Finding your niche is arguably one of the most difficult parts of beginning your journey as a content creator.
If you decide on a niche that is too narrow, then there may not be a big enough demand for you to build a following. But if your niche is too broad, you risk confusing your viewers and not growing into a position of expertise or authority in any subject.
And if that happens… people won’t recommend you and people will lose interest.
So, the first step in finding a niche that speaks to you, is researching what exactly it is that you’re looking for.
When you find a niche, it means you are finding a very specific, main focus within a larger market to create content about.
Some examples of niches could be french cuisine, home gardening, makeup, fitness, fight games etc. These are more narrowed down niches that will target specific audiences, and specific people with specific interests and problems.
Larger niches, on the other hand, are typically considered industries, such as lifestyle, gaming, marketing, beauty, health, art, etc. In these niches, there are many different angles and focuses you could potentially have.
When you’re looking to grow as an influencer, it’s best to create a niche that is smaller – but one that has a big enough demand to sustain your content.
The first step that any creator will tell you is key to finding your niche, is to find out what you love and what you have to offer.
When it comes to sourcing a niche (while markets and audience is important), you first have to ask yourself what it is that you really like to do, or that you’re really interested in.
Then you can determine where your skills intersect with that passion, to help you find your niche. It really boils down to you being interested in the topic you’re creating content around.
Otherwise, you won’t be able to sustain your own interest, let alone that of your audiences’.
A great way you can do this is by taking a similar approach to finding your value and purpose in life, through the Ikigai concept.
If you’ve never heard of the term “Ikigai,” it is a Japanese word that represents more or less the point of balance between your spiritual and physical needs – when it comes to finding where you fit into the world.
It could be described as your “reason for being,” or your “why,” or simply as the “process of allowing the self’s possibilities to blossom.” And when you are trying to find your niche, you’re essentially finding your purpose, your voice, and your “reason for being” online.
It’s a concept and exercise you can do that may help you find the balance between all of the elements in your life: what you love, what you can give, what the world needs, and what you can make a living from.
Ikigai isn’t necessarily just for finding your “job,” as Western culture has adopted it to be, but it’s a great exercise to simply get some insight into your interests and how you find value in life. Then, you can take this and apply it to what you want to create.
Grab a piece of paper and draw out this design below. List out all of the things that are relevant to you in each section, starting with the outer circles, and working your way in.
This helps you identify what problems are out there that you want and are able to solve?
You might come up with multiple for each section – and that’s okay. What is important is you’re narrowing in, and reflecting on different ideas to experiment with.
Finding your Ikigai and allowing it to inspire your niche will help you be far more sustainable in content creation than by simply jumping on trends or copying other people. When there’s genuine passion behind what you create, you can create forever.
Often, when we come up with a niche, we first come up with the idea of an “industry.” And stopping here, in the larger niches, is when you start to create content that is a bit too broad.
In order to find your niche, you need to determine which part of an industry you want to focus on – which angle you want to take and which people you want to target with your content.
For example, if you take the “lifestyle” industry and narrow it down to “vegan cooking” – you’ve found yourself a niche. Vegan cooking will give you a specific target market, rather than targeting everybody in lifestyle, which is quite literally anybody that has a life.
This will help make sure that you are standing out as an expert in your industry and attracting a loyal group of audience members.
People will often jump to topics that are either so broad that their content feels all over the place, or they pick niches that are so narrow and unpopular, that there’s no following to be had.
Either of these options means you won’t be able to build a solid, loyal following or create consistent content. If you can find a healthy middle of narrowing your niche into more of a specific topic, with a specific audience that still has a decent demand, that’s how you can find your niche and build a successful brand.
To find out if your niche is big enough to be successful and sustainable, try and make a list of 100 different pieces of content or topics that you can cover surrounding your niche. If you can comfortably come up with 100 pieces of content without getting bored, congratulations! Your niche is most likely one that’s going to be able to stand the test of time.
If you can’t, you might want to expand what topics you include in your niche.
If you’re still struggling to decide on a narrow niche, a great tip is to take a larger industry, and then pick three pillars or topics of focus to narrow in on.
For example, Cathrin Manning, a digital marketing YouTuber, started her channel by focusing mainly on creating content that was about her marketing strategies, blogging, and Pinterest. All within digital marketing, but still different categories with different audiences. Then, as she went on and started building followers and finding her groove, she discovered her passion and the demand for content on how to build a YouTube channel.
If you start out by narrowing in on a few select topics within a larger industry, you’ll naturally find yourself starting to narrow in on an area or niche that gains the most traction, and that you find the most interest in.
When you decide on a niche, also consider where you want to go with your content. What are your actual goals as a content creator? Is this channel or platform something you are hoping to monetize and turn into your full-time job? If so, it’s important to look at what the opportunities are within that market that you’re entering.
Maybe a specific type of video content doesn’t seem to rack up a lot of views compared to others, but you want to make money off of this content. Therefore, you might not be able to hold yourself up by just focusing on ad revenue. You might have to look into brand deals and other sources of income to make a living.
You can do this by looking at other YouTubers’ view counts and existing brand deals, to figure out how others are doing it. Look at brands of all scales and see which potential avenues you would have to diversify your revenue streams – and more important, if it’s something that you’re interested in doing.
Understand your goal for your content in the long run to help you decide where you want to take it, and what you’re willing to put into it.
Once you’ve decided on your goals as a content creator and what you want this brand and niche to do for you, it’s important to also take into account the industry and market that is out there already.
Nick Nimmin, a YouTuber who’s gained around half a million subscribers on YouTube, describes the best way to find a niche that will work for you, is to really study what the competition is like, and if it’s an industry you really want to enter.
Look at videos that are similar to what you’re wanting to create. Search what your target audience would be searching for and see what the top videos are. Look at top brands, and even look at the smaller ones to get a good rounded out view of what works, what doesn’t, what people are successful, and which one’s aren’t.
Then you have to ask yourself: are you willing and able to compete with what’s out there?
Identify what’s going to be required for you to stand out amongst them, or at least stand alongside them? What’s it going to take to reach your goals as a content creator if you decide to enter that niche? Is the industry you’re entering one that requires a lot of investments into gear, time, resources, software?
And while you have to match their level, you also have to keep in mind that you need to bring something new to the table in order to help yourself stand out. Be creative, and leverage what makes you unique.
If your niche idea is one where you have a unique perspective to share, and where the level of work and effort is something you’re ready to commit to, then you might find it’s the right niche for you.
When you’re trying to find your niche that will grow an audience, you have to make sure that there’s an actual audience there to grow.
Check out other creators in your niche to see what the following is like. There are many ways of searching to see if your idea is profitable, using keyword searches on Google, or other platforms like Pinterest even. Check if there are common searches for topics that you will be covering in your niche.
And taking it a step further, foreseeing what your audience will be looking for in future is a great way to find out if your niche is something you’re going to want to pursue, or something that will be relevant in the long run. You want to make sure that you’re creating content for whatever level or place your audience is at, what they need from you now, and what they will eventually need from you after following you for a while.
If you want to stay relevant, picking a niche that is evergreen, meaning it lasts through time without losing value, is a great goal for your niche as well, as it keeps new audience members coming in and following you.
All of this research and planning is also helpful to get to know your audience on a deeper level in terms of what they’re looking for and what they will expect from you. You need to know their problems and if those are ones you are willing and able to solve.
After all, in every marketing strategy or content creation process, knowing your audience like the back of your hand is the first step.
Creators often wait years, if not forever, to get started simply because they get stuck on worrying about exactly what they want to create.
What messages they are passionate about, and which is the best way to go.
They spend all of their time struggling to narrow in on a niche and miss out on their chance to actually create.
But the truth is, we don’t need to know right away what our niche is as creators.
Like with anything in life, it’s a journey, a process, an experiment.
Instead of focusing on a niche you’re interested in and working your way outwards to identify your ideal customer, and then pinpointing your actual target audience. So try working backwards to hack it.
Find your target market first, and then take a while to create content that this demographic or group of people might find interesting. This allows you to start broad, but not so broad you won’t be able to resonate with anyone.
Starting out as a content creator is all about experimenting, learning about yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your perspectives, and finding where exactly you fit into the world. So don’t be afraid of the unknown – embrace it.
And that can only come from trying things out, from taking chances and taking risks. Once you do this, it becomes a process of finding common ground with your audience, and finding “your people” online who will love what you create just as much as you love creating it.
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