Hi friends! Today I bring you a post from niche-pro Kelly Cannon from The Take Action WAHM. Enjoy!
There are a lot of people out there who think that finding a blogging niche isn’t that important.
I think those people are wrong.
Now, before you get mad and hit the “back” button on this, hear me out!
First of all, who am I? I’m just a chick that’s been blogging for a little over 10 years, and I’ve made a good amount of money with it – and an even better number of mistakes. There probably would have been a lot more money without all the mistakes.
I’ve had a lot of blogs. I actually got my start as an internet marketer with what we call niche blogs, so you can see why I might be a “pro niche” kind of gal.
I saw you wrinkle your nose there when I said “internet marketer,” but here’s the thing: If you make money with a blog online, you’re an internet marketer. I know, there are a lot of sleazy, shady ones out there giving the rest of us a bad name, but I promise you, there’s a lot more of us good guys. You don’t hear about us as much, because we’re just quietly trotting along, making a living.
So what’s all that have to do with finding a blogging niche?
Here’s the deal – I teach people to blog, specifically, how to make money with a blog. And it seems like every time I coach someone who’s having a hard time doing that, it’s because they haven’t really got a niche.
Now it often turns out that they think they have a niche, but they don’t really. Like, they say their niche is family finance, but as you go through their blog you find posts about their dog, their favorite movie or potty training their kid.
Other times, I come up against people who actively fight having a niche. I’m sure you’ve seen them too, maybe even thought this yourself: Why should I have a niche? I want to blog about a lot of things! I want to help all kinds of people!
I feel ya! It only makes sense that if you blog about a lot of things and try to help lots of people, you’d get more traffic, right?
Well, it makes sense, but it’s exactly the opposite of what happens.
Let me break it down a little –
Imagine that you’ve got that family finance blog. I’m looking for advice on that topic, and I come to your blog and read an awesome post, so I sign up for your email list. A few days later, I get an email from you, eagerly open it expecting more great finance tips, and instead find a post about your dog’s run in with a skunk.
A week later, I get another email, and it’s about a new recipe you tried and loved.
I’m probably not going to open anymore emails from you, because your blog has not lived up to my expectations. You promised me finance tips, and broke your promise.
Likewise, someone who reads that recipe post and signs up for your list is going to be wondering what’s going on when your next post is about setting up a Christmas savings program for your family.
Do you see what I’m saying?
People are more likely to trust you and become regular readers when your blog follows through on it’s promise and gives them the kind of information they are looking for.
Now, the argument I usually get at this point is, “But I want to be a lifestyle blogger.” That is a perfectly legitimate idea, and I support you in that – but we need to back it up just a tiny bit.
Do you know what a niche really is?
In blogging circles, there’s this idea that a niche is a topic that you write about, and I’ve kinda sorta played into that even in this post.
But in marketing, the actual definition of a niche, according to BusinessDictionary.com, is “a small but profitable segment of a market suitable for focused attention by a marketer.”
In other words, your niche isn’t what you’re writing about, it’s who you are writing to.
In our example, the niche isn’t really family finance, it’s perhaps “young mothers looking to create financial stability for their family through effective budgeting.” So everything you write for your blog would be seen through that lens, written with that audience in mind.
If you write about the dog and the skunk, the point of view might be that emergencies happen, here’s how you can deal with it without breaking your budget. With a recipe, it might be “here’s a way to save money by using up the last bit of leftover chicken.” If you write about potty training, it would be, “here’s how to potty train without going broke on those disposable underpants”.
You can see how you even though you have a very well defined niche, you are not limited to one topic, and your posts actually can help a lot of people.
The key is that you’re focused on the needs of a very specific group – and because every single post is addressed to those people, they are going to love you and come back for more.
So, back to our lifestyle blog. When you have a lifestyle blog, what’s the purpose of it? You are actually going to be promoting your lifestyle. Your niche is going to be people who will find your lifestyle desirable and attractive, and those people are probably going to be a lot like you.
If you want to be a lifestyle blogger, think about what it is that sets your lifestyle apart. What is your “brand”? I know, talking about a brand makes it sound all ooky and internet market-y again, but I’m going by Darren Rowse’s idea of a brand – the “lasting impression that people have of your blog”.
Face it – soda companies don’t really sell fizzy sugar water, they sell a feeling. The commercials don’t say “Hey, our fizzy water is super sweet and extra fizzy! Try us!” No, they show people playing on the beach, or skiing, or spending time with their family. They hook you into their brand because you identify it with those emotions.
And this is what your lifestyle blog needs to do – it needs to make people feel a certain way.
So if you’re a crunchy mama, you will be blogging about your life as a crunchy mama. It’s going to attract other women who either are or want to live crunchy lifestyles.
So you can write about all those same things as our finance blogger, but you’ll do it from a crunchy point of view. Dog vs skunk? Here’s how to get rid of the smell using non-toxic ingredients. Your recipe isn’t going to use stuff from a can or a blue box of mac n cheese, it’s going to be all natural peanut butter cookies with homemade peanut butter.
And again, when you do that, you’re going to make the person who is looking for your information feel like every single post on your blog was written just for her. She’s going to love your blog, and love you. She will become a fan, a dedicated reader, and she’s going to buy the affiliate products you suggest and click through on your sponsored ads.
I hope this post has made it really clear to you just how important having a focused niche is to your blog. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a “niche blogger” or a lifestyle blogger, a beauty blogger, a travel blogger or a mommy blogger. Defining your niche as narrowly as possible will create a better connection with your reader, and will keep them coming back for more.
– Kelly Cannon
Kelly is a blogger + mom who loves classic rock, video games, and sweet tea. For over 10 years, she’s been creating an online income that allows her to contribute to her family’s finances from home. Now, she uses her experience to help other women create financial success through blogging and affiliate marketing, with easy to understand guides and tutorials. Check out Kelly’s blog for more info!
I love this post! Kelly you’ve done such a good job of breaking this down so it makes perfect sense. Looks like I need to niche down myself. Thanks for sharing Kelly and Chantal, good stuff!
Thank you so much, Kimi! I appreciate you stopping by!
I love how you break down why it is important to have a niche and then stick to it. Confusing readers makes annoyed readers. Thanks for the encouragement and direction. Thank you Chantel and Kelly for sharing!
Thanks, Jen! Ha… you know I don’t want annoyed readers!
Just what I needed to hear. I’ve been struggling to figure this out. Thanks!
So glad it was helpful! 🙂
Great advice at just the right time. I’m in the process of starting a new blog and this really makes me think of what I want my blog be.
I’m so glad you found it, Katharine! Best of luck with your new blog 🙂
Great information on finding a niche for blogs.
Thanks, Gaby 🙂
Great post! Niche is vital! And it’s also, important to be sure you choose something you’re passionate about or you’ll fizzle like that sugary water you mentioned! Haha!
That’s so true, Kristie – I’ve had a few blogs that I just gave up on because I didn’t really care about what I was writing about. Thanks for the comment!
This is something that I’ve been struggling with since I started blogging earlier this year. And I was seriously considering going nicheless until I read this post. What you said made my path forward crystal clear. Thanks so much for writing this!
I love hearing this! Best of luck going forward 🙂
This was the best advice I could have gotten today. I am just on the verge of making my blog a priority, and I came across this at just the right time. I am about to do a daily blogging challenge to get myself into the habit of writing daily and posting, and I am planning on looking back at what I write and finding my red thread. Your post has helped me define what it is I will be looking for. Thank you!
Awesome, Annie! Make 2017 your year 🙂
I’m curious; are you still actively blogging? This post and the comments are 3 years old.
I’ve been blogging a long time and this is, by far, the best explanation of a niche that I have seen. And your examples bring home the point even more. You’ve got yourself a new reader, subscriber, and fan! Thank you. Can’t wait to check out more!