How to identify your niche and find success within it:
Becoming known in your niche gives you what all of us really want: traffic, links, fans, authority, opportunities and contacts. And for some, it’ll even pay the bills!
According to Sonia Simone, Technorati indexes 133 million blogs. By their stats, about 900,000 blog posts get made every 24 hours. Every topic, every theme, and every subject has been exhaustively covered by hundreds of blogs.
So what’s the secret? One is to specialize. Everyone’s good at something today – why not you? What are your interests? What is your passion? Choose a topic that you’re interested in, and that you can talk about in a unique way. That’ll give you your angle.
Here are a couple of examples:
Five years ago there were any number of blogs about – you guessed it – blogging. Darren Rowse launched one as well, and chose as his angle how to make money blogging. He called it Problogger. A few years later Brian Clark launched Copyblogger – a blog he dedicated to producing interesting copy for your blog and online marketing efforts. Both are highly successful blogs, that satisfy different niches.
How do you narrow down your niche? Brian Clark makes a compelling case for doing this through keyword research.
Once you’ve done that you need to work at getting noticed – by the right people. You can do that by:
Keep your reader in mind – ensure that what you write is relevant to your reader. Are you solving a problem, sharing an interesting idea, or offering tips on how they can get something done? Each and every time you post, focus on your reader and ask whether it will be meaningful to them.
Leave comments on other blogs – engage with other bloggers in your niche. Offer your comments and insights in a way that extends the conversation. Most comment systems will prompt you to include your blog or website URL, and that enables others reading your comment to click on your name and visit your blog.
Link to other people’s blogs – a good way to introduce yourself to a fellow blogger is by linking to their blog, and giving them some traffic. If they track referral sources, they’ll notice you and many will comment back.
Post original content -You don’t have to post regular content all the time, but try to do so on a regular basis. There are lots of ways you can do this. Here’s a good example from Steve Rubel, using Google Trends.
Post as often as you can -The more content you have on your site, the more traffic you’ll get. You can also post links to “popular” and “recent” posts in your sidebar to entice first time visitors to stay and look around. And because popular post titles tend not to change, if you have posts that you’d like to begin featuring, you can try a variation on this and put up a text widget in your sidebar called “favourite” posts and include links to your favourites. (Thanks for that suggestion to Raincoaster!)
Write for your readers – not for Google – You know the drill. Based on your knowledge of popular keywords, you make sure to include these keywords in your post title, lead sentence, metatags, and several times throughout your post. It’s great for achieving high rankings on Google, but I think you sacrifice the quality of your content, your writing style, and your unique voice. In effect, everything that helps get you noticed by influencers within your niche. Comments and links are also what give you authority.
Enjoy yourself and have fun – If you’re engaged, enthusiastic and excited about your blog, your readers will pick up on that. If you’ve lost interest, they’ll sense that as well. Events such as WordCamp are a great way to meet fellow bloggers and become re-enthused.
Photo credit: isayx3