Finding your niche is the most crucial step in starting an online venture, be it a blog or an ecommerce site.
How do you know you’ll love working on the site consistently? How do you know writing content for your site will be enjoyable (and not boring!)? Here are a few tips from our members.
Note: Do contribute your tips here.
Table of Contents:
Solve Problems You Have to Deal with Yourself
Eric Brantner (Founder of @scribblrs):
I run a number of blogs in a variety of niches, but the one thing they all share in common is they were born from my personal experiences. I think too many times bloggers looking to make money get so focused on trying to chase down the next trend that shows monetization potential without really stopping to think if it’s an area they have experience, expertise, and passion. I keep a running list of experiences I have or problems I encounter that I think are ripe for blogging.
For example, the blog I spend most of my time on these days is Scribblrs.com. As a former freelance writer who focused on client work, a few years ago I made the decision to start biding and monetizing my own blogs for passive income. I launched Scribblrs.com as a way to share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
In a completely different field, I was recently shopping for a new mattress and going through the usual terrible process of visiting all of the local mattress stores, dealing with pushy salespeople, trying to negotiate a good price, and all of that. I thought to myself, “This process sucks” so I looked into buying a mattress online. Well, I’m now in the process of launching SleepZoo.com, a mattress review website that gives people the information they need to buy a great mattress online.
Both of these sites (and all of the others I run) were products of actual real experiences I had. You don’t have to look everywhere else for the latest blog idea. Be cognizant of the experiences you have and find opportunities to create content around them.
Talk to Colleagues, Friends and Clients
David Trounce @malleeblue (Content Marketing and SEO Professional)
It’s hard to generate new ideas in a vacuum. Sometimes, you have to step away from your desk if you want to see what lies beyond the horizon. So, talking with others about how their business is going, especially the obstacles they are facing, will often spark an idea for new opportunities.
Find Your Micro-Niche When Googling
Another good one from David @malleeblue: Use a Google Chrome App called ‘Keywords Everywhere‘. When you search for anything in Google, it will return a list of related ideas along with average monthly queries for Google.
- Install the App
- Search Google
- Take a look at the related results and monthly searches
Perhaps you know all about chocolate. You love chocolate. But, you are not likely to build the next chocolate empire. However, maybe you can find a single niche within that empire to generate a business idea. In the video snippet above you can see an excellent opportunity to focus on the benefits of eating chocolate.
Rather than just aim for the entire market of chocolate eaters, what if you developed a product or site that crushed it in the health and happiness space for chocolate lovers. Digging deeper, you would then drill down through Google to look at all the things said about the benefits of eating chocolate. The benefits to your skin, your love life…. whatever.
If you don’t have anything of your own to sell, perhaps their products you could promote on this narrow, but popular niche in order to build or expand an existing business idea?
Niche Marketing Tools
Here are major niche marketing tools today’s question will help you answer:
- Is there enough interest in the topic? You don’t want something too saturated, but you need to make sure there is enough demand that you have an active and recurring audience.
- Are there interesting angles that haven’t been covered enough that would help you stand out? Nothing too narrow but something that will at least help you break into the niche (You can always expand later). Here’s one rebranding story that will help you understand what I mean here.
- Can you look at yourself in the mirror if marketing this niche? Believe it or not, ethics are important here. If you aren’t comfortable marketing this niche, avoid it.
- Will you feel excited creating content? Interest and passion are just as important as knowledge and expertise. You don’t want to corner a topic you hate, and wind up resenting your own work.
(1) Suggested by David Trounce @malleeblue, Keywords Everywhere (Google Chrome app) shows the list of related keyword phrases every time you search. You can find a new niche without even looking! This tool also shows monthly search volume and cost-per-click both reflecting demand and competition:
- High search volume = high interest in the topic
- High cost-per-click = high competition (Plus in many cases, it may signal of too many commercial / high-budget sites competing to rank)
(2) Serpstat is a cool keyword research tool that comes with many free features. One of my favorite options is searching for keyword based questions. I love the tag cloud containing most common word occurring in questions next to your term. This is a GREAT way to find a cool angle.
Besides, if you click on any phrases (or search your core term in “Keyword research” section), you’ll be able to see Serpstat’s “Competition” number which is very helpful in determining how hard it will be to get noticed.
(3) Answer The Public makes Google and Bing Suggest results truly inspiring by grouping and visualizing search suggestions.
(4) Buzzsumo will help you understand which type of content tends to go hot in the niche. This will give you some ideas whether you’ll feel comfortable and excited to be in the niche, build your community and write your content:
You can also filter results by content type to get more ideas: For example, you can see if there are cool expert interviews in that industry and if there’s an opportunity there.
(5) Scapple is @The5Currencies’s mindmapping tool that supports both Mac and Windows and costs only $14.99. It’s a great tool to work on different angles you can take when considering any niche.
More Ideas from Our Members
Raelyn Tan @raelyntan (Blogging & Digital Marketing Strategist @ RaelynTan.com)
The fastest and most effective way to identify a profitable niche is to find a profitable blog (or multiple successful blogs) and craft your niche from there. Similarly, if you are trying to validate a potential idea to check if it is profitable, check if there is another profitable website out there blogging about that exact topic.
With so many websites and bloggers online, any niche that you can possibly think of has already been thought of before by someone else. Finding another blog that is successful gives you concrete proof that your niche works. If you cannot find another successful blog in your exact niche, you need to change your niche – it is either too narrow or too broad.
Monica Georgieff (CMO of Kanbanize and BA Literature Graduate)
I use kanban boards (via @KanbanizeInc) to record your ideas and organize your thoughts to finally decide to go with one of them!
We have one more Thursday to discuss your tips. Please share your niche marketing tips here. We’ll publish all the tips at the end of the month!
Further reading: How to Build a Memorable Niche Blog
We’ll close with this great quote from Don Sturgill:
“Do what you love and the money will follow.” That’s the typical advice, but you can go broke following it. The correct rendition is “Find out how to turn something you love into a product or service others will love too.” Make sure enough people want what you have, then get it in front of them with an appealing message. That’s marketing.
And now it’s time to sum up the month of November
Let’s start with our memorable mentions:
- How To Make Complete Strangers Fall in Love With Your Blog via @jeffbullas. Lot’s of resources and techniques here! Must read!
- 20 SEO Tools Every Smart Marketers Must Have by @irinaweber048 via @B2Community. Among the listed tools are @SERanking @buzzsumo @trello @WorkExaminer @Dropbox @screamingfrog @Mention and others!
- #VCBuzz mention: 10 ideas to market and monetize your digital book or whitepaper via @sewatch
There were also a number of projects that were created with the help of our community:
- How and Why to Add an Elite Newsletter to Your Blog via @WHSRnet by @LuanaTF with @TobyBoyce @ventureapp @eneconcorp @CrazyEyeMktg
- Should You Ever Fire A Customer? via @ceohangout with @MinucaElena @amabaie @IkePazz @malleeblue @4PointDigital @The5Currencies
- 38 Web Design Experts Share Their Best Tip on How to Choose the Best Web Builder via @WebmastersAssoc and @MinucaElena with @seedesine @DARTCreations @Fresh_Pixels @QuickSitesInt @RoshieFilms @tienational @joshuamoran_ @joinboonle @hellojeffdesign @ReadySettle @meghancreative @zoranbosancic @uxdiogenes @thelovelylyss @tindel @naya_traveler @MrBrandonBrown @ncbernardi @sobrocreative @AIMSMediaUK @eshinemarketing @aspireamritsar
- Blogger Talk: Interview with Minuca Elena via @scribblrs with @MinucaElena
- Blogger Talk: Interview with Ashley Faulkes via @scribblrs with @madlemmingz
Featured projects of the month:
- You know you are a teacher when… by @towermarketing
- Book Review Club by @eBookDojo
- Reasons why Charlotte, NC is the best for young families by @EverSparkAmber
- Re-Tooling Entertainment Site by @EHollywood