How can you go about defining your niche on Medium? It’s a big decision, and choosing wrong could mean getting bored and burning out.
To choose a niche on Medium and elsewhere, consider all that you like to do and all that interests you and start writing about it. Watch your stats closely and write more of the content that performs well.
Let’s walk through my process for choosing a niche. Maybe this will be helpful to you as well.
What is a niche?
A niche – or topic – is an area of specialization or focus. Some people like to write about AI, for example. Others write about technology or mental health or gaming or home decorating or… you get the idea.
Your niche is a big topic around which you create content. My niche of choice on Medium is technology. So I write about Apple products, Microsoft, Windows, and that sort of thing.
Someone whose niche is home decor would create content about home decorating. This could be broken down into plenty of sub-niches even.
A person whose niche is camping could write about all aspects of camping – things to do, places to camp, what to take on a camping trip, etc.
The alternative to having a niche is to write about anything and everything – a little bit of this and a little bit of that.
Do you need to choose a niche?
As someone who has far too many interests, this is a question I struggled with for a long time. Do I really need to pick a niche? Does my blog need a niche? Should I stick to a niche when writing on Medium?
While I would love to be able to tell you, “You know what, it doesn’t matter. Just write about anything and everything.” I don’t think I can.
Having a niche is important if you want to build an audience who will read what you write.
People who follow me on Medium know that I write mainly about technology and issues surrounding tech. They follow me because they want to read stories about Apple, Microsoft, MacBooks, iPhones, and the like. They follow me knowing what they’re going to get.
If I were to write about absolutely everything – home decor, mental health, technology, programming, sports… you name it, some of what I write would appeal to some people, but it’s unlikely that anyone in my audience will like all of what I write.
Let’s say I write ten articles. Four are about technology. Two are about mental health. Three are about writing. And one is about home decorating.
|Topic||Number of posts|
In this example, 40% of my writing is about technology. 60% is about something else. That means someone who is into technology but not the other topics would only really enjoy 40% of what I write. Why should that person follow me?
Or why should someone who is looking for writing advice but not the other three topics follow me if what that person is looking for is only 30% of my content? It wouldn’t make much sense. Wouldn’t it be better for him to go follow someone who writes 90%+ about the topic he cares about? Of course it would.
On the contrary, by creating content in a specific niche, you can build authority and establish yourself as an expert in it. This has huge advantages – including helping you to build an audience and build a brand around a topic. It’s really hard to do that if you have no established topic and talk about a bit of everything.
What makes a good niche?
While just about anything could be a niche, not every topic is a good choice for you particularly. As you choose your niche, ask yourself a few questions:
- Can you think of content to write in the niche? Think about the topic. Can you jot down plenty of ideas and article topics for that niche? Or is it so hyper-focused that it’s hard to think of things to write about?
- Do you like the topic? Don’t pick something you find dry and boring. You might be able to come up with article ideas, but do you actually have any love for the subject? If you don’t, you’re going to get bored quickly, and if you’re bored, it’s easy to burn out.
- Is there a market for the niche? Do more than two people care about the subject or is it so narrow that there will be few people who care? You might be interested in the subject of painting cats on basketballs, but is anyone else?
As you consider your options, think about the long term. Don’t pick something that you’re going to get bored with, and make sure to choose something that you can continue to write about for the coming weeks, months and even years.
Write what you like. Keep what sticks.
But the problem is, how do you choose your area of focus? If, like me, you have too many interests and too many things you could talk about, that’s a hard decision.
Maybe you have a few ideas already. Or maybe you’re looking at your screen thinking, “I dunno man.”
Either way, my advice here might sound a bit like a contradiction of the previous couple of sections. Do I believe that you should have a niche? Yes. Absolutely.
Do I believe that you must have your niche figured out at first in order to write on Medium? No.
And here’s why: Medium is a unique platform. It is a part of the Internet, but it isn’t the Internet as a whole. So it’s impossible for me to say what niche or niches will do well for you on Medium. It’s also impossible for me to know which niches will do well for you.
For example, a topic or series of topics that performs well for me might not do so well for you, and the inverse is true. A subject that knocks it out of the park for you might result in crickets for me.
As the old adage goes, you don’t know until you try. So my advice is to try everything that interests you.
If you’re interested in gardening, write about gardening. If you’re into sports, write about sports. If current events are your thing, write about that. Create a collection of stories about a variety of subjects.
As you do, watch your stats. Which stories are getting the majority of attention? Are some getting more than others? Maybe your gardening articles are getting lots of attention while your sports articles seem to have hardly been noticed at all.
And as time goes on, write more of the kind of content that is performing well.
You may also find, as you create this collection of content, that you actually like writing about one topic more than another. See, just because you like a subject doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to like writing about it.
So try to find the balance. What topics are performing well for you, and what do you like to write about? When you find the intersection of those two things, you’ve found your niche.
What if I don’t pick a niche?
“That’s all well and good,” you say, “but what if I don’t want to pick a niche? Is that a problem?”
Can you get by on Medium without a niche? Sure. You can. Many people do, in fact.
But without a niche:
- You’ll have trouble establishing any sort of authority. If you write about anything and everything, it’s hard to claim that you’re an expert in any one subject. Even if you know a lot about a subject, if you don’t have much content that covers it, it’s really difficult to be established as an authority.
- Your audience won’t be well defined. If you don’t have a niche, who will your audience be? People who like… what? Everything? On the flip side, if you have a niche, then you can know who your followers are and how to speak to them. My followers, for example, I know are interested in technology for the most part so I know how to speak to them. If I wrote about all subjects, I would have no idea what to write about that would interest the majority of my audience, so I’d be guessing.
Whether we’re talking about Medium, a blog, or any other type of content creation, being able to establish expertise, authority and trust is extremely important. It’s so important that if you don’t do it, you run the risk of sabotaging your audience development you even get started.
And that could lead to lower view counts, lower read time, and ultimately less money earned through the Medium Partner Program.
So as much as I would love to be able to tell you that a niche doesn’t matter, I can’t do that. If you’re like me, picking a niche is hard because you have so many interests. But once you find the intersection of what you like to write and what types of content perform well for you, you’ll have found that sweet-spot niche.
And when you do, start cranking out the high-value content that your audience will love.