- July 28, 2023
In biology class, you learn that every life form adopts a niche: a little role in some corner of the ecosystem, where it earns its daily specie by doing a rather specific thing.
For example, the dung protrude collects unprepossessing poo, presumably considering nobody else was once doing that, then rolls it into balls and lays its eggs inside of them, giving its larvae a handy source of nutrients.
The beaver gnaws at trees until they fall over, then drags the logs into piles. These piles dam streams and rivers, creating strained ponds, which hibernate the beavers from predators and expand their wangle to food.
Squirrels, stuff largest climbers than mice, once fed themselves by collecting seeds from hard-to-reach branches, and now specialize in stealing cherry tomatoes from my garden.
In blogging school, you learn the same principle: every little blog trying to make its way in the vast content ocean must establish itself in a niche. It needs to stake out a little corner of the action, a little field it can work, so to speak.
Primarily this ways your website must be about something, such as car repair, wine, villus grooming, or idealism gossip. That way, you can build an regulars with similar problems and concerns, which you can then focus on helping them with, earning your living in the process.
If you try to write everyone’s problems, you can’t compete with those who specialize. A site that posts well-nigh monster trucks, spreadsheets, fondue recipes, and backgammon will struggle to serve people who superintendency well-nigh only one of those things, considering to any given reader, most of the content is irrelevant. They’ll just go to Backgammon World or FondueFreaks instead.
This is why our dung protrude doesn’t try to collect all the types of food, considering then it’s competing with every other food-enjoying creature. Instead, it specializes in the obscure supplies type “poo”, then gets very good at finding it and shaping it into balls. Thus the dung protrude has survived all these eons.
Choosing a niche was probably the first and weightier piece of blogging translating I overly received. Although it’s very practical, there’s a reason I haven’t taken it.
“Getting largest at stuff human” is one the broadest topics imaginable. Humans do all sorts of things. Getting largest at cooking omelets, or lying on the couch, could certainly count as “getting largest at stuff human,” as could learning to make friends as an adult, recognizing eyeful in the mundane, coping with self-destructive tendencies, staying sane in the too-much-information age, and ten thousand other things.
Each of these concerns could be a niche one might specialize in. I could go all-in on mindfulness, or news addiction, or procrastination, build an regulars that’s expressly concerned with that thing, and serve them with helpful content and products.
I haven’t washed-up this, and that’s considering I’m interested in all those disparate topics precisely considering of what unites them: they are all sub-concerns of the human condition.
We happen to be this tragically ramified creature, this incredible waddle star of the unprepossessing kingdom. The human stuff is so uniquely powerful and high-maintenance that it has trouble just managing its own thoughts and actions. I’ve ripened some tricks for handling some of the ten thousand challenges welling from this fact, and that’s what Raptitude is about.
The human condition, looked at from the inside, is unremittingly interesting to me. However, the diversity of topics that end up seeming on this blog makes for a very diverse audience, who read it for many variegated reasons. Ages range from teenager to octogenarian. Some are here for the experiments, some for specific ideas like the Depth Year, others for a sober take on mindfulness. Some come for my weird thought exercises, some for my tirades. Some people are here considering I wrote well-nigh kettlebells fourteen years ago.
When I ask people why they subscribe to this site, trying to tease out worldwide concerns I might help the readership with, they unchangingly say “I just like the way you think! Keep it up!” or “You say things I was thinking but didn’t know how to say.”
The ultimate result of this niche-resistant tideway is an eclectic blog that can’t be monetized using the normal methods. I do release ebooks and courses, but they can only overly request to one particular subset of the audience, so my efforts are unchangingly split into projects that only serve a minority of the audience.
Typically, when you have traffic but no niche, as many of the increasingly unusual creators do, you turn to the razzmatazz approach. Instead of serving your readers, you serve advertisers by selling your readers’ sustentation to them.
I don’t want to do that. By this point in the internet’s history, most websites are encrusted with garish imprint ads for bilateral funds and software solutions, and it just never feels good.
There’s moreover Substack, the paid newsletter platform, but that’s a straight-up paywall approach, and that would be too drastic a transpiration at this point.
Thankfully, for the increasingly eclectic, niche-defying members of the ecosystem, there’s now flipside option: the patronage model, exemplified by a platform tabbed Patreon.
Bloggers and internet people all know what Patreon is, but I’m not sure if the unstipulated public does.
Patreon is a platform that allows fans of a creator to wilt patrons of their work, like an old-timey patron of the arts, only on a smaller scale.
If you love what a creator is doing, or you want their work to be in the world, you can opt to make a small, regular contribution to the project, to ensure that it keeps going.
The level of contribution is up to the patron, usually just a few dollars. You can transpiration or discontinue it at any time.
Patrons receive some perks. In Raptitude’s case, you proceeds firsthand wangle to the Raptitude patron community, some behind-the-scenes updates from me, and a library of increasingly than 50 uneaten posts never released on this site.
Some of the increasingly popular ones:
There are spare rewards for people who make larger contributions. Most patrons just do it considering they like Raptitude and want to support it.
I love this model considering it frees both reader and creator from the indignity of imprint ads and sponsored content. The work gets supported by those who are worldly-wise and willing, but the writing remains self-ruling and uncompromised by third parties.
A few hundred people have been supporting Raptitude in this way since 2019, and without them, it would not be here today. It’s harder than overly to make a high-traffic website self-sustaining if you don’t orient the whole thing towards marketing.
Currently only well-nigh 1% of Raptitude’s subscribers are patrons. They make it self-ruling for everyone else.
By promoting the Patreon increasingly often, I would like to get that ratio to 2%. This would self-ruling up a tremendous value of time and indulge me to make increasingly stuff for you.
You can trammels out the benefits of rhadamanthine a patron on my creator page.
I visit and enjoy many websites every week, and I don’t worry too much well-nigh what keeps them going. But for a few favorite creators, whose minds seem uncannily like my own, I dedicate a small value for uncontrived support. It feels good.
If Raptitude is that kind of site for you, great. If not, that’s okay too. Either way, thank you so much for reading and sharing this blog all these years.