When it comes to owning a category for your blog, the “nichier” the better. With so much content out there, it can be challenging to write about anything unique. But if you can zero in on your own one-of-a-kind voice and content, you’ll find a loyal following. Here are a few tips for making sure your blog continues to appeal to the not-so-masses.
1. Go Deeper on Your Content
Before you write a word, do your homework. See how other blogs cover a topic. Look for gaps that they’ve missed. If most blogs write about a subject in 800 words, write the most comprehensive 3,000-word post ever (but make sure it’s all really useful content). If other blogs write articles, create an infographic or video on the topic.
The key is to provide more value than anyone else and to become indispensable as a thought leader in your niche.
2. Leverage Keywords
If you’re in the early stages of defining your blog and its audience, spend some time researching keywords to find niche ideas. You can discover which topics people are searching, as well as which have less competition. That’s where you’ll find your sweet spot.
Realize that the more specific your keywords get, the more niche they become. If you want to write a blog about dogs, you’ll have to be more specific than the general term “dogs,” because competition is cutthroat. Instead, focus on a breed like hairless chihuahuas to ensure that your visitors are exactly interested in your subject. If they’re on your blog, they’re interested in hairless Chihuahuas and not Labs.
3. Talk to Your Audience
The best way to deliver content your audience wants? Ask them! A simple survey on your blog or sent to email subscribers can give you great insight into topics they want to see more of on your blog.
Keep the survey short and simple: include a few generic categories for them to vote on and leave a blank box for them to add other content suggestions.
4. Engage with Followers on Social Media
Social media is a great channel for driving traffic to your blog as well as engaging with followers. If you want to focus on keeping existing followers engaged with your content, make sure your profiles are updated regularly (several times a week). If someone comments or sends you a direct message, make sure to respond promptly.
Especially on Twitter, sharing your connections’ content is also a good way to forge that bond. Share an article that a follower posted on social, and she’ll be happy to reciprocate.
5. Invest in Targeted Social Ads
If you’ve got the budget to invest in social media advertising, do it. Ads on social platforms are valuable because they let you be very specific in who you target. If you’re trying to reach moms of preschoolers who live in Wisconsin, you can do that. When you better target your audience, your investment is better spent because you know only the people you care about will see your ad.
It may take a few iterations to find ad copy that really hits home. Create a few versions of your ad and pay attention to which one resonates. Branded content, such as boosting a blog post, is an easy way to entice people with the content you’ve already created and drive visits, reads, and shares.
6. Use Your Blog Analytics
Another way to know if you’re hitting the mark or not with the content you create on your blog is to look at your site’s analytics. You can find out valuable information:
Where traffic is coming from: Pay attention to the sites generating the most traffic to your blog and invest more in marketing there.
Which posts are getting read: This helps you understand which subjects and blog formats (long form? video? infographic?) are resonating with your audience. With this knowledge, you can create more of the same.
7. Make Email Subscribe Box Prominent
Most people won’t deliberately visit your blog every day or week. That’s where having an email subscription box or landing page comes in handy. If you put the subscription box on the sidebar, do it in the upper right corner and make sure the colors get it noticed.
Require only an email address for people to get your blog feed; asking for additional information may be too much and turn people off. Once they get your posts in their inboxes, they can read them via email or click to read the post. Pro tip: only include part of the article in the email so they have to click to your site to read the rest!
Having a niche audience may not mean you have millions of blog readers, but you will have fiercely loyal followers if you do your part to ensure that the content you publish is always relevant, that you know what your audience cares about, and that your content is unique and unlike anything else online.
About the author:
Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.