Thursday, 14 February 2013

KOP: Identify Your Niche Area For Your Blog

Welcome to the first step in the KOP series: Killer Online Platform!

In the first post I presented an overview of the steps you can take to Build A Killer Online Platform.
(This is also repeated in the tab page for Killer Online Platform, and I'll be linking all the related posts to that index.) In the next post I discussed the overall strategy.

Today we are jumping straight into actually developing your KOP - Finding a Niche Area for Your Blog. 

This might sound pretty simple: Writing. Right?
Wrong. Well, wrong if you want to get any traffic at all to your blog.

Writing is waaaayyyy too big an area if you want to be found. Remember the goal is to get more targeted traffic to your site.

'Targeted traffic' you ask? Traffic that is already interested in what you are talking about.

There are so many different areas under the topic 'writing' that a) it is going to be really hard to rank on Google in such a big field (and I'm told that ranking on Google is one of the biggest things for getting the awesome traffic numbers), and b) the people who do come might be looking for something else entirely, like how to write in binary.

Therefore, you are much better off defining more specifically your area of interest, or what you are going to write about. Basically, you want to be able to create the impression (illusion?) that you are an expert in that field by presenting top quality content in a specific area so people who want to know about that will come to you (and eventually buy your books because they trust you and love your writing.)

Ideally your area and your product would be the same, eg. you are writing about how to research for historical romance and at the same time present grabbing historical romance that your readers want. However, you can also create a blog on how to overcome writer's block, and present your historical romance, it just might not be as successful. Having said that, after writing your blog for 6 months, you might be able to present the e-book: 10 easy ways to kill writer's block before it strikes, and make your millions that way. 

So how do you choose a niche area?

Try the rule of 7: 7 passions, 7 fears and 7 problems.

What are your 7 passions? If you are writing, these could be areas that you write in (historical romance, how to books, the art of knitting cats, young adult supernatural etc.) These might even be areas you are not yet writing about, but have a passion for all the same and could imagine producing books on this later.

What are your 7 fears: if you have a fear, then it is likely that other people will have it as well. And there is something addictive about talking about your fears. I talk about spiders a lot more than I talk about, say, moles. Let's take as an example that you have a fear of failure which is stopping you from writing. If you write a blog about the steps you took to overcome this fear, this will attract anyone else who suffers from the same fear. 

What are you 7 top problems: if you can solve a person's problem, they will love you forever. Can't get published? If you can do research and get insider tips on how to best present a manuscript to various publishers, list out who to contact and who takes what submissions, and become the source for all information publishing related (even if that is just in a small area such as Women's Literature) people will come again and again to your site. Further, they will be people interested in Women's Literature, so if that is what you are writing, you have a targeted audience.

Now, out of your passions, fears and problems, write out the top five that really excite you and you can imagine writing about for at least 50 posts.

Keyword Research:

Now is the hard part: now is the time to do some keyword research, aka market research. Why are we doing this? Well, it will tell you a number of things:

1. If there are already a lot of people in this niche area.
Now, this is not necessarily a problem, as it can mean that there is therefore a lot of interest in the topic. If absolutely no one is already in this area, you have to wonder why. However, the more competition there is, the more difficult it will be for you to come up in searches.

2. It will tell you the best keywords.
Say you want to build a blog around the idea of 'young adult books', where you will review all the new young adult books that come out (include, eventually, your own!). You can find out that actually 'books for young adults' is searched much more often, and this is valuable information.

3. It can even tell you what to include in your blog.
For example, if I'm writing about books for young adults, Google keyword tool tells me that other similar topics searched for 'what is young adult fiction' and 'best of young adult horror' etc. These are great post ideas! (it also brings up 'twilight meyer' but I'll leave that to your discretion.)

Anyway, keyword research is important. It shouldn't get too distracting (as I did spend like three days trying to work out the best fitness blog domain, and am still not sure!) but spending some time understanding the market is useful.

Being the complete tease that I am, I'm going to leave the actual practicals of how to do keyword research until the next post. (Also because it would be a SUPER long post otherwise, and I want to make sure that you have actually thought about your areas).

Until then, work out at least 5 areas you want to explore!

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