I just read a post on Paid to Exist about creating your own niche rather than choosing an existing one:
When you stop playing other people’s game and stop competing on other people’s terms, something incredible happens. You move from being left in the dust, to being the only one in the race.
This is really solid advice for anyone pondering possible topics for a blog.
I know... I know.... I'm going to write about travelling the world whilst working from my laptop!
Um, someone's done that already.
Maybe I can blog about finding your passion?
Nope. That's taken. He's better looking than you, too.
Be more specific...
Vegan cookery? Um, for dogs?
Dude! Give me a break here....
And so it goes on and on.
The list of tried-and-tested topics to blog about is endless
But that's not a good thing.
I should know. Before I started CycleLove I brainstormed a load of other ideas for blogs.
One of the less ropey concepts was to do something about the paleo diet, but specifically for cyclists. Sounds like a niche, right?
I purchased a domain name, and started to draft a content plan. Then I realised I knew very little about the paleo diet. And close to nothing about meeting the nutritional requirements of professional cyclists either.
There's also the distinct possibility that the entire paleo diet is a load of baloney. (I quickly moved onto the Bulletproof Diet because it has a much more solid scientific basis, and allowed me to eat rice without feeling guilty about it. I lost a lot of weight, in case you're wondering).
Anyhow. It's probably a good thing that I let that particular niche be.
Taking ownership of an untested niche takes balls.
You're going to have to take a stand, to disagree with people, and to take the flak when you get their back up.
There won't be a roadmap. Sometimes you won't even feel like you're on a path.
But the rewards are worth it.
Firstly, carving a niche of your own allows you to be yourself.
(Everyone else is taken, remember?)
And secondly, it transforms you from a sheep into a pioneer. Or from a stumbling zombie into the badass guy with the shotgun blowing them to pieces. Start blogging about paleo recipes for zombies. They already eat a lot of meat. I don't know. I'll leave this metaphor alone now.
Whatever you write about, make sure that no-one has done it quite like you before.
It's taken me a while to get into my stride with CycleLove.
I came up with a mantra — "humans on bikes, not cyclists" — which seemed to repel and attract people in equal numbers.
I'd get an email in praise of it one minute, and an angry tweet the next. This put me off my stride, at first... but...
Pissing people off is good
It took me a while to realise this, but it's true.
You can't be friends with everyone.
And for every person you repel, you will attract another with an equal and opposite force.
That's how magnetism works, baby.
So today I posted another 1,000 words to CycleLove about humans on bikes not "cyclists", and made by niche a little deeper. (I hope).
PS. Americans, there is no "t" in niche. Niche. Not nitch. Got it? Good :)
PPS. I just found an article about vegan cooking for dogs. Oh dear.
Posted to writing in 2013.