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Opinion

What’s your Niche?

Copy: Serena Faber Nelson

Photography: Serena Faber Nelson

What do you say when people ask you to define yourself? Do you say I’m… a teacher, a mum, a blogger, a cat lover? (Ok let’s be real here – we know no one admits to that last one!*Kidding*) If you’re a blogger do you say I’m a foodie blogger, a craft blogger, a wedding blogger? Do you really think you can be summed up in a few words, by one niche category? I’m here to tell you, you can’t. And even more so you’re selling yourself short by doing so.

When I started Pretty Fluffy, the name reflected my two greatest loves in life – pretty things and fluffy dogs. But as I uploaded each post day after day I became caught up in defining myself in a niche – as a ‘dog lover’ or ‘canine enthusiast’. Or – as my tagline said ‘The Ultimate Dog Obsessed Blog’. Every tip I read online said – ‘find your niche and stick to it, don’t confuse your audience’. So I did. My love for all things pretty, joyous and heart warming slowly gave way to anything and everything involving dogs. Rather than celebrating the fact that my interests were multi-faceted I took the past of least resistance by finding a safe niche to slot myself into, so when I was asked to define myself I had a clear label accepted by the world. In short, I gained my niche but lost myself in the process.

That’s where I think we cheat ourselves. Who’s to say that you can’t be a building site labourer by day and a classical pianist at night? Why, just because you’re into crafts and glitter, can’t you also be crazy about dirt bikes? Who says you can’t be a beer swilling, ballet dancing, origami loving, WWII enthusiast? Can’t you like Ke$ha AND Tchaikovsky? We’re so used to fitting ourselves into categories that we can miss the very parts of our essence that makes us unique.

And that’s where everyone else loses out. Think of what sort of world we lived in where everyone felt the need to fit into a category. Where Tina Fey would have stayed the ‘unglamorous but hilarious’ writer behind the scenes. Where Ryan Murphy stuck to graphic dramas like Nip/Tuck and never thought to make the singing and dancing sensation, Glee. Where Stephanie Myer stuck to the label of ‘Mom’ and ignored her dreams encouraging her to write a book about Edward and Bella.

Some of my favourite bloggers are the ones who refuse to define themselves. Oh Joy is a perfect example. Her love for design, food, and fashion is evident but she doesn’t limit herself to one label. Life in the Superburbs could have easily fallen into the niche of sweet home recipes and pretty décor for the suburbs, but Abby infuses herself into each post adding high fashion, events, and inspiration to the line-up. Miles to Style could have been post after post about dog clothes instead of a stylish ode to puppies and high fashion. All of these bloggers have embraced their uniqueness and come up trumps. A new favourite of mine is The Odessa May Society. With one click you can easily see that Jennie is hugely talented with a penchant for crafts, but as you read through her posts you see a love for colour, artworks in any form, and beauty in nature that can’t be defined by a one word category listing.

Does this mean I’m going to start writing about crazy topics like power tools here on Pretty Fluffy? Uh no. But it does mean I’m going to embrace more of what I feel I have to offer – more joy, more fluffy, more pretty. No more niche filler. And I encourage you to do the same.  Take five minutes today to think about what parts of you that you keep hidden because they don’t fit with the niche you have given yourself or the label that has been attached to you. Look at your boards on Pinterest, your photo albums, your recipe books and DVD collections to start to see the complex and exciting person you really are. What more do you have to share? Because I can tell you what, the world wants to see it.

Copy: Serena Faber Nelson

Photography: Serena Faber Nelson

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Comments (20)

20 responses to “What’s your Niche?”

  1. tonya says:

    Amen! I love this post!! The world would be a very boring place indeed if we all were just limited to being defined as one thing.

  2. I couldn’t agree more, and I am BEYOND flattered that you included me in your round up. Seriously, made my week 🙂 xoxoxo

  3. Very true! Our blog also has challenges with filling multiple niches. I tend to stick to the dog-centric posts while Adam writes about general eco-friendly practicing. We’re definitely appealing to two different targets, but I don’t think our blog would be complete if we didn’t include both.

  4. I feel like I sometimes struggle with this. My blog reflects the life of my rough and tumble dachshund, Ammo. But the fact remains that he is a reflection of me (afterall he does come EVERYWHERE with me – even to work – so he’s immersed in everything I do).
    So we’ve slowly been adding in our “arts & crafts” flair, and design/art elements – things that I also hold near & dear as well as our gritty & dirty life on the horse farm.
    I’m slowly finding a balance in both and the blog has evolved into something that both reflects mine (and my dogs) life.

    • I can obviously empathise! But do you know what? When I visit your blog all of the content may be expanding, but it all falls under the same joyous and creative atmosphere of the site – which works perfectly!

  5. wendy h says:

    What a great post – and great advice. Too many of us deny some of our most meaningful and powerful passions because they don’t seem to fit into what our life ‘is’ at that point. There is absolutely nothing wrong with expressing yourself in the ways that express you best!

  6. Totally agree with this! We’re all gloriously multi-faceted and our interests aren’t contained to one niche. I think women’s mags do this well – covering areas like fashion, beauty, health, lifestyle, opinion etc in one pretty package and I think blogs serve the same purpose online! Definitely what I try to do with mine anyway, I love the variety and mixing personal posts with wedding, decor or style inspiration. Keeps it fresh and exciting! xx

    • You definitely do a great job Rach. When I visit your blog I’m always excited because while I know to expect inspiration and quality, I am always excited about what new and exciting things you have to share. x

  7. Liza says:

    This is a very thoughtful post. While having a niche is wonderful and identifying, it can also be limiting not only for the writer, but for the audience as well. My favorite bloggers all have specialties and areas they focus on, but what makes me go back to their websites is their fully-formed personality. No one is inspired by just one thing, and I think it benefits everyone (writer and reader) to share their varied interests and experiences.

    It’s sometimes very easy to get caught up in a topic/niche, especially if there is a positive response: “Everyone seemed to love my post on that jewelry line…all jewelry posts all the time, then!” But if that becomes your only reason for writing – pleasing your readers – you stop sharing things you like and only post things you think other people will like. You can become derivative of yourself, and I think readers can sense that. That has been my experience, anyway!

    Again, what a good post. I look forward to seeing more!

    • Thanks Liza – absolutely, my motto has become forgetting trying to fit into a niche, and playing your strengths. We all have so much to give, it would be a shame not to share it! I’m off to add your blog to my reader now! 🙂

  8. Mrs Woog says:

    Great post. am so with you xx

  9. Even though you chose the name of your blog for the reasons outlined, it’s a term that can relate to so much.
    Bloggers who are successful write about their experiences and trying to confine them to a niche can have one in knots. So here’s to more joy, more fuffy and more pretty, whatever that involves.
    Carolyn

  10. I love that a blog can evolve with you … I write on the same topics I did four years ago but the style and approach to those topics is SO, SO different. And I’ve started weekend recipes. Who knew? That came from people asking for recipes for photos on my IG feed!

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Pick of the Week

  • Pretty Fluffy Pick of the Week: Resident Dog: Volume 2

    Resident Dog: Volume 2

    If dogs and beautiful spaces are two of your favourite things, this stunning book belongs on your coffee table! Take a wander through 25 of the world's most amazing houses, and meet the dogs who live there.