Ever hear the saying, “You can’t be all things to all people”? Well, it’s true… especially when it comes to blogging. Most new bloggers do not have any idea what their niche should be and some feel constrained by the idea of pigeon-holing their blog. However, as a blogger who has sold 6 blogs in the last six years, I’m here to tell you that choosing a niche for your blog is one of the most important aspects of blogging.
The niche you select for your blog will give it the direction it needs to be successful and profitable.
Why Is Selecting a Niche Important?
Selecting a niche for your blog allows you to be laser focused in your writing and monetization efforts. The more laser focused you are, the easier it will be to see the opportunities that exist for you within that niche.
Let me give you an example: Let’s say you start a blog and you decide to forego my niche-selection advice and wing it. You write about whatever you want: Celebrity Gossip, Dessert Recipes, Fitness, Knitting, and Gardening. Suddenly, you start to get readers and Facebook fans and Pinterest followers. But soon they are confused. They really like your blog because of the knitting articles, but then they start seeing your celebrity gossip posts in their newsfeed. Say what? Worse yet, when a potential sponsor asks you to sum up your blog, you are forced to relay all the unrelated topics you blog about, which may lead the sponsor to question whether your blog is worthy of working with.
Now let’s assume that you do take my advice and start a blog about knitting. All of your blog posts, status updates, and social streams are filled with all things knitting. You start to gain quite a following in the knitting community and you are soon seen as a go-to for all things knitting. How cool is that? Better yet, knitting companies start to seek you out for sponsored posts because they know you’ve built a community around knitting. This, my friends, is a great position to be in – a known expert in your field.
How to Monetize Your Niche
In the spirit of this month’s theme, “thinking outside the box,” I thought it might be fun to do a few exercises that will help you determine exactly how to monetize your niche. Below you will find several exercises you can do in the comfort of your home office that will help you figure out which direction you can take with your niche to earn money.
The first thing I want you to do is head over to Google or Pinterest and do a little competitor research using blogger income reports. For those of you who don’t know, an income report is what some bloggers do monthly where they share how much money they are earning, and more importantly reveal exactly how they are earning that money. In order to find relevant income reports, go to Google or Pinterest, type in your niche + income report. So for example, if you have a blog dedicated to couponing, you would enter “Coupon Blog income report.”
Once you find relevant income reports, take some time to read through a handful of them to get an idea of how other bloggers in your niche are making their money. Take a look at what affiliate programs they belong to and what companies they do sponsored posts for. Are they offering any services? Pay attention to their percentages too. For example, are they making most of their money from ads or sponsored posts? Studying these reports will give you an idea of where to start with your own monetization efforts.
Finding the Right Products for your Blog
Now that you have done some competitor research, it’s time to make a list of the different products you could promote on your blog through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you promote a product on your blog using a unique trackable link. When someone purchases that item from the online retailer, you make a commission off of it.
For example, if you are a recipe blogger, you could use affiliate links to promote the baking and cooking tools you use, or the ingredients you use for your recipes. If you are a beauty blogger, you can use affiliate links in your makeup reviews or “What I’m loving Wednesday” posts. If you are a mom blogger, you can promote pregnancy or baby products on your blog.
I’m going to warn you, throughout your time as a blogger you will likely be tempted to promote products that are not aligned with your blog, or that you would never consider using, just because the earning potential is really high. In those cases, I would always recommend staying away from opportunities like that. The last thing you want to do is alienate your readers for quick cash.
Finding the Right Partners for your Blog.
Now that you’ve figured out which products to promote, I want you to take a moment and think of the brands and companies you would love to work with. Brands that are in your niche, brands that speak to you as a blogger, and brands that your readers respect. Make a list of these brands and send them a pitch letter offering to host a giveaway, or do a sponsored blog post, or a paid Instagram photo.
Once you’ve sent the pitches, sit back and wait for them to reply. You will likely get some rejection letters, but you should also get some brands that are eager to work with you. Make the most of these partnerships and always over-deliver so that you build a solid relationship, which could mean more work in the future.
Create Products for Your Audience
Now, here’s a little secret: If you look at most of the top bloggers in any niche, they’ve all been able to create some sort of branded product to sell to their audience. The Tone It Up girls have meal plans and fitness routines, Ruth Soukup has a whole slew of courses, and Amy Porterfield even sells courses on how to build courses! The truth is, products are big money. Think about it. You create a product once and it sells in perpetuity, earning you money while you sleep.
What you’ll need to do is brainstorm some products that you could actually create to sell. An ebook, an e-course, a real book, a digital download? What information is your niche dying for that you could provide for them in a nice buttoned-up package at a reasonable price? Once you figure out what you want to create, go out and create it and sell it to your audience through your blog.
There are several ways to monetize a blog. Determining what your niche is and how to monetize it will be the first steps to creating a profitable blogging career.
Chrystie has been featured in national magazines; People Style, Us Weekly, InTouch, Rachel Ray and has appeared on the television show TLC’s Extreme Couponing. She enjoys blogging, thrift shopping and her guilty pleasure is reality television.
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