J. Dawg Journeys

What’s My Niche?

Niche – A comfortable or suitable position / vocation for which one is best suited.”  Web definition

This post is about finding my blog niche.  But first, I have to talk a little about blogging.  As much as I enjoy traveling, I also enjoy writing about my travels in this blog.  Having a travel blog gives me a place to record and store my travel memories.  It’s also been a great way to bring together and showcase the things I like doing – traveling, writing, and photography.

Learning From Other Bloggers

Pretty much everything I learned about blogging came from other bloggers.  Some things I learned from other travel bloggers but I also learned from bloggers who blog about blogging (try to say that one fast).  Yes, these are many blogs, podcasts, and websites out there that focus on how to create a blog website, how to use WordPress, how to generate traffic to your blog, and how to produce good content.

These blogs and podcasts have helped me to write better content and to create a better website.  And they have been a great source for staying up to date and learning new techniques.  For those who are interested, I’ve put some links to these sites and blogs at the bottom of this post.

So now to the niche part.  A few weeks ago I was listening to one of the regular podcasts I follow and the episode was about RV travel blogging.  It was actually an interview with a popular RV travel blogger.  One of the subjects they were discussing was how to make your blog stand out among the hundreds of RV travel blogs.  The interviewer discussed the importance of having a niche.  In essence, finding a narrow subject that you’re passionate about and focusing the content of your blog on that specific subject area.

Finding a Niche

I know about the importance of niches as it relates to products, marketing, and service offerings. To be successful, it sometimes helps to have something that’s unique or stands out in a crowded market.  And I’ve heard this about blogs.  There are thousands upon thousands of travel bloggers writing about their travels.  Even North America RV travel has hundreds of bloggers. The importance of a niche is to have a subject that will make readers (and Mr. Google) want to select / highlight your blog over others that are writing in the same subject area.

I have to confess that I never paid any attention to having a niche or trying to focus my blog on a niche.  Writing about my travel adventures no matter the subject area is what I like to do.  I try to write good content, make my write ups interesting, and hopefully be informative.

But in the RV Travel blogosphere, there are lots of folks who focus on a niche.  Some popular niche’s are – RV Repair, Work Camping Travel ,Full-time RV Travel, Cheap RV Travel, Van Camping, Boondocking RV Travel, Adventure RV Travel, Mexico RV Travel, Solo RV Travel, and Solo Female RV Travel.  And there are folks who combine some of these into their own unique niche (e.g, Solo Female Full-time Cheap Adventure RV Travel).

Whats My NicheSo, this podcast was telling me that if I wanted my blog to take off and garner thousands of readers, then I had to have a niche.  This made me pause and wonder – what’s my niche?  Did I already have one, did I even want one, and should I figure out one and focus on that?

 

My Niche

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t create content to chase readers or to make it on first page on a Google search.  I’m not trying to build a huge email list or sell products.  I’m traveling to places and writing about things that please me.  Things and places that I find interesting.  And when it comes to writing, I tend to follow Stephen King’s advice which is – “First, write for yourself and then worry about the audience later”.

I recently made a list of all the National Parks and key places that I’ve been to in my short time of being a retired RV traveler.  I figured it would be a cool scorecard and give readers a sense of where I’d been in my travels.  You can see this list here – Places Visited.

Truman Library

J. Dawg with Harry at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library

As I looked at this list (all the places I’ve enjoyed going to), my niche came into focus.  There it was, crystal clear and right on the page in front of me.  My niche is traveling to historical places.  I’m not aimlessly wandering to popular or interesting looking places.  I’m not traveling to places with the best single track bike trails, the best craft breweries, or the best hiking.  And I’m not just going places for scenic eye candy.  I’m mostly visiting historic places because the learning aspect stimulates my brain.

And it makes perfect sense.  I enjoy history – especially people and places.  I like learning about how and why things happened.  To see what it was like for prior generations.  To learn something new about the past that helps me understand the present. (Like why many people in western states are bible reading gun nuts and why many people in the northeast aren’t.  It’s got little to do with ethnicity, education, or income and everything to do with the history of the 1800’s.)

Making the History Come Alive

Little Round top

J. Dawg at Gettysburg on Little Round Top where the 20th Maine Regiment held the line on July 2, 1863.

For every place I travel to, I usually read up on the history of the place.  Before I visit a Presidential Library, I read a biography about that President.

I’m a huge Civil War history buff.  I’ve read enough books about the Civil War to fill a large bookcase.  Before I visited all those Civil War battlefields, I read books on the battles and about the key Generals.  When I was at these sites, they came alive because I knew which Generals were in command, what army or corp attacked, at what time of year, and the exact spots where the fighting took place.

The last two years I’ve spent time exploring Colorado and it wasn’t just to see the Rockies.  It was mostly to visit the small historic mining towns where much of Colorado’s history was made.  I read books about Colorado’s mining history before I went.

Cripple Creek

The Town of Cripple Creek, CO. At an elevation of 9,500 ft, this small mining town of 1,100 was once one of Colorado’s largest cities with a population of 55,000 in the 1890’s.

So, I found my niche – Solo North American RV Travel to Historic Places.  There’s other stuff I write about but most of my road trips tend to take me to historic places.  Like the one I’m currently planning for early 2017.  A two month road trip following the Oregon Trail from Independence, MO to Pendleton, OR.   And then returning east following the Lewis and Clark trail back to St. Joseph, MO.  I’ve already got 3 guide books, a couple of non-fiction trail novels, and a couple historic journals from people how did the trails in the 1800’s.  I’ll be spending some of my snow bird time this winter reading and planning this next adventure

Now that I know my niche, I’m not sure what if any difference it will make it my blog readership. I’m going to still write about the same stuff and travel to the same type of places.  It might give me a little more focus and I can proudly say that I have a niche.  A very small sliver of the RV travel blogosphere that I can claim as mine.

So, if you or you know someone who is into North America RV travel to historic places, then I’m your guy!

Blog Signature

 

 

Web Sites, Blogs, and Podcasts about Blogging:

WPBeginner– A guide for using WordPress

Shoutmeloud.com – A blog about setting up and running a blog

ProBlogger – A blog and podcast about running a blog

WordPress Security Daily – A podcast on securing WordPress sites

Flipboard Blogging Magazine – A web content curation of articles about blogging

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8 thoughts on “What’s My Niche?

  1. Suzanne

    Well, if you were looking for your niche, I’m glad you found it. 😉 I read your blog because it is well written, and because you travel to places that are of interest to me. I like the angle you present, more factual rather than a timeline of “First I went here, then I went here.” It is “style” as well as content.

    I think the most important criteria is, as Shakespeare said, “To thine own self be true!”

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Suzanne,
      Thanks for the compliment. It wasn’t so much that I was looking for a niche, I was curious if I actually had one.
      J. Dawg

  2. Cathy

    There is a lot to learn about blogging, isn’t there! I’m trying to figure it all out, too. My niche is RV food, but since my husband hasn’t retired yet, it’s more food than RV these days. I try to keep the cooking simple, though.

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Cathy,
      Thanks for reading my blog. Ya know, it would be very easy for me to write about RV food because I like to cook and eat healthy. I like gizmo’s that make cooking easier. Like the 3 qt crock pot I just got to use in my RV and the little 9 in pizza pan I use to make flatbread pizzas in the convection oven. My Evernote has a whole section on RVing Recipes. But I try to stay on my RV Travel & History focus.
      J. Dawg

  3. Gary

    Interesting article. I too have struggled at times continuing my writings. I find that when I am writing a blog about current travel the text flows relatively easy and I enjoy putting it down along with pictures. When writing about travels past I find it a struggle for me. I’m not sure what my “niche” is, but you’ve made me want to evaluate where I’m headed with my “story”. Overall I do enjoy blogging. Also, someday when I can’t travel anymore and I have forgotten all the fun I am having, I can read my articles and experience my memories once again.

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Gary,
      Thanks for your comment. I never worried about having or not having a niche. But, it was something that I stumbled upon once I saw where my travels were taking me. And now, I actually think it will give me a little more focus for my writing. Your last sentence rings very true for me also.
      J. Dawg

  4. Mike

    Oddly enough I’m not an RV’er. I found your site looking into your style RV for my cousin. Also my friend has since purchased your RV too. (His first one was a 24′ converted Sprinter that we took to Alaska for six weeks a couple years ago. )

    I follow you because I’m fascinated; One, that you can retire, somewhat early, and do this. Two, your okay doing it mostly solo. Third, I find you very interesting. And last, I can live vicariously through your travels. Your an inspiration to my wanderlust side.

    Good for you!

    Mike

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Hey Mike;
      Thanks for following my blog. The early retirement was a dream that I made come true. And I’m really glad I did. I got sick two years after retiring and it put a big dent into my lifestyle. But RVing fits with my illness very well. And as far as going solo, my wife’s not really into RV travel. She’s more of a stay put type of RVer. But she’s ok with me hitting the road and I don’t mind the solo travel. Gotta live your dreams while you can!
      J. Dawg