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Finding your niche and brand

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What you’ll learn

  1. How a niche can help you stand out in a crowded field, while attracting a loyal following
  2. How to make lists of niche topics to map out your ideas and home in on what excites you
  3. How to research what content already exists and what subtopics might be ripe for content creation
  4. Why you should ask friends, colleagues, and your audience what subjects they’d like to learn about from you

With so many new creators coming online, how can you stand out from the crowd? Developing quality content focused on a specific niche — a subtopic with your general category of interest — can fill an unmet need and attract a more committed, loyal following. Examples: A dog lover blogs on pup culture in their community, a fitness buff shares training tips for easy at-home workouts, or a tech whiz gives the lowdown on the latest lifehack apps.

Why it matters

“I really do believe that choosing a specific niche is crucial,” says Mata Leiataua of The Mata Mix, who creates fashion, travel, and lifestyle content aimed at free-spirited twentysomethings. “The more content that is created in the world, the greater the need to stand out — and that's much easier to accomplish when you've identified the specific value you provide,” Mata adds. “The goal should be to serve the audiences you've worked so hard to cultivate.” Mata has built a loyal following across her web properties; she now sells her influencer looks on Instagram and Amazon.

Lifestyle blogger and free spirit Mata Leiataua on a “hanging nest” in Bali

To attract and engage your followers, find a niche topic that interests you enough to develop regular content around it. So what gets you excited? What topic makes you want to get up in the morning, fire up the coffee machine, and hit the keyboard to create the content your audience craves? Let’s go there!

What excites you?

Sit down, get comfortable, grab a snack, and start brainstorming subtopics within your content category. Let the ideas flow! Then, start making lists, advises successful content creator and influencer Keiko Lynn. Keiko started out in high school as a fashion blogger, eventually zooming in on vintage clothing and developing her own quirky, colorful style and brand.

“Ask yourself, ‘What are my interests?’ and ‘What am I most knowledgeable about?’” Keiko suggests. “Make a list of both! If there is an area of overlap, that’s even better. Say you’re vegan, you’re an excellent cook, you love photography, and you have a weakness for comfort food. BOOM!: You can start a vegan comfort food blog. Or maybe you’re a parent of three children, you love to travel, and you’ve become a bit of an expert: There’s a great opportunity to blog about family-friendly travel tips and experiences.”

Quick tip

Find a niche topic that is narrow enough to whittle down the competition, but not so micro specific that you write yourself into a corner.

Fashion and beauty blogger Keiko Lynn found her niche in vintage clothing

Do some research

With your lists of potential niche topics in hand, you’re ready to hit the virtual pavement to see what else is out there — and where there may be an unmet need for content that you can fill. Scope out your competition online to see what they’re covering on their websites, blogs, and social media. And don’t forget to tap your real-world community of family, friends, coworkers, and colleagues! Talk to people in your field of expertise to find out what interests them, and what areas might be ripe for additional content creation.

For example, stay-at-home mom Myriam Sandler started out blogging about general parenting topics. Then, her daughter was having issues eating solid foods. This sparked Myriam to research “texture sensitivities,” which makes some foods seem unappetizing. She began to create play activities using things that felt squishy, slimy, wet or rough, which helped her daughter get accustomed to different textures … and start eating. Myriam found a niche! She launched her Mothercould website, blog and social media, focused on sensory play activities. Parents flocked to the site. Myriam is now a full-time content creator with a devoted following as well as business partnerships and an expanding brand

Quick tip

Talk to people in your field to find out what niche areas may be ripe for content creation

Action items
  • Google Trends can help identify trending search topics within your content category

Myriam Sandler created a cardboard face to help children depict emotions

Ask your audience

Whether you’re a new creator or someone with an established online presence, your audience is a great source for content creation ideas. “Stick with a specific niche in the beginning,” says personal trainer Brittany Noelle, who helps people fit exercise into their busy, workaday lives. “Take the time to learn from and interact with your audience very closely,” she says. Since focusing on her “fitness that fits you!” niche, Brittany has built an enthusiastic online following and expanded her brand, writing a book and launching a fitness app.

Personal trainer Brittany Noelle demonstrates an at-home resistance band workout

“I WAS my audience,” recalls food grower Kevin Espiritu, “so I wrote primarily for myself with the goal of more beginner gardeners reading over time.” Kevin cultivated a niche on how to grow food in your own backyard on his Epic Gardening website, blog, and social media. He’s since built a thriving web community hungry for his “grow your green thumb” content, reaching aspiring gardeners around the world while adding staff and building his brand, including launching a podcast, writing books, and selling affiliate products.

Action items
  • Invite users to comment on your blog or social media posts, or email you with ideas for niche topics they’d like you to cover

Kevin Espiritu found his niche, growing his Epic Gardening into books, a podcast and product sales

Build on what’s clicking

Honing in on and building out your niche might take some time. Watch what clicks with your audience. Experiment with different blog topics within your niche and posting snippets on social media. Pay attention to what types of posts draw the most audience engagement and reaction, and create more on that niche topic.

L.A.-based lifestyle photographer Nicholas Valdo shares his experience building out a niche. “I started identifying my audience by posting my photography work on Instagram; shortly after, I started my blog and expanded into lifestyle. He adds, “I always check Google Analytics for page views to define what content resonates with my audience.”

Action items
  • Google Analytics can offer insights to what webpages are most popular with your audience

  • Create an editorial calendar of niche topics based on the seasons, holidays, and events, as well as what’s trending in the news

L.A. lifestyle photographer Nicholas Valdo discovered his niche on social media

Because the focus is a little more specific, audiences of niche blogs tend to be more intentional, engaged, and loyal followers, which is a highly valuable asset.”

Keiko Lynn beauty, fashion, and lifestyle content creator and influence

Think about next steps

Establishing your niche is the start of a solid foundation for becoming a web creator. Once you have a loyal following in place, you may begin to think about monetizing your website and blog. Entrepreneur.com recommends searching on your niche keywords to see if any companies are running Google Ads on those words. Keep your eyes peeled for trends in your niche category. Remember, have fun with your topics, keep your audience engaged, and see where it takes you!