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Five Questions to Ask Before Launching Your Blog by Rochelle Melander

September 15, 2015

Note From Rochelle

Dear Writers,

Fabienne Fredrickson

Fabienne Fredrickson

Last week I traveled to Chicago and took part in Fabienne Fredrickson’s The Half-Day Solution workshop. It was helpful to spend a day with other entrepreneurs, visioning and brainstorming together. My big lesson? I can build a business alone, but I learn more and grow faster when I connect with others!

One thing I heard multiple times from the people I met in Chicago was: I know I should start a blog, but I’m overwhelmed by the whole idea of it! I hear that from writers, too. They’ve heard that in order to build a platform, they need a blog. But what should they blog about? Who should they write for—other writers or potential readers?

Today’s tip talks about how to find your blog’s niche. Understanding what your blog is about and who you are writing for is a key step in creating your blog. If you finish the article and feel like you need more help with starting your blog or evaluating it, I can help! Together, we can vision how to make your blog more engaging for your readers.

Happy Writing! Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach

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If you want your blog to succeed, you need to find a niche and fill it brilliantly. Great blogs have a distinct point of view and audience. One look at an engaging blog, and readers know who the blog is written for (and who would hate it). Great blogs do not cater to the masses (EVERYONE loves it). Instead, these blogs root themselves in their own niche and then proclaim their message exceedingly well.

Here are five questions to ask before you start a blog. They’ll help you determine if your blog’s niche works—or needs more work:

Can you state your blog’s niche in one sentence or short phrase? Think about the most popular and interesting blogs online—their niche is easily articulated:

Smitten Kitchen: Delicious home cooking from a small kitchen in NYC.

Nir and Far: Behavior and the brain for business.

Terrible Minds: Frank writing advice with bad language and no coddling.  

Can you explain why you are the perfect person to blog on this topic? Most writers are smart enough to blog on lots of stuff, from handbags to hummus. But tell me this: why are you specifically qualified to blog on this topic? Readers today want authenticity. Your blog’s niche and point of view must fit who you really are—or your blog will fail.

Can you describe your ideal reader? We want desperately to write for everyone—to be so popular that we appeal to the masses. But creating a blog that appeals to everyone is rare. It’s better to define who will read your blog and then create a great product for your crowd. Define your reader in great detail. Ask: What is my readers’ age and gender? What do they value? What are their biggest challenges? Where do they shop? What do they buy? Why would they seek out this blog? (Don’t forget: if your blog is going to succeed, NOT everyone will like it!) Pro Tip: Once you’ve identified your ideal reader, list 3-6 places they hang out both on and offline. You’ll need this information to market your blog to potential readers!

Can you articulate how you will meet the needs of your ideal reader? In more traditional marketing language, what will be your unique selling proposition? Let’s go back to one of the blogs mentioned above. Smitten Kitchen teaches readers how to make great food in a small space. It doesn’t require the reader to be a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef to make the dishes. Smitten Kitchen provides readers with step-by-step instructions for making delicious food with photos. Now it’s your turn. How will your blog help readers? In what ways will it inspire, teach, encourage, or nudge?

Can you list (at least) 25 potential blog topics? You will need to have enough unique material to sustain a reader’s interest over a long period of time. Otherwise, what you thought was a great blog idea might be better suited to an article.

Whew! If you can provide detailed answers to each of my five questions, you are well on your way to finding a blogging niche that works!

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