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How to Choose a Profitable Blog Topic and Target Audience [Free Workbook]

How to Choose a Profitable Blog Topic and Target Audience for your Blog. Plus download the free workbook to help you finally figure out what the heck to blog about! :) Only on www.DesignYourOwnBlog.com

So you want to start a blog, but you’re not quite sure how to choose a profitable blog topic.

What topic will earn you money? What if you get bored with it? Is it necessary to choose a niche or not? Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more.

How to Choose a Profitable Blog Topic and Target Audience for your Blog. Plus download the free workbook to help you finally figure out what the heck to blog about! :) Only on www.DesignYourOwnBlog.com

background image courtesy of Heart Take the Wheel.

Some bloggers and marketers out there are adamantly against niching. Others think it’s a recipe for disaster not to have a niche.

In this post, we’ll discover some ways for you to thoughtfully choose an interesting yet profitable blog topic and we’ll also determine who your target audience is.

What’s a Niche Anyway?

A niche is just a fine-tuned topic you choose for your blog that is targeted at a small subset of people.

By the way, is it “neesh” or “nitch?” Well, according to dictionary.com, it’s “nitch.” You’re welcome 🙂

According to businessdictionary.com, a niche is:

“Concentrating all marketing efforts on a small but specific and well-defined segment of the population. Niches do not ‘exist’ but are ‘created’ by identifying needs, wants, and requirements that are being addressed poorly or not at all by other [companies or bloggers], and developing and delivering goods or services to satisfy them. As a strategy, niche marketing is aimed at being a big fish in a small pond instead of being a small fish in a big pond…”

Niche marketing is aimed at being a big fish in a small pond instead of being a small fish in a big pond

So, the idea of having a niche is that if you target your blog towards a smaller market, you’ll be more likely to solve their problems well as opposed to just giving out one-size-fits-all solutions and advice that don’t really help anyone.

Now there are successful bloggers who have a niche and there are successful bloggers that don’t. Likewise, there are failed bloggers who had a niche and failed bloggers who didn’t. So what does this mean for you?

It means there is no one answer, but I can help you figure it out for you. Let me start with two stories.

Get to Know Your Audience by Experimenting with Different Topics

Some successful bloggers say that not having a niche at the beginning is what helped their blogs take off. When Abby Lawson of JustaGirlandHerBlog.com started out, she wrote on several different topics like home decor, family life, DIY projects, and organizing.

After a while, she began to write about the experience she was having growing her blog and saw that it began to resonate well with her audience also. Over the last few years, she’s been able to successfully find a balance between the topics of organizing, decorating and blogging. It’s not exactly super niched down, but it works for her and her highly profitable blog!

Abby now says “Even if it means that it took me a little longer to grow my site, I’m glad I went through that learning experience and tried a bunch of different things in the beginning.”

Now for our second story…

Start Small and Expand

When I started DYOB, it was specifically aimed at helping women bloggers find free and cheap resources to decorate their blogs with. I offered inspiration, tutorials and lessons to help these women improve the look of their blogs. I knocked my blog out of the park from the start because my blog was very focused on one thing.

However over time, as I learned more about the blogging game and fielded thousands of questions from my readers, I began to expand my content to also cover writing, social media and marketing.

But then two things started to happen: A) I couldn’t keep up with all the different topics well and B) I started to blog less about design, which is what my entire career and passion has been about from the first place! That caused my blog to become unfocused and I started to lose interest in blogging altogether.

When I went back to blogging about design, it helped me focus my content better and tailor it to my specific target audience: women bloggers looking to learn how to DIY the look of their own blogs. So from my own personal experience, I think that starting with a narrower focus is what helped me gain my audience because it set me apart from other bloggers and I can use my target audience to determine what type of content to put out.

These two blogging stories started out quite differently but still resulted in successful blogs.

So What Can You Do to Choose a Profitable Blog Topic?

First things first, download the free workbook to finding a profitable blog topic:

Click here to download the "How to Choose a Profitable Blog Topic and Target Audience for your Blog" Workbook for FREE! I want to help you finally figure out what the heck to blog about! :) Only on www.DesignYourOwnBlog.com

We’ll go through the workbook step-by-step so you can finally decide on a profitable blog topic for your audience!

1. Find a Problem a Lot of People Need a Solution To

What do you enjoy doing? What are you good at? What do you love helping people out with? Do you find yourself giving advice to people about certain things? Do people come to you when they need help with something?

Find a real problem (or set of problems) that a specific set of people (your target audience) have and figure out a way to solve it in your own unique way.

Katharine Trauger, a member of my Blog Beautiful Facebook group, says it like this…

“Think hard about what people love to hear you talk about, what they ask your opinion about, what they send their friends to you for. That type of question you keep having to answer, that you wish you just had a handout for. Then go there. Make the handout. Promise people you can answer this one type of question, and challenge them to ask it. Doesn’t matter if it’s food, children, home interior, or what. It’s what you know and what you were meant to share, to help with.

For me, women keep asking me how to stay married and sane at the same time. I’m a home schooler and know a lot about that, but you know what? It’s [actually] not what people want to hear from me. Nope. They want to save their marriages. So that is where I go.”

Exercise: Right now, go to page 1 of your workbook and make a list of all the things you like to do, all the things you are good at, all the things people come to you for.

I love Katharine’s idea of creating the handout you wish you had to answer the questions you are most frequently asked by others!

2. Narrow it Down

Out of the problems you’ve chosen, choose the two or three that have the most potential. The ones that you feel will make the most impact. And also ones that have opportunity to grow.

Don’t make the mistake of pigeon-holing yourself by choosing topics that are unable to expand into other things.

Exercise: On page 2 of your workbook, brainstorm some solutions to the two to three problems you’ve chosen.

3. Differentiation is the Name of the Game

How can you offer a solution to a problem that a lot of people have in a way that is better and/or different than everyone else? How will you stand out from a sea of bloggers talking about the same thing?

What gaps exist that aren’t currently being filled? What unique twist or perspective can you add to the topic that makes it yours alone? What has personally helped you with this problem in the past?

Exercise: Go back to your workbook and fill out page 3, where you can jot down ideas on how to make your content and offerings stand out from the rest.

4. Just Pick a Topic and Go with It

Don’t Get Too Attached

It’s entirely possible that you may choose the wrong topic and, truth be told, you probably will the first time. Most successful bloggers today are on their second or third (or more) blog!

DYOB isn’t my first blog. Femtrepreneur.com is not Mariah Coz’s first blog. byRegina.com is not Regina Anaejionu’s first blog either.

We all need practice and a space to grow our blogging skills, so don’t be hard on yourself. Try something out and see what happens. If you don’t get the feedback you expected, try something else. It may be just a shift in perspective or it may be a complete rewrite. Either way, it’s all part of the learning process of blogging and perfectly ok. In the long run, it will make you a better blogger.

At some point, you may even get bored with your topic and realize it’s not really something you were all that interested in. For example, my first blog was about my journey to location independence and minimalism. After a few months I realized that I really didn’t want to be a minimalist! That’s when I scrapped that blog and started looking for something new to write about.

On the other hand, don’t give up too quickly on the first topic you choose. Every blog takes time to grow as well as a lot of dedication to marketing and connecting with your target audience. Give it a little time to grow. There may come a time, however, when you realize that you’re just not resonating with anyone out there. If this happens, go back to page 2 of your workbook and pick another topic to try.

5. Be Patient

Finding the right topic to write about takes lots of love, plenty of experimentation, and a good amount of time. So be patient with yourself and do some discovery work. Choosing a profitable blog topic is as much about you and what you can offer as it is about what your audience wants or needs.

If you’re really stuck, take some advice from a blogger in my Blog Beautiful group. This is her response to another member who was struggling with wanting to write about her experience as an expat in Japan as well as her experience with a bullet journal. She wasn’t seeing how she could tie the two together.

Sareeta Lopez answered,

“People always say you should have an idea in your mind of what you want to write and go with that, but that’s not what happened for me. I started writing random things that were totally unrelated until I figured out what I was most passionate about. And that didn’t hurt me at all – it helped me because when I figured it out, I knew, and I wasn’t hesitating.

So trust yourself! Go ahead and write what comes to mind if you need to. Writing about Japanese things as well as your bullet journal are more related to each other than you think too – you could turn it into a bullet journal blog with a focus on how you use it in Japan. You could turn it into a lifestyle blog about things to do in Japan, and how you can use a bullet journal to organize your life.

There are so many options! Find ways to connect your ideas and it will all come together!”

I looooove these ideas from Sareeta!

Now Let’s Talk About Your Target Audience

Once you’ve settled on a topic for your blog, you’ll want to identify your target audience. It’s best to get specific here.

I know, I know. You want to please everybody! You don’t want to turn anyone away. Why leave anybody out, right?
But here’s the thing: when you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody.

Look, people want to feel like you’re speaking directly to them. They want to know that you get them and you understand where they’re coming from.

And just because you’re targeting a specific market doesn’t mean that you will chase everyone else away. Noooo…. actually the opposite is true!

DYOB is geared towards women bloggers, specifically moms with young children who want to create or run an online business that helps them support their families and have the ability to spend more time with their kids. That’s who I target when I write my posts, who I think about when I choose my colors and designs.

Does that mean that these are the only people who follow me and read my content? Not at all!

I have plenty of retired empty-nesters who follow me, college students that read my content, and even men that subscribe to my blog! But the reason I have success is because there is consistency in my brand and messaging, and there is focus to my content.

6. Developing Your Persona

Who do you write for? Who will resonate best with your solutions and offerings? Why do you write about what you write?

Get as specific as you can and focus on one person. This will be your persona who will help you to create a focused, targeted message to your target audience.

  1. First, think about WHAT your topic of expertise/solution will be.
  2. Next, think about WHO needs what you offer. This means thinking about all the different demographics that could possibly need what you’re offering.
  3. Now, out of those different demographics, think about who you actually WANT to serve.
  4. Once you’ve determined this ideal person, think about what their gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, location, job, income level, etc. would be.
  5. What kind of interests or hobbies does this person have? What is their personality like? What makes them happy, angry, frustrated or sad? What is important to them? What kind of values do they possess?
  6. Finally, give your persona an actual name so that he/she becomes real to you. Someone you can channel when you’re creating content.

Exercise: Go to page 4 of your workbook to work on your blog’s persona.

Putting It All Together

Now that you have a topic, a target audience and a persona who will help you speak to your target audience, it’s time to create a mission or vision for your blog.

Your mission should reflect the core values of your blog, your WHY, your future goals and how you wish your blog to be viewed by others.

Your mission should also reflect who you are helping, why you are helping them and how you will help them.

This is my mission for DYOB:

Design Your Own Blog is a place to feel inspired and empowered about designing your own brand, blog and website. It’s a place to explore, grow and build your confidence. Marianne supports women solopreneurs and bloggers in creating beautiful brands and websites that allow them to connect with their target audiences. Whether you’re following her free content, taking part in an online course, or working with her one-on-one, you will leave feeling alive and confident about your own brand and website!

Exercise: Turn to item number 5 (page 6) in your workbook to work on your blog’s mission statement.

Ready to Get Your New Profitable Blog Up and Running?

Then let me show you how. Check out my tutorial on how to start a blog in 15 minutes.

And don’t forget to download your Free ‘Choose a Profitable Blog Topic’ Workbook!

Click here to download the "How to Choose a Profitable Blog Topic and Target Audience for your Blog" Workbook for FREE! I want to help you finally figure out what the heck to blog about! :) Only on www.DesignYourOwnBlog.com

Remember, blogging is a journey. You will make mistakes, you will go off topic, you will write posts that nobody responds to and that’s OK. It’s all part of learning how to build a profitable blog! All of it will make you a better blogger, I promise!

Now tell me, what’s the thing you struggle with most when choosing a profitable blog topic? Share with me below and I’ll try my best to help!

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23 Comments

  • Like always . a great article. I have another method of zeroing in on a niche. Pat Flynn and a number of other people use it. It’s called “Scratching you own Itch”. If you want to do something, and cannot not find any answers to the problems you are facing, So will a lot of other people. although it will be a small segment of target audience. but it will be very very useful to people

  • Katharine says:

    Thank you so much, Marianne, for using that quote! 😀
    As for narrowing it down, I’ve found that some will drop off as you keep narrowing it down to the core of what you mean. Some may even totally flair up! I had that happen once and had to block a reader who was attacking my commenters, because of it.
    However, the more you narrow it down, the more freedom you have to speak the truth, because your readers who remain are so loyal, and they are there for what you know and say. That is worth it!
    Thanks, again! <3

    • Marianne says:

      Such great points Katharine, you are just droppin’ the knowledge, lady! You are so right about having the freedom to speak the truth the narrower you get. It’s all so personal and just another reason why there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to finding a topic that works.

  • Amar kumar says:

    Hey Marianne,

    Someone picks a niche they love to write about and don’t realise that there’s no money to be made.This is the most important question to ask yourself and if you’re not passionate about the niche that you’re blogging in then that’s a very bad sign.I truly believe that passion is a key factor for success.

    When we envision the possible niches for our blog over time, we will keep going back to one again and again. We might think about other niches and envision the possibilities for those, only to find our mind drifting back to the one topic. Eventually, thanks for revealing a light on this topic.

    With best regards,

    Amar kumar

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Amar, you’re absolutely right. Not only do you need to choose a topic that’s profitable, but one that keeps you interested and feeds your soul. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Glady Anne says:

    Wow! What a great guide! I’ve pinned this so I can come back to it when I come back to my blog! Happening soon with the new site!
    Thanks for linking to Heart take the Wheel! ♥♥♥

    • Marianne says:

      That’s awesome Glady Anne! I just love what you’re doing already and I can definitely tell who your target audience is. Can’t wait to see your even more focused direction!

  • Hey Marianne,

    Great detailed post, I have a blog, but I don’t concentrate on any specific niche. Due to this, I’m not able to drive traffic to my blog. After reading many articles related to blogging, most of the pro bloggers recommend focusing on particular niche initially. They tell because it will increase confidence while blogging. Thanks for sharing your knowledge to newbies.

    Thanks

    • Marianne says:

      Hey James, I hope you can find a good niche or topic that not only speaks to you, but also attracts an audience. Like you said, without a niche, you aren’t able to drive traffic to your blog. At the very least, find an issue or something you can focus on and work on offering solutions for that issue. Hope you find the workbook handy!

  • Camilla Hallstrom says:

    Marianne, some great tips here! “Choosing a blog topic is as much about you as it is about your audience.” – yup, SO true! It takes some patience to get there, but it’s so worth it in the end 🙂

  • Charlene says:

    I bought a domain name and have been stuck since- I was kind of pushed into getting a site so that I had somewhere to push content to… Well- if I don’t have content ready- what good is having a site? Anyway- my niche is paper crafting – specifically memory keeping, card making and art journalling. I am a CTMH independent consultant- so products will be available thru Close to My Heart via my link. However, the how-to, the what you need, etc will be what I’m posting about. It really helped me to do the exercise of WHO I’m speaking to. I’ve named her Zenia- like the flower. Now to start content. But I’m also concerned that I have a domain with nowhere for people to get to it… (sigh)

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Charlene, starting a blog is no small feat, but once you do it’s awesome! Did you select a blogging platform yet? If not, I would start there: http://designyourownblog.com/startablog. I created a free quiz that helps you determine which is best for your personal needs and goals. Otherwise, let me know how I can support you in getting started.

  • Becca says:

    I thought I had my niche figured out. Isn’t that funny, blogging for 1 year and thought I had it figured out? Yeah, well, needless to say that I am now rethinking a bit of it. While I love my blog name, I don’t love to write about some of the things that I started out writing about. My blog is going through a bit of a transformation and that is okay, but it is also kinda nervewrecking. Thank you for the informative article:)

    • Katharine says:

      Hey, Becca!
      I did the same thing! I wrote about home schooling for years (800 posts!) and I found myself changing horses midstream. It’s so common, there are several examples in this post of Mariane’s. Some of the decision-making must be done in a sort of wait-and-see way, or even by using a reader poll to find out what the majority want to know.
      In my case, my kiddos grew up! Who imagined that would happen? I no longer have the same things going on in my house, among my friends; we’re all grannies, now. 😀
      Listen to your heart. You will figure it out.

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Becca, this is actually perfectly NORMAL 🙂 Even DYOB has undergone some transformations since the beginning in terms of what type of content I wanted to offer. A blog is always evolving and adapting to your own interests (which change over time) and what you learn from your audience. Keep at it, you’re doing great!

      And great advice from Katharine as well. Funny about your kids! 😉

  • Ingrid says:

    I loved this article, Marianne, and managed to narrow down my niche and topic. What I am uncertain about is whether to write in English or in Norwegian (my native language). I am more comfortable writing in English (better flow, vocabulary etc), but I am worried that it might not seem authentic for Norwegian readers. Another reason for writing in English is that I am also selling products on Amazon that relate to my blog topic, and I can reach a larger market. What is your take on this?

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Ingrid, congratulations on narrowing down your niche and topic! To answer your question, since you are more comfortable writing in English and you want to reach a wider audience, I would definitely stick to English.

  • Select any niche is a very difficult task and the way you elaborate things is really amazing. Thanks for all the efforts you made to write this wonderful blog.

    I failed two times in finding a perfect niche and therefore I have to left out from writing for a long time because I thought that I have no skills or motivation to write a blog that can generate traffic or visitors.

    After reading your blog I realize my issue, actually, I was going for a bigger picture and selecting those niches which need a lot of hard work and knowledge but I think they very benefit for me and I will earn well in some weeks but I was wrong and now I have to select niche very carefully.

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