Everyone can start sharing content in minutes nowadays. Businesses can increase their website traffic, drive awareness and leads with a good content strategy. To get there, we need to decide: What’s our niche for content creation?
”The riches are in the niches,” said Leonard J. Scheiner on the Business Storytelling Show.
These ideas can help you and your company find your content niche:
- What does your company do and what are the related topics?
- What do you have expertise in?
- How much do you have to say about a specific topic?
- Who is going to say it?
Creating content for your business or personal brand can be an exciting endeavor, but also an overwhelming one. With so many topics to potentially cover, how do you choose your niche? How do you find an angle that will resonate with your target audience and stand out from the crowd?
In this article, we’ll explore strategies for identifying your ideal niche for content creation, based on insights from the Business Storytelling Podcast with Joe Pulizzi.
Start by Understanding Your Audience
One of the keys to determining your niche for content creation is having a clear understanding of who you want to reach. Get to know your target audience – their challenges, interests, goals, and psychographics. The more specifically you can define your audience persona, the easier it will be to develop content that appeals directly to them.
For example, instead of just saying you want to reach “small business owners,” get more granular. Perhaps your niche is small business owners in the Pacific Northwest who have service-based companies with less than 10 employees. Defining your audience this tightly allows you to create content that speaks directly to their unique situation.
Find the Gap in the Conversation
Another way to determine your niche for content creation is by finding a gap in the existing content landscape. Study forums and communities where your audience hangs out. What questions are they asking that no one seems to be answering? What angle is missing from the conversation?
By identifying an underserved audience need, you can position yourself as the expert who fills that gap. For example, if you notice business owners in your target niche complaining that there isn’t enough practical, actionable advice for their specific challenges, you can create content that provides detailed “how-to” guidance.
HubSpot and The Content Marketing Institute successfully found gaps around “inbound marketing” and “content marketing” respectively. By naming and owning new concepts, they established thought leadership niches.
Leverage Your Differentiation
What makes you or your business unique? The most compelling content niches tap into a specific differentiation.
If you have particular credentials, a unique viewpoint, or a distinctive approach, content built around highlighting that specialty can help attract the right audience. Joe Pulizzi refers to this as your “content tilt” – finding an angle on a topic that is distinctly yours.
Study New and Emerging Platforms
Keep an eye on new and emerging social platforms and communities. Often being one of the first to tap into a platform around your niche can help you gain traction.
You may not have to be first to a platform, but pay attention to channels where your target audience spends time and your particular niche is underrepresented. The gap between audience needs and available content creates opportunity.
Go Deep On a Specific Topic
Rather than trying to create generalized content, find ways to drill down into specific, narrow topics. Becoming known as THE expert on a highly specialized subject allows you to own a niche.
For example, instead of generic fitness content, build a following around strength training for vegan endurance athletes. Or don’t just write about digital marketing, create resources exclusively about leveraging Reddit to drive ecommerce traffic.
The narrower your niche, the less competition you’ll have for your audience’s attention. As your expertise becomes more exclusive, your content becomes more distinctive and valuable.
Let Your Mission Statement Guide You
Crafting a detailed content mission statement can provide crucial clarity as you develop your niche. Include specifics on:
- Who you serve
- What value you provide
- What topics and formats you will cover
- The change you aim to create
Evaluating new content ideas against your mission statement quickly reveals whether they are on-brand or not. If a potential topic doesn’t align with your core mission, it’s probably not a fit.
Having this true north helps maintain focus and prevent “content creep” that gradually leads you astray from your niche. Be disciplined about only creating content that serves your statement.
So here are my top six reasons how well-executed content helps reach our marketing and business goals:
- It establishes organizations and people as experts, thought leaders, etc. It can even lead to earned media coverage.
- It increases brand awareness.
- It makes us findable in search engines. Frequently updated and useful blogs often rank well.
- It builds trust and trust can lead to sales.
- It helps us think through problems. Answering frequently asked questions publicly actually can lead to uncovering additional answers.
- It’s a longterm investment. Ad campaigns (while they have a place in your digital marketing mix) end when you stop spending money on them. Blog content once published continues to exist and continues to draw relevant audiences.
The bottom line is that blogging can help us and our businesses but we have to figure out what our unique angle and stories are. Once we decide to be authentically and uniquely relevant, determine goals and measurements and start sharing and participating.
Start By Building a Base
While you may eventually create content across multiple channels, begin by establishing one primary platform as your home base. This allows you to focus energy in a single direction and gradually build an audience. Proliferating too quickly across unintegrated channels dilutes your efforts.
Joe Pulizzi notes that successful media brands throughout history focused first on one primary medium, whether that was a blog, podcast, events, etc. Only after they built a readership did they expand into other channels.
Most influencers associate themselves strongly with a single platform, whether that’s YouTube, TikTok, blogging, podcasting, or something else. Choose the channel that best aligns with your voice and content format preferences.
Study the Media Leaders in Your Niche
One of the best ways to identify promising content niches is to analyze established media leaders related to your industry or audience. What specific topics have allowed them to gain traction? How have they positioned their expertise?
You likely won’t be able to (or want to) copy their niche precisely, but it will spark ideas about gaps or opportunities to target a similar audience from a different angle. All types of media provide models – magazines, news sites, podcasts, YouTube channels, etc.
Pay attention to not just what they cover, but how they cover it in a differentiated way. Unique storytelling perspectives draw audiences.
Let Your Interests Guide You
Especially when just starting out with content creation, it helps to identify niches you have a personal passion for. Your enthusiasm will come through and help attract an audience. You may evolve over time, but begin with topics that capture your innate interests and curiosity.
Certain content areas naturally align with your inherent knowledge base and life experiences. Think about:
- Education and training
- Hobbies, sports and leisure activities
- Life experiences
- Professional or industry expertise
Creating content around your genuine interests feels far less like work. You can more readily tap into creativity and a unique voice.
Once you get started keep in mind that it will take time.
Traffic will be low, it’ll go up, then down, then back up, then stay even and then perhaps go up again!
Some people want hundreds of audience comments on their articles and posts, but there won’t be many – if any – especially when you just got started. It can be a mountain not worth climbing.
There are also many other ways to listen to an audience. What are people…
- searching for when they find you?
- What do people mention to you when they see you in public?
Finding and developing your content niche can be rewarding for you and your audience. Just start and keep going.
Pay Attention to Your Existing Content
Review what content you’ve already produced, including social media posts, blog articles, videos, etc. Is there a specific topic that consistently generates more traction and engagement? That’s a signal about an area of interest to double down on.
Likewise, look at the content and stories others are sharing from your work. What niches keep bubbling up? Follow the energy to see where your voice resonates.
The Importance of Being Specific
As discussed in this episode of the Business Storytelling Podcast, being specific in your content is crucial for effectively reaching your target audience and dominating your content niche.
Tamara Sykes, a content strategist, explains that specificity matters because “it matters to the audience that you’re trying to reach. It matters to your business’s bottom line.” You have to “make sure you’re talking their language” and “speaking directly to them to the problems that they have.”
General, generic content simply won’t resonate in the same way. Your readers want content that feels like it was written for them and addresses their unique needs and interests. They don’t want content that could apply to anyone.
Specificity also builds trust and credibility. When you use industry statistics, expert perspectives, relatable examples, and other detailed information, you demonstrate your grasp of the topic. Your audience sees you as a subject matter authority rather than just someone making vague claims.
From an SEO standpoint, specificity also helps you target valuable long-tail keyword phrases that closely match search intent. If you only focus on high-level topics, you miss out on traffic opportunities.
Sykes explains that you gain specificity by truly understanding your target audience and what they care about. Build detailed buyer personas that capture your audience’s challenges, goals, and psychographics. Interview experts in your industry to incorporate their insights. Pay attention to the exact terminology your audience uses by researching related forums and communities.
Set word count goals for blog posts to push yourself to dig deeper into a topic. Schedule regular interviews via podcasts and live video to have in-depth discussions.
It’s also key to focus on quality over quantity. Don’t spread yourself too thin across too many platforms and content types. Start by building one primary channel and audience before expanding your reach.
By being relentlessly specific and intentional in your content, you gain relevance and trust. You can drive results in a content niche – one relevant to your business. Show your audience you understand them and their needs better than anyone else.