Whether you’re writing on Medium, blogging or creating video content, you need to have a niche. Without a niche, it will be harder to get your content noticed and build an audience

It’s vital to have a niche because the online content landscape is crowded. Having a niche allows you to establish authority as an expert in the field and forces you to focus on a single topic instead of trying to write about anything and everything, making it easier to build an audience.

At this point, I consider having a niche a non-negotiable essential for any content creator looking to be successful. Let’s expand on each of these points a bit.

A niche helps you stand out. (And you need to.)

As of June 2022, there were over 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. Not every day. Every minute.

Even more astoundingly (to me) over 7.5 million new blog posts are published every day in 2023.

The Internet is full of content – new content – being produced every single day. Blogs, videos, podcasts, and the like are all being made available by the truck load every minute.

That’s a lot of competition. How do you expect to stand out? Clearly you can’t just hit publish on anything and everything and expect to be noticed. That strategy would be madness.

No. You have to be able stand out somehow.

But that’s very very difficult to do if you don’t narrow your focus.

While I know that can be difficult – especially if you’re someone with way too many interests like me – in the world of content creation, it’s far easier to stand out if you are able to really narrow down that focus and generate good content that provides value in a single niche or related fields. Otherwise you’ll most likely find it very difficult to hit any one topic well enough or in enough depth to truly be noticed.

You need to become an expert and authority in your field.

Who would you rather get advice from? Some stranger on the street or someone you know and trust – someone with verifiable knowledge and experience from which to teach?

If you’re sane, you’d probably pick the latter over the former.

That applies to all types of content but especially to content that deals with any sort of serious matter – like money, health, life choices, etc. It is critical that you establish yourself as an authority if you’re going to get ahead. Period.

And if you’re writing about everything under the sun, you’re going to have a very hard time making that happen – even if you truly are an expert in a field.

Let’s say I’m an expert in a computer-related field, but I write about sports, movies, shows, an occasional computer-related topic, some political opinion, and so on. I could write as confidently as I want about the computer-related topic, but unless I can product a lot of content around it, there’s no way I’m going to be able to establish myself as any sort of authority in that field.

On the other hand, if the majority of my content is about computers and computer-related topics, I stand a far better chance of proving myself to be an expert. This principle holds true for any topic – health, money, gaming, design, and so on. You name it.

In order to prove to the world that you’re an expert – that you know your stuff – you’re going to have to focus on creating content that centers around that particular field and not get sidetracked.

A niche makes you focus on all aspects of a topic and avoid distraction.

Doing that, however, is very difficult if you don’t limit your scope. Let’s say your niche is gardening, for example. Forcing yourself to create content just about gardening, you’ll have to really think through what kinds of content to create.

Previously, if you were to write about gardening and a bunch of other topics, you might not have gone very in depth.

As an example, imagine you’re writing a blog post about planting flowers. Now, if your content covers gardening, outdoor activities, fishing, and so on, you might write something more general like, “How to Keep Pests From Digging Up Your Flowers.” But if you’re forcing yourself to focus on a single niche, you’re going to have to be more specific. Instead of writing about flowers in general, you might write about various types of flowers.

Instead of writing about planting flowers as a whole, you could create content about planting and caring for various types of flowers and flowering plants, how to protect them in various weather conditions, how to keep pests away from them, etc.

And by going into more detail, you’ll be establishing the fact that you know what you’re talking about, and you’ll be able to generate more content overall. What you want to do is really expand on each aspect of your niche that you can and make sure that you’re going into detail in such a way that you’re truly providing helpful, valuable information to your readers, viewers or listeners.

A niche makes it easier to grow an audience

I have said and will continue to say this: building an audience is essential. But that’s very difficult to do – whether on Medium or elsewhere – if your content has no real direction or common focus.

What do people who follow a channel like Linus Tech Tips have in common? They like technology and tech related content. Linus Tech Tips, run by Linus Sebastian and team, works hard to generate technology-focused content that appeals to people who like tech. And it pays off.

What do you suppose would happen if they tried to cover a huge range of topics? They probably wouldn’t have the same kind of audience. Why?

Well, let’s look at this: Let’s say you produce content about gardening, console gaming, and interior decorating. It’s possible that you’ll find someone who is actually interested in all three topics. Sure. But there will be fewer people who are interested in all three topics than people who are interested in each one individually.

Even if you produce some great gardening content, those who don’t care about console gaming or interior design aren’t going to want to see your content focusing on those topics. And for that reason, they’re less likely to follow you. After all, why would they follow you if they only care about one of the topics you create content about?

Instead, focus on creating awesome content in one niche to attract people who are interested in that particular nice. For example, on Medium, I write primarily about technology – Apple, Microsoft, Framework, etc. That sort of thing. I write knowing beforehand the kinds of content that my audience is looking for. I know that my audience likes that particular niche. If I want to grow that audience, and I do, then I need to continue to write the types of content that my audience already likes.

But let’s back that up for a moment. What if I didn’t already have an audience? My first step would be to think about my ideal target audience member. What does that person like? What does he not like? Then I need to start creating content that is tailored to that individual’s wants and likes.

Now, is it possible that you could find someone who likes gardening, console gaming and interior design? Sure. Are you likely to build a huge audience of people who like all three of those things? Not really. However, we know that there are a lot of people who like those three things individually, and if you target your content toward an audience interested in one of those topics, you’ll stand a much better chance of building an audience in the long run. I’ve personally found that to be very true when it comes to Medium. And yes, you do need a niche for Medium.

How to choose your niche

The most difficult thing about a niche is picking it. If you have way too many interests like I do, how do you go about choosing one thing. That’s next to impossible for some of us.

Others of us have a hard time thinking of even a couple of possibilities. No matter which camp you fall into, it’s no less important to choose a niche – and to choose a niche that will serve you well in the long run.

These are four questions I have created that have helped me, and maybe they’ll help you too:

  1. Is it popular? Any successful niche needs to have some measure of popularity. What good is producing content in a niche for which there’s no interest, right? Something obscure and unknown might be supers specific and interesting to you, but if there isn’t enough interest from everyone else, it won’t make a good niche.
  2. Is it specific enough? A good niche is one that is broad enough to be popular but narrow enough to appeal to a subset of people. “Cars” most likely wouldn’t be a great niche unless you’re able to produce a lot of content about various aspects of cars, but a certain type or even brand of car might be. For example, sports cars might make a good niche.
  3. Would people spend money in that niche? Unless your goal is not to make any money from your niche, you’ll want to pick something that people will spend money on. Technology is a great niche, for example, because techie people like me love buying all sorts of gadgets, software, tools, etc. As your grow your audience, you’ll want to be able to monetize your content through your own platforms, products and services, and that would be more difficult if your niche were one that doesn’t tend to attract commercial activity.
  4. Do you really like it? This is a big one. Just because it’s the last in my list doesn’t mean it’s last in importance by any means. Even if a niche is popular and specific and even if people would spend money on products, goods and services in that niche… if you don’t like it or don’t like it enough to produce a lot of content in it, then it’s not the right niche for you. There are, for example, things that are interesting to me that I like to read about, but I don’t think I could really generate enough content – or I feel that I would eventually get burned out and get bored. Make sure to pick something that you can talk and talk about and won’t get bored with.

If you don’t have your niche yet, don’t worry. But the biggest piece of advice I would give you at this point is this: don’t rush it. The last thing you want to do is rush into choosing a niche and either choose something that isn’t really as popular as you thought, is too broad, wouldn’t attract commerce or that you don’t really like and don’t think you could handle long term.

It’s better to take longer to choose than to choose quickly and wind up needing to reevaluate in the short term. Here’s a handy list of niches that do well on Medium, but each of those is a great macro niche for other platforms as well.