Blogs are a dime a dozen — maybe closer to a penny per million. With so much saturation of coverage, it can be difficult to stand out of the crowd. One way you can help your blog get attention is by getting a laser-like focus. We'll call this establishing your niche. But how do you find your niche? How can you focus your efforts and drill into the specific needs of readers?
A few simple steps can help you break down what you are currently doing, find various niches within your blog topics, and select in which niche you have the best chances of being successful.
Even though you have identified the product you are going to blog about, establishing market segmentation techniques will create a stronger approach toward finding ways to focus on a niche topic. Market segmentation is accomplished through separating the target readers into groups based on specific needs. This can include how you advertise from email blasts to postcard printing campaigns.
Research the demographics of those who you consider your target audience. Demographics include an individual’s job, relationship status, age, cultural background, income status, or age. Other demographic types may exist within your target audience and should be identified in your research if possible. These are important factors to keep in mind while conducting market research for your blog.
Psychographics involve the study of people according to a set of psychological factors. Some of these include an individual’s disposition, favorite pastimes, or even the actions the person makes within a certain level of regularity. Analyzing these factors will help you establish the reasons your readers view your blog and assist you in satisfying their needs more often and effectively. Successfully identifying the needs of your target audience will give you a better understanding of the type of service you should provide to increase readership and ultimately cultivate a successful blog.
While considering what you should incorporate in your blog, it is important to examine what your prospective readers are currently reading. Analyze your top competitors. Make sure to look at more than just one competing blog.
Look at your competition's positive elements and negative ones as well. Identify any characteristics that set them apart from each other and then take the information you have learned from your research to see how you may be able to provide a better solution.
Offering a different point of view or outlook on the subject you are blogging may be enough to reach your targeted audience. In other cases, it will come down to how much more thoroughly you’re able to provide a greater depth of knowledge about a subject than your competition provides.
Ask Your Audience
Once you have performed market segmentation, found some niche topics, and researched your competition, it's time to engage with your target audience. You more than likely have peers in your target audience. Use your relationships to have some meaningful discussions about the niche topics you've discovered.
What you may find is a lack of interest in some niches and a great deal of interest in others. You may also get wonderful feedback and new ideas through these kinds of conversations. The key is to listen and hear what your potential customers are telling you. Incorporate this feedback into your niche discovery process and see how these conversations affect your choices.
So let's apply these steps in a theoretical blog scenario. Let's say you are interested in covering sporting news, for example. Going through the process of niche discovery might look like this:
- Market Segmentation — It is important to identify what your target audience’s needs are when they access your blog. Clearly they are looking for information on sporting events. A majority might be looking for a live sports blog to follow along with an event as it is being played. Other target audiences might have needs that are more focused on the breakdown of an event once it is over, therefore looking up your blog for post-game and statistical analysis. Break down these specific needs and see what ways you may be able to focus your blog. You might find that most of your readers only want quick score updates. So you could find ways to make it easier for your readers to get scores and focus your efforts.
- Competition — As you look at your competition, you may notice a gap in coverage of statistical analysis or that nobody makes it easy to find scores. On the other hand, opinions may be saturated as well as pre-game discussions. So you have narrowed your niches to statistical analysis and easy score lookups.
- Ask Your Audience — Through discussions with peers regarding statistical analysis, you find that they gloss over and quickly lose interest, but they get really excited about the ability to quickly track scores. One of your conversations yields an idea about RSS feeds that can send via SMS text messages and now you have a new angle with which to approach your niche.
Through this process, you go from a broad topic of sports coverage to easy-access of scores — a much more focused niche. You can expand or go even more narrow into the needs of customers by focusing on specific sports or even local teams. The key is to get as focused as possible, do your research, and then get to work!
For more information, check out these wonderful resources on Market Segmentation and niche discovery: