A couple weekends ago, I had the pleasure of attending the Problogger Training Event in Melbourne. It was a couple of days of fun with old and new blogging friends, as well as blog tips, monetization advice, and networking.
I can honestly say it was just what I needed.
After being frustrated the entire month of September, seeing updates from hundreds of travel bloggers living it up in Europe at TBU and TBEX, and after feeling like I was constantly in a perpetual state of “catching up”, I was almost at a breaking point with my sites and work. The old juggling several projects at once, just trying to keep the balls from dropping, seems to get to me cyclically.
See. I get frustrated with my blogging life, too. It’s a job. It’s a challenge, right?
In times like this, you either need a vacation or you need a little motivation. (Yes, I travel a lot, but if you’re trying to write on top of that travel, it’s not so much a vacation. My Silk Roadistan Tour was taxing on the old noggin.)
So, like I said, the Problogger conference was just the pep talk that I needed (and from someone other than my boyfriend who really knows nothing about blogging). Besides that, I think my favorite part of the whole event was just the fact that it involved any blogging niche under the sun. Wow! Now that made for one interesting conference!
See, the travel blogging conferences rock.
They really do — but they are but one niche. And, niches tend to get stuck in their own niche, spinning ideas with their own minds until they end up all looking alike and with some potential downfalls in the long run. It can be a little incestuous, for lack of words. At Problogger, we had the best of the best in all niches — fashion, hair, travel, design, marketing, craft — giving really inspirational talks about what has worked for them. I got ideas. I got real ideas.
Seeing what has worked for other bloggers and niches makes my mind scream with delight.
How can I do something like that in the travel niche? How can I turn that strategy into something that works for me? Through dimension building in your blogging and business, reaching beyond the straight-up travel niche offers real benefits.
Plus, networking with any type of blogger can lead you to opportunities you never imagined. What if person X is given a campaign to work on, but the PR person asks them for recommendations. Person X, knowing you would be a good fit, recommends YOU. It’s a very connected world these days, and the more you connect, the more you will probably do.
I know the importance and power of having a strong niche blog.
But offering up depth of knowledge and depth of person can actually help people better understand where you’re coming from and what you have to give. It helps a blog to stay interesting, and let’s face it, it helps you to stay interested in your blog as well.
A couple of months ago, I came to the realization that I had nothing to offer people in normal conversations and meetings. It wasn’t until the topic of travel came up that I could shine, carrying on for as long as necessary without the blink of an eye. I mean, travel is what I do. What was once my hobby is now my job… and hobby… and every word typed every day most likely involves taking trips.
It was an eye-opening moment for me to see how one-dimensional life has become, and it wasn’t just me having those thoughts. One day on Facebook, another travel blogger was asking which hobbies he could take up so he could have more non-travel stuff to talk about with “normals”. Yep, he felt it, too!
With travel, it is SO EASY to isolate yourself to the niche. Not only do you push it all day with blogging and social media, but long trips overseas are physically isolating for days, weeks or months on end. Seriously. Being actively involved in the travel blogging niche might be the most difficult. In order to write good stories, you have to travel, but when you travel, you disconnect yourself from so much normalcy, routines, family, friends, life, home, and all the other stuff that is relevant to 99% of the world.
(Read my post on non-travel life musings.)
And for that reason, I especially think it is important to travel across niches, whether that be at networking events like Problogger, or just by reading non-travel (or your niche) blogs regularly.
How do you feel about niches? Do you think it is smart to target only those events/activities directly related to a niche, or does spreading yourself around get the job done better?