If you are a freelancer, finding your niche market is the first step in creating a successful presence online. Whether you are trying to better establish a brand on the digital front, or you are your brand, nothing is more important in the beginning than finding a category where you fit.
In fact, failing to find a specific niche and branching out too wide is a big reason so many sites fail to gain traffic. It is also why people who have started out a bit more broad tend to narrow their scope as they grow, having seen the error of their ways. They correct the problem and suddenly mild success becomes boundless. If you are considering a website of your own, keep this in mind.
Here’s how to find and conquer your niche market.
Start thinking about your niche market
First, take an honest look at your areas of expertise. What do you know a lot about? This should include both base knowledge and the latest trends about a particular industry as it is today.
If you are a decade behind on updates to your niche, you need to catch up before you settle on it as your topic. Some categories can change a lot in that time.
When you start from a place where you are already an expert, it will be easy to show others your authority moving forward. And that is what conquering a niche is all about: you need to be one of the most knowledgeable people in the room. Otherwise your audience will go to someone else.
What interests you?
Next, narrow down those niches you know and see if they match up with the next part: your interests. You might know a whole lot about load-bearing walls. But do you really want to dedicate the next year or two of your life clawing to the top of that niche?
You can usually leverage your expertise in a niche and apply it to find something more appealing. For example, instead of focusing on load-bearing walls, maybe your niche is DIY home improvement. Now there is a specific topic you can sink your teeth into. You are relying on what you know, but still giving yourself plenty of room to branch out in a way that attracts the right audience.
Find related topics to boost your authority
Now that you know your niche for certain, you can start finding related topics that will feed into your efforts going forward. Think of it like a brainstorming exercise. Your niche is in the middle and all the tendrils moving outward are other topics that are similar, but not quite the same.
Again using the DIY-home-improvement example, we can add a few others topics to the list of possibilities:
- Furniture building
- Cleaning tips
- House building
- Tiny houses
- Interior decorating
- Budget-saving tips for the home
You could find many more. Any areas that you know about, or that you have an interest in, can factor into your niche building from now on. By having more options to choose from, you will have more to talk about. Your content will always be fresh and interesting.
Content, content and more content
Speaking of content, you are going to need a lot of it. While social media is a part of promotion and visibility, content is where your grasp of your niche market is really going to tighten. You should be focusing the majority of your efforts there, and working towards building your authority through high-quality pieces meant to both inform and entertain.
Sure, you can write those (and should!), but it is only one part of the game. In addition to blogging, you could create infographics, tutorial posts, podcasts, videos, comics, slideshows … the possibilities are endless.
Your best bet is to feature many kinds of content focused on areas around your niche, to reach different members of your audience who respond to different forms of media. Someone who likes to read blog posts might not be so into videos, and vice versa.
The good news is you can recycle one piece of content into another type. So if you have a blog post, for example, you can use it to make a slideshow or a podcast.
Search engine optimization is another huge factor to keep in mind when creating content. (Luckily the GoDaddy Garage has a whole archive dedicated to SEO.)
Networking and connecting with other influencers
As Pratik Dholakiya explains this tactic:
“Connect to niche influencers! Making connections will allow you all to help one another to build a community. You see, industries online are strengthened by collaborations and connections, not weakened by them. Those that try to get ahead of their fellow community members often find themselves ostracized, and success fleeting.”
So contact others, offer guest posts, ask for one from them, speak on social media, do a collaboration … You will end up in a mutually beneficial relationship that can change everything.
The key is consistency
In the end, what is really going to give you the most success in your niche-conquering is consistency. You always have to be posting content, always promoting on social media, always engaging with your audience as it grows.
Ogi Djuraskovic puts it very well, advising us:
“Don’t just jump into niche-specific blogging without a plan. Make sure your niche choice is something that you will want to stick with for years to come.”
Set up tools like subscriber lists, exclusive content and email newsletters.
Before long you will find yourself at the top of the food chain, the expert among experts. You will be the person everyone turns to first when they think of your niche. It just takes time, effort and constant work to get there.
It is worth the fuss. Especially once you start monetizing your website and realize you have a genuine form of income for your pains. That is how many of the biggest websites started and how many of them remain at the top today.
Do you have any tips on dominating your niche?
Maybe you have some tricks on finding the right niche? We would love to hear them, so let us know in the comments. Be sure to link to any case studies you might know about!
Also published on Medium.