Blogging on a general topic such as IP law law is not nearly as effective as blogging on a niche such as Maryland IP Law or Fair Use Law.

The reason is that’s it’s much harder to become a recognized and trusted authority across a broad topic than it is a niche. Blog a niche and you’re going to have other bloggers and the media citing you as an authority on that niche. Blog on a general topic or worse yet, a number of topics and you’ll have those bloggers and reporters looking for a niche blogger to cite or quote. Prospective clients are the same. They are looking for an expert.

Lawyers often call with a clearly defined niche for their law blog. Others I need to coach through the process of identifying their niche. Guiding rules for me are ‘What type of work do you want to do?’ and ‘What type of clients do you want to do it for?’ Now make it happen.

But I really like what Tamara Berry at Freelance Parent had to say on determining your niche. In her case, it was free lance writing, but it applies equally to blogs.

  • Look at your resume. No matter what your professional past, chances are you held some sort of job that required specific skill sets. What did you get your undergrad degree in? Even if you never directly used the degree, having it might make you a good candidate on a niche. Spoke last week with a lawyer with a biology degree from a major university. Dovetailing from that helped us arrive at a niche for his law blog. No matter what makes up your resume, it is unique to you. These experiences can go a long way in getting you on the path to a profitable niche.
  • Find what inspires you. Blogging on the area of law you most enjoy doing may be the most important factor in determing your niche. Tamara cites the saying, ‘if you find a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.’ Blog on an area you enjoy and blogging will never seem like chore. Readers will pick up on your passion. You’ll get cited and quoted. Prospective clients will call you.
  • Consider your personal library. Tamara, like me, has more books than she has shelf space. Look at your books and see if they do follow a common theme. Maybe there are certain CLE programs you’ve enjoyed – see what CLE materials you have lying around.
  • Follow the dollar signs. As Tamara says, bringing in a little money is the main reason we are all in this game. Some areas of the law pay, others do not. Factor this in.

In case you’re wondering, Tamara mentioned law firm & blog in her post. It’s amazing the good stuff you pick up skimming through your feed titles. ;)