Monday, December 13, 2010

The Art of Niche Blogging

In my other life as a mom, I run a fairly popular niche blog for attachment parenting.  Now I'm not the queen of social media, but I've learned a few things about building a successful blog, and as any writer will tell you having an audience before you have a product to sell is a good thing.  Why?  Because you've built a loyal base who is willing to go out and buy your book!  So here's the deal.  I want to expand this blog into a better, more focused one that readers know will offer specific insights or ideas rather than just me blathering on about writing a novel.  So in exchange for your feedback on what I might choose as my focus, I will share some of my social media tips with you.  Deal?

Now my other site,, has about 15, 000 visitors a month, about 500 subscribed readers, 800 facebook fans, and over 1000 twitter followers.  While this isn't the most amazing following in the world, it's pretty darn good for the 6 months I've been building the blog.  I have some experience from social media from running my own business, which had a bigger following, but the difference is that my Connected Mom followers actively participate in the blog community I've created.  This is key for building your personal brand.  You can't just attract followers, you have to engage them.

1.  Get organized.  Create a dedicated photobucket account, gmail address and google calendar for your blog.  It will help you keep everything together and keep track of important dates as well.

2.  Get connected.  If you don't have a twitter account, a facebook page or an RSS feed.  You need them.  Give your audience ways to connect with you, which leads to number

3.  Get real.  Don't auto follow everyone on twitter and set up autoposting from your blog to Facebook.  Those are tools but they alone will not build an audience.  Engage with your followers.  Ask questions, respond to their posts, provide them with information that is truly useful.  I think the biggest sin of twitter is paying to have something posted to you account every few hours.  If you don't have the time or inclination to get on and get real, then get off.  You won't build a following by offering an autofeed.

4. Get inspiring.  Offer something truly valuable to your readers.  It doesn't have to be profound.  If you are really funny, a self-depricating blog on the publishing world might be your ticket.  If you have expertise in a valuable area, write about that.  Give real help to your readers and they'll be more loyal and more aware of you.

If any of that helped you, would you take a moment to give me some feedback on where I should take this blog?  Obviously I will discuss my own projects but I'd like a more focused niche.  So here are some ideas:

1.  A book analysis blog where I dissect what makes a book work (or not).  Think of it as a book review from a writer's perspective.

2.  A how to market your book site.  Tips on building your brand, promoting your book, etc.

3.  A writer's resource for descriptions of common tasks, items, places, etc.

4.  Got a better idea?  Please share!


  1. I think of these three the third is the best option.

  2. Hi Jen
    Yes, interaction is key--not just to set up a bunch of auto feeds, which are cold and robotic.
    Since you are good at social networking #2 sounds like a natural niche for you. I don't know the kind of fiction/non-fiction you write exactly, so I can't say what exact book-ish info you might be best at providing/discussing. I'd say it's good to discuss whatever floats your boat the most. What is core fun for you? Build from that.
    I'm still building my blog, but I'm proud of my posts-I care about them being interesting, and funny. I just posted on wacky gifts for writers, and I'm about to post on the trends in children's publishing, according to Scholastic. So please, come visit!

  3. Hi, Jen. Glad I found your blog. I think you hit the nail on the head. I've been more successful in acquiring followers simply by visiting new blogs and leaving real comments--which means taking the time to read posts. It's time consuming, but it's a surefire way to build your own blog. Better than contests or giveaways.
    ANother great way is participating in blogfests. But the key is to be proactive in visiting others' blogs as well.

    I like your idea of #1 dissecting what makes a book work. I haven't really seen this appraoach yet and it seems unique. Would be an interesting niche and I'd love to learn more about what works for readers while I try to master my own writing. :)

  4. Congrats on the success of your blog. I think those stats are great, and thanks for sharing your tips. I think idea #2 is great. Writers really need to know how to market themselves and their books. I think the success you've had blogging shows you could do this well.

  5. Great tips. All your suggestions are good, but for me, #2 sounds best. Marketing has been one of my hardest things to accomplish in the publishing world. I also agree it's important to be active in blogs, read them and leave comments.

  6. Yes, one does have to be engaging, and it takes TIME! But it's worth it :-) I like the idea of #2. A lot of writers (myself included) can deal with the actual writing part ok, but when it comes to marketing ourselves and our work, we can get a little lost!