Find your niche, they say, then make it yours! (They often say this with an exclamation point!)!! (Deliberate over-punctuation there, sorry.) What’s your Unique Selling Point (USP)? (And, yes, I did put ‘an’ before USP in the title — I thought it worked better than ‘a’.)
This is, actually, very good advice for the blogger — and, in some ways, for the writer in general. It is important to know where to sit, how to connect with “your people”, or “your tribe” (see Alastair Humphreys’s advice for travel bloggers here, for some very good points and discussion).
However, I have a problem with this. I have no idea what my niche is…
I want to blog about all those things that make me, me. I want to talk about things I love and love what I talk about — otherwise, what’s the point?
I could write about Scotland. I could write about natural history, my love-affair with the wild places and the nature I find where’er I go. I could share my views on bushcraft, perhaps giving tutorials here and there or explaining what equipment and kit I love. I could discuss the writing process, what works for me, what doesn’t. I could discuss other people’s work — the novels, stories, poems, films and other art I find inspiring, or I find sadly lacking. I could talk politics, espousing my views on the issues I think we should all be talking about. I could talk gardening, fitness, crafts or music. I could be even more personal and use this space to talk about my own life, about friends and family, about mental health, relationships, love, lust and longing. I could talk travel, about how technology is making it easier for the likes of me to work anywhere in the world. I could talk about the nuts and bolts of blogging and the web — the plugins I like, what platforms to use, sites which work, sites which don’t.
There is so much I could share on here.
Is this my niche? Is the above my USP? Or should I concentrate on narrowing this down?
So much of this depends on what I want this blog (and, similarly, my other internet presence, social media etc.) to be, on what I want it to do. Is it simply self-promotion? I’d like to think this is not the case. I’d like to think I offer posts of value, things people enjoy reading and sharing. I don’t want to be one of those authors who simply stand shouting into the wind “BUY MY BOOK”. (Amusingly, this is something the always worth-reading Chuck Wendig blogged about just today, here. Caution — Mr. Wendig’s work contains language and adult themes, but hey, you’re all grown ups, right? In many ways this site represents my attempt at “Earnest, Sustained Outreach”, as he calls it — this site is no sprint, but an ultramarathon, with cold, and dark, and spiky bits to negotiate.)
These are, of course, all rhetorical questions. I do not see myself changing the things I talk about simply to find a niche. I see a continuation of the topics I have already touched on and the addition of others.
Perhaps my USP is simply that this site is me, being me? I already occupy this particular niche, after all — physically, creatively, mentally. I will have an overhaul of the categories in the coming weeks, perhaps altering some and adding others. I want this site to be tight and easily navigated but, as I spoke about last week, I will still celebrate difference and variation — but all posts will be about something that makes me who I am.
In the meantime, I have returned to tumblr (not with 100% operating efficiency as yet, admittedly, but these things take time) and intend to do more with other places soon, as I talked about last week.
I know this post is at risk of simply sounding like a variation on last week’s theme, a rehash of what I said there, but it is not really intended to do so. Instead, this is mean to compliment that post and will (eventually) be linked to from my About Me, so new readers know what to expect (which is to say, they should expect pretty much everything from how to sharpen Axes to my thoughts on Zydeco)…
So I shall leave this here and try and find some photos to squeeze in and make this post shiny.
NOTE TO SELF: You really seem to like brackets and ellipses here, don’t you? (Yes…)