If you’ve been reading up on blogging tips around the blogosphere, I’m sure you’ve come across an article telling you what going niche is all about and how you should go about it.
For the newbies, let me explain this niche concept first. Typically, going niche (getting specific) gives your blog focus and a better chance of getting more readers as subscribers because online is different from offline. Offline, you go to a mall to get quick access to almost everything you can imagine people put up for sale because you don’t want to waste time driving from one shop to another. Online, you search for what you want and nothing else. If you’re searching for digital cameras online, you normally don’t want mp3 player results. Although they’re both electronics, mp3 players aren’t what you’re looking for and it’s unlikely you’d return to that page to look for digital cameras. But, if that page does have digital cameras, you’d come back to it again and again.
Same goes for blog subscribers, turtle care takers don’t want to read articles about bathing dogs and cats. They’re all pet care topics, but not specifically related to the interests of turtle pet owners. Going niche is getting specific and selecting the audience you want to write for so they’d subscribe to your blog and continue to read it.
No Niche Is Too Small
Usually, articles talking about going niche will focus on one important reminder and that is to go niche, but not too niche (specific, but not too specific). Why? Because the writers of those articles are worried you’d narrow your blog down to such a small topic that you run out of ideas for content or you won’t get enough readers. They believe the smaller the topic the smaller the audience, which you should know is completely WRONG.
No niche is too small. I don’t care if all you want to write about are pink, two-headed snakes born exactly on the eve of every blue moon in the jungle of Vietnam. No niche is too small if you inject some creativity and humor. Creativity and humor are all you need to keep on creating content and getting more readers. For example, when you’re done writing about the snake’s birthday, how big it is, or how much you love it, match it up with Godzilla. Tell me how you’d imagine a battle between a giant pink two-headed snake and Godzilla would play out. Better yet, show me through a video blog of paper cut-outs for each monster. And if you are blogging about pink, two-headed snakes, I’m sure it’s a great blog for humor and creativity to begin with.
How does creativity and humor work outside of personal blogs about pink, two-headed snakes born on the eve of every blue moon in the jungle of Vietnam? Specifically, how does this work for profit-based blogs, for bloggers trying to make money from blogs? And if all I’m writing about is an old printer, how can I convince printer companies to advertise on my blog selling new printers?
Here’s how. No, not how you convince companies developing new printers to advertise on your blog about an old printer. Here’s how to make blog money period. You grow your audience with creativity and humor (CH), then again inject some of that CH into your plan for monetizing or making blog money. For example, your loyal subscribers will buy anything you create if you clearly show the effort and time you’ve put into it. Take a hint from Maddox, who sold an illustrated book with topics categorized alphabetically on how to be a man. It’s called, The Alphabet of Manliness.
For more examples, some bloggers are re-packaging their blog content in the form of e-books and paper back books for sale through Amazon.com. Web designers slash bloggers are making money off of speaking at web design related events. The point is blogging and making money takes hard work and what? Creativity and humor.
You do not have to settle. Going niche, but not too niche to get enough traffic from search engines, then convert that traffic into advertising dollars for income is not the only way to get paid for all the hard work. If it really was hard work, then income from advertisements shouldn’t be your only plan to begin with. There are so many social media channels, tools, and better / different ways to get traffic and monetize nowadays. You might as well not bother with it if you’re going to stick with the old ways of creating content and making money. Just give it up and blog for fun.
Content Before Title
Creativity and humor are hard to use when you have writer’s block. That’s where Content Before Title comes in.
Jot down phrases and sentences for paragraph ideas. You don’t know when they’ll be useful for a post or an article, but they will be. Working with bits and pieces instead of trying to write entire articles for predetermined titles is a more flexible technique. It puts your mind in brainstorming mode and allows you to keep building on top of your ideas for new content. Your mind is free to explore and record the journey through phrases and sentences. There’s no filtering involved.
On the other hand, writing content for predetermined titles you saved a week ago does involve filtering. Instead of brainstorming and recording every idea, you’re stuck trying to filter thoughts to make sure the article’s content is relevant. This wastes time and effort. Some of the titles you spent time thinking about end up in the trash or continues to get pushed down on your ideas list because you couldn’t come up with enough content for them.
Can you imagine a comedian having to give up on exploring an idea for a new joke because he’s trying to write relevant materials for a show with a predetermined theme when the reality is every concept and every joke/bit is important? Pretend you ARE a comedian. You work on one bit / joke / paragraph / sentence at a time. When you’re getting ready for a show or an HBO comedy special, you go back to your list of bits, select related ones and tie them neatly together around a subject / theme. Afterward, you can give those bits a title, which is usually based on what they have in common.
For blogging, I’m not saying you should completely abandon the idea of creating title before content. There are exceptions. List types of content like 50 Best WordPress Themes or 10 Biggest Celebrity Toes simply doesn’t need Content Before Title because they are very rigid content templates / formulas you can use to rinse and repeat.
Although rigid content templates or formulas require less brainstorming, they’re boring. That’s why you utilize flexible content templates, which require creativity, humor, and research for creation of more interesting articles and a more consistent publishing schedule. Without flexible content templates, you could publish a great post one day and nothing else for a month; that could cause your blog some subscribers. If you’re serious about blogging for money or if it’s important that your readers hear from you regularly and often then flexible content templates should be a part of your blog.
Flexible / Rigid Content Templates and One Hit Wonders
Without flexible content templates to create new content on a consistent basis, more than likely, you often publish one hit wonders, which are great articles unrelated and unlike any other article on your blog, and you’ve had much trouble with writer’s block because one hit wonders are difficult.
Flexible content templates are easy to develop and they don’t have to be boring like rigid templates 50 Best WordPress Themes and 10 Biggest Celebrity Toes. Instead of writing lists all the times, you could give your pink, two-headed snake a new nemesis. I know what you’re thinking. Your pink snake will never lose. I know and it doesn’t have to lose. However, every battle has to be funny, interesting, and different to keep your flexible content template from getting boring.
Articles based on flexible content templates should be the backbone of every profit-based blogs. However, it shouldn’t be the only go to technique. I know some bloggers like to start new blogs with several predetermined content templates or series of articles and then that would be it. Ideally, you should use all three techniques, flexible templates, rigid templates, and one hit wonders. And surprise, you should use them in that order. Flexible templates help you create content consistently, rigid templates push you through writer’s block, and one hit wonders (OHW) keep readers on their toes.
OHW, no doubt, is the cream of the crop in terms of content quality, but don’t feed the readers too much of it. You’d burn out or they start to expect and demand the same from you with every new article. One exception to this rule is when you’re trying to launch a new blog. In that case, prepare as much OHWs as you can and pump out those articles at a more frequent rate during the first phase of starting a new blog. I’m not telling you to publish them all at once or one right after another. Just publish more OHWs in the beginning and save some for later.
Well prepared OHWs or simply top quality articles are critical toward building momentum for the first phase of starting a new blog. And the amount of OHWs you can think of or have already written is a pretty good indicator of your interest in the topic, obsession with the topic, and your blog’s life expectancy.
How to Pick The Topic and Give Your Blog a Longer Life Expectancy
A new blog’s life expectancy (and level of success) depends on your level of interest with its main topic. If you’re obsessed about pink, two-headed snakes then your blog about it has a longer life expectancy than if you’re just curious. Even if you manage to keep on creating content using curiosity as a motivator, the level of your blog’s success is nowhere near where it should be. Obsessed people don’t need forced motivation.
When you ask an experienced profit-based blogger how you should go about finding out what to write about. You’d probably get this answer:
Well, you should start with bubble brainstorming. List all of your interests, connect them, and branch out. Use blog directories and sites like Technorati to find more niches you aren’t aware of. Once you’ve done that, narrow it down to a few topics that you’re most interested in. Next, research keywords for each niche to brainstorm topics you can write about. Also, research competitors within the same niche to see if the niche is already too saturated (too many people already writing about that topic). While you’re at it, research potential advertisers and stuff you could sell on your blog once it’s established. And if there’s not enough money making opportunities, you should probably move on to the next topic on your list.
All good points and complete BS of the old ways. When they tell you that, they don’t factor in obsession, creativity, humor and the increasing number of ways to make money from having an audience. You could even sell t-shirts of pink two-headed snakes battling Godzilla if your blog is popular enough.
I’m sure some people could do pretty well following those advices, but they won’t be as happy or as successful as they could be so don’t be one of them. Get obsessed and take the road less traveled.
How do you find out what you’re obsessed about? Well, people usually know right away. It’s the topic that you’d talk about for free. You’d talk me to death if you could. But what if you’ve been letting life pass you by with no real strong interest for anything? Well, then it depends on your number of OHWs. Select a few topics after brainstorming and start jotting down article ideas or ideas for OHWs for each topic. The number of ideas you have off the top of your head, not through research, is a strong indicator of what you should be blogging about.
Afterward, start writing, brainstorm, research, then write some more. Inject creativity and humor. Then, guess what? Write more. Use No Niche Is Too Small, Content Before Title, and the three content creation techniques (flexible templates, rigid templates, and one hit wonders). Forget about whether a niche is too saturated or maybe there’s not enough advertisers and products to sell. If you just follow what you love or most interested in, you’ll carve out an audience from that niche in no time. Or even better, with enough creativity and humor, you create a new niche on top of your interest, which you get to own and be the authority of. (No one else will be the first expert on pink two-headed snakes born on the eve of every blue moon in the jungle of Vietnam right?)