was a lifestyle blog about me and my healthy & sporty lifestyle. Yes, DIARY!

The blog was fun to read, and interesting for people who wanted to know more about me. But the amount of posts where I shared healthy tips with people was practically zero. The thing was all about me and NOT about my readers.

Not very strategic is it? 

That’s because I never really figured out what to blog about. I just went with my first thought.

Fashion & Figure

Let’s go on to blog example nr. 2: Fashion & Figure.

I still regret to this day that I shut down this blog. It was pure magic although I didn’t realize it back then.

In this blog I talked about how to fit your clothes to your figure. I’m a pear shape, so I always have to make sure my butt doesn’t look enormous.

Wearing high-waisted jeans with a cropped top is just not for me. Oversized sweaters on the other hand works wonders.

I used to do a lot of research about the topic and share everything I learned. I even created entire outfits for each shape and explained why that outfit would improve people’s perceived figure. Oh and I did posts about which celebrity has which shape.

Pure freakin’ magic. Dropping value bombs, like John Lee Dumas would say!

So I was creating huge value for my audience and they LOVED it.

Getting the point?

Blogging is not about you, it's about your readers. Diary out, value creation in!Click To Tweet

 

So if you’re not blogging about your life, what to blog about then? Let’s get into it.

In order to decide this you should sit down, take an hour or so, clear your mind and do the following exercise I’ll break it down below.

PS: here is my story of my past blogs and current business

 

 

2. WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT?

Step 1 is writing down everything you’re passionate about. And I mean everything.

Think of your daily thoughts, what do you like to think about? If you watch videos on youtube, what are they about?

The same goes for blog posts, books, what are you reading? On which topics could you have endless discussions with your friends or family? When you travel, what do you visit? Do you have hobbies? Is there anything you love about your job?

Take some time and list every single topic you can think of. Don’t think about whether you could blog about it or make money from it, just let your mind flow and write down all your thoughts.

This is a brainstorm session, time to let your creativity flow.

 

3. WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT?

Do the same thing when it comes to your skills.

What do you know you’re skilled in? Are you good at your job? What is it exactly within your job that you’re particularly skilled in? Do you have hobbies that you do really well? Are you good at sports, dancing, music, etc.?

How do other people describe you, what do they say about you that you’re skilled in? When people introduce you, what do they say?

Is there something that comes easy to you that doesn’t to other people? Is there something you have taught yourself? Like for example you’ve taught yourself how to edit videos or play guitar?

Again list e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g you can think of. This is useful, I promise. Sometimes we need to force ourselves to take everything into account, otherwise we make (unconscious) assumptions, like no one would be interested in this topic, and we drop it. When it could actually be a magical idea.

So don’t hold back!

 

4. WHICH OF THESE TOPICS SOLVE A PROBLEM FOR PEOPLE, AND WHICH PROBLEM?

Step 1: Remove Duplicates

Combine all the topics you just wrote down for question 1 and 2 and remove all the duplicates. You want to end up with a unique list of topics.

Step 2: Find Umbrellas

You might have a lot of “mini topics” in there. Try to find an umbrella for those topics. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have “food for lactose-intolerant people” and “food for people with irritable bowel system”. Those two mini topics can be combined into “food for people with food allergies”.

Don’t take this too far though: don’t combine “food for people with irritable bowel system”, “healthy food” and “sports” into “healthy lifestyle”. That’s again the lifestyle route, very broad, and we don’t want to do this. Trust me, I had a healthy lifestyle blog once :).

Step 3: Value for your readers

Alright. So far the part about you. It’s time to take a look at your target market.

As I said at the beginning of this article, it’s all about the value you create for your audience. In this case value means solving a problem for them.

People read blogs to learn something, to get inspired, to find support, or to find a certain product/service to solve their problem (if the blog offers more than content).

Not just Content

A blog does not have to focus solely on content. Your blog could be a base camp for you to offer content AND a product or service. You just start with the blog to build an audience and then create a product or service that people like. And you earn a lot more money than through content only.

So don’t limit yourself to focussing on the educational need and the need for inspiration. You can write about anything you want + create a product/service if it can help solve any type of problem for your readers. 

Example

Here’s a -very simple- example: writing about how to assemble furniture is not useful because people have a manual they got from the store. However, writing how to choose furniture for your house is useful.

This solves a need for those people who don’t know anything about interior design and would like to have a well-decorated house.

So next to each topic, try to find out what need this could solve for people, and if it would be really valuable for them.

Step 4: Market Research

You can do this based on your own assumptions or you can go out and talk to people that might be interested in this kind of topic. Of course, the second option is preferred!

You will not be your target market, your target will be different depending on the topic.

You can try asking questions in Facebook groups, reading book reviews based on this topic (very interesting because people often point out what they were missing or why it was offering exactly what they need), asking people in person or on the phone, etc.

Step 5: Highlight Topics with the Most Value

Highlight those that offer lots of value. For example, losing weight is a lot more valuable than learning how to remove stains from shirts.

Losing weight would be highlighted, removing stains wouldn’t. Try to highlight 50-75% of your topics. You don’t want to leave out too many topics either.

 

Do you need some personal help with figuring out what to blog about? I get that it can be hard to do this on your own. That’s why I’m here! Book a Free Strategy Session with me and we’ll go through your answers together!

 

5. WHAT KIND OF PRODUCTS/SERVICES DO PEOPLE BUY TO SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS?

We’re doing actual research in this part, yay! You have your topics now, and you have highlighted the most valuable ones. Now you’ll do a bit of market research to find out which type of blogs, products and services already exist to solve those problems, and how they are priced.

You can do a very thorough google search to answer this questions. You can also check social media, or bloglovin’, etc.

Try to find a few types of blogs/products/services per topic.

Example of My Exercise

I considered becoming an excel consultant once.

In that field there are blogs with free content that monetize through ads, there are coaches priced at $ 100-200 per hour, online courses that are free or going up until $ 800, and there are freelancers doing projects for you, charging $ 20-150 per hour.

Be this extensive for highlighted topics. You can leave out the other, less valuable, topic. If it doesn’t offer a lot of value, drop it!

 

 

6. WHAT COULD YOU BLOG ABOUT?

Before going over this question, I recommend you take a little break. Clear your mind, do something else for a while, and then come back and continue with the next paragraph.

Ok, so you have all the options in front of you now. This is a fun part. Go through every single topic on your list and check out the possible revenue streams. Time to decide what YOU want to do.

Don’t forget one thing though. This is a BUSINESS. If you want to blog for business, make sure you’re passionate about what you would do, and you could keep on doing it for a while. You’re not supposed to be switching in 6 months because it will take some time to build your business.

The Feeling Exercise

So think about this thoroughly, and when you’re going through the options, try to feel when your heart is raising. That’s usually the passion choice! And when you’re passionate, your audience will notice it too and become raving fans.

You’ll probably also feel a little fear. AWESOME! That means it will be a challenge and you should definitely do that. If it’s too easy and inside your comfort zone, you will get bored very soon and it’s not a great long-term plan for you.

 

Do you need some personal help with figuring out what to blog about? I get that it can be hard to do this on your own. That’s why I’m here! Book a Free Strategy Session with me and we’ll go through your answers together!

 

 

7. WHAT IF YOU HAVE SEVERAL TOPICS TO BLOG ABOUT?

A very possible result of this exercise is that you end up with 2 topics that are valuable, you’re passionate about, and you know how you could earn money. But can you do them both?

That depends.

Option 1: Create 2 Different Blogs

For starters, I wouldn’t create two different blogs. That will add so much work and you won’t be able to do either of them very well. Adding a new blog when you already have a blog is one thing, but starting two blogs at once is a crazy project :).

Option 2: Cover both Topics in 1 Blog  (NO-GO)

So you want to create 1 blog but have 2 topics. What most people do is create a lifestyle blog, that covers everything! Ok that’s true. But this means you will NOT be the go-to hub for one topic, you will not become THE expert at something.

Consequences are that your audience will be disappointed when they expect a fun post about food for example but suddenly there’s a post about interior design. They will not trust you that much because you can’t be an expert in different fields at once, they’ll just find another expert.

Your target audience will be split, which is not great for brands collaborations because they’re looking for bloggers with a certain target market, etc. etc. I could go on, but that’s for another post.

Option 3: Find a Common Thread

Instead, you COULD find a common thread.

I’ll give you an example. Let’s say you’re passionate about parenting and interior design. Doing a blog about both = lifestyle blog = not engaged audience and not too much money.

What you could do in this example is blog about a child-friendly interior. BOOM. Common thread. Yes, this is very narrow. But that’s the way these days to sneak in as a new blogger, because there are tons and tons of interior blogger experts already so it’s hard to become very successful pretty fast.

Too narrow?

If you start off doing this and you gain an audience that you trust, you might be able to expand a little later on if you grow WITH your audience. Always take action based on your audience’s feedback.

So starting off very narrow is not a bad idea.

If you can’t find a common thread, pick one. It’s as simple as that!

 

 

CONCLUSION

Knowing what to blog about, picking a niche, is not an easy task, and you shouldn’t do this the quick & easy way. You need to take some time to decide so you can be sure now and won’t change it every few months, because this will hurt your growth big time. (I know, I’ve done it!)

That’s why I created this exercise, where you write down your passions or skills, define the value of those topics for your audience, find possible products and services, and decide on your offer.

This exercise will be your foundation so you can create a profitable blog with a PLAN!

Instead of starting to blog for fun and not knowing how to monetize. This exercise will help you turn your blog into a business. Time to take your blog seriously guys!

 

Real Life Exercise Example

I did this exercise recently with a (future) blogger and it was AMAZING. I absolutely love doing this and she got a ton of results from one session. She started of with tons of ideas but no sense of direction. This is what she told me after:

Sophie was keen to help me and did not clock watch. In fact, we ran over time.

It was a most prodcutive session. Sophie came armed with the proper techniques to get the best results for me. It was casual but structured to give me some constructive tips to take my blog to the next level.

By the end of it, this is what we achieved: my niche, elevator pitch, possible monetization avenues and some ideas for my optin freebies

Do you want to do this exercise with me? Book a Free Strategy Session with me and we’ll go through your answers together!

 

 

Sophie

 

What’s your niche? Have you thought it through? Or are you still struggling? Let me know!

Sophie