Knowing how to find your niche for your hiking blog is vitally important for your blog’s ultimate success. Here we highlight the steps you need to take to secure the right niche and get your online business off to a flying start!
How to find your niche – A step in your blog’s development that must not be overlooked!
Picture the scene: you’re browsing your favourite social media channel, scrolling away, and you notice a profile has posted something along the lines of ‘Follow my travel blog for travel insights and stories!’.
You click on their profile, and they describe themselves as a ‘travel lover’ and an ‘adventurer’ and offer a link to their blog – imploring you to subscribe to their newsletter. From this first impression, on a scale of 1 – 10, how intrigued are you to read their content?
If your score is a little on the low side, we wouldn’t blame you (we’d probably be the same). The frustrating thing for that poor blogger is that they could have the most brilliant, original, stunningly written content around – but it’s still going to be incredibly hard for them to build a loyal following.
Why? Because there are already millions of travel blogs out there, so why should anyone choose them over someone else?
This hypothetical site owner has fallen foul of something all new bloggers should think about: finding a niche.
This is something that a surprising number of people forget. Your niche is your passion in blog form, it’s the topic you’re going to write about week in week out – and if it doesn’t have any real direction, that lack of consistency is going to hamper your progress.
It might seem like hiking is a niche already, but if you’re planning on making your blog work – and particularly if you want to eventually monetise it – that tight focus on one niche is going to be important.
As a result, when you’re in the early stages of starting your hiking blog, you need to take some time when finding the niche that will best suit you. This can be really tricky, and it’s important not to become frustrated and put off so early on.
To make things a little easier, we’ve put together some tips for the most important things to think about, and how best to approach finding the perfect niche for you with your new hiking blog.
The first part of this article will offer some broad and overarching areas to think about, and the second half will move on to some more direct, actionable advice. Basically, we’ll go over what you need to think about, then cover what you need to do!
Wait – what even is a niche?!
According to the all-knowing Google, a niche is “denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.” – and it’s this appeal that should be your end goal.
When you’re putting your blog together, your niche is simply the thing your blog is about. The reason it’s important though is because it is is what will determine if your blog will succeed or fail in the long term.
A positive niche appeals to an active and interested audience, while a niche that’s too generic, or lacks focus, will leave people lost at the lack of consistency, and feeling like your blog isn’t a valuable resource.
With this in mind, let’s get started and help you to find out how to find your niche:
1. Be specific, but not too specific
Hiking might already sound like a fairly niche topic in and of itself, but as any seasoned hiker knows, there’s an awful lot to the hobby; from gear reviews to route planning, there are plenty of things to discuss.
Rather than trying to tackle everything under the sun, it’s good to pick something specific enough that you can really dig into the subject matter – but not so specific that only 3 people worldwide find it useful.
If you’re intending to centre your blog around a specific location, for instance, make sure there are plenty of people who would find this relevant. The hikes around a tiny Irish hamlet might indeed be lovely, but if the population of 19 – including two dogs – is the grand sum of your audience, you’re not likely to become the next big thing in the blogosphere!
If you’re planning to write about your own experiences hiking, then that’s absolutely fine – just take some time to think of how to frame your content in an engaging way, and try to find an ‘angle’ to your posts that you can use consistently.
2. Your niche needs to be something you enjoy writing about
This one seems obvious – but if you end up choosing a niche that bores you to tear after the first few articles, things are going to get rough. If you’re starting a hiking blog, you’re clearly passionate about the act of hiking, and the specific niche you opt for should be an aspect of this that you’re particularly keen on.
Ultimately, you’re going to be writing about your chosen niche a lot, so it’s important to decide on something you genuinely find fun to discuss. Even if this means choosing something that seems just that little bit too broad or specific, this is a key ingredient to a successful blog – real passion comes through in writing, and your readers will be able to tell if you have an authentic love for your subject matter. It’s contagious, too!
3. Your niche needs to be something you know enough about
The act of running a blog takes time, dedication, and commitment – and if you end up settling for a niche that you don’t know that much about, you’re effectively tying your hands in how much content you’re going to be able to produce, and how good it will actually be.
You want to feel confident writing, and be sure enough in your own knowledge and understanding to.
You don’t need to come across as a know-all, but having a degree of authority in what you’re talking about is important. It’s not that you need to demonstrate to others how much more you know than them, or to try and position yourself as a go-to source of information, but rather a confident and ultimately trustworthy resource.
4. Your niche needs to provide plenty of content
If you want your hiking blog to succeed in the long run, you’re going to have to produce a lot of content (don’t worry, we’ll be discussing this in another one of our guide articles – stay tuned!). To do so, the topic you’re writing about has to – at the very least – provide enough to talk about on a regular basis.
This will come more naturally for some niches than others, and when you’re going about finding your niche in the first place, it’s important to consider how many different things there are that you’ll actually be able to write about. Be creative, and put yourself in the shoes of your reader – if you were them, what would you want the blog to cover?
The main thing is that if you find you’re scraping the barrel for ideas, you might need to broaden things up. Even if you’re an expert, there are only so many tips articles you can write about the correct way to use a compass!
5. You need to be able to stand out (at least a bit)
This one’s a little trickier to define, but it comes down to the fact that you need to try and find a way to make your blog stand out from the rest of the crowd – and your niche plays a big part in this.
It isn’t quite as simple as picking a hiking topic with zero competition, but in finding something you know you can do better than the average Joe.
This might mean writing mainly about personal experiences, or it could be focussing on an area you have a detailed first-hand knowledge of. When you’re finding your niche, think about how you might be able to put a ‘spin’ on your content, to make it different to the stuff that’s already out there!
6. Don’t be too strict with yourself
There are a lot of things to think about when it comes to your niche, and it’s admittedly important to take the necessary time to get it right, but it’s also very important not to be too strict with yourself. There’s no point beating yourself up if you can’t settle on something.
Similarly, if you’re concerned that the only things you’re confident you’d be able to blog about are too generic, don’t let that stop you – every blogger has to start somewhere, and often, you only discover which niche will work for you best after getting the ball rolling.
How to find your niche – things to try when doing your research
With those points in mind, here are a few things you can actually try doing when deciding which niche to settle on:
Bring a notebook everywhere
The best ideas often strike us at the most inconvenient times. In the shower. At work. Right before we go to sleep, or just as we wake up. When you’re trying to find which niche to hone in on, it’s a good idea to write these ideas down.
Bring a notebook with you wherever you go. Whenever you have an idea, for an article, a name, a niche, anything, write it down. Keep notes, and go over them regularly – you’ll be able to track your thought process more closely, and you’ll never forget those ‘eureka’ moments.
This one does leave you somewhat open to mockery, so it’s good to pick which friends you ask carefully, but using your close personal circle as an effective focus group is a great way to find out how they already think of you in terms of topics.
Is there something you never cease to talk about, or something you consistently enthral people with? Do your friends see you as an expert on one aspect of hiking, or do they trust your judgement on one thing more than anyone else’s?
When you create a blog, you’re effectively putting yourself out there, so using the insights of the people who already know you is a great way to cherry pick the best things they see in you, and nurture the potential there into something tangible – and bloggable!
Read other blogs
No matter how many years lie between you and your school days, when finding your niche for your hiking blog, you’re going to need to so dome homework – and what better place to find out how other hiking bloggers have approached this than other hiking blogs themselves?
When you’re first getting started, building some relationships with fellow bloggers is going to be an invaluable part of the process, so this is a good way to kill two birds with one stone. Read articles, ask questions, leave comments, and most importantly take note of how other hiking bloggers make their niche work for them!
Have a go at writing something for your potential niche ideas
There’s no need to commit to anything right away, and while you’re still figuring things out, it’s a good idea to test the water a bit – and the best way of figuring out how well you’ll be able to write in a certain niche? Do some actual writing.
This doesn’t need to be a full article (unless you’re really keen!), and just a few hundred words will do. In fact, imposing this word limit can force you to focus and approach your writing in a more considered manner – and this, in turn, is a fantastic way of finding out how it feels to write about different topics.
Set yourself the challenge of writing 200-300 words of an article for every niche/topic you think of during the process, and then have someone read the work. When you flip a coin due to lack of decisiveness, as it turns in the air you often get a sense of which side you would prefer it to land. This short writing exercise can have a similar effect on your feelings
Conclusions – Just try things out!
When it comes down to it, there are no rules, and it’s very easy to get bogged down with all of this. Ultimately, if you’re struggling, or if you’ve decided on something but you’re still not 100%, just get stuck in and have a go. After all, learning how to find your niche is not an exact science!
You can always change your blog theme, delete content, and change direction along the way. Try things out. See what works. Blogging is an ongoing process, and a never-ending learning curve and part of the joy of the experience is trying things to see how well they work.
If there’s one thing that’s most important with all of this, it’s authenticity. You need to find a niche that genuinely represents you and your interests, and that both you and your readers can enjoy writing/reading about. Perfecting this art takes time, but with a bit of focus, it’s the first step on an immensely rewarding journey.
Want some additional reading around this key subject? We have highlighted 3 top resources covering the subject of “how to find your niche”. We hope you will find useful: