Are niches the way forward for blogs?

SimonGeneral2 Comments

Richard Millington has an interesting post about positioning your blog in the crowded PR blogging scene.

As a newcomer to my thirties I’m not sure I can respond as his post is titled “For young PR bloggers”, but I do have a few thoughts that probably apply to us older PR bloggers too.

Richard’s take is that PR bloggers need to specialise in tighter and tighter niches in order to differentiate themselves.

He’s right that moving into a smaller niche is one way to achieve differentiation.

However it’s not the only way. Another way of differentiating yourself in a crowded marketplace is on quality – stand out by being (among) the best in your field.

Writing the best posts, having the most interesting discussions or breaking stories the quickest – these are all ways that a blogger could differentiate him/herself in the marketplace. It’s still about satisfying a niche, but in a different way.

The other thing that struck me was that when I subscribe to a blog’s feed, I usually do it on the basis of who the author is. I subscribe to hear their opinions, as well as the information they provide.

Sometimes the posts they write aren’t covering the same topic as I’d expect them to, but what they’re writing is interesting nevertheless as it’s their take on it. The added value that the particular blogger provides is what I’m subscribing to.

Looking at it this way I’m not sure ever tighter niches are a sustainable way to differentiate yourself as a blogger. In the short term they’ll work, but as those niches become busier where do you move to next?

It strikes me that a more sustainable way to differentiate yourself in the PR blogosphere is to identify what you want to be known for (insight, speed, analysis, niche specialism) and create a consistently-delivered personal brand around this through your writing.

Part of this involves having a niche and sticking to it – but that alone isn’t enough anymore.

2 Comments on “Are niches the way forward for blogs?”

  1. Richard Millington

    You are right. Developing a niche is definitely not the only way forward for new PR bloggers.

    Breaking news first (though isn’t this a form of aggregation?), delivering great insight or detailed analysis would probably attracter a greater audience. But this is also the most difficult to deliver. Many new PR bloggers wont have the ability, or authority, to deliver such high-standard of posts.

  2. simon

    I guess whether breaking news first is aggregation depends on where the news came from in the first place!

    Anyhow I take your point about new PR bloggers on ability – although I’ve found that developing strategic thoughts in blog posts has definitely sharpened my thinking.

    As for authority, I think that comes with time and experience – but it’s certainly something any new PR blogge r can aspire to – given the flat and equal nature of the blogosphere

    cheers,
    sw

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