This simple question is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and as it’s cropped up in numerous meetings with PRs over the past fortnight, I thought I’d blog about it as I’d love to open up the conversation and hear your thoughts.
As a general rule, it’s advisable to have a niche. If you ever go to a blogging 101 workshop or read the ten millionth article on “how to start a blog and be the next BLOGGER MILLIONAIRE” (because obviously there are sooooooo many blogger millionaires, right?), you’ll generally read something along the lines of…
“Figure out what you’re good at and stick to it. Find a niche, be it luxury skincare or budget travel or vegan baking…and make that YOUR THING.”
And I totally get it. One of the reasons my original WIWT blog worked so well and got the media attention (not to mention commercial opportunities) that it did was because it was simple: daily outfit posts. I suppose we could drill into it a bit further and say that my “thing” was taking photos in mirrors – it had low production values and the associated copy was always about having a bit of fun with fashion. Old tracky bottoms were as welcome as designer handbags and I tried to always be relatable, whether that was complaining about Spanx giving me mid-thigh tire problems under skinny jeans or just saying “yeah actually this top is six years old so you can’t buy it any more but it’s nice isn’t it?”.
But now? I don’t have a niche, I can’t succinctly tell you what I do.
I find it very strange when I am introduced to people as a fashion blogger because if you’ve read anything I’ve done in the last few years, you probably wouldn’t call me that. Of course I still upload the odd outfit to Instagram and I do indeed write fashion content for Late Night London, but you don’t see me posting regular outfits on here or telling you about dresses and shoes.
Now I blog about all sorts: food, travel, beauty, life, health, books, TV. You name it.
Then what about other platforms? A cursory glance of my Instagram feed and you might think I’m some sort of poached egg/skincare specialist. Head to Twitter and you’d conclude that the only things I care about are Ander Herrera and parrots (to be fair, this is a pretty accurate representation). Then on Snapchat it’s a different story again, where you’d probably pigeon hole me as a demented housewife above anything else.
Can I argue that my niche is “being me”? I’m not sure. And when you do this type of stuff for a living like I do, am I making it harder for brands and readers to understand what it is my blog/social platforms are trying to bring to the ever crowded table?
I think one thing I’m quite lucky about, is that this blog is named after me. I haven’t named it “Cashmere Sweaters With Bowls of Kittens” (which, certainly for me, conjures up a very specific blog ‘type’) and by using my own name I feel like I have more license to blog about whatever the hell I want. I don’t have ‘skincare’, ‘vegetarian’ or ‘shoes’ in my blog title, so in that sense I’m not confusing anyone.
But is it good enough to just say “I blog about whatever I want, basically”?
I hope that it is, because what I like about bloggers is their personalities. I generally follow blogs because I’ve fallen a bit in love with the blogger writing them, which means I don’t care if they’re talking about a restaurant on the other side of the world that I’ll never go to or a pack of breastfeeding pads that I don’t need: I read them because I like THEM. Them as a person. I like their writing style and I like following their lives.
I do worry sometimes that some blogs have become too much like magazines. I understand the commercial reasons for why it has happened, but isn’t it the blogger personalities that we all fell in love with back in the beginning?
I don’t want this to turn into a “blogging was better back in 2010” rant because I don’t necessarily think it was, but I do hope that bloggers feel able to explore what they want to write about as they get older and their tastes and interests change. And that brands will understand this and there will still be commercial opportunities for people who can’t necessarily be pegged as “FASHION BLOGGER”, “TRAVEL BLOGGER”, “FOOD BLOGGER” or what have you.
And I guess whilst my blog content covers lots of topics I still do have some things about me that stay the same – my writing style, my post lengths, my honesty, ME. *I* haven’t changed, I’ve just shared more of me I suppose as the years have gone by. My recent step into the world of vlogging has helped me bring some more of my personality across, but I still wonder with that if I should *just* make beauty videos. Or food videos. Or London-videos.
What do you think? Do you prefer blogs that cover one thing well? Or is it more about the blogger themselves and how they write? And if you are a blogger, do you worry about carving out a niche and easily being able to label yourself…or am I just being a bit ridiculous?! Would love to hear from any brands/PRs on their thoughts too!