Bailiwick, Basket, Niche

What’s your bailiwick or basket? Bailiwick, basket, niches, different names to represent a writer’s specialties; the content the author writes about from the perspective of special knowledge, talent, experience, expertise – well let’s just say – it’s something that the writer is good at or knows well. In the past, when publishing, posting and coaching folks on writing I used to refer to this as a writer’s niche. The word niche is appropriate for a very narrow focused topic or aspect of a topic. And, for a writer that can take the form of a topic within a subject. For example, if you write about healthy-living, but you feel your real expertise is in the cardio-training; then that is your niche: cardio-training while healthy-living is your bailiwick or an item in your writer’s basket.  

Dog with basketCredit: MorgueFile Public Domain

Do you have an affinity, a specific talent in something – for instance: health, sports, beauty, technology, auto-mechanics, literature, history, etc.? Think about who you go to for answers to questions or for advice.  What is, and where do you derive, your knowledge and experience? What do you bring to the table, as it were…what makes your article content relevant and authoritative?  If you were asked to only write articles about topics and fields of study you yourself have personal expertise or personal experience in – what would those areas be? 

Desire versus Crave

Write what you know or crave; not just desire. Desire is a word that just doesn’t have the sense of urgency or importance as the word “crave.” You can crave knowledge, experience and skill. When you crave something it implies you will take action; take steps towards satisfying that craving. Desire is a “wishing” word, a casual “want” word. “Crave” is an action word. To desire something does not denote an intent to act it’s more of a want it to happen or be given to you. It is absent of the personal action. The real point is to steer your way towards those topics that you can be passionate (crave) about versus just random topics that you have a general interest or curiosity (desire) in minus the passion.

What Am I Good At or Have Special Knowledge In

We all have something we are good at, a skill(s), a talent, or have experience(s) not universal shared with everyone. These are the target subject areas, our writing bailiwick topics; and thus, we put in our writer’s basket. We write about what we know or can research effectively and express in words or videos to communicate a “qualified message” to our followers and readers. It’s true that it can be fun to write about something total new and foreign to us. Writing on a topic that we are completely unfamiliar with has its own rewards by allowing us to exercise our ability to research, study, and develop a decision or opinion and tell others what we’ve learned. However, in the web content writing business, in order to gain repeat readers and followers, it’s a good idea to establish one or more specialties; your bailiwick. These are the article contents that readers most often identify you with; and who they go to when they want more information on that subject. This is where “craving” subjects come back into the discussion. Topics we crave to write about are usually the ones we will spend more time studying, researching and resourcing.

ChecklistCredit: cory stophlet, 2014

Take Inventory

A bailliwick does not have to be a simple topic like clothing styles, cooking and baking or computer technology; other examples can be, “how-to-do”-stuff, book reviews, movie reviews, how-to-write, top-ten lists, travel logs and tips, vacation advice, hobby-crafts, child care, medicine, healthcare, fitness, education, general job skills, and unique job skills. In my writing basket are the topics of military veterans’ news, military topics, project management, and scholarly work in the areas of the humanities: art, music, literature, history, philosophy and religion. Eventually, a craving topic can become one of your bailliwick or expertise topics.

Your Bio Tells the Reader Why You are Legitimate

The content of your basket should become part of your biography. Your picture background or article picture can also help readers always identify you with the topic. A writer who specializes in technology articles might include a computer in the biography picture or as their article picture. This is how you “brand” yourself. For more on “Branding” read this article: “Why Your InfoBarrel Biography is Important.[1]  Your biography needs to support your writing. Readers do check your bio to see if there is some hint of why they should take your article seriously.  Surf through InfoBarrel articles and contributors to see if their biography and articles match-up. Is that author providing you any level of confidence in their knowledge, skill, expertise, or any sense that they are truly familiar with the subject matter of the article? Now look at your own biography and picture in relationship to your article content; are you presenting the image you want your readers to remember you by?

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There are some very good writers here at InfoBarrel and some extremely knowledgeable people, but sometimes the picture, or lack of one, and the biographies don’t always sync-up. I don’t write about make-up and clothing style because I have absolutely no qualifications or experience in those areas. If there is nothing in my bio to indicate that I have any competency in that area, and nothing in the first part of the article where I might reference that experience, then why am I writing it. Let’s be realistic, would you read an article written by me about how to wear lipstick and take it seriously? I would hope not.

Monkey in MakeupCredit: Cory Stophlet & MorgueFiles 2015

That being said, when you have all your pieces in place – picture(s) and biography you might want to think about posting links to your InfoBarrel articles on Facebook and Tmblr. With a free Tumblr account you can establish multiple personal web pages; one for each of your bailliwicks or specialties. It’s not necessary to set-up separate Tumblr pages; however, if you are a prolific writer on one or more topics, it might be easier to manage those content links with separate Tumblr pages. By spreading your IB content links, as well as you fellow IB writers’ content links, on these other social media sites helps you drive readers to your articles and also drive up your page views and $$ earnings.

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