Monday, 16 October 2017

the direction my blog is going in + finding your own niche in the blogosphere



Hey hi hello! I recently shared on Twitter how I had fallen back in love with my blog thanks to my last two posts at the time - the one on sexism in tennis and the food in London one. The sexism in tennis one I'd had brewing in my head for a while and was proud of addressing a topic that bothered me so much, and the food in London one I adored the way I laid the post out and the pictures I had taken to go with it, the aesthetic was just what I like and want to continue across all my posts. 
And I adore using Twitter to better my blog. Most bloggers' favourite social media platform is Instagram but I'm a Twitter gyal through and through, if you follow me you know I am constantly putting up polls to see what kinda content y'all prefer and want to see from me and it helps so ! frickin ! much ! And usually, the stuff I talk about on Twitter becomes a bigger, longer idea I transfer to the blog to write about, like this, which is the part that has helped me the most in finding what I wanna blog about.
SO, getting to ze point. I want to share with you what I've learned about finding a niche in the blogging community and how I want to take things from here with this blog now that I think I've found mine.


First of all, I've read countless times in blogging advice and tips posts that 'finding your niche' is the key to success / increased audience and engagement / being happy with your blog / finding ideas for posts and all that beneficial stuff that comes with doing what you love, but it's been much harder to figure out how to go about actually finding that niche. It was the one piece of advice that I could see was legit because I could see other bloggers managing to do it, but I couldn't for the life of me manage to do it myself. What was my niche? I am too much of an indecisive and ever-changing person to find a niche and stick with it. 

I started this blog as a sixteen year old who had just finished her GCSEs and thought she was some big baller in The Script's fanbase, and now I'm off to uni and could be sick in my mouth at the thought of ever queuing those ridiculous hours for a show or waiting in the cold for a few minute meeting with those guys, now more interested in backing Denis Shapovalov in a tennis tournament than The Script in the charts. 
I started this blog without a proper idea about what I wanted to do in the future (tbh what 16yo knows that), flitting between PR, styling, marketing, fashion, makeup, business and media. I changed my mind about what degree I'd want to do in the future every few weeks, and I started this blog because I had so many post ideas in my head but now that I'm about to start a journo degree I know that this blog may become a more important reflection than just a creative outlet - although I will 100000% still be treating it as the latter. 

To sum it up, I didn't know how I could ever find a niche and stick with it if I started this blog wanting to talk loads about music and concerts on the side of the fashion and beauty tips / reviews and ending up chatting about my days at Wimbledon. The fangirl life I used to lead seemed like a stand out point but it wasn't me any more and it disgusts me to think, let alone write about the dumb drama I used to cause in Twitter fanbases, and tennis seemed like a niche when you think about it amongst your average fashion/beauty/lifestyle blog, but people who want to read about tennis would rather go to a specific sports blog than trawl through some 18 year old's selfies to find a mention of a grand slam final.

One recurring thought kept coming back to me every single time I would think about where I wanted to go and the niche I wanted to create for myself - my fuckboys blog post. The one idea that probably prompted me starting this blog in the first place and my most successful post to date. I adore that post, always have and always will. I love the tongue in cheek side of it, that it was quite an original idea at the time, that it addressed an actual issue some people faced despite being a somewhat joke-y subject and that people genuinely took something away from it. To this day, I get the occasional email and comment from readers thanking me, telling me the post helped them or a friend or even asking for further advice. And I always knew that was the type of content I wanted to carry on posting, I just wasn't sure what and how.

And finally, finally, now I am slowly starting to do it. Because I used it to find my niche. And I'm sure you wanna know how you can do the same, so this is how I found my own niche in the blogosphere and how you can too.


EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT

You're gonna find your niche in an entirely different way to everyone else out there. This is one of those snowflake metaphor kind of situations, every blogger is different so every blogger will discover their own niche in a different way. That doesn't make my lil tips redundant though!😉 You need to accept that ~finding it~ probably won't happen to you in the same way it did for anybody else, but you do need to keep a few things in mind whilst trying to find said niche.

PASSION

Stick to topics you believe in and are passionate about, not topics you think your readers want you to believe in. And, no, writing a review on the new Naked palette when there are a million others out there doesn't break this rule if you genuinely love it, neither does posing in a Gucci belt or sticking to the currently popular all white aesthetic. If you are genuinely passionate about those currently popular products and topics, write about them, photograph them, share them. Whilst you're on the road to finding your niche don't waste your time posting about something you're not passionate about when you could be spending that time finding your niche. Nine times out of ten it will lead to you discovering it, because you will learn what you love to talk about most and how you like to share and present it to readers. This is what happened to me, as I said at the start of this post, two posts I wrote that I was so unbelievably passionate about led me to fall back in love with this blog in a way like never before and suddenly I knew what I wanted my niche to be.


ASK YOURSELF QUESTIONS

I have a new mantra for blog posts, it's one that's quite common in the community but one I didn't properly utilise. I will now always ask myself what, if anything, my audience is gaining by consuming my content. What's the point in me slaving over a new blog post idea if it doesn't benefit those who actually take time out of their day or week to check up on my blog? 
Fuckboys (that's what I refer to that post as 24/7 btw) helped girls and guys avoid getting themselves into a situation that could end up upsetting and hurting them. Sexism in tennis informed people who might not have known the inequalities in a seemingly equal sport. London and New York posts gave people ideas of where to go and what to do when visiting big cities. Beauty posts help people find a new product they'll love. Fashion posts help people form an idea about an outfit they want to wear. Personal anecdote posts can help someone learn from your mistakes or benefit from your ideas. Even my recounts of days at the tennis can give people who want to attend the same event next year a good idea of where to go to see their favourite players without going to a specific court. And advice posts, duh, give advice.
It took me a while to gain the ability to put a spin on all post ideas I had and give them a purpose for my audience, find something within them that they could take away from the post. Even with this. This post was going to be a ramble about where I want my blog to go from here on in, and it is, but why only do that when I can also help you do the same if you're struggling the way I used to?
Don't throw out post ideas that don't have an obvious benefit for the reader, just rack your brain to find a way to make sure your audience gets something out of said blog post idea. Even if you want to tell a funny story about an experience you had, you can give your audience some escapism and entertainment. (Wow that last bit gave me flashbacks to media A Level - ew).

GET PERSONAL & WRITE FROM EXPERIENCE

The failsafe! It's so much easier to find your niche by writing what you know, because nothing is more you than being personal. You don't have to get deep and share secrets you hold about tougher times in your life, but if there is ever something you go to Google and you can't find the results you want on the topic or question, write the answer yourself.
I did this with Fuckboys. I was going out of my mind trying not to let my best friend get sucked in by a literal sociopath and I used to frantically Google stuff like 'what do I do if my best friend is getting played' 'how do I get someone to see their guy is a fuckboy' to no avail. And then I thought, surely if I'm stressing my lil head about this, someone else will be too. 
In the first few weeks of starting this blog, I was trying to get work experience to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and figured out how to write a killer cover letter, so I did a post on how to go about it. I used to go to multiple Script concerts every frickin year so I wrote a post on why you should take the plunge and buy that concert ticket you've been thinking about. One of my best friends lives in Ireland which is a huge struggle so I wrote a post on the struggles of having a long distance bestie. After getting a retail job I found a sick way to save up money and managed to save enough for $900 spending money when I went to NYC last year which was crazy so I wrote a post on how I was saving my money whilst still sometimes buying unnecessary clothes. 
And, now I look back on these posts, the ones that I wrote from my own personal experiences, they answered my question above - were they giving my audience something? Ya damn right they were.

TRY STUFF OUT WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT ~YOUR BRAND~

Are you like me and enjoy a million different aesthetics? All white and simplistic, grungy with capital letters and block fonts, 'basic bitch' with marble and millennial pink? Are you struggling to find a consistent way to lay out your blog posts so you like they way they look? Literally up until my food in London post I was like wtf my posts don't look the way I want them to. And then suddenly, when I had the pics and the words, they did. Or at least that one did, but now it's a springboard for my other posts - like this one!! Play around before you find what you want, don't dedicate to something without trying other stuff out and thinking for a good while if you want to stick to the same one thing. Don't buy a blog theme straightaway because you saw it a couple days ago and thought it was quite you just to get bored in a couple months time and have to fork out another £50 or so for something that's more you. 
Me? I love all of those things I listed at the top and I'm tryna combine them at the moment, and it's kinda working. Blog posts in capitals, a white theme on my Insta, millennial pink accents and link colours on my blog theme. This blog theme I was obsessed with for nearly a year before buying it in January, and now that I'm falling in love with my blog again I'm so thankful I got it because it's really working the way I want it to now. I'm still here for the sidebar profile pics on blogs, old school af xxxx


COMPARISON IS THE. DEVIL.

Comparing myself to others is my actual downfall. Whether or not it's to do with blogging, I don't want to do it and I try my hardest not to but it just happens in my head. My subconscious is the actual worst. It just happens. But I somehow stopped comparing my blog to others and just doing what I always wanted to do (to a degree, I don't have the money / equipment / time for that and I'm fine with that) and it worked. I don't know how I stopped comparing so I can't totally help you there but I think it's just acceptance that other people are in a different situation than you, they are able to allocate their time to blogging in a way that you might not yet be able to so they will look 'better' than you and that's ok. And don't feel as though you have to write a certain post or take a certain photo because everyone else does and you want to be able to compare with them.





As for my blog, this is the direction it's going in. I've made up my indecisive mind and let's see how long I'll stick with it (for once I think I will - lol have I just jinxed that).

  • Longer, 'lifestyle' posts sort of like this one accompanied with either outfit photos or relevant other imagery that fits with the aesthetic I enjoy. I don't want to just put up a few pics of an outfit with five sentences about it when that could be done on Insta - I want to give you, my audience, something with every single post. After my countless Twitter polls I realised that y'all enjoy these most too and I definitely enjoy writing them the most, I was just worried nobody read a long post but I was proven wrong.
  • Being unapologetic but not irrelevant with the topics close to my heart. Like, it's at that point where we know tennis is my thing now and so I will talk about it, but why should I give you a US Open recap (totally irrel) when I can instead tell you how the women deserve more within the sport or make it a personal post with my experience at a match instead of telling you about one I watched on TV that you could've experienced in the exact same way. Music is something I want to get back to a lot more too, but playlists were kinda pointless so I'd rather review a good gig or album instead of posting music I've been listening to when I do that via Twitter screenshots anyway.
  • Being myself - telling you what I've done, what I love, mistakes I've made. Sharing opinions I have strong views on and informing you on issues close to my heart. Speaking about things in the same way I would to a friend over coffee instead of trying to sound cold and stiff as if I was an instruction manual for flat pack furniture. 
  • An aesthetic I love but that I'm not pressuring myself to rigidly fit in every single post ever. Now I've seen that I can actually present a post in a way I truly like, it's given me that belief that I can aesthetically produce posts in a way that satisfies me, but I'm not going to force something to fit that 'look' instead of letting the ~creative juices~ flow when they want to flow in a somewhat different direction.


Now I'm moving to uni and starting a whole new experience, who knows how often I'll upkeep this blog when, let's be real, I've not been able to for over a year. But now I've finally found that niche I have the motivation to create so I'm hoping I won't leave you all stranded for months at a time. Let's see what happens from now on, now that I've found a 'niche' that I am happy with and a certain way to create content that I enjoy. Here's to a new direction for yasminstefanie.com 

Yasmin




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3 comments

  1. Im just starting off and this has been so helpful.

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  2. Started my blog at the end of November and it’s so reassuring to hear this from someone of a similar age to me. Thank you so much and good look with you’re Journalism degree!!
    www.interstellarem.co.uk

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  3. I'm so glad this has been a bit of help to you! when I first started my blog I'd just finished secondary school and felt soooo young in comparison to everyone behind the blogs I read so I know what you mean, but I guess it gives you a bit of an advantage and USP. thankyou X

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