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.
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:
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.
“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.
- First, think about WHAT your topic of expertise/solution will be.
- Next, think about WHO needs what you offer. This means thinking about all the different demographics that could possibly need what you’re offering.
- Now, out of those different demographics, think about who you actually WANT to serve.
- Once you’ve determined this ideal person, think about what their gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, location, job, income level, etc. would be.
- 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?
- 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!
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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