“If folks focus in on a niche and own it, there’s a good chance they could make half a living from blogging.” —Jason Calacanis
The funny thing about this is, in this day and age, an increasing number of dedicated bloggers are replacing their 9-5 jobs with their full-time blogs.
In fact, here are a few individuals who made their fortunes from blogging in various niches.
Choosing a niche is the bane of all aspiring bloggers. But don’t worry, in this article we won’t only help you find your niche; we’ll help you find a profitable area that fits you!
If you are here, you probably already have an idea of what blog/content niches are. But for the sake of the inquiry, here is a brief overview.
“A blog niche is a specific topic you’ll write (or create other types of content) about on your blog.”
How specific do I need to be? We’ll answer that in a moment.
First, it is important to understand why you need a blog niche.
1. A niche keeps you on track - It helps you operate under a tight topic. Without it, your content will be scattered and messy.
When you lack a niche, you will eventually become overwhelmed by what topic to address next. This will set you up for a dreaded writer’s block.
For example, If you decided to niche on gardening, wouldn't it be easier to brainstorm what subtopic to blog next?
For Example: Herbal gardening, decorative gardening, gardening tools I use, gardening for beginners, how to survive off things that grow in my garden, etc.
These are just off the top of my head--I’m not even a gardening expert!
Moreover, even if you do run out of creative juices, there are plentiful resources to help you come up with new ideas:
Let’s say you decide to niche in organic food. Simply type your keyword and you will immediately have 645 keywords to browse from.
Any of these keywords could spark an idea for your next blog.
Soovle is another free tool to explore what people are searching for--another opportunity for a new topic.
Of course, you can use good old Google Trends to see what is currently trending and build on the results.
Google Trends won’t give you specific results, but it will give you ideas that already have high search volumes.
This strategy has been used by many famous Youtubers. They ask their viewers to comment on which topic they want to be covered next and they find golden nuggets in them.
Add a comment box for your readers or ask them through email and you can easily do the same.
Again, let’s use gardening as an example. Simply search "gardening" and look for books with high ratings and reviews.
4.8 star rating with 819 reviews, this one looks promising. Let’s check it out.
You’ll see the “Look Inside” logo on top of the product picture. Click on it and head over to the "Table of Contents" section.
Here, you will find various topics that have been researched and studied by published authors.
Take everything that is relevant to your blog and come up with your own take on the subjects. Remember, these are only for inspiration.
These are just a few of the resources that can keep you going if you decide to focus on a niche.
2. Having a content niche makes you an expert - When you focus on a niche, you grow to know your field like the back of your hand.
Unlike variety bloggers who brush up from topic to topic, a niche blogger digs deep and uncovers every single detail on a topic.
You have firsthand knowledge of topics you discuss, and you tell your stories from personal experience. This makes you an expert.
For example, a variety-food blogger would feature how to make a simple Japanese meal like tonkatsu (pork cutlet) and move on to a different cuisine on the next post.
But a niche blogger who specializes in Japanese cuisine will go as far as discussing the meal’s variations like katsu kare (pork cutlet with rice and curry), katsudon (rice bowl with pork cutlet topping), and so on.
A niche blogger might even talk about the correct preparation of ingredients, different sauces that go with the meal, etc.
Even if you’re just starting out, a niche focuses all your energy on a specific segment of your topic. With dedication and hard work, you’ll be an expert in no time.
Remember, “a jack of all trades is a master of none”. If you want to be an industry master, pick a specialization and stick with it.
3. A niche helps grow a reliable audience - Something like this happens to many lifestyle bloggers.
They create awesome content, (say, about health) and it goes viral. Many people subscribed--great!
Then the next article gets posted and it’s about home decor, they lose 90% of the leads they got from the viral post.
Why? Because these people thought it was a health-centric blog, and they expected more health-related content.
Bloggers think that traffic defines success, it’s not that straight-forward. General-type blogs do get more eyeballs, but it’s not about who has more visitors...
It’s about who can convert more. A couple of thousand viewers won’t mean a thing if you can’t get them to buy.
In summary, a niche blog has an easier time retaining visitors because their content is consistent.
4. A niche helps monetize your blog - If you're marketing to everyone, you're marketing to no-one.
Marketing costs money, and if you are marketing to a general audience, that means you're spending a lot of money (or time) on people who are never going to buy.
Even worse, the people that would buy will slide right under you because they won't know you're looking for them.
On the flip side, if you narrow your audience based on their interests, you can make your marketing speak to them directly. So, they know that you are there to help them.
FYI: Here we go in to detail on how to monetize your blog in 2020.
As with the other ways of making money through blogging, you need to have a dedicated niche if you want people to open their wallets for you.
Now that you understand what a niche can do for your blog, we move on to the next step: How to find a niche that fits you.
You can’t be too broad and you can’t be too laser targeted either.
If you go too broad, there’s too much ground to cover which defeats the purpose of having a niche. If you go too narrow, you’ll never make enough room for your biz to grow.
Let’s put this analogy into an example:
Say you are a fandom blog-type who wants to focus on TV series and movies.
Now, TV shows and movies are way too broad to be your niche, yet picking one movie or TV series is too specific.
If you decide to write blog posts about Doctor Who, and the BBC decides to cancel the show, then you’re screwed.
But if you decide to niche on the fantasy genre TV shows, you’re leaving yourself with plenty of wiggle room while being specific enough to have a dedicated audience.
“This topic can still be narrowed down”.
True. Arguably, you can still niche down. According to Statista there are 31.7 million bloggers in the US alone today. Which makes niche-ing down even more important if you want to stand out.
Ideally, you want to position yourself in a place where you have less competition, but still have a good volume of convertible audience to market.
Also, consider room for expansion and longevity. You want your business to stand the test of time.
Now that you know the gist on how specific you need to be, we’ll put this logic into practice. For now, let’s brainstorm ideas for your blog niche!
Some people start their blog with a topic already in mind, but it is definitely okay to start with a blank canvas.
Make a list of everything that you’re interested in and passionate about, and we’ll worry about validating these ideas later.
What are the things that interest you? What are your passions?
Write down all the things that you do and think about. Whether it’ll make a good niche or not, write it down. We’ll worry about its validity later.
If I were to think out loud, my list would be:
After you have listed all your interests you will find that some subjects you’re more knowledgeable about, some you’re more interested in, and some you think will boom in the market.
Trust your instincts. Mark the ones that stand out.
This may be from blogs, books, magazines, movies, TV shows, music, or podcasts.
Hell, check your Youtube history and you might find that much of the content you consume points to one specific topic.
If you read blogs and magazines about NBA, your TV is always on ESPN, and The JJ Redick Podcast & Road Trippin’ plays on your iPhone, then it's safe to say you are headed to the basketball niche.
Review what you enjoy consuming, any of these contents can spark an idea.
What kind of jobs did you hold previously? What did you do in these jobs?
For example: Were you always in a position that handles people? What did you like about it?
Were you ever a student leader in high school or college? What clubs were you in? Perhaps one of your hobbies was playing football and you were a good quarterback.
Think back. Some elements of the things that you used to do might tell you more about yourself.
Being a student leader, who loved calling the shots on football plays, that often took a managerial position in their past jobs, and had success in all of these areas shows natural leadership.
Hence, a blog niche specializing in leadership training is one of the many great options that you have.
One of the most successful blog characteristics is the ability to educate.
Here, in Kidd, founder and owner Adam Stinson has found great success in growth marketing— thus, he created Kidd to help aspiring entrepreneurs to start and grow their business blogs.
How about you? List all of your greatest achievements. They could include:
Whatever! You would be surprised by how many people would love to hear your stories and how you’ve achieved them.
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find any viable topic to blog about. Chances are, the right niche is just around the corner.
In the meantime, here are examples of evergreen niches you can dive deep on. See if anything piques your interest.
Note: All topics listed above are broad, it’s up to you to pick which resonates best and niche down from there.
If you’ve made it this far then it is probably safe to say that you have plenty of ideas running through your head. It’s time to validate them!
Answer these questions truthfully and if you get any negative result, then it’s a sign for you to consider another option.
Is it something you would love to do even if you’re not being paid to do it?
Have you ever lost track of time working on it?
It’s easy to decide to work on a niche where you think there is a ton of money. But guess what, If you have thought of it, so have thousands of other people around the world.
Over time you will get tired of competing with many large companies. The brilliant, money-making niche that you thought of wasn’t that brilliant after all. Any motivation you had starting out will be gone.
This is why it’s important to be happy with your answer.
How passionate you are about your biz is what is going to carry you through the peaks and valleys of your business life.
Choose something that you are truly passionate about. Something you’re good at and never get tired of doing it.
Many experts say that you should write about what your audience wants to read and learn, often overlooking your own interests.
Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely merit in doing this, but there’s no reason to leave your own interests behind. You can combine two.
You might not think that what you want matters, au contraire, what you want is what’s going to help you thrive.
Like we said before, the most successful blogs educate. So if you can’t teach someone something valuable in your niche, don’t expect them to listen.
An accompanying question to this is: are you willing to learn further? Because what you know right now may not be relevant next month.
You need the resolve to keep learning and improving. Stay sharp. Outdated and inaccurate content is one fast ticket to failure in this line of business.
No one is going to take any advice from a marketer who can’t sell water in a desert. Experience and expertise matter.
While for many niches that’s all you need, on certain niches like medicine, law, finances, etc., you need to be a certified professional before you can give any advice.
Does this niche have a paying audience around it?
Just because a topic has a huge fan base that doesn’t mean those people are willing to pay for your products or products you are advertising to.
Here are a few tips to determine if there is a paying customer in your chosen niche:
Searching the term “hiking” as an example yielded over 100,000 search results.
In addition to that, there’s also 1 sponsored result and a hefty amount of reviews. All these are good signs that there’s a huge market for hiking enthusiasts.
Furthermore, published books about your niche are also a great indicator of a good market.
Clickbank is another great marketplace to check out, especially when your niche revolves around digital products. Visit their affiliate marketplace and simply search for your topic.
Using the hiking topic again, it yielded 19 pages of digital products about hiking. Not bad for a niche that usually needs physical products.
Keep in mind, in this process, you’ll need a live website. If you don’t have your website sorted out yet, don’t worry too much about this.
When you get to their website, search for your niche and see if there is a good amount of merchants and products. If you find some, then there is money to be made.
Pro Tip: Jot down interesting products and services you see while browsing. This will be useful when you decide to make your own product or service.
Let’s review. Key indicators of a profitable niche are paying customers, a good amount of products or services, and companies spending to advertise their products.
List all of your keywords and check their search volume.
Keyword tools like Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest are very helpful to determine search volumes.
Using the “hiking” niche as an example again, here "hiking" alone yielded 246,000 search volume, which is impressive.
If you do not have a list of keywords ready, you can also find "Keyword Ideas" on these tools which gives you relevant keywords for your use.
Add it all up, and in this search, we have a little over a million search volume--outstanding!
Friendly reminder: Although high search volume keywords validate your niche, this doesn’t mean that you should ignore the value of low volume keywords when it comes to SEO.
Higher search volume usually means better, because it means higher demand, but this also means more competition.
A million search volume keywords like this means almost everybody, organic and paid campaigns, are targeting it.
Low volume keywords, on the other hand, mean you have a smaller audience and lower competition.
The few people searching for these keywords are likely hyper-relevant to your content. These are low hanging fruits that you can easily convert.
Since there is no competition to worry about, everything is up for grabs. You get all of the audience and you easily get the top search rank.
To review: Higher search volume = higher demand = higher competition. This works best for the ones playing the long game.
Low search volume = lower, but more relevant demand = lower competition. This works best for businesses just starting out and looking to rank immediately.
Remember, niche blogging is about positioning yourself among high demand, high conversion, yet a low competition market.
Did you know that 1 out of 12 businesses closes every year? Additionally, 50% of businesses fail after 5 years.
According to CB Insights, 42% of businesses fail because there’s no market need, and 29% because they ran out of cash.
This makes picking a niche built for the long haul much more important.
Building a blog based on the 2022 elections won’t last you six months when the market needs deplete. I can’t stress this enough, never position yourself in a market cul-de-sac.
Look for niches that have been around the web for years, that is a good sign that it will stay relevant in the future.
Like I said before, too much competition will make it hard to stand out, while little to no competition means there is no money to be made.
Another thing about competition is: just because we have been calling these other content creators the ‘competition’ or ‘competitors’, doesn’t mean that you have to treat them like your enemy.
In fact, your competitor today can be your collaborator tomorrow. No one makes it in this business alone.
You can exchange guest posts with your peers, invite them for an interview, promote them, and they promote you. Grow your businesses together.
In niche blogging, we value stability more than virality. A famous topic can be profitable for a month or two but die down after, bringing you back to square one.
Stable niches look like this on Google Trends. It says that hiking has been in good condition for the last 5 years, which makes it a pretty safe bet if you are planning to get into the hiking scene.
Of course, an upward trend is still the best sign that you are headed toward a booming economy, but make sure that it has done well for the past couple of years.
Beware of new trends that randomly skyrocket off the charts, as they tend to drop off after the hype is gone. Remember Pokémon GO?
You don’t want to end up investing in something like this. It is best to work under a niche that is stable and steadily moving upward.
You might not think much of this question, but being happy and proud of your own work, not to mention being recognized for it, is rewarding like nothing else.
It keeps you going, which keeps your business going.
Recognition also helps build trust with your readers and helps them connect with the person behind the amazing blog.
Some bloggers are still gaining traffic from posts they wrote five years ago and even earning from it. That’s what we are going for here.
We recommend building a blog that aims for timeless content over a blog that focuses on “What’s happening right now?”.
Reminder: writing timeless content does not mean that you don’t have to update it.
It is easier to grow with evergreen content, while on news-type blogs you need to constantly fight for the latest news.
This makes it much more difficult if you are running a small team, while your competitors have an army of writers with ears on the ground.
A news-type blog is about who publishes first, while evergreen blogs are about quality content. Choose wisely.
Every question asked above comes down to 3 major elements:
You need these 3 elements to be perfectly aligned. A lack in one can dismantle your whole business.
Do not be discouraged if you haven’t found the right one yet--keep digging. It is better to start with a strong foot forward than to have a shaky foundation.
However, if you did find your niche, then awesome! Let’s move ahead.
How are we doing?
If it seems like picking a niche sounds like a lot of work, that is because it is! Don’t worry, here, I’ll share how I would come up with my niche if I were to launch a personal blog.
You grab a pen and paper and do it with me. Sounds good? Here we go!
Remember what my topics were?
From here, I’ll dissect each interest and use the process of elimination until I’m left with one niche I could work on.
I won’t get into the actual process, but here are the general reasons I didn’t pick the other topics: Lack of experience, competition too large, no market need, lack of expertise, lack of interest, or no audience.
Bottom line, I went with the fandom blog that writes about TV series and movies. If I were to niche down, the top 5 topics I would focus on are:
Now, from here, I can already see myself niche on any one of them, but I choose to focus on Comic-book based shows because it is something that I have been interested in since I was a kid.
In addition, it is the age of superheroes and I don’t see this niche dying anytime soon.
And don’t get me started on the market flexibility. From t-shirts to action figures, the market is blowing up. I bet someone is making a decent living just from affiliate marketing in this niche.
Sure, I can choose to niche even further by selecting Marvel or DC shows, but I would stop here to keep my options open.
Now, your blog niche might be narrow enough, but your blog will always be tied with a business if you want to earn real money from it.
Like I said, it is obvious that there has been a huge market around the comic book universe since the first Iron Man film came out in 2008. So, should I give up and keep brainstorming?
Not so fast!
There are still cards to play to find success in a huge market. Here are four of the many angles you could play:
Let’s apply these angles to my comic book fandom business. Let's say I design and make fandom apparel.
See how I lessened the competition just by applying an angle on it? As a small business, now I’m not competing with huge conglomerates around the globe.
For any business facing a huge market, you can choose to apply any of these angles or apply them all together to get a better edge.
Niche blogging is such a great way to start a business. It is easy to map out where you are supposed to go, and there are many resources to keep you from straying.
It helps you capitalize on your strengths, build your brand, and as a result, you enjoy your work.
It is certainly acceptable for you to take some time brainstorming and validating niche ideas. It’s more complicated than it looks, but as long as you keep what you learned here in mind, you will do just fine.
Make sure your chosen niche passes every question above--never settle for anything less. Choosing a niche is a balancing act, you always need to be in the right spot.
When you are finally ready to start your blog, we are here to help you get your business off the ground. We will see you in the next article where we discuss Blogging 101: The Beginners Guide to Building a Profitable Blog.
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