Blogging: stretching your niche to a chasm


English: Saltwater Fly Fishing Guide Alec Grif...
Saltwater Fly Fishing Guide Alec Griffin with a Louisiana Redfish. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After about 18-months of blogging, and no longer feeling like the New Kid on the Blog, I thought I’d take a step back and have a look at the whole phenomenon of putting finger to keypad (as opposed to pen to paper) and expressing oneself. There is no shortage of “blogging how-to” sites out there – many of them are blogs themselves. These blogs

Just throw strikes? Sweet jumping Jesus what did he think I’d been trying to do for the last ten minutes?

remind me of when I was an undergraduate majoring in Sociology and people would ask me what one does with a Sociology degree. The answer is simple of course, one hopes to secure a position teaching Sociology. (Many graduates also work as Sociologists carrying out valuable research; it just seemed that most of the folks I knew were looking for teaching positions.) Blogs about blogging are in some ways self-fulfilling entities. Not that that’s a bad thing!

theeternalloop.com
theeternalloop.com

The first blogging rule of thumb that many of these sites mention is right out of the No Shit Sherlock school of thought. Namely, produce quality content. Really? That would never have  crossed my mind. I always thought the secret was to string together a bunch of garbage and maybe illustrate it with some crappy graphics and Voila! a blog post. It reminded me of when I used to be a pitcher in a number of fast-pitch softball leagues. From time to time I’d walk a batter or two and inevitably a well-intentioned infielder would come over to me and say “We’re behind you, don’t worry, just throw strikes”. Just throw strikes? Sweet jumping Jesus what did he think I’d been trying to do for the last ten minutes? I think we can assume we always attempt to provide quality blog content. Not that it always turns out as we had hoped, but no one intentionally sets out to write poorly. No real need for all these sites to emphasize the need for good content.

Blogs about blogging are in some ways self-fulfilling entities.

There are some standard dos and don’ts that keep popping up on how-to sites. Often one of the first “rules” of blogging is to find your niche and stick to it. For some that’s easy; if you decide to devote your blog to fly fishing because you love the sport your niche is easily defined. Mind you, if you love and blog about fly fishing, it isn’t beyond belief that you might also have an interest in other outdoor sports. If so you can either start other blogs about each of your interests or, more sensibly, you can widen your niche to include these other fields. Let’s not call it a niche, but a crevasse. Don’t stop there, maybe you also like to bake cakes and cookies, and collect stamps, and even express your outrage at social inequalities. Are you going to strike up a different blog for every element of your personality? I don’t know about you, but I just don’t have that much time on my hands.

Don’t box yourself in, go with your strengths. Call it “Moral outrages from a floury fly-fisher”

A better idea, in my humble opinion, is to again widen your focus, at this point let’s refer to it as a chasm. I believe many if not most of us are complex people with interesting opinions and ideas on a variety of subjects. Don’t box yourself in, go with your strengths. Call it “Moral outrages from a floury fly-fisher”.

But you might want to stop at chasm. Give yourself enough leeway to allow some freedom, but don’t try to be all things to all people. In other words, don’t go to canyon!

Next time: promoting your blog.

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