5 Steps to Successfully Break into a New Niche

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve recently started a new blog in an entirely new niche.  It’s generally an exciting experience.  I feel passionate about the subject matter and felt like I had a lot to contribute.  Essentially I answered, in my own mind, the two most important questions when it comes to starting a new blog.  Can I contribute to the discussion and do I feel passionate enough about the subject to keep writing engaging content.  I’ve been very fortunate in that the new blog I started has actually gained some success, it hit 1oo subscribers in a week which is mightily impressive for a niche which isn’t known for being technically comfortable.  So with the initial success, I’ve put together this post with my five tips for breaking into a new niche.

  1. Make a running start – You really need to hit the ground running if you want to make an impact.  The best way to do this is to have content ready when the blog goes live.  Especially, make sure you have a solid about page up, so new visitors, and remember all visitors will be new visitors, can quickly find out what you’re about.  If you do make an impact, have some non-time sensitive posts ready to catch any readers who decide to subscribe after your first few posts.  Catching these readers is vitally important.
  2. Branding – Have a look around, take in what you see.  How can you distinguish yourself from the competition in this new niche?  There are a numerous ways to do this, design, taglines, themes, writing style etc.  Set yourself apart from the rest so when the first visitors arrive they know it’s a new, fresh blog with something interesting to say for itself.  If you’re entering a niche which isn’t generally known as being tech savvy, you can very easily set yourself apart through a customised blog theme, or in some cases by simply not using blogger.  Keep an eye out for killer domains as well.
  3. Search for traffic sources -Blogrolls are often over looked but can be highly valuable sources of traffic.  Search around your niche and see if there are any popular blog rolls or link exchanges you can join.  It’s a great way of getting those first few readers.
  4. Build up to a crescendo – Commenting is vital to get your name out there in a new niche. However, you have to be carefull when playing the commenting card.  I take the following approach.  Get together a list of the most popular, entertaining and readable blogs in the niche.  Start commenting on them well before you launch your site.  When your site has actually launched, continuing commenting and add links to your site if there is relevant content (hint:  Make some relevant content to link to).  Always fill out the “Your Site” field on the comments form.  Then, when a post that really grabs your attention comes up reply on your blog and make sure a trackback gets posted on the originating blog.  Just to be doubly sure, and this is something most people forget, click the link on your blog so it appears in the referral logs of the original site.  This does two things.  Firstly, if people check their logs they will see your site, even if they don’t quite know what a trackback is or how it works.  Secondly, they will think your site gets traffic, even if it doesn’t.  This will make them more likely to link to you and may result in an immediate increase in authority within the niche.  Of course, only reply and/or comment if you genuinely have something interesting and unique to add to the conversation, otherwise you’ll (rightly) be labeled a spammer.
  5. Hit the hot topics – Every niche as topics de jour.  If you are the first to respond to the topic, you can ride a wave of traffic.  The important thing, however, is identifying how to discover these hot topics.  Pick out the blogs that court controversy, the news sites that are always first, put them in your feed reader and be quick to respond.  As with the point above, the medium you chose to respond through can make a big difference.  Make a judgement call on when to respond with a post or a comment.

These approaches really paid off for me.  And it didn’t happen by accident, I thought the approach through before hand.  I also chose to not monetise the blog immediately (and a month later, I still haven’t) and I refrained from submitting it to search engines.  I did this for two reasons.  Firstly, it’s easier to gain the initial trust of readers if they don’t think you’re trying to make money from them.  Secondly, I didn’t want the search engines to spider the site until I had content worthy of it.  On the point of monetisation, different niches take different approaches to this and the audience will react in different ways.  The same goes for the type of content, replying to posts and quoting other’s content.  When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Have you ever entered a brand new niche?  What did you do to prepare?  Let us know in the comment.

Five steps, research, community, comment, schemes, authorities, talking points. colour