Choosing Your Niche… Without Research?!

Lynn Terry and Vera Raposo

As Vera and I continue to discuss Affiliate Niche Ideas for her to dive into Affiliate Marketing full-time, you may have noticed that "niche research" or even keyword research haven't even come up yet. In fact, in her last post, Vera said:

"I think when many of us think about researching a niche our knee jerk reaction is to start with keyword research. It’s sooooo refreshing that we didn’t start that way and almost seems odd to me (lol!)"

In Part Two, Brainstorming Affiliate Niche Ideas, I talked about "the reality check" of an affiliate business model, suggested another niche brainstorming exercise, and shared an idea for her affiliate niche - based on her personality, her passions, and her true mission in life.

If you missed any of the conversation so far, here's a quick link list:

In my last post I gave Vera this affiliate niche blogging idea:

Affiliate Niche

This was not based on keyword research, or niche research, but was based solely on Vera's personality and passions. It's a topic that would be well-aligned with who she is as a person, and the people she truly wants to serve in this world.

You may recall that I started a niche affiliate blog a couple years ago, also with no research upfront, which you can read about here:

Case Study: Niche Site With NO Research?

Isn't Keyword Research Necessary?

It is. But not necessarily at this stage of the process. If you KNOW you have a market, or that you have a message that will be well received - and that it's a buying market - that's all you really need to know upfront. The keyword research will come into play when you're ready to brainstorm topic ideas & create content.

Suggested reading on this topic:

Frustrated With Market Research or Finding Niches?

Keyword Strategy: It’s Not Just Numbers!

There's so much more to a successful niche blog these days than just SEO. While you need to target keyword phrases your market is using so they can easily find you in the search results, there are many other (easy!) ways to reach your market online now too.

I know this may be backwards from what you've heard or been taught by others in the past. But you may have also heard that you should choose your niche based on keyword research and competition analysis - and pick a topic with high profit potential and low competition. Which often leads you to choosing a niche for your online business that you could care less about!

Passion Trumps Research.

Again, If you KNOW you have a market, or that you have a message that will be well received - and that it's a buying market - that's all you really need to know upfront.

With my low carb blog for example, I knew I had a unique angle in the market. I don't cook. LOL. I'm constantly traveling or on-the-go, so I share ways to eat low carb conveniently. I didn't bother with "niche research" (upfront) because I knew "travel" and "weight loss" were both obviously successful buying markets online. Duh. ;-)

In fact, buying market or not, this is truth: If you can build up a huge audience, and a loyal readership (and social media following)... you can monetize your affiliate blog. Period. The options will be endless if you have an audience. Merchants and Advertisers will be coming to YOU wanting to get exposure to your readers.

So there ya go. :D

Vera loved my Affiliate Niche suggestion! ...Now what?

Blogging as a "spiritual adventurist" is right up her alley. It's in line with her mission in life, with her true passion, and with who she is as a person - and the people she can best serve in this world. If you've been following our conversation, I'm sure you would agree.

Once she got excited about the idea, and agreed it was a perfect choice for her, we brainstormed available domain names. I happen to be pretty good at this. :)

Note: You can get my Domain Name Brainstorming Guide as a free bonus here.

SpiritualAdventurist.com was already taken, so I suggested one of these three: BoldSpirituality.com, AdventurousHearts.com, or FaithAdventurist.com - she liked the last one best. The idea being that she can use this blog to discuss expanding your faith, the journey to peace & joy through faith, discovering your calling, stepping out in faith, her missions of course, and to motivate and inspire people on a spiritual level. If you know Vera, you know this is the very core of who she is as a person.

That domain leaves her open to be "adventurous" too, which is one of the things she said she really wanted and needed in her life: FUN. She can travel, try new things, and take photos and share her experiences along the way - tying them in with her inspiring messages, of course.

She took immediate action and registered FaithAdventurist.com. :D

In her last post, Vera said:

So here’s my next question to you Lynn…

When you say this, “helps people get way outside their mental comfort zone and embrace life more fully” I actually start having a vision of retreats as well, but for now I want to focus solely on affiliate marketing. I need this peace in this time of my life, that’s why I don’t even want to create products or do any coaching.

Do you think it’s unrealistic to not include product development and it’s ok to focus just on affiliate marketing for this kind of venture?

Absolutely! You're putting the cart before the horse anyway. ;-)

Your initial goal is to create content and build a readership. Period. Down the road you may very well want to include products and services, as a means of serving your market even better, but to start you simply want to get your message out there and start engaging your target market with your topics.

This may seem backwards to you too! Usually when you think about starting an online business, the initial research and brainstorming includes... How am I going to make money with this blog? Right?

In my next post in this ongoing series, we'll walk through the actual set-up of Vera's new niche affiliate blog. The nitty gritty details n stuff. But let's fast forward for a second so you (and Vera!) can start to see the potential here...

This is Vera's homework. And yours too!

Imagine your target market. Who are they? Who do you most want to help, and how? What types of products and services do they use, or would you recommend, relevant to your blog topic? Which merchants and brands would interest them?

Don't let this exercise stump you! (It's really not that hard.)

Let's say you have an affiliate blog all about kitchen gadgets. How can you serve THAT market?! Easy. They want the coolest gadgets, they want the best deals, and they need help making an informed buying decision.

Ideally you are your own target market. That being the case, what do you search for online? What products do you use and love? What recommendations do you make to your friends or peers, or topical online groups where you participate?

First, forget whether there's an affiliate program or not. Just brainstorm freely about products, brands, merchants, services, etc.

I'll close there for now, and we'll see what Vera comes up with.

This is fun, don't you agree? I would love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to leave a comment below if you have a question or want to add to the discussion...

Best,

p.s. I don't offer private coaching or personal consulting by phone or email. What I'm doing with Vera here publicly is our way of helping as many other people through this process as possible. If you would like for me to work with YOU personally, hands-on, in your business or in the setup of your online business, see:

Ready To Get Serious About Making Money Online?

You'll learn about my Private Mastermind Group at that link, which is only $37/month, and where I help people choose the RIGHT niche, set up their online business, get traffic and make sales, and all the little technical details in between. ;-)

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Thank you Lynn for a step by step guidance with Vera. Love the simple ways you share the brainstorming and how to go forward.
    Appreciate your time taken to make this happen and looking forward the next post.
    james samy recently posted..How Can I Change My LifeMy Profile

  2. SEO has changed over the course of the last few years, and has become more "human." Yes you need to do keyword research when optimizing your site, but you also need to consider your audience. Look to see what they (actual people) are searching for and what other sites they are looking at to get a sense of your overall goal. Then do you keyword research homework to optimize your site.

  3. Hi Nick,

    I was really glad that Lynn addressed this too, times are definitely changing!
    Vera Raposo recently posted..Lifestyle & Biz Design: Taking A Deeper LookMy Profile

  4. FaithAdventurist.com -- I like it! :-)

    Vera, I am super excited for you... I feel that, with Lynn's guidance, you're uncovering a business that is going to give you *energy* (calm, spiritual energy, of course - haha!) and bring you money, yes, but also connection, creativity, and inspiration as it will be in line with your true self. And you might just find yourself wanting to be more involved than you expected, once you find your 'tribe'. ;-)

    Speaking of tribes, if you have some time for a TED talk, here's a great one, imo, by Seth Godin. http://www.ted.com/talks/seth_godin_on_the_tribes_we_lead.html

    Super motivating, especially the closing 'challenge': "Create a movement. Something that matters. Start. Do it. We need it. Thank you." :-)

  5. The thing with keyword research is that usually you come across words that every man, woman and child is also going after. Much like some your suggestions, I just wrote about some of the things that mattered to me in my niche. Surprisingly a few of my posts get a fair amount of traffic for keywords that I would have never thought about targetting if I had gone about it in the traditional methods
    Andy P recently posted..Certain Types of Link Building is NOT good for your siteMy Profile

  6. Hi Vera,

    Are you writing this post for me? Previously I've mentioned I used my heart, not my head to choose my niche, and wallas, came this post!

    You gave me confident to pursue on, never give up. I remembered Lynn mentioned to stick to a blog all the way until it was a success before moving on. Now I'm still sticking to my niche.

    Hope my never die attitude will keep my internet business alive :)

    Thanks
    SC
    Smart Children recently posted..How To Teach My Child To Control His AngerMy Profile

  7. Hi Lynn,

    Thank you so much for this series. I have been looking for ideas for my wife and son on helping them get started in affiliate marketing and this series is perfect. I have also purchased them the Affiliate Survival Guide and then Kathleen's new book. I think between all three of these things they are going to have a great start on things.

    The funny thing is, as I have been reading through this blog series with Vera, I'm finding that I am having a renewed sense of wanting to start something in affiliate marketing. Your questions have been spot on and they are really making me think through some of these things and what my true passions are. I can't wait to read more from you and Vera as I work through my own journey in affiliate marketing and helping my wife and kids get started too.

    Vera, thank you so much for your willingness to be an open book for all of us to see how to get started in this and inviting us to be part of your journey. I love your niche and how you are taking some of your personal life difficulties and turning them into ways to help others. Keep up the great work! I can't wait to see how this all unfolds.

  8. You may be asking, "How do I find all this information?" Try searching online for research others have done on your target. Search for magazine articles and blogs that talk about your target market or that talk to your target market. Search for blogs and forums where people in your target market communicate their opinions. Look for survey results, or consider conducting a survey of your own. Ask your current customers for feedback.
    Raymond Garcia recently posted..No last blog posts to return.My Profile

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