The Most Important Part of Finding Your Niche
Your target market is not just about stats and metrics. It's about people who have something in common.
Here's the Big Idea in a Nutshell
The most important part of a niche is understanding who the people are that are in it. Market research tends to focus on demographics and metrics. But when you know the stories behind those behaviours, you will find real humans.
First Things First
The first step in creating a successful blog is deciding who you want to reach. Most of the time you learn about blogging they will tell you to choose a niche. This is true…but it’s not the whole story. There’s a better way to define this step. I say, find your AUDIENCE. You may think I’m playing word games, but I think there is a difference and I think it matters how you approach it.
A niche is simply a specific market segment. Pet owners is a niche. Dog owners is a more specific niche and owners of German Shepherd is an even more focused niche.
Most Internet Marketing gurus will tell you to find a niche that not too broad because it’s too competitive. And stay away from being too narrow or it won’t be big enough. This is generally good advice too.
But I have another approach. I think it’s better to start thinking about the PEOPLE you want to reach – not just what they buy, the topic they want to know about or what they want to see in a video. If you think about who they ARE, those other important details will follow more naturally.
By far, the most important asset for any business it’s audience. WHOM you are teaching, coaching, entertaining, helping, and offering your opinions to is even more important than WHAT you are saying to them (although that will matter as well). I’ve seen hundreds of would-be entrepreneurs get this wrong.
While audiences will initially connect with you because you offer some answer or solution to a problem they have, ultimately, they will stay with you more because they LIKE you. You still have to offer helpful information, but it’s far more important to be liked or even loved by your following than it is to have good information (and you will need to have good information for them).
When you can do that, you’ve conquered the biggest obstacle in this venture by leaps and bounds.
So, Who Is Your Audience?
Well, you may already have an offline smaller version of that audience now.
What do your family and friends ask you about when they need your help? Are you a “car guy”? I’ve had a few “car guy” friends in my life I could turn to when I was hearing a funny noise under the hood or thinking about buying a new car. I’d turn to one of them because I knew their expertise and I trusted them. They were my friends….not just random strangers I had no history with.
This is why successful bloggers/marketers build history with their audience as well.
Are you that mom that is great in the kitchen? Does everyone always want your recipe?
Are your friends always asking how you found that old furniture at the thrift store and made it look so cool in the bedroom?
Are you good at making things? What’s your secret? People want to know. Millions of them!
What are you great at that people notice? Everyone is an expert at something. You don’t have to be the greatest in the world and you certainly don’t have to be the only person in the world with a passion and skill for something other people want. But you do have to be likeable.
The Business of Being Human
This is a people business. You will hear all the technical terms about blogging like content, domains, web hosting, WordPress, SEO, affiliate marketing, monetization…the list goes on.
That’s all fine.
But what will make you a success is if you can turn your passion, hobby and area of expertise loose on the right audience – and you do that by being humble, approachable, transparent, real, kind, likeable, fun, funny, vulnerable….you know, in other words: human.
Sadly, we are getting away from this. Technology and smart devices have had a way of seperating people from face-to-face contact. While we have connection points with people all over the entirte globe, we are losing our ability to look them in the eye.
Now with artificial intelligence snowballing it's way through our culture, this phenomenon will probably get worse before it gets better on many levels.
The good news is that if you can harnass the power of being real, you can stand out in a sea of robotic infomation and data. No matter how technologically advanced we get, we are designed to interface with each other at some point on a human level.
People want to know people more than they want information. People would rather do business with people than with faceless organizations.
Your readers want to know about you, your stories, your failures and successes...the things you deal with in life the same way they do - good, bad and ugly.
I think I’ve made my point.
Here's the Big Secret
Here’s the secret to a successful blog (or just about any other business online):
Start offering your best advice and information about the thing you are passionate about, most knowledgeable about and can explain well - either in writing or by speaking into a microphone.
Don’t Get Too Broad
If you are great with pets of all kinds, that might be too big. Narrow it down to one kind so your audience will be focused with you.
Don't Get Too Narrow
If you get too specific, you won’t have a big enough following. If you are great with teaching German Shepherds how to stop barking, that’s cool, but that is only one YouTube Video or one blog post…you’ll just need to expand out a little more. Tell them everything they need to know about that specific breed. There must be thousands of tips, trick and techniques.
Are you good at cooking, baking, grilling? Pick one, then narrow it down again so your audience will earn what kind of help they will expect from you. Maybe you are best with baking desserts? Or you’re a great breakfast chef? Or you are best at healthy grilling for keto and paleo fans?
What about sewing? Sewing in general might be too much. But maybe sewing clothes for kids or sewing for home decor (pillows, curtains, etc.) might be about right.
Can you speak a language, play an instrument? Can you simplify something that’s complicated for most people? If so, your expertise is needed.
No Need for Perfection
Don’t overthink this. There’s no need to stress over finding the perfect niche market or target audience.
Twenty years ago I thought the targets I was shooting for were too saturated - yet here we are decades later and thousands of new bloggers and YouTubers have joined the party on those topics. And they are doing fine.
The Internet is a huge universe. There is lots of room for you and your input, your thoughts, your voice and your ideas. Also, you can change your target later! That’s right. If you start going after an audience of dog lovers, you may eventually fine tune it down to just one breed. Or if you start a little too narrow, there’s no harm in widening your topic later.
Getting started is better than delaying and waiting for that perfect idea. You can alsways change or fix things as you go.
A famous screen writer once said, "You can't edit a script that doesn't exist." It's a great lesson for being stuck. Just get started and clean it up as you go.
I’ll admit that switching gears too drastically can be difficult. In others words, changing from talking about wine pairings to a blog about healthy pet food might be too big a stretch and you may need to completely start over in that case.
But if you are starting in a topic you like or have some passion for, you will probably do fine even if you need to tweak it along the way. Most successful blogs and YouTube channels have done some evolving into the sweet spot they may be in now.
Don’t try to be perfect. It’s better to be passionate and get started. If you wait for the perfect idea, you will miss out on the wonderful learning experiences that come from just jumping in and getting started. Making mistakes is okay. It’s how you learn. Choose your audience and get started.
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