This guest post is by Sean Houser of StartByDoing.com.
I hear a lot of talk directed at new bloggers. Things like, “Stay out of competitive niche markets when you’re blogging. Find smaller, less competitive niches, it’s easier to establish yourself and make money.”While it is fair to say that going into a competitive niche market and trying to establish yourself as a go-to source certainly won’t be a cake walk, it’s also important to note that trying to establish yourself in a niche with little competition has its own set of challenges.
Let’s put it this way: would you rather work a year straight on a blog knowing that there’s no ceiling on the amount of income you can generate? Or would you rather work a year straight knowing the best you can possibly do, no matter how hard you work, is $2,000 per month?
Small niche markets have income ceilings—there’s only so much money you can make. Also, don’t forget the fact that a lot of smaller niche markets have high levels of competition anyway, since a lot of “experts” always recommend finding smaller, less competitive niches.
So, in a lot of scenarios when you’re working with smaller niche markets, you’re still looking at an uphill struggle when, ultimately, there’s a lot less money to go around anyway.
Don’t get me wrong: I think working in smaller markets can be a good thing provided you budget your time against the income potential of the niche appropriately. Don’t spend tons of time on a niche that doesn’t provide a lot of earning potential.
Now that we’ve got that out the way, let’s talk about the reasons why going into a competitive niche is a good thing—especially when it comes to blogging and content marketing.
1. Lots of competition means there’s lots to write about
The worst-case scenario for a blogger is realizing that there’s very little if anything to write about in their niche. Especially after buying a domain name and setting up your website!
If there are 50 different blogs in the same niche, and they all have unique and compelling content, that’s a good sign that you can set up a website in this market and have a lot of options when it comes to writing content.
Do a little research when you first enter into a new niche market. Scope out the top ten or 15 blogs in the niche, and make sure they’re consistently putting out unique content, not just rehashing ideas off of each other.
2. More competition means more idea sources
It’s always a good idea to study your competition. Study how they get their backlinks, and how they first promoted their website when they were just getting started.
The good thing about competition is that you can look to them for inspiration for new post ideas. The more competition, the more resources you have to use for new content ideas.
3. More competition means more channels for your content
More players in one market means more online real estate to post your content on. Work to have your guest posts featured on as many of these sites as possible, and you’ll receive more traffic without having to rely solely on Google.
4. More business models to follow
If there was only one site in your niche that got most of the traffic, and you weren’t sure what worked well for monetization in that niche, you would only have one site to use as a reference.
On the flip-side, when there’s lots of competition, you have more people trying different things to monetize their visitors, and more ideas for you to use to monetize your own blog traffic.
5. More opportunities to partner and mastermind with top players
If you can find a way to connect with one of the top bloggers in your market, you have a major resource for information that’s proven—no guess-work required! You actually have someone to talk to who already went through everything you’re going through.
The key point here is to learn from those who have already been through all the ups and downs of blogging and still found success. You can model your blog after that success.
6. More competition means more opinions and points of view
Common knowledge isn’t always a good thing. It can sometimes be bad information and therefore detrimental to your long-term success. The good thing about competitive markets is that people are always questioning the common knowledge in that niche.
Sometimes people question common knowledge just to get attention. But other times it’s actually a valid point that proves common knowledge to be wrong or at least not 100% right.
As an example, if the “common knowledge” on all of the blogging forums was to build backlinks to your blog a certain way, you may believe that strategy to be the best way. However, if one blogger came out with a case study where s/he found that backlink strategy A is ten times more powerful than “common knowledge” backlink strategy B, that would be extremely helpful since you wouldn’t be wasting your time on a weak link building strategy.
By questioning common knowledge and finding out what really works, you will only be working on strategies that created the biggest results for your time spent. This is why many different opinions can be a good thing (provided there is some form of proof to the claims being made).
7. Competition forces you to be the best you can be
Competition pushes you to be more creative and innovate, and to truly master your skill set. A lack of competition may lead to your skills getting stale or hitting a plateau.
Competition sharpens your skills and ultimately helps you achieve long-term success, especially if you jump into a smaller niche down the line, and you’re dealing with marketers and bloggers with lesser skills and knowledge.
There are three other reasons why a competitive niche is a good choice:
- A competitive niche is a proven money-maker. A niche with a lot of competition almost always means there’s a lot of money to be made. Don’t waste your time on markets that haven’t been proven to turn a large profit.
- A competitive niche has proven traffic volumes. If you’re researching a new niche and you see a lot of bloggers with tens of thousands of RSS subscribers and high Alexa rankings (under 30,000) then you’re dealing with a market that has a lot of traffic to go around—always a good thing!
- A competitive niche has proven long-term stability. If you’re researching a competitive niche and you see people with five- or ten-year-old blogs that are still going strong, and still growing steadily in terms of traffic and RSS subscribers, that’s a good sign that you’re dealing with a long-term, stable niche.
There you have it! There are many reasons why dealing with competitive markets is a good choice even for new bloggers. What others can you add? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.