I think I’m going to abandon the idea of “reader question Tuesday,” or any particular day. I’ll keep writing reader questions, but, in keeping with my announcement of blogging for fun, I’ll just post them whatever day of the week I feel like. So today, a Wednesday, let’s do a reader question about a narrow niche.
So, let’s get into it. Here’s the reader question. It’s in response to a point I made about how to build an audience. Specifically, I said to find problems that people Google and offer solutions. In response, a reader asked the following.
One of the issues I face when I think of writing anything on a topic is that I immediately find lots of other articles discussing the same thing. But if we write about a specific question we could have more [readers to ourselves].
However, how do we know if a question is common enough?
The Narrow Niche in Content and in Specializing
Let’s consider what he’s asking here. Take a topic like, say, test driven development. If you Google test driven development, it’ll seem like every imaginable topic has been covered. But if you Google “cobol TDD,” the results quickly turn to the sound of crickets. So write about TDD in Cobol and get readers, right?
Well, if there are any. I say this because I have a number of tools that estimate the quantity of searches for a term in a given month. And it appears that almost nobody is searching for posts about TDD with Cobol. Hence the reader question.
How do we know if the question is a common enough search to be worth writing about?
Well, at the simplest, most tactical level, you could install the Keywords Everywhere plugin and see for yourself. Here’s what Google shows me, for instance.
But that’s a pretty short-sighted answer. The real question here is a deeper one. How do you know if a series of topics is worth writing about, and how do you pick your focus for a blog. And, for all of you free agents and aspiring free agents, how do you pick a specialty and competitive advantage?
You want a narrow niche, or you’re just a miscellaneous, generalist laborer. But if you narrow it too much, you might have no audience or customers.