Have you ever gotten to the point where you are feeling burnt out on your current blogging focus?
You’re not alone.
If you are at this point, chances are, you have had a few thoughts about changing your direction. Assuming you have been at it a while, the thought of starting over can definitely seem daunting.
Hopefully, you have built up some decent SEO value on your website; you want to hold onto that as much as you can! The simple thought of going through the infancy process of blogging with a new website (where your content gets pretty much no traffic) is enough to deter anyone from making a drastic change in focus.
The good news is the process of shifting your writing direction without starting from square one is not impossible. However, it’s also not quick.
Let’s talk about how you can do this without losing the following you’ve worked so hard to build.
Find the Parallels
When you have committed to changing your blogging focus, you generally don’t want to go too drastic in terms of topic choices – at least not right out of the gate.
If you have a good bank of SEO-friendly content built up around your current blogging focus, you want to use that as much as you can. Therefore, you are wise to take baby steps in diverting away from your current topics – no matter how big of a change you are looking to make.
For example, let’s say you have spent months – or even years – blogging about pets. After writing tons of content around this topic, you have decided to change your focus to travel.
In this hypothetical situation, you are getting really good organic search rankings on Google for an article you wrote titled: “How to Care for Dogs in High Elevation.” More specifically, you are ranking highly for search terms like preparing dog for high altitude and dog altitude sickness treatment. This means that Google sees you as an expert on this topic, and therefore, will likely see you as an expert on more topics related to these keywords.
So, if you are looking to make a jump from blogging about pets to blogging about travel, a logical parallel topic would be something like: “X Best Places to Stop on a Rocky Mountain Road Trip with the Family.”
Within this post, you could explain that “The Family” could easily involve a dog. You could then give some insight (using the keywords mentioned above) about preparing the dog for elevation. This way, you are gradually branching into a new topic, while addressing your core area of expertise.
You need to keep in mind that Google (most likely) already has a decent idea of what your website is all about. If you randomly start populating your site with drastically different content, you are going to confuse Google’s all-powerful crawlers. This will make it harder to rank on the search engine results pages.
More importantly, a radical subject change is going to confuse – and maybe even alienate – your faithful readers!
In your old focus, you likely spent a great deal of time and effort establishing your voice, blogging personality, and overall feel of the website. These components are what make you one-of-a-kind, and in most cases, this is what keeps your loyal readers coming back.
Now, a change in focus oftentimes requires a rebrand to some degree.
Depending on how big of a jump you are making, you might either need a partial rebrand or a total rebrand.
For example, if you run a satirical blog and are looking to cover more serious topics, it will likely require a total rebrand to move away from the current image. This would commonly involve a new brand voice, colors, font, domain name, etc.
On the other hand, if you are currently blogging about web design and want to shift your focus to guerilla marketing, this would probably only require a partial rebrand (if that).
Take HubSpot for example. The blog, primarily known for inbound marketing, had to make a shift to also cover sales. Instead of a complete rebrand, they kept their main components intact and worked to incorporate new branding elements to reflect the new focus.
Regardless of how big of a shift you have in mind, try to keep an idea of the elements that made you successful in the first place. Moreover, take a step back and assess why you are planning to rebrand. A good blog rebrand should reflect your core values, mission, and purpose.
A poorly executed rebrand can potentially damage everything you have worked for. DO NOT carry out this task half-heartedly.
Walk Before You Run
As you get the ball rolling with your new blogging focus, you need to have a strong plan in place before your fingers hit the keyboard writing new content.
Chances are, your new focus comes with a new audience. The last thing you want to be doing is spending tons of time throwing new content at the wall to see what sticks. Take your topic creation slowly and get a feel for what these new readers like, and more importantly, what they don’t like.
This is where research on trending keywords and search intent is going to be very important.
Start by establishing the general, overarching topic(s) you want to cover in this new focus. This is called pillar content.
For example, let’s say you are mapping out your content for a new focus on lifestyle + leisure. One of the major topics you want to write about is music festivals.
Now, the keyword music festivals has a search volume of 49,500 searches/month. It’s going to be VERY hard to rank highly for this term. So, you are going to need to explore granular topics people are searching for falling under this umbrella. This is a strategy called topic clustering.
Ahrefs is a fantastic resource to get a feel for the types of topics people want to see.
Taking the keyword music festivals, you can use the Questions feature in the Keyword Explorer for content inspiration.
When looking at the trending questions (with lower search volumes), there are all sorts of inspiration you can draw on for topics. Maybe you could write posts around keywords like music festival fashion (320 searches/month) or festival packing list (1,900 searches/month).
So, in the name of “walking before you run,” you don’t want to reach for the top shelf for general, high search volume keywords. You can plan out your overarching pillar content around them, but you should be focusing on the posts that include the low-hanging fruit keywords. As you begin to rank for these posts, you can slowly start to write about broader search topics.
Over to You
Changing the focus of your blog can feel like a breath of fresh air.
However, the shift needs to be calculated and properly executed. Quick, ill-advised moves can potentially ruin everything you’ve worked for as a blogger. If you’re starting to feel bored with your current focus, don’t make any sudden, drastic moves. Critically examine how big of a jump you are looking to make and what all would factor into the process. Then sleep on it!