This post was written by Compose.ly writer Kathleen Allardyce.
You’ve reviewed the evidence. You know that starting a blog is one of the best things you can do for your business’s digital marketing strategy.
If your industry is smaller and doesn’t have a reputation for being “interesting,” you might still be hesitant to start one, though. There’s no point in pouring resources into a blog that no one is ever going to read.
This reaction is understandable, but it’s misguided. The reality is that a business blog on a niche topic can do very well, even though its readership will be smaller than a blog with mainstream appeal.
Read on to learn five reasons why you should maintain a niche blog, and learn about businesses that are succeeding with a blog in a niche market.
1. You Can Establish Yourself as an Expert in Your Niche
If you wanted to read the latest from a marketing expert, you might look up Seth Godin’s blog. If you were interested in SEO, Rand Fishkin at Moz would be very high on your list of people to check out. Both run popular blogs, because they have a reputation for being authorities in their fields.
People like to read blogs written by experts (and tend to buy from them, too).
The same holds true for your industry. Your customers and prospects are looking for guidance from someone who has a reputation for being an expert and educator. It doesn’t matter if those people represent a group of 5,000 or a group of 36 million. They’re still out there looking for leadership.
In many cases, being in a niche market can offer much more opportunity than being in a market with heavy mainstream appeal. For example, if you wanted to create a marketing blog that rivaled Seth Godin’s, you’d be in for a very difficult fight.
On the other hand, if you wanted to start a blog about sustainable design, you wouldn’t face much competition. There isn’t much content about it out there. Most of the companies working in the field are not using content marketing as an important part of their marketing strategy.
In many cases, a niche market can offer more opportunity than one with mainstream appeal.
A company called Autodesk has proven that blogging on sustainable design can be a big success. Autodesk decided to take the approach of providing guest blog posts for authority websites. It was a way to introduce themselves to people who needed to know about sustainable design without coming on too strong.
As a result, they have a network of links coming to their website, which is something Google responds to very well, and they have a leg up on their competitors who assumed that no one would be interested in reading a blog about their field. Thousands of people are visiting their website who otherwise would have never heard of it, and each one is a potential customer.
2. You Can Increase the Number of Areas Where You Have Influence
When you work on educating your customers and prospects, it’s inevitable that you’re going to run out of interesting things to say that relate to your market. However, if you broaden your approach a little bit, you can avoid this problem, and also substantially increase your readership and market reach.
Daily Burn is one company that illustrates this principle very well. Daily Burn offers subscriptions to streaming workouts. They market to individuals who are looking to stay in shape from the comfort of home. As you can imagine, if all of the Daily Burn’s blog posts focused on descriptions of their workouts, their audience would soon abandon their blog.
If you look at their blog, called Daily Burn Life, you’ll notice the broad range of topics in their menu. These topics include fitness, health, lifestyle, recipes and tech. As a result, there’s enough on their blog to interest a wide audience.
For example, there’s a post on their blog about the role nuts play in increasing longevity. It’s one of the most shared posts on the site. Strictly speaking, it has nothing to do with Daily Burn’s services, but they correctly judged that their readers would be interested in it anyway.
Daily Burn determined what their customers and prospects were interested in, and responded by writing on a variety of topics that kept their visitors coming back for more.
When you think about your customers and prospects, it’s likely you’ll be able to think of a range of topics that might interest them. You don’t need to limit yourself to posts that are immediately relevant to your business. Diversify a little and you’ll attract more people to your blog.
3. An Audience Exists for Almost Everything
How much traffic would you expect a blog written by a mortician to receive? Can funerals and embalming really be interesting? You wouldn’t think so.
That didn’t stop Caitlin Doughty. Her content distribution method of choice is video, but she could have done the same thing with a blog. She is the queen of providing a new perspective on a niche industry. Her YouTube channel has more than 47,000 subscribers and the most popular video on that channel has over 200,000 views.
Doughty’s example proves that there are people in this world that are enthusiasts about almost everything.
If you want to recreate Doughty’s success, you need to find the people that are enthusiastic about your niche. Once you locate those people, get to know them. Ask them about the issues they’re enthusiastic or concerned about. It’ll probably give you a few ideas for blog posts.
Find out what issues are relevant to your readers
Take the consulting firm Deloitte as an example. A consultant’s value is in the knowledge they’ve developed as experts in their field. Therefore, Deloitte does an excellent job of providing content that is current and useful.
Deloitte publishes debates on topics related to the kind of consulting they do, such as merger integration, big data and healthcare exchanges. This type of content draws an audience of CIOs and COOs who are addressing the same issues and then sells them on their services.
Answer your audience’s questions
What if you’re in the fastener industry, making nuts and bolts? What perspective could you bring to this niche industry besides talking about the features of your products? You need to know what questions your audience has, and then address those as an authority.
Is there a controversy over a new type of fastener and its uses? Are your manufacturing customers wondering about which fastener to use for a specific application? Your blog is the place to address those issues.
4. You Face Less Competition With a Niche Blog
Companies that succeed in a small niche do so because they refuse to accept that their industry is boring. They understand that if content is engagingly written and useful, it won’t be boring to the right audience. Unfortunately, many companies don’t understand that concept. For those companies that do, a small niche offers a big opportunity.
Take an example from the alternative medicine industry. Would you expect a blog called The Renegade Pharmacist to have a big following? You’d be surprised.
In 2015, The Renegade Pharmacist published an article about the effects of drinking Coke. As part of that post, they created an infographic illustrating the effects a can of Coke had on the body over an hour’s time. In just a few days, the site started receiving links from all over the internet.
Approximately a year after publishing it, the site had 1,000 links directed back to the post. As a result, the site’s domain authority skyrocketed, and the site started ranking for hundreds of keywords.
This isn’t unusual: one or two posts that go viral can give a blog the boost it needs to gain a steady readership.
An important factor that contributed to the site’s success was that there were not many other authoritative websites in the alternative medicine industry at the time.
If there had been a large group of alternative medicine bloggers, someone else would probably have already published a blog post on the same topic. Even if nobody had beaten them to the punch, in a more crowded industry, The Renegade Pharmacist would have faced much heavier competition in acquiring backlinks and ranking for keywords from one or two popular posts.
5. Blogging Helps You Rank for High-Volume Keywords
Publishing blog posts on a regular basis will help you, regardless of your industry. There are a number of examples of the impact blogging can have in niche industries.
Snack Nation publishes a blog for their industry, B2B snack delivery services. Initially, the company wasn’t getting much traction with the relatively generic posts they’d been publishing. They did some keyword research and discovered that very few people each month searched for their chosen keyphrase, “healthy office snack ideas.” They also discovered that the term “wellness program ideas” had a high search volume per month.
When they searched for that keyphrase, they discovered that the results were dismal. Someone doing that search wouldn’t find much useful information. That discovery prompted them to write an authoritative blog post containing an exhaustive list of wellness program ideas. They used a simple approach to describing each of the ideas in language everyone could understand.
That single post had a dramatic impact. In addition to home page traffic increasing, their blog started receiving 10,000 views per month. The company has increased their home page traffic by 59 percent because of their blog.
Their success story is surprising, in a way. Few people would expect a snack delivery company to establish themselves as an authority on wellness or to generate much traffic from people searching for it. It’s an opportunity they never would have had if they hadn’t had a blog.
How to Turn Your Niche Blog Into a Success
You’ve probably heard experts talk about why a blog is important for any company. Those reasons apply equally to companies in niche industries.
When starting up a niche blog, bear these tips in mind.
1. Find topics that are related to your niche.
As was mentioned before, you can expand your horizons to topics that people in your niche would find interesting. You don’t have to figure out what to blog about all by yourself. Talk to your customers and prospects, review blogs from others in related fields, and poll people in your company who interact with customers to identify the topics your readers would be the most interested in.
An excellent source for ideas is Quora. It’s a website where people ask questions, and others who have experience in the topic reply to them. For example, if you visit Quora and search for “insurance premiums,” you’ll see a long list of questions on that topic that you can mine for ideas.
2. Be lighthearted where it’s appropriate.
If you treat your content like it’s boring, so will everyone else. If your company’s brand voice allows for it, don’t be too serious with your writing. If your content is useful and captures the reader’s attention, it will be well received, and capturing the reader’s attention often means putting some personality into it.
3. Take the time to write creative blog titles.
There’s a big difference between the topic of a blog post and its title.
For example, let’s say the you’re writing a post on how to read an insurance policy. For your title, you could write “How to Read Your Home Insurance Policy.” But consider whether you might get a better response if the title was “Learn How to Read Your Insurance Policy or Kiss Your Home Goodbye.”
The odds are that anyone who would have clicked the first article will also click the second. You’ll also attract people who might have skipped on the first one but got a chuckle from the second one, and from people who’ll respond to the stronger language being used because they’re afraid they don’t understand their policy and might actually have to kiss their home goodbye someday.
If that title isn’t your style, that’s fine. Use your creativity to write a title that will attract attention and is consistent with your business’s voice.
4. Don’t write your blog posts like company brochures.
Very often, companies in a niche industry focus on promoting their company and products or services. That’s a big mistake that comes from assuming that the only thing they can write about is themselves. They’ve never done the work to discover what questions their readers have or what related topics they might be interested in. Think of your blog as an opportunity to educate your audience, not just a chance to sell your products and services.
[tip]You can educate your readers without revealing any trade secrets. Successful bloggers are often those who understand that sharing what they know about their industry comes with more benefits and drawbacks.[/tip]
5. Take a long-term perspective.
Blogging is an excellent way to help your business grow. However, blogs don’t usually become successful overnight. Your blog is one of your company’s most important assets. It will grow in value the longer it’s maintained. Make a commitment to publishing regular blog posts and you’ll reap the benefits, which include keeping your existing customers happy and turning leads into customers.
Give Your Blog a Boost With Compose.ly
If, like most companies, you don’t have anyone who can handle your blog internally, keep in mind that many businesses outsource their content writing to save money and maintain the quality of their content. If you are in that situation, Compose.ly can help you find the best writers to help your blog and your company grow. We believe that every business has a story to tell, and we’d love to help you tell yours. Think about contacting us today.