“It’s entirely possible that you will choose a niche that’s too small. It’s much more likely you’ll shoot for
something too big and become overwhelmed. When in doubt, overwhelm a small niche.” These are Seth Godin’s words, but the sentiment is repeated over and over to small business owners as sage advice for getting noticed and becoming successful. And it is great advice, especially for those of us who run our
businesses primarily online.
It takes about five minutes to set up a craft blog, and five more to open an Etsy shop. It’s easy and cheap to get started in this world. It’s sticking with it that’s hard.
The primary reason people give up on their craft blog is the feeling that nobody is reading. How are you supposed to get noticed as a single person in the massive sea of crafters? This is where Seth’s advice comes in: go narrow. Become the specialist in a very tiny area that’s of great interest to you. Write consistent and well-crafted posts about every aspect of this narrow topic and over time you will become the go-to expert.
Your blog will come up first when people search for this topic. Some of those people will become diehard fans and commenters. They’ll tell their online friends and your readership will grow. One or two may wholeheartedly and vocally disagree with your perspective, causing heated debates and bringing in more readers. And a few more will be editors at big media houses looking for you to contribute your ideas to their next project, or potential clients looking to pay for your expert help.
Photo by cc-content on Flickr.
Go tiny. Become an expert. Get noticed.
But here’s the thing. People aren’t actually niche. People are complex. They have more than one deep interest. Nobody’s life follows a strict and narrow road.
My blog and business are both centered around a narrow niche: designing and sewing stuffed animals. I’m dedicated to becoming a go-to source of information and expertise about every aspect of this topic. I have a deep desire to know everything there is to know about sewing and selling handmade softies, and to share that information with people who care about it. But it’s important to know that those of us with niche blogs and niche businesses do, at times, struggle against that narrow box. We find ourselves wondering,
“Can’t I just write about something else today?”
“I don’t feel like sewing. I want to carve some stamps this afternoon, but I can’t because then what will I blog about tomorrow?”
Or maybe life takes us down a road we didn’t expect and now we have to take care of an ailing parent or move halfway around the world. Suddenly our niche feels like a trap. My readers want sewing tutorials. What will happen when I can’t or don’t want to produce them right now?
Part of what’s wonderful about a craft blog and a small DIY business is that it’s not a corporation. Most often it’s a one-woman show. And that woman can change, and break out from her box from time to time. We will hang in there with her. We will hang in there with you. And if we won’t, let us go. In order to continue your niche blog and keep up with your tiny online business you are going to have to be the real person you are.