To niche or not to niche… that is the question. Well, at least it is for many new bloggers. See, when we are starting out there’s a tendency to go so broad and wide with our topics and category as we don’t want to miss out on potential readers, but at the same time, we hear a lot of talk about the importance of niching our blog content so that it appeals to a specific audience in order to have relevance, as it is relevancy that drives repeat visitors and followers.
Now in today’s world, we are no longer completely bombarded with marketing messages; we are now completely bombarded with content in general – from blog posts to news feeds, to social media notifications, and a plethora of emails. Each piece of content is vying for your attention and it’s creating the social phenomenon known as information overload.
This is something you want to be particularly mindful of as a blogger in today’s landscape, as there’s a lot of content “noise” out there that means for you to grab someone’s limited attention and make an impact enough for them to subscribe, like, follow, or return to your website – you need one core ingredient above all else.
What is this magical ingredient?
You need to be as relevant as possible to your audience because it’s this relevance that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Now, that means that you’re not going to be able to please everyone; indeed, if you are starting a blog this blog needs to be written for a small audience of relevant readers rather than the masses.
Once you have some relevant content that’s congruent to a particular theme, you can learn more about SEO and digital marketing tools such as facebook’s hyper-personalised targeting which makes it easy to connect with your specific target audience and send a tailored message relevant to their interests.
Within the theme of relevance, it’s important you focus on a particular niche and become an expert in a narrower market rather than a generalist within a broader market. It goes back to the age-old argument of being a small fish in a huge pond or a big fish in a little pond.
When it comes to blogging, unless you have an insane marketing budget, the best advice is to be a big fish in a little pond – as this way you will definitely be noticed by the people visiting your pond, rather than having to deal with the unfortunate reality that as a small fish in a big pond, people just won’t see you.
For instance, if you were to be a generalist travel blogger you are competing with a huge number of well-known bloggers, let alone, the likes of Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. Your blog is much more likely to reach the level of engagement you want it to, by being a niche expert within a particular field, for instance, traveling with a disability, than it would by being a generalist travel blogger.
WHAT IS A NICHE?
A niche is a focused subset of a particular market. A niche is a focused subset of a particular market group; for instance, if you were to be writing a travel blog, a niche blog could be focused on traveling with a disability, or it could be something pertaining to a specific country or continent. It’s essentially taking a broad topic and finding a more specific subsection within that topic which you claim for yourself, as the expert on this topic.
You will want something broad enough to have a large enough customer base but targeted enough so that you can grow into being the “go to” authority within that subsection. You don’t want to blend in and get lost in the crowd – you want to stand out – and the best way to do that is by being very relevant to a particular group of people.
WHY YOU WON’T LOSE CUSTOMERS
It can feel counterintuitive to limit your market, however, when we think of medicine, we can see how profound this principle is. You have general practitioners then you have specialist consultants that focus on a particular niche within their field and charge a lot more for their time. Why? Because they have absolute relevancy and specialist knowledge to helping someone solve a very specific problem.
The breast cancer specialist isn’t losing sleep because they don’t know much about the knee joint – they are focused on their area of expertise and understand that in being so relevant to certain people, they don’t need to worry about being anything other than their area of expertise; in doing so they create a massive pull toward their offering.
This is what you want to do with your blog; it’s very tempting to be a generalist but when you become a specialist, this is where you will find the most success within blogging, though you must be careful about what your speciality is, as if it’s too obscure or too niche, it might only be relevant to handful of people.
You want to ensure your market is sizable, to the tune of a few hundred thousand, at least, in order to evolve into a prolific blogger and become the go-to-expert in your category.
RELEVANCE IS KEY
The underlying theme to make your blog stand out from the competition is to be as relevant to your target audience as possible because it’s this relevancy, that will be the glue that bonds the reader with your blog.
The other thing to consider is that you want to approach your blog as a platform to solve problems, rather than merely present information. See, there’s no better way to gain the attention and engagement of your target audience than by solving a problem; indeed, when you think about it most people when searching on Google are searching because they seek a solution to a problem they have; this problem could be as trivial as finding out where to buy tickets for a particular concert or as complex as how to write a specific technical report.
When you stop focusing on the category or topic you write about and start focusing on creating solutions to problems you will begin to stand out and receive the engagement you desire.
*This is a contributed post.