The first time I heard the work niche was in Earth Science in eighth grade. We had a pet chinchilla named Chichi in the class and it peed on one of the mean girls. Honestly, the leaky little guy is probably the only reason that stands out so vividly. Now, you see the word niche everywhere, all over the web, especially for online businesses. In case you don’t know what a niche is, here is the actual definition.
a shallow recess, especially one in a wall to display a statue or other ornament.
a comfortable or suitable position in life or employment.
a specialized but profitable corner of the market.
a position or role taken by a kind of organism within its community. Such a position may be occupied by different organisms in different localities, e.g., antelopes in Africa and kangaroos in Australia.
You may not be a kangaroo in Australia, but you are certainly in a position to carve out your little place in the world (or world wide web.) And more importantly, your little place in your market.
There Is More Than One Kind
Yep. You read that right.
The first is a topical niche. An example of this a food blogger that only does Paleo diet recipes. This blogger has found a neat place in the web by only catering to people who are interested in food. Now you might be thinking, well everybody eats. But not everyone eats Paleo. This blogger is reaching the Paleo blog reading community that digs recipes and some biting humor.
The second is a demographic niche. Take a look around : ) Just kidding! No but really. An example of this kind of niche is a lifestyle blogger. This lifestyle blogger may focus on a healthy vegan lifestyle but they aren’t just reaching vegans if they are posting about meditation, yoga, finding inner balance and living a minimalist lifestyle. Writing on a broader topic, reaching people who have the same general interests and reaching a certain demographic. Oh! Brought it around! HA!
There is no right or wrong answer here. It’s really about what you need for you.
Why You Need A Niche
Believe it or not, you do need one. And it’s not something that you need to lose sleep over or go out and hire someone to help you figure it out. Finding a niche is kind of a natural development. I can give you two really good reasons to do it.
- The internet is a super freaking loud place. Like SUPER freaking loud. I imagine the internet as this place that looks like a Universal style swamp where everyone's website is like a little island that they stand on and shout from island to island, the mainland being Google. That got kind of real. Anywho, everyone is shouting at the top of their lungs hoping that Google will put them up at the top. That makes for a lot of noise. If you’re not talking to someone, you’re not talking to anyone in the web.
- 2. It makes positioning yourself so much freaking easier. When you enter a market, you have to find your little place in your market. It really doesn’t matter how saturated your market is (coming from a graphic designer….) because you bring your unique perspective to whatever your expertise is. That said, we go back to number one and say that you need to be gaining the trust of certain people.
Why You Shouldn’t Panic
If you are starting to blog or offer services to a specific group of people based on their needs, then awesome for you. But if you are starting like most of us, you aren’t sure what the sam hill you’re doing quite yet, and that’s okay too.
Some of the biggest names on the web right now started writing about stuff that they are not writing about today and did okay. They weren’t quite reaching the audience they wanted to, but they also knew how to start honing that in.
Need some proof?
Kathleen Shannon of Braid Creative and Being Boss started blogging about her hair and fashion and general lifestyle.
Lauren Hooker over at Elle & Company posted recipes and posts about her faith.
Abagail Pumphrey and Emylee Williams of Think Creative Collective posted recipes.
Melyssa Griffin of Melyssa Griffin (aka The Nectar Collective) started blogging about recipes, lifestyle, and her dog.
Paul Jarvis wrote a vegan cookbook.
These people who have now found their niche started just where you did, taking that apple tart recipe grandma gave you and posting it.
And that is okay if that is what you’ve been doing thus far. And if you aren’t ready to change that because you’re having fun doing what you’re doing, then keep doing you, boo. The whole point of something like this is be enjoying it.
Turns Out, You Need A Niche
If you are ready to take on a niche, start by asking yourself if anything that you are currently doing fits in there. Don’t take stuff down, just start refocusing your direction. Does that mean that you might see a big shift in your audience? Probably. But if you do see a big shift, that just means that you are clearing out people you probably don’t want to be talking to and working with anyway.
Don’t panic. Everything is going to be alright. Just take a deep breath and make that choice.
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