In my last article, I gave a brief presentation of myself, how I was born and raised in Sweden and from there ended up in Florence, and how I started to write about wine.
Today, I will delve more deeply into how I got started with my blog and the mistakes that I learned from. It is all a learning curve when you start out, nobody has the answers from the beginning. However, I think that it is crucial to ask yourself the right questions and be curious. This helps you try new things and find out what you like, how you want to structure your blogging, and build your personal brand.
Finding a niche or the niche finding you
Today’s world of blogging, content writing, and social media is very noisy, and it is very hard to be heard out there. Therefore, it is essential to find an angle where you can stand out with your content. A space that has not been over explored yet.
You might think: I am writing about what I do and cannot write about anything else.
This is true, but if you blog about social media, fashion, or science fiction, for example, those are very saturated fields. Take some time to think about your interest and passion and how you can find a new angle on what you do to stand out.
You will need to research areas that are less covered in relation to your topic. If you already have a follower base on social media or a newsletter, you could also send out a short questionnaire to see what they think about your ideas. After all, you need to write with your audience or your clients in focus.
In his book Known, Mark Schaeffer, a leading author, keynote speaker, and social media strategy consultant, talks about important factors to consider to become 'known.' He further stresses that a passion might not take you where you want to be, but rather that you need to find a 'sustainable interest.'
In my case, I was lucky in the beginning as I just started writing about my passion, i.e. Italian wine. Then the fact that I am a Swedish 'girl,' living in Florence, being a sommelier, and writing and live streaming about my own adventures helped to define my niche.
I worked on fine-tuning my niche, though, by deciding to focus mainly on smaller wine producers and, other than Tuscany, on lesser known areas and grape varieties. The live streaming part came in a second phase, after I had asked for advice and discussed it with a couple of social media experts.
As you can see, I started out not really knowing what a niche was all about, but soon I learned more about it and asked for help. In that way, I could better define my niche, or 'sustainable interest,' in a strategic way.
Choose your online home base
Having defined a niche, or a sustainable angle, you can start thinking about where and how to do your writing. It is recommended that you open your own 'home base,' i.e. a website/blog with your own domain name.
I wrote on borrowed space on wordpress.com in the beginning, and it was fine to figure out what I wanted to do during the first year. However, I soon understood that I needed to create my own brand name and set up a website to look more professional.
I was still unsure how to do it, so I got a web designer to build a new website for my translation business and added a blog where I wrote about translation, social media, and wine. It worked for a while, but it was, of course, too confusing. In the translation sector, writing about wine and social media did not fit well. On the other hand, it was not ideal for the wine related audience to read about my professional translation topics.
In short, the messages were blurry and confusing.
I needed to move forward and make another fundamental change in my wine blogging activity. I thought about it day and night for several months. What brand name to choose that would be only wine related, how to decide on a logo, how to set up a new website with a very non-existent budget...and so on.
Again, I reached out to friends at home and in the online community. This resulted in an artist friend of a friend designing my logo and header and friends in the social media community advising me on how to set up a blog on my own.
When I had all the parts gathered, I dedicated one long day and night to set up the new blog with logo and everything, import older articles, and publish a new fresh one, too. In the same week, I also launched my first weekly WinesOfItaly LiveStream about Italian wine.
And I can tell you, things changed almost overnight.
Finding a niche is essential to start telling your story on your blog.
Define and fine tune your niche by doing research and asking your audience for advice.
Create your 'home base' online, i.e. your website/blog with your own domain name.
Katarina Andersson is a wine writer, wine educator, social media strategist, and translator. Grapevine Adventures is where she writes about Italian wine and wine in general.
Find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.