Let me guess…
You want to start your online business, but don’t know where to start or how to begin?
You might be looking for your niche. Or you may have settled for one but aren’t sure how to dominate it.
Today I’m going to show you how to build your online empire, starting from how to find your niche market, getting started quickly, and conquering it.
Why You MUST Go Niche and Have a Plan Before Starting
In 2013, WPVirtuoso reported that there are 152 million blogs present on the Internet.
On WordPress alone, there are 80.7 million new posts published each month.
That’s not all. Statistic Brain reported that there were over 30 trillion pages indexed by Google in 2014 alone.
Let’s just leave all these stats.
Because honestly, data is boring. Isn’t it?
Let’s just take a second and think about this whole scenario. There are many established websites who have created a unique territory for themselves.
And then, new blogs are constantly coming to threaten their territory.
But … they never succeed.
And chances are, you won’t either.
The only way to avoid this competition is by finding a new territory in which you can rule and also avoid any possible conflict.
In short, with niche focus you’ll be able to:
- Cut through the competition.
- Quickly become the go-to guy or gal in your industry.
- Attract traffic right from the first day.
Where to begin?
Fortunately, this guide will show you how to beat the odds and conquer your niche.
How to Find Your Niche
To start with, you need to find your niche.
That’s not difficult.
With this 15-20 minute exercise, you’ll be able to find a killer niche to start your online business.
Step #1: List all your skills and your passions.
To start with, let’s list all your skills.
A skill would be something in which you got some kind of formal training. For example, this could mean what you studied in school, or you took a special class in something. Or it may be something you learned from your parents.
Next up, list all your passions.
Passion is something that keeps you up in the night. It’s something that lights you up.
Blogging, for example, is not something that we’ve studied in school but you love it. So it’s a passion.
Similarly, try to come up with at least 15-20 ideas for your niche.
Step #2: Going Super Duper Niche
In the previous exercise, you came up with many possible ideas for your niche, and now it’s time to go super niche within each idea.
Because you want to become a bigger fish in a smaller pond, right?
There are four ways to do this. Let’s see all of them one by one:
#1: Go super-niche within each idea
Dive deep inside each of your ideas and go niche within each one.
Let’s say you’ve done your master’s in maths. So instead of starting a new maths blog and getting lost in the competition, why not start a blog just for trigonometry.
Or let’s say you love playing guitar. Now you want to start a guitar blog, but again, it’s a competitive space. So why not start a blog that helps music editors use GarageBand.
The point here is to focus on just one smaller topic within your idea. Then, once you cover that topic with your blog, you can always expand your reach.
Take Smart Blogger, as an example.
They started as Boostblogtraffic, a blog to help you increase your traffic. But now they’re Smart Blogger, much more than Boostblogtraffic, helping you in every aspect of blogging.
So do this exercise for each of your ideas. Don’t worry about market size or profitability as of now. We will come to those in the later stage.
The next way you can go niche is by focusing on just one place. It can be a country, region, or even a state.
For example, if you’re a bachelor in science, you can easily start a blog for B.Sc students studying in your area or your country.
Or, let’s say you like playing baseball. So start a blog in baseball just for people living in your state.
Easy peasy, isn’t it?
Demographic-specific means focusing on just one type of audience or community.
Can be men, women, boys, parents, tourists, or any community.
For instance, if you’re blogging about health and fitness, why not focus on just boys? Or if you love shopping, why not start a blog just for married women?
As you can see, there can be endless possibilities here, and you can come up with a large number of niches by focusing on just one audience.
Take Hackaday, as an example.
It’s an entertainment site but just for engineers.
So instead of serving everyone, Hackaday only serves one community, and that is engineers.
Quite a niche, right?
#4: Mix your skills and passions
Finally, we have mix and match.
This is where things get interesting.
There are many people who are passionate about same things as you are. Similarly, there are many people who have got the same formal training as you’ve got.
But what’s interesting is that:
There are very few people– and you can count them on fingers (well, maybe not) — who have got the same formal training AND are passionate about the same things.
So what I’m saying here is:
If you can combine one of your skills with one of your passion, you can create a blog that no one can replicate.
Got my point?
Let me give an example:
Let’s say you have a degree in journalism and you love writing stories also. So by combining those two, you can start a blog that tells recent happenings by funny stories.
Great idea, isn’t?
Well, it is.
Because when you combine your skill with a passion, you’re going to have a 100% unique blog and people will love talking about it.
A popular example of this is:
The Hustle is a daily newsletter that sends tech and business news.
They have a different way of doing things. These guys are smart, humorous, and wannabe-your-friends type.
So they combined those passions with their skill to create an amazing newsletter that put daily tech news in your lap with the added flavor of humor.
That’s what you can do when you mix and match your skills and passions.
Now, Mr. Bunny here is in trouble picking a profitable niche.
So let’s help him out.
Step #3: Pick the right niche
As of now, you have tons of ideas and niches.
And like most of the people, you’re confused as to which niche to pick and which to avoid.
Well, this exercise is where I’ll clear those doubts and help you pick a niche that is:
- Not very competitive
- Easiest to grow
Honestly speaking, there are thousands, literally thousands, of ways to check if there’s a need for a blog. But, for the time constraints, I’ll just focus on three super-easy strategies that can easily tell you if a niche is worth pursuing or not.
So let’s dive right in.
#1: Can you identify at least ten tangential blogs in your niche?
Tangential here suggest those niches that are not in your direct competition but fall under the same category.
For example, if you are starting a baseball blog for teenagers, then you want to look for at least ten baseball bloggers.
This will help you identify if there’s enough market or there’s a need in your niche. If your niche fails this rule, CROSS it right now.
#2: Can you find at least three products that cost $500 or more?
Products can be digital, tangible, or even a service.
If your niche passes this rule, it means that people are willing to spend $500 in your niche, and in the future, you can create your own products.
However, if your niche fails this rule, that means your niche isn’t very profitable, and you’ll have to depend on ads or affiliates for generating money.
After checking for those two rules:
#3: Start prioritizing your list based on these items:
#1: Prioritize based on interest. In which niche can you wake up in the middle of the night and can still talk about it?
#2: Prioritize based on your advantages, meaning do you have any influential connections, existing content, or any other advantage?
#3: Prioritize based on affordability. In which niche can you start a blog without any extra costs or starting-up costs?
#4: Prioritize based on your time to execute. In which niche can you start a blog pretty much right now without needing to study and research anything?
Finally, after doing all that work and research sessions, you’ve got your niche.
How to dominate your niche?
As of now, you were successful in finding a less-competitive space in which you can start your online business and build your authority.
Now, time to think about your strategy and position your blog for the ultimate success.
First off: How to position if you already own a blog?
Unfortunately, I learned it the hard way, and you don’t have to.
Back when I started emailfield.com, like most of the people, I wasn’t thinking much about positioning.
And the result?
I was lost in the wilderness. I was able to build my mailing list and an audience but to put it simply; I was not being remembered.
And that my friend, is a real bummer.
Because when people don’t remember you, they will NEVER EVER buy anything from you.
So concentrate on creating a unique territory for your blog.
Position Strategy #1: Personality-based Blog
These blogs mostly revolve around one person. Think Amy Porterfield, Pat Flynn, James Altucher.
So why do they work?
Because by showcasing their personality, they carve out a niche for themselves. While bigger brands spend thousands of dollars on advertising, personality positioning allows you to make more money with even fewer people.
Positioning Strategy #2: Learn from the fellow blogs
Let’s say you’re starting a new fashion blog.
So what you can do here to position yourself is to look for blogs in other niches as to how they’re positioning. For example, you can look for blogs in the tech industry and see how they are positioning themselves.
By doing so, you’ll find many successful blogs that were positioned uniquely.
Usually, these niches are most competitive, and you can look for blogs in these niches:
- Health & Fitness
Step #1: Build Your Mailing List Right From the First Day
Learn from the experts:
I have literally built a multi-million dollar business on the strength of my email list. Ninety percent of my income comes from it. Even today, my email list is still my number one business priority—and asset.
Without a doubt, our email list is the best investment we’ve ever made.
Email is the most important channel for you to cultivate.
So you can see the power of building your email list.
Now, here’re few tips to help you build your email list when you’re just starting.
#1: Write amazing guest posts
The best thing you can do to increase your website traffic and build your mailing list is by writing guest posts on other sites.
Here’s a simple process to write amazing guest posts:
- Use Buzzsumo to find an article that has already performed well for that blog.
- Or, find a gap in top-performing content for that site.
- Write 10x remarkable content for that idea.
- Always make sure to link to a landing page from your author bio.
- Rinse and repeat this process.
#2: Focus on content promotion
It’s not 2010 anymore where you can write amazing content and Google will start sending you traffic within two to three months.
It’s 2017, where you need to promote your content as hard as you can. Because honestly, Google doesn’t care how well you write; all it cares about is how many quality links you’ve got.
Bottom line: Promote your content.
Here’re a few strategies that you may find helpful:
- Send an email to every influencer you have mentioned in the content.
- Reach out to weekly or monthly roundup sites and tell them about your content.
- Post your content in community sites and social media groups like Reddit, Inbound, or LinkedIn groups.
- Create content upgrade to convert traffic into emails.
These are some great techniques that will help you promote your content.
#3: Create irresistible lead magnets
Finally, to capture all that traffic coming to your blog, you need an irresistible lead magnet.
Ebooks are not going to help you much. You need something like this to convert your traffic.
Speaking of the lead magnets, I also want to point out one major pitfall many newbie bloggers face, and that is:
They create an impressive lead magnet that captures many subscribers.
But those subscribers are not their target audience.
And when they launch any of their product, people never buy it. Because they built an email list of the WRONG audience.
Instead of doing this, focus on solving a single problem for your audience by using your lead magnet.
For example, if you’re blogging about wedding photography, then create a lead magnet like: “Top 10 Tools I Use to Capture Kickass Photographs”, or “5-Step Process for Becoming a Freelance Wedding Photographer”.
What type of lead magnet should you create?
Like I said, an ebook is not something that’ll bag you many subscribers. Instead of creating an ebook, you can create these lead magnets as they work really well:
- A Checklist
- An Email Course
- Video Course
- 30-Day Challenge
Step #2: Start Connecting With Big Guys
To get a leg up in the competition, start building a connection with big guys and gals in your industry.
Here are some things you can do if you have a relationship with influential people in your niche:
- Write guest posts for the biggest sites in your industry
- Approach them for sharing your recent piece of content
- Contact them to link to your content
If you have a connection with a famous person, then most probably he is going to talk about you (in his blog, in his videos, in his seminars, or even in his emails).
And with that, you can not only drive traffic, but you also build your authority.
And so, you can have an army of influencers sending traffic to your site.
So where to start?
Well, here are tips:
- When writing guest posts for high-traffic sites, always make it a habit to get back to the owner and thank him for giving this opportunity.
- Help those influential people with their blog. You can do so by updating content, giving PDFs that they can give away on their blog, or even pointing out broken links.
- Set aside a few minutes daily to share their content, comment on recent posts, or appreciate them by sending an email.
It will take few days for them to notice you. But they will definitely if you follow these tips.
Step #3: Write Foundational Content
Have you ever seen someone browsing the Internet at gunpoint?
Because for the most part, it’s a voluntary act. People visit the websites they like. They click and share the content that they find useful.
Meaning you need content that attracts people and make them read it. Or in other words:
You need foundational content.
Foundational content can be a game-changer if you think about it.
It can set a level that your audience can expect from your blog. More importantly, it will start attracting traffic right from the DAY ONE.
There’s no secret CHEAT SHEET for creating foundational content. However, following tips will help you:
I know what you’re thinking.
“Isn’t there any alternative for research?”
So hear the answer:
There’s no other option. I know it’s super boring and very uninspiring. But by doing research, you’ll be able to:
- Find the untapped keywords you can use to rank #1 in Google.
- Find the exact pain problems of your audience and the exact words they use to describe it.
- Know the exact content that works in your industry.
That means you can straightaway differentiate yourself from 98% of other blogs in your industry.
And for me personally, that’s a great start.
Look inside forums
The very first place where your audience hangs out is forums, subreddits, and other communities.
Go through each corner of these sites. Create a spreadsheet and list out all the problems and jargon terms they used to describe it.
Use any SEO tool to extract your competitors’ content
In this step, we are looking for keywords that your competitors are ranking for. This is going to help you uncover some of the unknown keywords for which you can easily rank by creating better content.
So, buy a free trial of any SEO tool like:
Look for all of their keywords. Extract the data in a CSV and find those untapped keywords.
See which content is getting the most shares
For this, you can use any social media analyzer like:
#2: Let’s create foundational content
Awesome! You’ve done your research, and you’re on your way to creating your first piece of foundational content.
But before that, just take a moment and store your ideas in any note-taking app like Evernote, or Trello.
Now let’s see how you can write foundational content:
Create a clickable headline
There’s a difference between clickable and click bait.
Here’s a broad overview:
See, clickable is different.
You need a clickable headline that can describe your post, and entice people to click on it. So spend some time crafting your clickable headline.
Construct an outline for the post
An outline makes writing blog posts a breeze. Moreover, you can use an outline for search engine benefits.
Here’s what I mean:
If you’ve done the research in the last step, you know what your audience’s pain points are and what are they searching for. So, you can use your sub-headlines to answer those questions.
This way, Google will also award your blog post.
So I’d recommend you to create an outline before writing the post.
Write your first draft
Writing the first draft seems daunting, doesn’t it?
Because it is.
Writing isn’t an easy task. But remember if you’re able to create an excellent piece of content, you’ll get the benefits.
A little pro tip here:
Try waking up a little earlier, when you have to write your post. When I have to write something, I usually wake up early in the morning. And most of the time, my first draft is over by noon.
Edit it and shape the final post
Here, you can get the help of your friend or even hire a proofreader.
Because sometimes your eyes won’t catch those small mistakes you may have left in your content.
After editing it, create some images and upload them.
Create an opt-in offer for your post
Well done! You have written your first piece of foundational content. Since you’re solving the problem of your target audience, visitors will come and read your post.
And many of them would also like to hear more from you.
So utilize that opportunity and create an irresistible opt-in offer for that post.
Don’t worry if it’s not very fancy. Just focus on solving the problem for your audience.
Finally, leave a comment and tell me how you’re going to position yourself.