Apartment Therapy Niche Failure

Apartment Therapy Niche Blogging MistakeBlogging mistakes happen to the best of the best. Simple errors in judgement that leave readers scratching their heads, wondering “what the …?” are something we hope never to make in out blogging careers.

I noticed a big blogging mistake when I visited one of my favorite design websites for some information on reupholstering a couple of chairs for my family room. Apartment Therapy published a guest blog today on relationships: “Why Does My Partner Watch Porn?

Apartment Therapy: Why Does My Partner Watch Porn?What? I questioned if I was on the right site. Really. Apartment Therapy? It appears that 200+ of their readers so far today were as puzzled as I was based in the comments.

As a blogger I feel badly for them and wonder if they had that little voice questioning the decision to run with the post, and the other little voice that said, “take a chance.” Then I wondered if it was it a clever marketing move to drive attention, new readership and build some buzz? Or was this an out of left field reaction by their readers that they didn’t expect?


Either way there are good lessons we, as bloggers, can all learn from this epic fail:

  1. Stick to your blog’s niche and related topics. If you feel called to speak about something off topic do it as a guest blog on a site that matches that niche or find a way to spin that topic so that it is relevant to your audience.
  2. Before introducing a new topic to your existing readership, run it by a few of your most loyal readers for their feedback before publishing it for the masses
  3. Survey your readers to know what other topics they would be interested in seeing on your blog. This may really surprise you and give you awesome new ideas!
  4. If you make a big blogging blunder, fes up to  your readers and ask for their forgiveness.

Good things come to those who ruffle feathers!

The risk I take in publishing this post is that some of my beginning blogger readers will be afraid to be bold in their marketing.  Please don’t be afraid of taking a stand that you end up dull and boring!  People love controversy and as you grow your audience, your loyal fans will stick around and love you anyway.

Do I think that the relationship post on porn that Apartment Therapy published will lead to irreconcilable differences with their readers?  No.

Some people will unsubscribe or remove Apartment Therapy from their readers, but I could tell from the comments on the Apartment Therapy post that dozens of new people subscribed, just so they could leave a comment!  Others will talk about this post online, driving traffic, awareness, and ultimately new readers to Apartment Therapy as I am doing here.  As they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity!  People are voyeuristic and will check out the post out of curiosity.  If they are at all interested in interior design my guess is that they’ll find things they like on the Apartment Therapy blog and stick around.

If you’re not creating some enemies in this world then what do you stand for?  Picking sides on a hot topic is one of the fastest ways to build trust with your audience and build raving fans, who become advocates for your personal brand!

Apartment Therapy handled the situation well, in my opinion, by leaving a message at the top of the post saying:

“…I want you all to know that you are all HEARD, loud and clear, and I’ll definitely think about where we take this weekend column in the future. We don’t want to turn people off, but we do want to stretch the boundaries of how we cover the life of our home. Thanks again so much for all of your comments. There are some really memorable zingers in there. 🙂

Best, Maxwell”

We cannot grow without challenging the status quo! Kudos to Apartment Therapy for taking a risk and using it as an opportunity to learn.  One thing’s for sure, their readers are passionate and care about what happens on the blog and that’s the kind of relationship we all hope to have with our readers!

What are your thoughts?  Have you made any huge blogging blunders?  How did you face them?   Please share in the comments below and please share this post with your blogging friends so we can all learn together!

🙂 Heather



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