A bit of back story:
Beginning in 2007, some friends and I created a blog. It covered a small sub-niche, a fringe of the fringe. Thus, we were operating in a blue ocean.
It caught on… to an extent. It eventually gained a decent-sized audience, great google ranking, and influence within the larger sphere of interest within which we published. The website is still going today, so I won’t mention more specifics.
I took a five year break from blogging before starting The Green Pill. During that time, it became easier to see the underlying principles of niche-blogging success:
- Have an idea of what you’re writing about
- Just start and don’t be too focused on perfection
- Post consistently
- Write well
- Outlinks and backlinks
- Engage with your audience and the wider community
- Create viral content that is easy to consume and share
- Develop a theme and familiar identity
- Be the best there is at what you do
- Embrace the hate
Apply these principles to build a blue ocean audience from the ground up:
Have a vague idea of what you are writing about
Successful blogs typically focus a topic or theme. In the beginning, this doesn’t have to be crystal clear. And it’s worth spending a few months experimenting in various directions and styles. But, you’ll need to have a general idea of what you’re blog is about, what it stands for, what sort of meaning it will have have for your audience.
Whatever you choose to write about, you’re going to spend a long time doing it. Therefor, it’s far better to start blogging about something you’re genuinely interested in.
If you’re not sure what your topical range should be, read to the end of this article. I’ve written some clarifying questions to help you select your natural blogging niche.
Just Start (Don’t worry about perfection)
The number one thing that holds most people back is not starting.
Don’t let perfect become the enemy of good. Especially in the beginning, you must build momentum. Get a feel for the process before obsessing over details.
Take time to find your voice and learn to deliver it. Eventually, over the course of a year or so, the character of your website will start to become more apparent.
Don’t focus too much on the details at first, and don’t restrict yourself to a narrow sub niche or stylistic box right from the beginning. Start writing and publishing. Then, see where it leads you.
With blogs, your traffic will never grow without consistent content. Never.
As a good rule of thumb, you should try to never go more than 2 weeks without posting something new. Typically, 1-3 posts per week is an ideal number for most blogs. That said, not all of your content has to be long-form or of exceptional quality. Occasionally, filler content (reposts, short-form commentary, a video, a blurb) is acceptable. But don’t rely on filler too much. The mainstay should by original, engaging, accessible, and relevant content.
In the beginning, I suggest focusing mostly on viral content (stuff that is easy to consumer and share, usually which pings emotions) or evergreen (things which have lasting relevance).
40-60 blog posts is a nice base to begin with. After that, you might start to get linked to or receive traffic from search engines. Also at this point, evaluate where most your traffic is coming from and what type of content has been most popular. Use this information to tailor future content and marketing.
An occasional typo, spelling error, or grammatical mistake is forgivable. But take pride in your writing; make it quality.
In your writing, apply the KISS formula and be brief. Use simple, common words whenever you can.
Again, don’t get hung up on perfection. Obviously, writing is a skill. You’ll get better over time. But make an effort to deliver quality writing from the beginning.
Don’t try to please everyone. Aim to make each post extremely interesting to a fraction of your audience. Depth is better than breadth. Don’t try to compete against wikipedia.
How to Write Better Copy by Steve Harrison is a great resource for learning to write well.
Outlinks and backlinks
The easiest way to get noticed by other people is to deliver them traffic.
Also link through to your own evergreen content.
Engage with the existing community
Even if you’re part of a minor sub niche, engage with other content creators and consumers in the topical vicinity. Gain a degree of familiarity with a core audience. Do guest posts on other blogs, and occasionally repost or quote excerpts from other blogs.
Other ways to engage with the audience is through facebook groups, social media, podcasts, youtube, webforums, subreddits, and telegram channels.
Create content which is easy to consume and share, be available on different platforms
I hate when guys try to add me to some social media group like “High Level Pick Up Artist.” Whoever created such a group is socially retarded.
Apply the crowded subway rule when picking a name for a book, blog, facebook group, etc: ‘Would you be comfortable being seen reading a book with that name on a packed subway?’ If not, you might consider picking a different name.
Test out different platforms for delivering content. Double down on what hooks. Maybe Insta is great for you niche and brand, or maybe a podcast would be more suitable. Is Twitter necessary? What about Youtube content or utilizing websites like Medium, LinkedIn, or Quora?
Have a theme and identity, build familiarity and community
Eventually, you’ll want to settle on a theme and identity which provides the reader a sense of familiarity or even community. Don’t try to appeal to everyone. Instead, create a tight knit community around your blog. Having 1 million people read your website once ain’t shit. Having 1,000 dedicated fans who consume every bit of contend and readily consider purchasing products: that is what you want.
With any given post, don’t try to please everyone. Instead, make each piece of content extremely interesting and useful to a small fraction of your audience. Depth is better than breadth. Don’t try to compete against wikipedia.
Be the best there is at what you do
Don’t aim to be perfect. Instead, be the best there is at what you do,…and make what you do seems more relevant to more people.
Dominate your sub niche while contributing to its growth within your broader topical field.
Embrace the hate
You won’t become successful without getting shade thrown your way. Appreciate the haters for the additional exposure and traffic.
Those are the main principles to create a sub-niche blog which takes off.
Most importantly, have consistent quality content, engage with your audience, and create a sense of community and identity around your brand. With focus, effort, and time, it’s not hard to grow your audience.
Here are few more tips to help narrow down your niche and content ideas. As I mentioned, it’s best to pick a subject that relates to something you’re passionate about.
If you’re not sure what to write about, here area few questions to ask yourself:
- What kind of content would you like to read?
- What do you wish you would have known sooner?
- What are you learning about right now?
- What do you wish a friend would know?
- What kind of solutions can you provide for people?
- What are some personal stories and how did they effect you or inform your present views?
- What is some unique insight or perspective you can deliver?
- If there is something you’re passionate about, there are other people who are also passionate about it. That’s your target audience.
If you are starting a blog, feel free to drop a link in the comments below. Also, if you want more helpful info to grow your online brand and personal influence, sign up for The Green Pill Newsletter.