Imagine you’re about to start writing your first novel.
You start searching the internet for some tips – you want to make sure you approach the process correctly.
Which of the following blog posts are you going to be more likely click on and read?
- 10 Must-know Writing Tips
- 10 Must-know Writing Tips for First-time Novelists
You’re going to pick the second one because it speaks to your exact needs/situation.
You don’t want just any ol’ writing tips. You want tips for writing a novel that are tailored to people who’ve never written one before.
People who see your blog posts online think the same way.
They want content tailored to their situation because that’s what’s going to help them the most.
That’s why choosing a niche is so damn important.
Now, you might be thinking:
Wait a second. In that example, wouldn’t general “writing tips” allow me to attract a wider range of writers?
The thing is, to build a successful blog quickly, you don’t want to aim for a variety of target audiences. At least not at first.
It’s much better to be the PERFECT fit for a specific type of reader than just a “decent” or “okay” fit for lots of different readers.
Being a perfect fit for a specific type of reader – which is what happens when you niche down the right way – is what will allow you to grow your following/community fast.
It’ll help you become a go-to resource and quickly establish a strong online presence – even if you have no online presence when you get started.
So, how exactly can you choose the best niche?
Today, we’re going to go through the steps together.
Let’s get started.
How to Pick a Blog Niche That Allows You to Blog Full-time
STEP 1: LIST THE TOPICS YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT.
What could you talk about every day non-stop?
What are your hobbies?
What topics do you read about the most?
These are a few questions you can ask yourself to help come up with a list of blog niche topics based on your passions.
You have to REALLY care about serving your community and genuinely care about the people you’re helping with your blog posts if you want to succeed.
So not only do you need to be passionate about your blog niche topic – you need to be passionate about helping the associated audience.
Because if you’re running your blog like a business, it isn’t about you.
It’s all about serving your audience.
And look, I know this sounds super fucking cheesy.
But it’s true.
Blogging is SO time-consuming and requires a lot of hard work.
You’ve gotta have a lot of love for what you do and who you help if you want to be able to keep going when times get tough.
For me, I started this blog as a freelance writing blog because I haaaated 9-to-5 jobs so much that it made me INSANELY happy to be able to help others quit their shitty 9-to-5 jobs.
I saw myself from my 9-to-5 days in the people I was helping.
The “me” who sat at a miserable day job, wondering when I’d stop wasting my life and actually DO something I wanted to do.
That empathy for my audience combined with a passionate hatred of traditional workplaces (harsh, but true) is what keeps me going when shit gets stressful.
So, bottom line: Choose a topic you’re passionate about AND an audience you’re passionate about helping.
STEP 2: LIST TOPICS YOU HAVE PLENTY OF KNOWLEDGE AND/OR SKILL IN.
What do you enjoy teaching others about?
What are you better at than the average person?
What do you have a lot of experience doing?
What’s something really unique/cool that you’ve accomplished?
Ask yourself these questions to start brainstorming your main areas of expertise.
And remember: You don’t need to be the #1 expert in your niche to make an impact.
Teach what you know. Share your journey.
Think about it. Even if you consider yourself an “intermediate” in your niche topic, you can still offer SO MUCH to people who are beginners!
The one thing you don’t want to do, though, is feel like you have to be the expert to the point where you just re-hash other people’s more advanced content without having any personal experience to draw from.
I feel like this isn’t something that’s talked about a whole lot because it’s kind of a touchy subject. But I’m going to talk about it anyway because fuck it – it’s important. An example:
- You decide to start a blog that teaches others how to play guitar. You’re an intermediate-level guitar player.
- You publish lots of awesome guitar tips and tutorials aimed at newbies/intermediate-level guitar players.
- You suddenly feel like your content isn’t “expert” enough, so you go to a more expert-level guitar tips blog and read one of their posts. You like it and find it super useful.
- You re-hash their content on your own site, even though you don’t really even have a deep understanding of what you’re writing about or have any personal experience to draw from since you JUST learned about the topic yourself.
Not only will this sort of “lazy plagiarism” actually hurt your brand/business (you can’t beat who you copy!) – it’s just plain unethical and will definitely land you on the shit list of whoever’s content you’re regurgitating.
So, stick to what you know.
Ideally, you want to pick a blog niche topic where you don’t really need to reference other blogs when you write – the info comes from you.
That’s what will allow you to rise to the top of your industry quickly and set yourself apart as a go-to resource.
And remind yourself that what you know IS valuable and helpful, even if you’re not the top expert on the topic quite yet!
I mean, imagine you want to blog about how to succeed on YouTube.
You have 1,000 YouTube subscribers and you’re really picking up some traction with your channel.
At that point, you could totally use your blog to teach TONS of “YouTube for beginners” tips for people looking to get their first chunk of followers!
Then, you could offer even more in-depth and advanced tips as you grow your channel and learn more about what works.
Lots of popular bloggers have used this approach and created a loyal tribe of fans as a result of their originality/honesty (just look at Pat Flynn!).
STEP 3: LOOK FOR OVERLAP AND CONSIDER PROFITABILITY.
What niche topic are you both passionate about and knowledgeable in?
If you can find overlap there, chances are, you’ve found a good niche option.
Then, you want to think about stuff like longevity and profitability.
As far as longevity: Could you write about this niche topic constantly and not get tired of it?
Is this niche topic something that will remain relevant in the future and something you feel like you’ll still be passionate about later on?
Ideally, you want your niche to be something you won’t get tired of – something that’s going to be relevant for a while and enjoyable to write about.
Now, as far as profitability…
Let me just start by saying that, with your blog niche decision, you don’t want to go into it with the mindset of “how am I going to make a bunch of money overnight?” (SPOILER ALERT: you aren’t.)
Choosing your blog niche, you need to consider profit AND purpose/passion. Without profit, your blog is a hobby and not a business. Without purpose/passion, you’re going to burn out. Blogging is tough and requires a lot of work, so if money is your only motivation, you’re not going to last long.
We’ve already talked purpose/passion, so let’s talk profit. Here are some examples of how you can make money via your blog:
- Online courses
- Digital downloads
- Membership sites
- Services (coaching, freelancing, etc.)
- Physical products
(This isn’t a comprehensive list of monetization methods, but it does include some of the most popular/profitable methods.)
Ask yourself whether or not the main niche topics you’re considering would allow for any monetization methods. Get creative here, and really think about all of the possible ways to monetize.
Then, you can start thinking about and researching profitability of those monetization methods.
Check out how others within your desired niche are monetizing to help yourself come up with ideas and validate the niche.
If you come up with nada, you either need to brainstorm more or pick a different niche. (But really, you can monetize just about anything if you REALLY want to!)
OTHER FACTORS TO CONSIDER
- Is there a niche within your desired niche?
What can you offer differently within your niche? Can you target a different audience within your niche?
For example, maybe you notice that a lot of the content within your niche is directed at millennials, and you want to write content directed at older generations. This would be considered a niche within your niche because you’d be narrowing down your target audience.
Or maybe you can offer a unique writing tone, brand, or viewpoint. This has a lot to do with your USP.
Speaking of which…
- What’s your USP?
Your USP – or “Unique Selling Proposition” – is what will make people choose to read your blog over other blogs in your industry.
It might be your writing tone/style.
Or it might be the fact that you oppose an opinion that’s otherwise popular in your industry.
Or the way that your brand is wildly different from anyone else’s.
Or the fact that your blog posts are 10X more helpful that anyone else’s.
In other words, your USP is what makes you different from others. And you NEED to have a USP if you want your blog to become successful.
This goes back to the point of “you can’t beat who you copy.”
As tempting as it can be to closely imitate other successful bloggers in your industry, that approach will be your downfall.
So, take some time to research your niche industry and think about what’s going to make YOUR blog unique from the rest.
- Who is your ideal reader?
When you choose your blog niche, you’re also choosing a target audience / ideal reader.
For example, if you choose to create a blog about how to train your Chihuahua, your target audience is Chihuahua owners.
…But is your target audience all Chihuahua owners?
Get specific on exactly who your ideal reader is.
What’s their approximate age? What are their goals? What are their needs/wants? What are their interests? What kind of humor do they appreciate?
Keep in mind that your target audience may become more clear as your blog grows and you learn about who you naturally attract.
For example, I’ve learned from Google Analytics that my blog attracts mostly people from the ages of 18-34.
Definitely set up Google Analytics for your blog to learn more about who you’re attracting. But make sure you start your blog with a specific kind of ideal reader in mind too.
FAQS ABOUT HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR BLOG NICHE
- What if you want to blog about more than one topic?
Would my ideal reader be interested in reading about both of (or all of) these related topics?
If they wouldn’t, then I suggest choosing the ONE topic you want to blog about.
Or, you can tie the topics together to create occasional “crossover” posts.
For example, I’m interested in MBTI/psychology.
But I’m not going to write about it here on my blog about blogging / writing / creative entrepreneurship.
However, I COULD write a blog post about how to use your MBTI type to grow your online business.
Or how to improve your blog post writing based on your MBTI type.
That way, I’d get to have a post about something I enjoy and it’s still relevant to my audience.
But I wouldn’t ever write about MBTI here regularly – it’s just not super relevant to my ideal readers for this blog.
The reason you want to really hone in on one niche is that it allows you to tailor your content and marketing efforts better.
Everyone wants to read content that meets their specific needs.
So it’s a lot easier to build a strong brand and blog quickly when you’re constantly meeting the needs of your ideal reader with your blog posts.
- Since I need to have one main niche for my blog, should I just start a second blog for the second niche I want to write about?
You’ve heard the saying about chasing too many rabbits right? And how, if you do that, you won’t catch any of them?
I’m a big advocate for having ONE blog and going ALL in on it.
Running a blog is fucking demanding. Rewarding, yes. But so, so demanding.
Writing is just a small part of it.
You have to market yourself, get involved in your community, monetize successfully, etc.
Don’t get me wrong – if you want to have a second blog just for shits and giggles, I’m all for you doing that.
But if you’re looking to monetize and turn your blog into a full-time business, just focus on the one main blog.
Doing so will make it a LOT easier for you to become successful and rise to the top of your industry.
NOT doing so will mean you’ll be spread way too thin.
- I STILL can’t figure out my niche! UGH. What should I do?
I mean, sure, it’s a lot easier to ramp up your blog and turn it into a full-time business when you know your blog niche (or at least sort of know your blog niche) from the beginning.
But sometimes, your niche becomes clear after you write for a while.
Or it evolves / becomes more clear as you get more familiar with your audience and their needs.
Make the best decision you can based on what I’ve covered in this post, and get started.
You can always change it up or make adjustments later if you need to.
How to Write Blog Posts Perfect for Your Niche/Audience
Once you’ve decided on a niche, you need to start publishing blog posts.
But you can’t just pick any ol’ topic and expect it to do well.
And you can’t expect that being a good writer is enough to grow your blog.
Growing a blog that you turn into a full-time business depends heavily on writing blog posts from a marketing perspective.
You also need to understand content marketing and create a business plan.
That means getting clear on stuff like:
- Exactly who your target reader is (“moms” or “college students” isn’t specific enough!)
- The monetization methods you want to use
- How your blog post topics will support your monetization plan
- …And more
Now, you’re in a great position to start your blog with a profitable blog niche.
Get out there and start building your blog! 🙂