Thursday, March 18, 2010

ON BLOGGING ~ Nicheless Wonders...

BlogAnon: Joy of Confession

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Welcome to our weekly BlogAnon meeting where we confess a particular blogging sin and turn to you for support, suggestions and that blogging bond so we know we're not all alone. Don't be shy. Read along and let us know if you identify with us this week.

We have broken the first commandment of blogging. "THOUGH SHALT HAVE A NICHE." It isn't that we like being sinful bloggers. We would love to have a niche. It would make blogging simpler. We would know which conferences applied to us. Which blogging communities we fit into. We could more easily find collaborative opportunities. People might know how to categorize us in their Reader!

But no. Since the day we started, I have been searching for a niche. It seems that wise ass blogging is not a niche. And truly, we aren't really a snarky or funny blog. We do that, but we also do serious stuff too. We write stories. We share reviews. We provide tips. We share photos. We are just as passionate about sports as we are films. We know a little bit about a lot of stuff. So we tend to attract a very varied audience. But it is hard to become the go-to Bumble when there isn't a niche to excel in.

I have not found our niche and I am getting frustrated. Not a book blog. Not a photo blog. Not a writing blog. Not a food blog. Not a sports blog. Not a mom blog. Sure - ours is a "Personal Blog." But that isn't so much a niche as a catch-all umbrella term for any blog that doesn't sell something. I want to be more than that. Perhaps I should create a new niche. The Bumble Niche.

A niche for those who take their blogs seriously, seeking to be creative, to entertain, and to educate. A niche with a community of collaborators - where there aren't little boxes that we live in, categorizing us and restricting us. A niche where we are all about idea sharing moments - on any topic. A place where all the other niches go to step outside their comfort zone and branch out to new audiences.

Ah - a Bumble can dream. Instead of nicheless wanderers in the blogosphere, we could be pioneers. And when someone asked me what our niche was, I'd have a simple answer to the question - we're a Bumble Niche. Duh!

What is your niche? Does it make you feel pigeon holed or structured? What are the best benefits to being a part of your niche? What would you consider our niche to be and do you want to join it? Don't be afraid to share - your blogger thoughts are safe with us!

33 comments:

Sun Singer said...

My niche has not been as narrow nor as attention getting as I hoped.

The more of a niche I try to carve out, the less traffic I get. So, I stray from writing and writing-related thoughts and ideas out to wider ground.

I wonder if others do this, too.

Malcolm

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I don't have a niche but in the past year I have narrowed the items I post at least to deal mostly with books, which I never did before. It's still not niche-y enough, but I think it's as niche-y as I can get. However, I think most readers would like to be able to count on going to a niche they want in a blog. Unfortunately, that does not tend to be me.

Susan said...

Does one really need a niche for one's blog other than self-expression? I obviously don't really have a niche either and I never worried about it until YOU put it in my head! Thank you very much! ;) Now it's all I'll be thinking about! Maybe I'll be in the Bumble Niche, too!

Penny said...

What is your niche? I believe I fall under a half Bumble Niche and a half Music Niche.

Does it make you feel pigeon holed or structured? I like that I don't necessarily have a beaten path I can stray off of. But the contrary is I sometimes feel like I don't really fit in. Everyone has a theme..even your Bumble Blog has a rhyme..Monday is movies, Tuesday..etc, etc. Mine is just a mash up of stuff with lots of art and music thrown in. Sigh.

What are the best benefits to being a part of your niche? I think having a niche draws more readers. If you have a mommy blog tons of mommy's seem to flock together. Same with Sports blogs and MILITARY blogs. Those folks are like cliques in high school. So you I feel if I had a niche folks in that same niche would have my bloggy back.

What would you consider our niche to be and do you want to join it? Man I don't know...I can't really describe my niche so I don't think I could describe yours. I know whatever it is, like I said above, yours is def. more organized :)
Of course I will always join in! I love you guys! You keep me entertained, you feed my brain and you make me smile AND you love the Red Sox. Perfect :)

The Bumbles said...

Malcolm = I have always heard the more specific the niche, the easier it is to market. However, it can also be restrictive. I may want to be the expert in pens, but if there isn't a large audience for pens, I'm not going to draw a large crowd. However, if I collaborated with the writing niche, I would reach a huge audience, while still staying focused.


The broader the niche becomes, the harder it is to categorize and the more challenging marketing can become. Deciding to cover writing is a very large area that can be tapped into - but without a specialty people have no reason to focus on you. Picking what you do best/know the most about within writing such as how to self-publish a book, or helpful research methods for writing fiction, or how to make author appearances a success etc. makes it easier for people to identify your focus and helps to make you an expert.

So finding a focus, a specialty, a passion - a "niche" makes it easier for you and your audience. Thus our frustration in being nicheless!

The Bumbles said...

Rhapsody = I have always considered you to be a book blogger. Based on your blog's name, images and general post topics of reviews. So I think you have a nice niche-y world. You cover a lot within your blog - more than just reviews. Excellent writing, interesting perspectives on literature - and life. So if you wanted to become even more niche-y you could be the preeminent reviewer of non-fiction for example. But if your goal/desire is to be expressive about all things literature, I think you're doing that extremely well. I always feel like I've walked into an awesome library and settled into a comfy corner to chat books with someone in the know when I visit your blog.

The Bumbles said...

Susan = No. If self-expression is your goal/desire, no niche is required. It is your blog. You can do whatever you like with it. That is the beauty of blogging. I consider yours a place for everyday reflections/essays. With a knack for beautifully expressing the human side of the world.

If however your desire was to do more than just express through writing creatively, then a niche would more easily propel you toward that goal. If you wanted to become a writer, using your blog to land a job, your blog would become your platform and the more readers you have, the more enticing you are to future earning opportunities. So if you wanted to write for National Geographic or some other such travel/environment niche, your blog's creative writing would focus on those kinds of pieces. Still self-expressing, still your own creative license. Still for you. But easily adaptable, approachable, to others in the field you seek.

Lin said...

I think, like you, I cover many things, so I don't know where I fit in either. I do some story-telling, share some photos, got the stripey-cat thing going, sometimes I write about the weirdo family--but I'm not sure I have a niche either. I hate the term "mommy" blog and kill me if someone calls me that. I don't do giveaways or reviews. I'm just sort of potpourri.

Maybe that should be the category ....Potpourri or Today's Special.

I think niches can harm you too--I like the variety-type blogs. Keep it up!

The Bumbles said...

Penny = Yes, I agree with your self-categorization. I think of you as a music fan, with lots of creative artistic expression on your blog. So maybe you fall more under the Artsy Blog niche? Because you cover music, crafts, decorative foods, etc. You could fit into the Crafting Blog niche. The Music Niche. The Food Niche. You already separate them out - you have your cakes blog and your photo blog. I think that is helpful both for you to keep them organized and focused, but also for people interested in your sweets for example to easily get what they need from that site without having to search through all of your other interests. It is easily marketable if you wanted to use it as a platform for your own business, and you could tie it in to your more artsy/expressive by using your original/main blog as the umbrella for all of your creative outlets. So many possibilities.

The Bumbles said...

Lin = You state right off that yours is a place of random thoughts - announcing a nicheless environment. That we never know what we'll get from you. Kind of like pot luck. Yes, similar to ours I think. I would not categorize you as a Mom Blog - I don't get that sense from your site. You, like Susan, are more Everyday Reflections. Family, observations, Hobbes, etc. But you do collaborate in the creative writing niche on the Write To Read blog. Your Duck & Wheel blog is a place for people to better get to know you and your life, have a vested interest in who you are. Connecting this blog to the writing blog allows both audiences to see different sides of you and I think that is effective marketing, whether you intend it or not.

Dave and Tami said...

We didn't set out to have a niche, but I guess we do somewhat because the majority of our blog is about what we're reading and encouraging couples to read together. It came about from our own experience of trying something new (reading aloud to each other), liking it and wanting to share.

However, I find that my favorite blogs are those that give me some glimpses into the blogger's personality. Then it's more like reading a note from a friend and I tend to put more weight on their reviews, just like I do when I share book suggestions with a friend.

I guess having a niche is important if you are trying to market your blog for $$, a job or a book deal - but we're just in it for the kicks, so we're much less limited.

By the way - we love the variety of your blog.

boliyou said...

I have two blogs. One might be considered niche-less, or else its niche is "ephemera." That's www.endomental.com.

The other is a newer blog, and definitely fits into a niche. It's www.iheartrhody.com.

Neither draws a lot of traffic, but I definitely see more particular interest in the niche blog. Certainly much MUCH more Twitter followers and FB traffic since we started the niche blog.

The Bumbles said...

Tami = Niches are also useful for marketing a passion/belief/knowledge. Your blog could be used to spread the joy and benefits of reading together. There is a nice blog called Book Chook where the woman promotes childhood literacy - just because it is her passion. She does a free newsletter, collaborates with professionals as well as regular bloggers, and doesn't make a dime from it. She could I'm sure. But she just wants to talk about getting kids to read. You do the same thing, on a smaller scale. Promoting the world of reading. Libraries would love you guys. Your Read Together Challenge could be marketed to libraries across the world, and people could sign up through their library's site/newsletter and it would all be because of your passion for reading. Causes that are wonderful become niches all to themselves. And sharing your personality is something I agree 100% with you about. You listen to and are loyal to people you know as opposed to generic blogs pitching something without giving you a vested interest in who they are.

The Bumbles said...

Boliyou = Well, I had to look up the definition of ephemera so thank you for teaching me something today! Transitory, temporary, not meant to be preserved. But when it gave "air sickness bags" as an example, I decided that wouldn't be the right word for your blog!

Blogs themselves originated as online journals. And sometimes that is all our blogs are meant to and should be. Private or public, they exist to serve only ourselves. If they introduce us to other cool people in the process, bonus.

So some things need to remain nicheless. But ones like your new RI site? That's a great example of using a focused niche to garner a targeted audience. I'm bookmarking it - maybe we can collaborate some day!

LJ said...

What's wrong with just "being" blog? I don't think I have a niche. Or at least that's how if feels, but then again - I didn't know I needed one.

stacybuckeye said...

I always knew my blog was going to be about books. I'm not interested in writing about my life...who would want to read that?! I have added more movie coverage in the last year, but I think that goes hand in hand with books. It's all storytelling. I do occasionally write about other things that interest me like Ohio State and travels, but I like having a base of books. I like the Bumbles variety niche :)

The Bumbles said...

LJ = Nothing wrong with being nicheless - see my response to Boliyou above. Everyone's reason for blogging is different. I personally think of you as the place to go when I want to smile really big and laugh really loud.

The Bumbles said...

Stacy = Yes, you have embraced the book blog niche. And I think you are smart in the way your quizzes are recurring, interactive and relate directly to your niche. That gives your target audience a reason to come by, gives them something to do and they keep coming back to tally up all those points for bookish gifts!

Janet said...

I don't have a niche...I just blog for the fun of it :-)

~Bry~ said...

I keep waiting for a niche to pop in my head....but so far nothing. I am just blogging whatever life brings me now. I am okay with it....but still I keep thinking.

The Bumbles said...

Janet = One of these days I'm gonna find you that culinary photography job! To me your blog is all about the images. The photos you share and the ones you paint with your words. You are very expressive and open with your cancer and therefore inspiring. Your blog is a great personal outlet for you throughout all of that I am sure - probably more than it was when you started. Sometimes we need them to just be outlets - not niches.

The Bumbles said...

Bry = I think you hit the nail on the head - about just blogging about what life delivers? You are a reporter of life - yours and those around you. What a cool way to put it. That's a pretty awesome reporting gig - unless your life totally sucked - which from what you've reported it does not seem to be - oh you, the queen of New Orleans beads!

Matty said...

This is quite an interesting topic. As for the Bumbles, I see you as a buffet. A little bit about a lot of things. Having a niche can, as you say, have pros and cons. You might be the "go to" blog for a specific issue, but then again, that person might not visit you often if they don't have a need to come over. Others who never have an interest in your specialty won't come at all.

When I first starting blogging, it was out of curiosity. I never started it with a plan or goal in mind. Heck, I didn't even know what blogging was about. I just knew that I wanted a baseball theme look, but not that I was necessarily going to only write about baseball. In fact, as you've probably seen, I rarely do mention the sport. As time has passed, I think I've developed into a little bit of this and that. Of course, I'm looking at myself. Someone who visits me might see me differently.

The Bumbles said...

Matty = Love It! The Buffet Blog Niche! Hooray! That is exactly what our non-descript blog is - and your phrase makes it sound delicious and something to anticipate - though we would hope people come by more than on just Sundays. I think of you as a Buffet Blog too - poetry, family, sports, photos. Although you've recently started your separate photo blog - I enjoyed the sky/tree perspective post by the way. So by branching out you are placing yourself into specific niches there. And of course, as a male blogger, you could fall under the Guy Blog Niche. But like Mom Blogs, I think that is too broad an umbrella. But I'm sure you feel a special comaraderie with the other guys blogging out there. That's what niches do too - they welcome you into a community. Which is always fun. Being a Buffet, we just ask all kinds of bloggers to stop on by and take what they like. And hope they come back to be a part of our community.

kaye said...

I'm socializing----

and I love the bumble blog, it's perfect. Varied and interesting, wonderful for someone who is socializing.

Beth F said...

Crap. I wrote a long and funny (at least I thought it was) comment and blogger ate it. Crap.

I'll just try to reconstruct my last bit: Nicheless or nicheful, I like your blog and I don't think one has to be narrow to have fun and to have readers.

ds said...

You must be psychic Bumbles! My "niche" if I truly have one, has always been books. They're the only thing I know. But I do get sidetracked. And I loathe pigeonholes.(No hope, huh?)
As for you, you have accomplished that most wonderful of creative endeavors: you have carved your own niche. You are the Bumbles!
Don't trade your distinction for someone else's idea of what a blog should be. You've hit on what works for you, and we are all grateful!

Ashley Ladd said...

I've been tryinjg to keep to a writing/reading/blogging niche on ashleyladd.blogspot.com But it can be hard to come up with posts.

As you can see I'm more of a weekend blogger. I'm too busy at work to get on the internet for personal things - PLUS my work blocks social sites and blogs and if they didn't and they found out I was doing personal things, I'd still get in trouble. And lately I don't get home from work till 8 or 9 pm even though I start at 8:30 am.

I'm enjoying your conference on Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference. You have a very nice voice. :)

Also, even though you don't have a niche, I come at least once a week to check out your feature on blogging. I love your Monday movies but when i don't get home til late Mondays, it's hard for me to join in. Maybe if it was posted late Sunday I could post before I go to sleep Sunday night.

Bitten by Books said...

Now Molly,

Doesn't being Nicheless actually make you into your own niche? The "nicheless" niche?


I will have to lay down and think about that. LOL nice to meet you today at the conference. Let me know when you are on twitter. he he he
you can follow me then! @bittenbybooks

jehara said...

I have come to terms with this about my own blog earlier this year. I don't have a niche and I don't think I ever will because I don't want to just talk about any one thing. I love to read and read a lot of book bloggers, but I am not a book blogger. I like to review some of the books I read, but that isn't all that I blog. I love participating in Thursday Thirteen and is the only meme I keep up with. I just like to write about whatever I feel like writing about, whether that be about yoga, books, traveling, adventures or sharing photos.
Can I be in the Bumbles niche?
That sounds brilliant. :)

caite said...

I am still trying to get over the shock of finding out that 'wise ass blogging is not a niche'!

are you sure about that??

Lynn said...

I love your blog, Molly & Andy, precisely because I never know exactly what I'll find when I come to visit. It's like wandering through a bookstore where you spend a leisurely afternoon looking at all different sections, stopping at whatever catches your eye -- sometimes I get to visit you in the movie section; sometimes it's travel; sometimes it's sports. I think you have a great niche that is uniquely Bumblish. You're the variety store of the blog world :)

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

I love Matty's description: a buffet blog. That's what I think my niche is also. I love writing about a variety of things. I like reading your blog for that reason also. I have regular followers who also have "buffet" blogs and it feels more like we are friends talking about a variety of topics. For me, that's the fun of it all.