Case study - YarnHarlot.com
What we have here is an amazing web success story. Do NOT ignore this post - read it carefully because there is a lot to learn.
There was an article yesterday in the paper about a knitting book. This article (written by Marcy Smith Rice of the N&O) is not something I would normally read, because I have no interest in knitting. But here is the amazing paragraph from the article that got my attention:
- [Stephanie] Pearl-McPhee spun the book, a riff on "Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much," from her Web site, The Yarn Harlot (www.yarnharlot.com). The little — really, it's just 4 by 6 inches — book was released the first week of April. By April 15, it was in its third printing; that's a new printing every week, so far. We called her rep at Storey Publishing, to find out just how many books that is. Turns out it's 60,000 copies in print. It's ranked about 700 on Amazon, but that doesn't hint at the number of copies sold at LYS (Local Yarn Shops).
- It is simply text and images. There is no magic here in terms of technology. The magic is in what the author has to say.
- Stephanie updates her blog roughly once a day.
- The blog is tuned to a very, very specific niche -- so specific that yarnharlot.com is not even thinking about being ranked in Alexa when I look it up today.
- Stephanie's audience is fanatical -- look at how many comments some of her posts get! [HINT TO MY READERS -- People who read blogs are supposed to post comments! If you are reading this, you should post a comment when you get done...]
The point being, you do not have to create a blog that appeals to everyone -- if you can excite a niche, you can succeed.
Here are two choice quotes from Stephanie in the article:
- "I neglect housework rather fiercely," she says. "That helps, it frees up a lot of time. I'm going to clean up when the kids leave."
- "The world is full of hopelessly crushed great writers," she says. "I think I was at the right place at the right time doing the right things and I got really lucky."
Marcy also mentions this:
- All this from a knitter who just over a year ago was just a knitter —well, and also a mother, raising three daughters (ages 11,13 and 16), and a writer of freelance articles and a birth doula. (She's given up some of the doula work while she's on tour. "You really need to be home and available when you're helping with birth," she said.) She began by posting letters to The KnitList (www.knitlist.com), and other posters encouraged her to start a blog.