If you’re like most marketers, you’ve probably struggled with how to narrow down your ideas and find your niche.
While there are hundreds, if not thousands, of possible topics and specialties, focusing on all of them will get you nowhere. In fact, it’ll get you less than nowhere, because you’ll end up feeling more confused than ever.
This is why, as a content markteter, it’s so important to learn to prioritize your ideas and focus on a small section of things at any given time.
And that’s how you can actually cut through the noise and stand out in the sea of content: niche-ing down to find and focus on your small section.
How to Focus, Cut Through the Noise, and Find the Right Ideas for Your Content Marketing
Sound tough? Don’t worry – I’ll walk you through it.
The Importance of Niche Down
If you want to get better at prioritizing, the first step is to “niche down.” Niche-ing down is a little bit like gearing down in a manual car – it sets you up for what’s to come and allows you to focus more fully on the task at hand.
For example, say you’re a lifestyle blogger. “Lifestyle blogging” is an incredibly broad niche and, as such, it’s going to be difficult to rank well and build authority within it.
To give yourself a boost and ensure that you’re not driving yourself crazy writing about everything that could possibly fall under the category of “lifestyle blogging,” you’ll want to niche-down. In this scenario, the first step might be simply to define what aspect of lifestyle blogging you want to inhabit. Do you want to write about home cooking? Do you want to write about DIY home projects? Do you want to write about relationships or personal development? Maybe you want to write about parenting.
If you decide on the latter, you can niche down even further to give yourself a better chance at standing out and building a name for yourself. For example, you could write a parenting-focused lifestyle blog that offers tips and personal stories about raising special-needs children.
Get it? In addition to helping strengthen your focus and provide a better foundation for your content, niche-ing down also allows you to build a name for yourself in one specific area, rather than wasting your time and energy trying to be fourteen different things at once.
5 Questions to Help You Niche Down
Now that you know why niche-ing down is so important, let’s talk about how you do it. The easiest way to determine your niche and focus in on it as much as possible is to answer these five questions.
1. What Do You Love?
Unless you’re interested in signing up for a lifetime of uninspired work and sub-par content, your first stop on the niche-ing down path should be to consider what you love. Keep in mind that the demand for content is huge, so it’s possible to make a successful career out of writing about virtually anything (as proof, there are sites dedicated to everything from the love and care of Black Moor goldfish to the comforting sound of paper shuffling).
With that in mind, sit down and write out three of your biggest passions right now. Doing this will allow you to move more smoothly through the niche-ing down process and ensure that the niche you eventually wind up with is one that will serve you long into the future.
2. What are You Good At?
Do people always ask you to help them proofread papers or help them organize things? If there’s a specific skill that people ask you for over and over again, it’s likely that it’s something you’re very good at and something other people can benefit from learning from you. The second step in the niche-ing down process is to identify these things.
Write down the top three things that you’re really good at (not the things you wish you were good at) and then determine where they overlap with the things that you love. For example, if you love lifestyle content and you’re great at organizing your home, your niche might be organizational tips and tricks for the home. It’s as easy as that!
3. How can You Use Your Skills to Fulfill a Need?
Finding a niche is all about finding a gap in the market and filling it. While this can seem overwhelming due to the sheer volume of content available on the web today, I assure you that it’s far from impossible. There are dozens of lifestyle blogs out there, for example, but your job isn’t to reinvent the wheel here – it’s simply to figure out how you can approach the same topic from a fresh, new perspective.
To answer the question above, consider a need you have that hasn’t yet been filled and then see if there’s a way you can use your skills to fill it for other people. This will help you specify your niche even further.
4. What Do You Bring to the Table That Others Don’t?
Again, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a topic that hasn’t been covered or a niche that hasn’t been explored, but you can find a standard niche and make it your own by applying your own unique personality and experience to it. With this in mind, spend some time thinking about what makes you unique.
Maybe you’re not afraid to try new things or you really, deeply love connecting with other people. Whatever the case may be, your mission is to take the thing that makes you unique and use it to enhance your content and niche-down even further.
5. What can You Leave Behind?
Many people are afraid of getting too specific, but when it comes to niche-ing down, it’s the direction you want to go in. The goal is to become a master of one trade, rather than a jack of all and master of none. While you may start with a broader niche than where you eventually end up, being willing to abandon things that aren’t working in favor of becoming more specific and focused is a good thing. In addition to helping you focus your content even more, it also allows you to speak more directly to your target audience.
4 Things to Consider When Prioritizing Your Ideas
Now that you know how to niche-down, it’s time to talk about how you can prioritize your ideas and content creation for better results. Consider these four things when deciding what to focus on first:
Interest, in this context, means both yours and your audiences’. What topics are you most interested in? What do you most want to write about? Focusing on interest first and foremost works in two ways: first of all, if you’re genuinely interested in and passionate about something, that transfers into your writing and carries over to your readers. Second, if you’re deeply interested in a topic, chances are good that your readers are, too.
What do you know like the back of your hand? If there’s a topic you’re already an expert in, focus on writing about that before you move into uncharted territory. While it’s certainly important to learn new things, using your existing knowledge base first is a great way to lay the foundation for the rest of your content and ensure you’re producing high-quality and authoritative stuff right off the bat.
Is there a topic your readers have been asking you about over and over again? If you’re using sites like Quora (which you should be) to mine topic ideas, is there a concept you see popping up all over the place? If so, chances are the demand for content on that topic is high and that you can benefit by stepping in to fill that demand right away.
Complex topics demand more time and thought than simpler topics, so if there’s a complex topic your readers are asking about, you’d be wise to give it the attention it deserves rather than rushing to put out something, anything, on the idea. When it comes to complex topics, reading, researching, fact checking, and proof reading are all an important piece of creating quality content. Avoid rushing these things for the best results.
5. Past Content
Have you written a great deal about one topic but not at all about another? In a case like this, it’s wise to prioritize the new topic over the old one. In addition to giving your readers something fresh to latch onto, this also broadens your horizons and helps you step into new and uncharted territory.
While prioritizing content creation can be a difficult step, it’s a pivotal step for successful content creation. In addition to allowing you to focus on one topic rather than stumble over many, niche-ing down and prioritizing what content to create also allows you to better serve one population of readers and become an expert in your industry.
How do you narrow, or niche down? Let me know in the comments!
Featured image: Image by Julia McCoy
In-post image via Shutterstock