Before you can reasonably get started with any kind of blogging, it’s critical that you think carefully about the niche you’d like to operate in.
If you pick the wrong niche, you might waste time moving toward the wrong direction. Make every attempt to avoid that trap.
Trust me. There’s nothing worse than putting your heart and soul into a project, and never getting rewarded for your efforts.
This post will guide all the way through selecting the niche you’d like to dominate. This post will prevent you from getting into the wrong niche, and make the process easy to understand.
But be forewarned.
This process requires diligence. The more you actively participate with the “ins and outs” of your niche start getting personally involved in it, the sooner “your place” becomes clear.
The Renegade Blog team understands this is a hot topic. We ask that if you do have questions, you articulate them as clear and specific as you can in the comments section. We’ll be responsive to your questions.
I recently listened to an interview with a well known internet marketer. He was asked what influenced him to be so successful. That’s when he shared a book written by Jim Collins called “Good to Great,” and specifically, this thing called the hedgehog concept.
I’m going to summarize in my own words what caught my attention about this interview, Collins’ book and how you select a niche for blogging.
The Story of the Hedgehog and the Fox
The hedgehog is only good at ONE thing. Whenever he gets attacked by the fox, he just rolls into a ball. The fox can’t do anything. The hedgehog has these little spikes coming out, and the fox is useless. He can’t touch the hedgehog.
The fox tries a bunch of new strategies every single day to try and attack the hedgehog. The fox is unsuccessful. The hedgehog has mastered the art of rolling up into a ball and extending its spikes. The fox hasn’t mastered anything.
The fox approaches the hedgehog from the top. From the bottom. From the right, and from the left. No luck. Not happening.
Can you guess the analogy here?
Well for starters, you want to be like the hedgehog. Not the fox.
Stay with me here …
Have you heard of SOS? It stands for Shiny Object Syndrome.
One course after the other. You know how it goes. You get really cool emails to your inbox. You say to yourself, “I need this to help me be successful.”
And you spend the money because you tell yourself you need the results. But you don’t actually get any results. Has this happened more than once for you? For some of you reading this, it’s a pattern.
Well that’s just like the fox.
On the other hand, if you’re a hedgehog, you can find that one thing that you’re extremely good at. In this case, it’s curling up in a tight ball and extending it’s spikes. In fact, the hedgehog is the best in the world at doing this. No one is better.
You want to be the hedgehog, and be the best at one thing. Best in your industry. Or best in your town or best in your community. Or best in your company. You buy things that help you stay on top of being the best, or fill small cracks in the sidewalks that sustain your dominance.
This can only be done once you have a clearly defined niche. Do this and you become totally unstoppable.
It was that interview with that well known internet marketer that I first heard the hedgehog story. Since then, I’ve been studying the successes of other six and seven figure internet network marketers. And even working with them like I am now with Ann Sieg.
And from what I observe, they all follow that exact same model in their own life and business.
I believe strongly that it’s the number one reason for their online success.
Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great” did a massive amount of research on this. He figured out exactly what it was that gave some -in this case- companies that have that extra “edge” and have the ability to reach that breakthrough point to totally dominate the niche they are operating in.
Although Jim did his research on companies, the same can be applied to individuals.
Collins identified five key things each of these “great” companies had in common. One of them was this thing he called “hedgehog concept.”
He explained it as the crossroads of three individual factors:
–What you or your organisation are truly passionate about.
–Whether you can become the best at it in the world or at least one of the best in
–How you are able to make money from it. Or as he calls it, your profit per “x.” In our world, this could be broken down into profit per lead and profit per customer.
Let’s look at each of these three areas as they relate to determining your perfect niche topic for your blog.
First, you’re going to have to get clear about what you are you truly passionate about.
Sounds like a simple question right?
But we both know it’s not. The reality is that so many people don’t have a clue about what drives them internally. Why do you think this is? (Share your idea in the comments section.)
Based upon my nine years of elementary and middle school teaching in the public school system, I’ve formulated this theory.
We knew exactly what we were passionate about on an intuitive level when we were much younger. Then we were conditioned by our environment (parents, siblings, friends, other peoples’ opinions, television, media and a mixed bag of other things).
Most of us have forgotten what our true calling is.
The only way back is to do some deep (yet worthwhile) “soul searching” to peel away those years of conditioning. The key is to get back to knowing what you love doing. This is often a difficult process.
It requires that you seriously start thinking about what makes you tick.
For that, I have another book recommendation. I haven’t read it yet, but a few others I know have and they’re raving. It’s called “Your Life, Your Legacy” by Roger Hamilton.
Inside his book, Hamilton helps you figure out how to get into a state of being where you’re doing things that you are passionate about and absolutely love doing.
Bad news! Just knowing what you’re passionate about is not enough. It’s only 1/3 the battle.
That’s why when some people teach about the importance of finding your passion it comes across as “airy fairy” to me. Finding your passion is necessary, but not even half the battle. There are two other -very practical- things to consider.
This next thing relates to your level of skill in a certain area, which is based on your passion. The second thing you need to figure out is the exact thing that you could become the best at, or at least very competent at.
For example, say you’re really passionate about eating healthy. More specifically about eating a diet largely focused on raw food. An example of a core skill you could develop could be that of the 21 day cleanse where coffee is out. Gluten is out. Dairy and animal flesh – so long. Refined sugars and processed carbs, gone! Greens are in. Raw foods are in, etc.
Over a period of time, if you focussed on it, you could become a leading authority on the subject. Achieve that, and you’re in a very powerful position.
Now you’re getting warmer. You’ve met 2 out of 3 of the key Hedgehog concept factors. 2 out of 3 isn’t bad, but it’s not great. There’s one more, and this is so vital.
The third and critical factor is answering the question, “Is there a way to make money from it?
There is no use if you’re operating in a niche that you’re totally passionate about, and developed a strong skill in it, but there is not potential for making money from it!
How do you know if there is potential for making money in your niche?
There are two easy tests you can apply online to help you figure out whether your niche will be profitable or not.
Figure out two things-
–Is there enough in your niche that it crosses the threshold value of the number of people needed to trigger a “pay day” for you. This is what Jim Collins calls “your profit per ‘x.'”
Let me give you a quick example of “profit per ‘x.'” I know someone whom I work with very closely who is extremely passionate about building internet marketing funnels.
He has become an expert at sending paid traffic to a lead capture page, converting that traffic into leads, and selling them on a low priced information product that truly is valuable, and makes the buyer feel like they got the better of the deal. Furthermore, this person is exceptional at keeping that customer for life, and further monetizing years on down the road.
What this person has really figured out is “profit per lead.” They know that if they pay one dollar for a lead that they’re going to get a return of two – “profit per x.”
Now for the second thing:
–Do the people in your niche have money to spend? Is there proof they are already spending money in your niche?
Here is a Tool that Will Help You Determine if Your Niche is a Money Niche
This is Google’s keyword tool.
Part One — Are there enough people in your niche?
The Google keyword tool will figure it out for you. It finds out how many people are searching for the keywords that relate to your niche.
Look at the “Global Monthly Search Volume” column for the results related to your keyword phrases.
Part Two — Do people in your niche have any money?
Look for evidence that other companies are spending advertising money on the keywords in your niche. Look at the “Competition” column for your keyword phrases.
Final Recommendation About Niche Selection
Let’s acknowledge that choosing a niche topic is important. But don’t spend sleepless nights over it. That only creates paralysis.
Here are the important things to remember:
–Pick a niche topic that you will love for sure. No doubts.
–Pick a niche topic you know there will be enough people that they will pay for it with money.
A lot of this stuff you just have to figure out as you go. There isn’t always a defining moment where the clouds part, and the god of niche topic selection hands you the perfect niche.
In reality, you refine and define until it meets your needs.
My best advice is to get started. A good plan ruthlessly implemented is better than a great plan never realized. You don’t have to always get it right, you DO have to get it going.
Even if you’re not entirely sure which niche to select, just pick one and get started. You’ll quickly figure out all the “ins and outs” of your niche as soon as you start getting involved in it.
Once you’re clear on which niche you should be operating in, you’re ready to move onto the next step, which is learning how to easily create high quality flagship blog content.
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We understand this is a hot topic. If you do have questions, write them clearly and be specific. We want to be responsive to your questions in the comments section.