For those not down with the lingo yet, a ‘niche’ (pronounced ‘neesh’ or ‘nitch’) basically means a subject or a topic. This is the area of interest that your website is going to focus on and it’s what you’ll be writing about on a daily basis for your blog posts.
This might sound like an easy job – but picking your niche is actually something you should consider very carefully. Getting this right can make your life a lot easier while choosing poorly can make it almost impossible to achieve the success you’re looking for.
Here we will look at some considerations that you need to bear in mind when picking your niche.
A Topic You Enjoy
Tip number one is to always choose a niche that you enjoy reading and writing about. Blogging is not a ‘small’ job by any stretch of the imagination. Remember when we said it would essentially need to become your full-time career if you wanted to be very successful? Well then you have to ask yourself – is this something you will be happy to write about on a regular basis?
Writing will also come a lot easier if you’re well-versed in the subject. You’ll need to do less research and at the same time, you’ll find it much easier to come up with new interesting topics that people who like the subject will be interested in. What’s more, your passion will come across in the content and people will be much more inclined to read more of what you have to say as a result.
Even if you plan on outsourcing your writing, knowing the niche you choose well will help you to feel excited about your site and to check over the accuracy and usefulness of the writing you’re receiving. Ultimately, choosing a niche just because some ‘guru’ says it’s a profitable one is a fast track to becoming bored and disillusioned and ultimately giving up.
When picking your niche, you need to think about the competition out there and how easy it is going to be to stand out. Of course, you want a subject that has a large potential audience, so why not pick something big like ‘fitness’ or ‘cars’?
Well, that’s a good idea on the face of it until you think about how many other bloggers are writing in those niches. Bodybuilding.com is one of the largest sites on the net and it generates a huge turnover – most of which is invested back into the site to ensure a steady flow of new topics. The question is: can you compete with that? Are you going to be able to compete with any of those sites to get to page one?
On the other hand, if you choose to blog about rearing stick insects, you’ll likely find that there’s a much smaller audience – but also far less competition.
The best-case scenario then is to find a topic that is popular but that isn’t so popular that it’s going to attract lots of huge companies and top-name bloggers. Things like ‘foraging’, ‘knitting’, ‘writing’, ‘parkour’ are all big without attracting too much attention.
Broad vs Specific Topics
Another strategy is to start with a topic that has a broad appeal but then to narrow it down to something more specific. For instance, if you like fitness, how about picking a certain area of fitness such as running or CrossFit? Or alternatively, what about targeting a particular group? For instance ‘fitness for diabetics’. You can also try combining two different topics. A great example of this is the blog ‘Nerd Fitness’.
Another alternative strategy is to go very broad with your chosen niche which has the advantage of allowing you to come up with lots of new angles for content. If you do this though, you risk a lack of focus so you need to ensure that you keep everything tied together with a common thread. A great example of this is the ‘Art of Manliness’ blog. This blog writes about anything that could be considered ‘manly’ – so that includes editorials on the role of the modern man but also posts on how to smoke a cigar or enjoy whiskey and posts on how to raise children. This gives a hugely broad range of topics for the writer while still having a very strong brand identity and focus.
Choosing a Profitable Market
Another consideration when picking your niche is whether or not it’s profitable. That’s right: some niches are far more profitable than others and you’ll find it easier to monetize depending on which one you pick. Examples of highly profitable niches include finance and business. These are profitable because they offer ROI in themselves: someone will be happier to spend money on an eBook about earning money because in theory, they’ll make that initial expense back.
Likewise, there is money to be made in any niche that has a big and obvious ‘value proposition’. A value proposition can be thought of like an emotional hook – it is the thing that people will want to buy your products or read your blog for and the ‘way’ that they hope their lives will benefit. Fitness is a great example because people badly want six-pack abs and are willing to pay. The same goes for dating.
Monetizing that blog on raising stick insects on the other hand will be harder. There is simply not the same demand or ‘need’ for products here. That said though, the relative lack of competition in the area, combined with the relative scarcity of information means there are certainly ways to monetize.
Ultimately it’s worth just thinking hard whether or not your niche is going to be profitable or not and weighing this up when choosing whether to write about it. Look at your competition to see whether they look to be making much money, think about your business model, and maybe even try verifying your intended business model. Verifying means trying to sell to your target audience first to see if they are actually there and if they are actually interested in buying your product.
Have you picked your niche yet? If so, leave a comment below and let me know what your topic is!