Summary: Don't try to please everyone. If you do, you will please no-one. Focus, narrow-down and do less. With smaller audience, you get larger results.
Do not try to please everyone (at once)
Do you know why Amazon has divided it's website into clear categories and sub-stores? Because people who are (right now) looking for the latest music and mp3's, don't give a rats ass about the bestselling business books this week. (as a side note, if they do care, Amazon's cool recommendation system will show it to them, but it will not show what they don't like and need).
The same principle applies to EVERYTHING you do. Being the generalist, the Swiss-Army Knife of skills and knowledge does not mean you have to do everything you can. Instead:
- Highlight the things you are best at.
- Sell, write, offer the things you can be the best in the world in.
The essence of a Hedgehog Concept is to attain piercing clarity about how to produce the best long-term results, and then exercising the relentless discipline to say, "No thank you" to opportunities that fail the hedgehog test. - Jim Collins, Good to Great and the Social Sectors
Specific problems, specific solutions
For bloggers, this means choosing a sub-sub-sub-(...)-topic. Then focus on becoming the number one in that, very narrow, topic. You might be thinking: "but there are only 100 people interested in that, and with wider topic, I get more traffic."
Stop running blind with a shot gun and get a laser instead. It's way cooler and far more accurate. Plus it'll be easier when you know a bit what you're aiming for.
It is possible to go after wider topics, BUT you will have to do this one step at a time. And even with the large audience, you will be (or at least should be) doing different things on the different segments of that audience. Larger audience means more work, possibly more money, but it's not guaranteed you will do better when you go big and grow.
And with that, think if you even need and want to grow into more generic topic in your niche. If you are doing well in the tiny (sub-)niche you're in, do you really need to grow? Why not settle for less? I'm with 37signals on this one. When you have found your narrow topic, don't feel pressured to grow. Grow your profits, your subscribers, customer satisfaction instead. Grow your product portfolio (while remaining true to your passion, skills and knowledge - your expertise).
Get one, and others will follow
Don't try to please everyone. You will find it easier to attract audience this way:
- With laser-targeted posts to specific issues, you get traffic, because there are people looking for that exact information.
- With traffic, you will get an initial audience and readership for your blog.
- With audience who like your content (because it helped them with their specific problem), you get exposure (because they are likely to share content that helped them).
- With exposure, others will follow (who will then, hopefully, find your content useful as well).
What is your strategy? Are you focusing down enough?