In my first post about Niche Marketing, Introduction to Niche Marketing, I discussed how I started writing online and that in order to find a good niche, ideally you need to write about topics with which you have personal experience AND those where you can develop a reputation as an authority on that topic.
Today we will look at this in more detail and how to come up with ideas for a niche.
So why do you need to develop authority in your niche?
Think about it this way…if you are looking to spend money on a product, who are you going to believe when they say they have the exact product you are looking for?
Is it the person who has obviously researched hot topics because they believe they are going to make some quick money that way? Or the person who clearly has genuine experience of that topic and who will therefore genuinely know the best products to recommend?
It is all about trust – who would YOU trust?
Establishing authority is about establishing credibility. And this will actually make it easier to choose your niche. Because if you have knowledge and enthusiasm about a topic, it is easier to keep writing about that topic.
How many of us have started a blog on a whim? I am putting my hand up here *blush*.
I have a blog I started as an experiment. I wanted to prove that Link Wheels work. I did some keyword research (of course!) and found a terrific, very narrow niche. It had the potential for some good traffic and there was very little competition.
The experiment worked. The blog got good traffic, it made some sales, but the biggest problem is that it was a topic about which I had very little knowledge – tattoos. No I don’t have a tattoo. I was shocked when I discovered that my eldest daughter sneaked out and got a tattoo when she was 15. I don’t mind tattoos, but not on my kids. Then her older brother got a tattoo for his 18th birthday….I am hoping my younger kids don’t want tattoos but I am not banking on it!
I guess what convinced me to give the blog a go, was because the tattoo niche did involve a topic about which I do have some knowledge, a topic I like and a topic I would not mind reading up on to further develop my knowledge: Chinese Astrology. So, Year of The Tiger Tattoos was born and then evolved into Tiger Tattoo Designs.
The blog still gets reasonable traffic, despite the fact that it is neglected. Perhaps I will sell it one day. But why is a potentially successful blog neglected?
I ran out of steam. I was not sufficiently interested in the topic to be motivated enough to post new content on a regular basis. It is not costing me any money because it is hosted for free on a multi-user platform. So the blog just sits there.
And this is a huge consideration when you start up a niche blog or a series of pages on sites like Wizzley, Squidoo and so on. Are you interested enough to keep the topic going, or will your enthusiasm dry up?
Before Google introduced us to Panda, niche marketers were saying it was easy to set up a micro-niche blog, with very little effort and then watch the money roll in. All you needed to do was your keyword research, identify a topic that had potential and set up your blog, which would cost nothing in a year for the domain and hosting, when you compare the cost to how much you could potentially make.
They reckoned ten posts would be enough to populate the blog and you were on your way to easy money.
But, as I said, that was <i>before</i> Panda!
Now, instead of 10 posts, you probably need more than 30 AND the blog will need fresh content from time to time. Therefore, because of the effort that will be required to set up and maintain the blog, here are some other things to think about:
When choosing your niche, you need to honestly consider if you actually have 30 posts in you to start with. Posts that will need to be added quickly over a period of a few weeks as you grow the blog (and its authority) as fast as possible. Will you be able to produce that much content? Will it be quality and original? Does the topic have potential to be “evergreen” or will it become outdated in no time at all?
Perhaps, you have no problem with a niche blog, (or a series of Squidoo, Wizzley etc pages) that you know has a limited shelf life, or is holiday specific so it will get most of its traffic at certain times of the year. And that is fine. But if you do have “time specific” topics, try to have a range of topics, so for example, when Christmas is over, you can focus on a Valentine’s blog, then move onto gift giving for Mother’s Day and so on.
When discussing choosing niches with some of my online contacts that are new to publishing online, one of the biggest barriers is that they honestly believe that they are not an expert on anything. They are not confident that they know enough about anything to believe that others will regard them as an “authority”. They have a big problem actually seeing themselves as an expert on anything.
This is where we need to stop and think about our off-line lives, in addition to our on-line lives. Make a list about things you know about or are interested in. What life skills do you have? What experiences do you have, both in the business and social world?
What have you learned and what do you know about that you can share with others who have a problem that you could help solve?
Just sit down for five minutes and make a list of everything that comes into your head. At this stage no idea is a bad idea!
My “one minute list” reads like this, there would be more if I did it for five minutes:
Having teen-aged daughters
Having a grand-daughter (No! Not from the teen-aged daughters!!)
Eco friendly products
Gardening, growing my own vegetables and having an eco friendly garden
Wheat free dieting
Teaching Business Planning
There’s more I could add. No, I don’t have all the answers to parenting teen-aged girls, but boy, are they a market that has huge potential and it was thanks to my youngest daughter that I got an idea for a niche, that is doing nicely for me at the moment: The Hunger Games. A very competitive niche that I have managed to get into, thanks to narrowing that niche into very related but specific topics with keyword research.
Every one of us IS MOST DEFINITELY an expert at something and most of us are experts at many things. We just don’t realise it.
But once we DO realise, the trick is to turn that knowledge and enthusiasm into something that is realistically marketable.
If you have not done the list-making exercise, then go ahead and do it before next time. You should then have some ideas about topics and we will discuss more about how to take your ideas and change your thinking in order to be able to identify which ones have the potential to be marketable.