The Big Guide to Defining Your Blog's Niche
About the Author
If you’re an influencer, chances are you’re already aware of the power of a blog. About 77% of internet users follow blogs regularly, making it clear that blogs are still relevant for sharing stories, making money, and changing the world.
According to Mediakix, there are over 440 million blogs on Wordpress, Tumblr, and Squarespace alone -- meaning the total number of blogs on the Internet could be close to reaching the 1 billion mark.
Sure, there are a few different types of blogs. You have your business blogs, news blogs, and personal blogs. And, as you likely know, many blogs nowadays blur the lines between business and personal, as they are monetized with affiliate links or other money-making tools in place.
Still, the question remains: How do you make your blog stand out in a sea of almost 1 billion blogs?
Defining the focus of your content is the first step toward putting your personal blog on the right track.
Why Pick a Niche for Your Blog?
Niche blogs focus on one specific topic area. It could be something broad, like travel, fashion, or beauty, or something more specific like reptiles, yoga, or middle-aged weddings. There are also a large group of blogs that identify as “lifestyle” blogs, which typically cover multiple topics on their site.
Covering a broad range of topics might seem like a good move. After all, you’re not limiting yourself to writing about just one topic. Plus, more earning potential, right? But you’ll be facing some stiff competition.
For example, take a blog that covers a wide variety of topics: we’ll go with beauty, travel, fashion, parenting, and food. Chances are, that blog will be competing with a ton of different sites that also have this combination of topics. And you’ll definitely be competing against sites that just focus on one of these topics -- a site dedicated solely to travel will rank higher in a Google search 9 times out of 10.
So, you get it. Defining your niche is key. But how do you go about doing that? We’ve made a list of a few steps to take that will help influencers like yourself rethink and redefine your blog’s niche.
Following these steps will help any blog rise to the top of the noisy blog-o-sphere, redefining and honing your brand for a bigger audience in 2018.
Finding Your Blog's Niche
Write what you know and love
This might seem like a no brainer, but we’ll start off slow. Your blog, for the most part, should be a virtual extension of you. You should have a passion for what you’re writing about, and the subject knowledge to back it up.
Writing about something you love is important because if you don’t care about what you’re writing, it’s likely the reader won’t either. Plus, you’ll be putting a lot of time and effort into something that isn’t making you happy.
The reason you should write what you know is because you’ll want to position yourself as an expert on whatever your blog is focusing on.
You better have a closet full of yarn and crochet hooks at home.
There better be flour on your face as you type.
So, first things first: pick something you love, and write about it. If you’re not writing about something you love or know a lot about, you’re going to end up eventually hating the process.
Find an under-represented area of the web
As mentioned above, there’s some pretty stiff competition out there on the web. A new technology review blog is not going to be as groundbreaking as, say, a blog solely about wearable technology.
For example, on influencer search tool BuzzSumo, a search for “tech blogger” leaves me with 113 pages of results:
Plus, it lists all the larger influencers first, so the micro-influencers get left in the dust.
But when searching “wearable tech blogger,” I get only 10 total influencers listed.
Narrowing your niche will not only make it easier for readers to find you when using a search engine, but it will also make you more findable for brands looking to partner with specific vertical blogs to promote their product.
Do a competitive analysis
Okay, so you’ve taken the advice above and went from a “fashion” blog to a “high-end fashion” blog. You might not have made it all the way just yet.
Don’t be afraid to continue narrowing down your blog’s topic. The deeper you go into a certain realm, the more likely it will be that no one else is covering what you’ll be covering.
Once you’ve identified a semi-narrow niche, or at least a niche that you’re interested in, one of the first things you should do is check out other blogs in your niche. See what they’re writing about, see what they’re missing. If there’s a way you can capitalize on what they’re missing, that might be your angle.
Again, you can use a tool like BuzzSumo to find other bloggers and publications writing about the same thing. Just use their Content Research tool to search for your niche:
You can also just do a quick Google search for “high-end fashion blogs,” and take a look at the results that come up. If there aren’t too many large sites already out there, it might be a good niche to break into. You can also browse through existing content to get inspired.
Understand the earnings potential of your niche
If you’ve been at the blogging game for some time now, you’ve probably done your fair share of brand collaborations, advertising, and affiliate partnerships. For many, your blog has turned into your primary source of income, which is great.
But, according to Influence.co’s Influencer Rate and Engagement Report, the niche you’re in may affect how much you’re getting paid to work with brands.
As you can see here, influencers in the travel vertical are making the most on average, and those with a business focus are making about half of that. If your primary goal is earning money, pick a sub-topic of one of the higher paid verticals to focus on.
A word of warning for new bloggers, though: don’t just chase the highest earning potential when deciding on your blog’s focus. As mentioned above, if you don’t know or enjoy what you’re writing about, it will show through.
Check current & future trends
If you’re going to decide on a blog niche, you don’t want to have to change that niche later on. You want to pick something that is fairly popular now, and will only continue to become more popular as time goes on.
Google Trends is a helpful tool to find what people are searching for now. For example, let’s do a comparison search between "blockchain blog" and "online trading blog":
You can see that while searches for online trading blogs have been pretty steady over the past 5 years, there's been a recent jump in blockchain blog searches.
A trend on the up-and-up is usually a great place to start, but you should also be careful of trends that might fizzle out with in a year or so. Blockchain technology has been growing steadily over the past year, and looks to have a few years left on its run, but make sure to do some additional market research as well before landing on a specific niche.
Look at audience analytics for guidance
Another way to get inspiration for defining your niche is to look at what your audience is most interested in.
If the blog has existed for awhile it might be a good idea to go back and look at web analytics to determine what types of posts did the best for which portion of your audience. What does your readership already like? Is there a way you can incorporate that topic into your blog’s new focus?
If your hosted blog vendor doesn’t offer analytics, look into Google Analytics for a robust portal of services to help any blogger understand the metrics behind engagement on every single post. Wordpress has a Google Analytics plugin that makes it easy:
Another thing you can do if you’ve already built up an audience is to try using the marketing practice of identifying “user personas” in your blog’s audience, and analyze what they might be into. Think360 Studio defines a user persona as a “fictional representation of your ideal customer,” or in this case, reader. This could include behaviors, or the needs, wants, and priorities of a target audience.
User personas are most often leveraged during the process of a website or app design, but it can also apply when trying to formulate a focus for a series of blog posts.
Think about who might be interested in the blog. Then ask these questions:
- Are they located in a specific geographic region?
- What are their age, race, and income?
- Do they have hobbies that would make them particularly interested in the blog?
- What are their interests, priorities, and concerns?
- Does their income level have an effect on what blogs they read?
- Does their political affiliation make a difference?
- Will they be married or single?
- Would they typically have children or pets?
- What in the world would motivate them to read any blog -- let alone yours?
- What in the world would motivate them to share a blog with someone else?
The last thing you’ll want to do is alienate your existing audience with content they’re just not interested in. By considering the target audience and their interests and motivations, a more tightly defined understanding of the blog’s existing niche will start to develop. You’ll have a better understanding of who you’re writing for, and what topics they’d be most interested in.
In a web that’s saturated with blogs of all types and sizes, defining your blog’s niche could put you one step closer to becoming the top blog - and top influencer - in your vertical. Better yet, it’ll give you some focus when deciding what type of content to produce next.
Putting in the work to define your blog’s niche will pay hefty returns as you move forward and grow your blog’s audience, and in turn, your influence.