Are you struggling to get your blog noticed in a crowded and competitive niche? Do you have to lock horns with celebrity bloggers who are sucking the oxygen out of your topic area? Don’t worry. You are still in the fight. You just have to outwit, outplay, and outlast the other blogs in your space.
Although I’m believe that the blogging pie for most niches is big enough to support everyone. There are a growing number of hotly contested subjects where only the nimble survive. Being nimble means being relentless, unorthodox, and bold.
Here are seven ways to survive and thrive in your niche.
#1: Know What Your Readers Want
Blog readers fall into three categories that sometimes overlap:
1. Information Seekers: These readers are hunting for something specific. For example, they are looking for the latest iPad 3 apps. Their needs can be momentary or long-term depending on the situation. For example, dad’s looking for ways to connect with their autistic sons is a long-term and in-depth subject.
2. Social Interaction: Social readers love connecting with others in virtual spaces. They are avid commenters, retweeters, and forum goers. They tend to avoid blogs that don’t have a thriving commenting community.
3. Entertainment Seekers: These folks are on the hunt for anything that will alleviate their boredom. Most Entertainment seekers can be found surfing during their lunch break, midway through the afternoon, or at night after the kids go to bed. They are looking for a laugh, news, “LOLcats”, and other addictive fare.
Your goal is to tailor your blog content to one of these groups. More importantly make sure that you don’t have a content / audience mismatch. Jokes, cartoons, video snippets will repel information seekers. Closing your comments section is a red flag for those looking for social interaction.
From my one-on-one consultations, I’ve seen that many blogs are scaring away their audience because they are producing the wrong type of content. Getting this alignment right is the best long-term way to get traction in a competitive niche.
#2: Be Consistent
Fly by night publishing and topic focus is the kiss of death in a competitive niche. Competitive niches require bloggers who go to work everyday to produce content. For example, I doubt that Pushing Social would make a dent in the blogging niche without daily content. You should take a similar hard look at your niche.
Beyond posting frequency take a close look at your content quality. As a rule, I recommend posting at the edge of your quality capacity. For some, posting 3 times a week is the most they can do without sacrificing quality. Others can kick out two amazing posts a day. Find your quality threshold and commit to the schedule.
And… If you decide that you have only one quality post in you a month then you should switch to another way to compete in your niche.
#3: Speak Your Readers Language
In general, I’ve seen many large blogs rely heavily on guest bloggers to fill their editorial calendar. Although this may make sense for the big blogs, it also is a weakness that up-and-coming blogs can exploit.
Amp up the time you spend speaking with individual readers. Start an email correspondence. Visit readers at conferences. Start a TweetChat to get real-time conversations going. Your goal is to learn your reader’s language and unique way of viewing the world. Next, soak your posts in the day-to-day language of your reader.
This will give your posts instant rapport-building power. Your comments section will explode with readers who swear you are talking directly to them.
#4: Become a Niche Curator
Competitive niches generate a ton of content. It’s likely that your prospective readers are drowning in a sea of posts, videos, tweets, and status updates. If this is the case, become an aggressive curator of information. Everyone loves a curator that can connect the dots with their own special perspective.
You’ll find that your curation posts attract your niche’s most influential (and viral) participants who will stick around to see what else you have to say.
#5: Guerilla Promotion
The worse thing you can do in a hypercompetitive niche is to wait for your audience to come to you. Leave home base and establish your expertise in different online communities.
Places like forums, Tweetchats, Quora, Slideshare and LinkedIn Groups are excellent content hubs that attract a targeted audience. Find your audience and look for opportunities to show your expertise. People will see your contribution and follow you back to you blog.
#6: Give ‘Em Something New
Don’t let writing text-based posts paint you into a corner. Often times using a different medium the best way to stand out in a crowded niche. I believe that Gary Vaynerchuk would have been overlooked if he tried to write wine reviews for print publications. Using video blogs was a brilliant stroke that shocked his counterparts and propelled him to the top of the heap.
In your case, you should investigate audio or video podcasting, video blogs, and/or writing long-form content like special reports and ebooks. Many readers in your niche may find your change of pace refreshing and put your blog on their reading short list.
#7. Become a Niche-Straddler
Look to see if your audience likes to hang out in other niches that complement your primary subject. If so, consider writing Fan Transfer posts that appeal to the complementary audience and entices them to your blog.
Straddling two niches will flesh out your subject, add a shot of creative life to your current posts, and attract a new audience. Just be careful that you are genuinely interested in both niches, nothing is worse than an interloper who obviously doesn’t belong.
Ready to Fight?
Hey there bruiser! You ready to compete and win in your crowded niche? Tell me what you’ll focus on first.