There are so many things I could say to bloggers who are struggling or just starting out.
But by far my biggest tip? Get specific.
Compare and Contrast
It’s really tempting to look at other blogs that have great success covering a broad range of topics.
I think of bloggers like The Pioneer Woman who has built an empire blogging about a lot of things – from food to marriage to parenting – and she does an amazing job at it. The temptation is to look at her success and think everyone can follow that model and win.
My advice? Don’t be fooled into thinking you can blog about everything from your family’s prized chili recipe to your weekend happenings and all of the sudden, blog empire!
It’s not impossible, but it’s much more difficult to blog about a broad topic or series of topics and make your blog successful.
Bloggers like The Pioneer Woman started when there were but a handful of bloggers and there wasn’t much competition. Yes, their content was and is still amazing today. But now there are millions of blogs out there that have the same goal as you.
The solution? Find your niche, your thing, your specific topic so you can stick out and become noticeable and searchable.
Take Minimalist Baker for example (if that’s not too vain). We only post recipes that require 10 ingredients, 30 minutes, or 1 bowl or less. That’s what people know us for.
Two other examples include What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today (a strictly breakfast blog), and My New Roots (a blog dedicated to whole foods that heal). People know them for that, which makes them instantly more appealing.
Getting More Specific
Here are some examples of topics I would further refine.
Simple recipes -> 5 ingredients or less
Healthy recipes -> 400 calories or less
Dessert recipes -> Everything chocolate
Paleo recipes -> Affordable Paleo recipes (all under $10 or less)
Do you see the difference? And furthermore, do you see how you’re solving a more specific problem for your audience?
People want simple recipes. Wow them with 5 ingredient meals.
People want healthy recipes. Give them something specific, like 400 calorie meals.
People want dessert recipes. Stick out in that arena with all chocolate recipes.
People want paleo recipes. Solve a common paleo issue by providing paleo recipes for $10 or less.
Reap the Benefits
In addition to becoming more searchable, something else happens when you get specific: You serve your audience better.
Why? Because you get really good at that one thing. If you’re the salad blog, you better believe that in 1 year you’ll be the near expert on crafting salads, and everyone will know to seek out your blog when they’re looking for a great salad recipe.
Specific, Not a Theme
When I say specific, I’m not talking about a theme. For instance, you like the color green so you call your blog Pinch me Green in the Kitchen. It’s cute, but what is that telling me about your food blog?
Should I expect green foods? Will all of the photos have green in them?
What’s drawing me in? And more importantly, what problem are you solving?
If you’re just starting out…
To new bloggers, really consider your topic. This isn’t a perfect equation (and yes, your content and photos still have to be valuable and attractive), but the more specific you can get with your topic, the easier it will be to stick out and find an engaged audience.
So dig deep, consider what you love (Is it wine? All things chocolate? Sunday meals?). Can you make a blog around that? Do it!
Whittle down those interests to your most solid options that could fall into an attractive niche. Then, ask friends and family to get some feedback on what would be most appealing to the broader public and go from there.
If you’ve been blogging for a while…
If you’ve been at it for a while, reconsider your refocus.
Are you a simple meals blogger? Dig deeper and challenge yourself to do nothing but 5 ingredient recipes. It’s OK if that means you have to slightly modify your about page – people will continue following if you continue offering value.
Are you a gluten free blogger? Consider focusing in on one thing, such as gluten free pastas, affordable gluten free, or gluten free desserts.
It will be much easier to stand out when people know what your focus is. You’ll become the expert on that topic, making your blog more noticeable, searchable, and ultimately, more valuable.
Now it’s time for application. Step back and honestly evaluate your blog’s topic. Is it specific enough?
Ask yourself, “What is my blog about?” If you can’t tell me and compel me in one sentence, chances are it’s not specific enough.
So dig in and make your blog’s topic as specific as possible, and start to reap the benefits.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on this topic as well. So feel free to share in the comments!
Image by Whitney Knutson Photography