1. What Is a Niche?

No matter what type of business you want to create: restaurant, law firm, blog, or fish store, people are going to tell you that you need to pick a niche.

It’s what makes successful businesses successful they say.

But what exactly is a niche?

I think this is an important question to not only ask, but understand the answer to because once you do, it helps to change how you approach this whole niche selection thing.

Most people would say that a niche is a topic or category. It’s a thing.

What niche are you in? Organization!

This is the simple way to think about it and although technically it’s not wrong, it’s not wholly accurate either.

Why?

Because what happens when people talk about more than organization? Let’s say they want to talk cooking as well.

Is there an organized cooking niche? I guess, but they aren’t talking about those two things being related. They are totally separate topics, but then that would mean their blog is in two niches.

Is this possible?

Yes, but then it gets confusing so what do the people do?

They say they are in the lifestyle niche.

Lots of people end up in the lifestyle niche similar to how you can buy almost everything on Amazon. It’s a catch-all term that people get to use to justify what they are doing.

But it doesn’t really answer the question of what is a niche?

To help us figure this out I think it’s easier to look outside of blogging and dive into traditional publishing.

More specifically magazines.

I used to love reading magazines. They were awesome! There are a number of magazines that my Mom still reads and I’m not sure I could put them under a niche in the traditional sense.

For example, what niche is Cosmopolitan?

Probably lifestyle, right?

That’s weird.

What about the Women’s site, Bustle?

It’s wildly popular. I’m talking millions upon millions of pageviews each month and yet they don’t seem to have a “niche“. How is this possible?

Again, I guess you could say they fall under the lifestyle niche if we are looking at niches as topics.

This is why I don’t think niches are topics when it comes to blogging.

Using topics to describe a niche just simplifies how to explain what a blog is about, but it doesn’t simplify it for your business.

In fact, it complicates things because I know so many bloggers get stuck wondering what niche they should pursue and really get caught up when they don’t know how to label a specific niche.

If that’s the case, what is a niche?

I think a niche is an audience.

I think a niche is a group of people with shared interests and worldviews.

Bustle works not because it’s a lifestyle site, but because it represents a specific audience of women. Sure, people not in their audience land on the site, but the people that stick around are those that fit their niche.

When someone has a blog that covers organization, cooking, and travel, then their niche is the audience of people that happen to love those things and for some reason can see them under the same umbrella.

What makes this line of thinking difficult though is that sometimes you can’t put a label on it besides “lifestyle”.

And if that’s the case then know that your lifestyle blog is going to be different from other lifestyle blogs.

And that’s okay.

Trust me.

It’s okay.

So moving forward I want you to keep this in mind.

Your audience is the niche.

I want you to remember this because throughout this course I’ll refer to niches as topics. Why after all of this will I still do that?

Because it’s easier and it’s the traditional way that people view things.