The benefits of niche blogging are well-known: that’s a proven way to attract loyal audience who will be visiting your site and interact with you; applying niche blogging basics also allows you to generate organic search traffic by focusing on niche related keywords and highly relevant inlinks.
But is it also as good for actually making money (ROI)? As an example, if you offer services related to your blog topic, that’s not always wise to limit your audience exclusively to this sphere. Blogging about SEO and by this advertising your SEO services (like me), you are most likely to be interested in all webmasters (as that’s who your potential clients are); likewise operating a small jewelry related website, you are most likely to be targeting audience interested in a broader topic like fashion and modern trends; furthermore with many verticals (like travel for example) you want all people to know about your site (as any of us travels from time to time). Being popular outside your niche is another great marketing opportunity that should not be overlooked.
|Aim||Niche blogging…||Blogging outside the niche…|
|Earn money||allows me to gain authority among niche influencers (who will help me promote my site, etc)||allows me to get noticed by my potential clients (direct ROI)|
|Educational||allows me to interact with people who are really good at the topic (I can learn new tactics, look at the topic from a different angle, keep track of the industry news, etc)||allows me to explore more marketing opportunities and verticals (beside SEO)|
|Connections||allows me to find business partners (those who will help me with the services I myself offer)||allows me to find business partners in neighboring services (viral videos, web design, etc)|
So how to both blog inside and outside your niche (and not to fall between two stools)?
1. Play with your own blog content. Some techniques I am experimenting with (or planning to) throughout this blog are:
- write both entertaining and industry related articles (e.g. my color branding series). This will appeal both to your niche and non-niche friends. I for one try to offer some fun or actionable advice in each of my posts;
- introduce ‘blog columns‘ (e.g. Wasabi (i.e. Social) Wednesdays at SEOMoz). This will encourage your non-niche readers to come back regularly;
- use generally understandable and universal stylistic techniques (e.g. humour is one of the proven methods to expand your readership).
2. Guest post at blogs belonging to a ‘neighbouring’ niche (e.g. tell web designers how to create both appealing and SEO friendly website).
3. Take part in non-niche group writing projects and blog network (I am not a professional web designer but I like to explore the topic and take part in graphic design related writing projects; I have also had some positive experience participating in Don’s home based business project). You can check this site to get updated of the writing projects around the Internet.
4. Participate in social media. A while ago I posted on niche social networking (that makes you an industry influencer). Soon after that I realized non-niche (general) social networking is as well essential, though for SEO industry it might be also risky (once you go popular as an SEO in social media, you will instantly be labelled as ‘spammer’ there). Anyway taking part in general social media sites helped me meet new people outside SEO (and that resulted in very promising business connections). There are also a few powerful Youtube niches which work well.
These were my methods of blogging and branding beyond SEO sphere. Most of them are at experimenting phase, so I need your experience and thoughts. How do you manage to balance between niche and general blogging?
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My trick in handling this is to have several blogs, many blogs in fact. (Blogger Profile: http://www.blogger.com/profile/16109419616754661835) Some are experiments in themselves, but I have three main drives in my blogs (or more) and three main product-lines.
My approach is to “let it all hang out.” Not hard for a farmer-engineer-philosopher-marketer who is busy finding and appreciating things that work – the underlying systems to how things keep operating.
But this is probably not a way most people would approach it…
And the approach I’ve consistently run across is to first capture one niche and then expand beyond it to others. Certainly when you select keywords, you are going to get some organic results for keyword combinations beyond your targeted niche.
Social bookmarking and networking will expand anyone’s world…
Very good sugestions, Ann
i like the idea of introducing ‘blog colums’. guest posting is something i am trying now, but i should definitely do what you suggest also…
Great Points Ann:
Finding niche gold is always nice. I am also in the same boat, writing for webmasters, yet reaching out to a specific type of customer (small businesses intent on engaging internet marketing).
Likewise, through blogging, you can find (through analyzing traffic)and using a variety of keywords in your blogs, which phrases become your money phrases and yield inquiries, phone calls and conversion. What is surprising is, so many phrases draw traffic that you may never have discovered unless you branched out a bit. In conclusion, I agree, it’s is important to own a focus, but also look for ways to monetize your content tactfully through a variety of mediums.
Suggestion 1 seems to fly in the face of currently accepted wisdom about blogging, where you are supposed to stay focused within your own blog. Suggestions 2 – 4 seem safer.
@Robert: Running multiple blogs is the safest way but it takes so much time… To me who blogs for fun rather than for profit that’s impossible to keep up with several blogs…
@Jeffrey: playing with different topics and keywords seems the most exciting about blogging. I love doing that!
@Mark: that is exactly why I was so eager to hear an experienced blogger’s opinion. #1 was what I’ve been experimenting with a bit and I was wondering if I were breaking any blogging rules.
I have struggled with this a bit recently. For various parts of things I like, I have created other blogs and outlets. For the most part though I have tried to mimic other blogs I enjoy and follow in their footsteps on how they set up and distribute (except geared towards my themes).
This is something that I have been thinking about recently.
My blogs up till now have all been general.
Today I finally decided to buy a domain name.
Since I am on VPS, there is economies of scale involved.
You are paying hosting monthly (fixed cost) but can increase income by having 2 blogs.
I decided to keep one general, and start a blog that is actually focused on something I am interested in and hopefully form a community.
This is honestly something I’ve struggled with (and I think a lot of bloggers do). As a business owner, I’ve found niching to be really important: for people to find you relevant and interesting, they have to be able to define you, to some extent. Blogging has that personal edge, though, and it’s tricky to find a balance.
For me, niching has definitely helped me find an audience (not to mention potential clients). I give myself a little freedom, but I’ve made a point to avoid: (1) overly personal posts, in a self-indulgent sense, and (2) meta-blogging. If it’s professional but too far off topic, I post on a forum or community in that topic area.
I think it’s great to have a lot of interests and write on a variety of topics, but for any given blog you have to set expectations and meet those expectations once you set them (in my opinion).
I have several blogs going/started right now. This is very time consuming, but allows me the opportunity to discuss different issues at different times and reach differnt people.
And you are the first I’ve seen to actually discuss this topic and refer to/give an example for a jewelry website without owning one. Thanks!
Really good article Ann. I think SEO consultants are in a fairly good position to spread across industries/niches, as the service is relevant to all businesses/webmasters. Other niches probably don’t have the same level of broad applicability, but of course that doesn’t mean they should not attempt cross niche blogging wherever possible.
First of all, I go anywhere, where my interests lie. It doesn’t matter, if it is a strictly SEO blog or a blog about a basketball team (by Mark Cuban).
Secondly, going off-niche occasionally does give you a perspective and can give you more ideas to apply to other niches. That’s why I consider not focusing on SEO strictly very, very helpful.
I guess that’s the reason I steered into Internet marketing as a whole (usability, copywriting, accessibility, marketing, etc), not just SEO/optimization.
As a side note, if you want to write something super off topic, you can guest blog on a blog in that industry, thus gaining a much better response (since your message will be on topic on that blog).
Good writeup. It’s easy to keep your head down and stay isolated in your niche but you’ll never grow beyond it that way.
Thanks also for mentioning my site. I Stumbled your article and left a review.
niche is somehow related into viral marketing.
Nowadays, viral marketing is one of the most profitable in the virtual world, because of its unlimited resources and its massive market around the world. It is somehow easy but it requires a lot of resources to viral marketing and it is very profitable.
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Very nice table explanation of online and offline promotion. Thank you for sharing.
Nicely explained the ways of promotion. Will use for our site .
Thanks for this, will try out some of the ideas
Wish I would have created my website more niche from the beginning. I will keep this in mind moving forward.