Today, I want to talk about finding a niche market for your blog. It’s the biggest choice you have to make, really, apart from the technical side of getting your blog hosted, which we talked about last week (Read about web hosting options here). Not having a focused idea of what their niche is, is one of the biggest things I see holding many bloggers back.
For some people, choosing a niche is something they don’t even think about – you have something you want to blog about, and that’s it – it’s purely a passion decision. And passion is GREAT – passion is actually extremely important! But if you also want to earn an income with your blog, it may take more than passion.
Why is passion so important? Well – if you’re going to be blogging for a long time – if this is going to be your income source – you want something you care enough about to be able to blog about it for the long haul. I used to create little niche blogs about things just because I found good keywords. Things like Halloween costumes. And the blogs were good, and they made money – but after the first year, I hated writing anything for them. Because I didn’t really care! I didn’t care about writing about Halloween, I don’t even live in a country where Halloween is celebrated.
My lack of enthusiasm means that over time, I quit posting to those blogs. I had great ideas for them, but just couldn’t force myself to do it. In the end, I just let them go.
So make sure that you choose to blog about a topic you care about – something that interests you enough to constantly learn about it, to have opinions on it, and to write with enthusiasm.
And very quickly, let me talk to you about lifestyle blogging. There are lots of ways to blog – niche blogging in NOT the only way to success. There are lots of people out there who are very successful with lifestyle blogs, where the point of the blog is sharing their life, usually from some unique aspect. Maybe you’re a single mom, or a mom of multiples, or a stay at home dad, or a family that loves to camp… Whatever there is about you and your life that makes you stand out. Every post does not have to be about that thing! It’s just going to be the thing that gives your blog a point of view and a personality.
So even if you’re going to be a true lifestyle blogger rather than a niche blogger, you need to narrow down the audience you’re speaking to. If you’re trying to talk to everyone, your message is too “all over the place” and you won’t get heard by anyone. By focusing your topic, you can speak to a specific audience and make sure your message gets heard.
Niche blogger or lifestyle blogger – the following tips will help you narrow it down.
1) Research Your Ideas
Make a list of 10 or 20 things you love; things you like reading about, learning about, doing. Now, do a little research. Your first step will be keyword research. This post from Copyblogger shows you how to do some basic keyword research that will help you find out if a niche is worth pursuing.
You’ll also want to do a search for each of them, and see which ones already have people writing about them. Are there popular blogs? Facebook groups? Don’t be discouraged if there are – that’s actually what you want! If other people are doing it successfully, it means that there is a market for it, that people are searching for it and talking about it.
2) Know Your Purpose
You can be totally passionate about something and still have a blog that lacks focus. In order to be successful, you need to have a clear message.
If you want to blog about music, pick a genre – the people who are interested in reading about Beethoven probably aren’t as interested in Deerhoof.
Don’t have a recipe blog, instead, choose a type of recipe – quick recipes, slow cooker recipes, vegan, healthy…
Technically, this is called “segmenting” your niche – choosing a small segment of a larger niche. I like to call it “niche-ing it down”. The more you niche down, the better you’ll be able to know what your purpose is for your blog, and the better you’ll be able to connect with an audience.
3) Solve Problems
As you narrow down your choice of niche, you’re going to want to think about topics you can write about. While some things may be written strictly for entertainment purposes, most profitable blogs earn the most money when they do something that solves a problem for their readers. If you understand the niche and your audience, you’ll be able to see what their problems are and come up with products and services that solve those problems.
So look for questions that are being asked – for instance, as a cooking or recipe blog, you may be able to create or sell recipe books. Or in another direction, you could create a series of “How to… in the Kitchen” videos to sell, showing different prep and cooking techniques to help budding chefs.
To use another earlier example – say you’re blogging about your family that loves to camp. You could create your own ebook that rates and reviews campgrounds according to family friendliness, and what there is to do for kids. Or maybe a “camping checklist” that can be printed and laminated for families to use when packing for their camping vacays.
No matter what your niche, there are bound to be problems that you can solve with your expertise and passion!
4) Bring Your Personality
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it a million times: Don’t try to be someone else.
You can’t copy another blogger’s style and be successful. You have to figure out who you are and what makes you different to bring your own unique voice to it. Your personality is going to be very important in helping you connect with your readers and build that blog community that’s so important for your success.
Just do it! Start taking action now!
I know it sounds silly, but it’s true. The hardest step is the first one. Once you make a habit of working on your business every day (yes, your blog is a business), you’ll find that it gets much easier to do.