ASK AN AMBASSADOR: How Do You Find Your Blogging Niche?
If you haven't read Bob Stewart's post on blogging niches yet, stop and go read it! Bob does a great job of explaining WHY niche blogging can do great things for your business.
Niche blogging is the way to gain an edge in your local market by providing information the big sites can't and don't, and instead of being one of 6000 agents in your local market in the generic category of buying and selling homes you can make yourself THE ONE they have to call because you're offering something special and they can only get it from YOU! And a solid niche post built to be evergreen can significantly outperform "generic" blog posts.
While patio home aren't the ONLY type homes we work with (we do "regular" homes as the biggest part of our business), the niche has been a significant addition to our business, in 2015 accounting for 8 of 19 closings and two new construction homes on the books for 2016. It took a bit to reach critical mass, but we've got more active and semi-active buyers looking for patio homes and other low maintenance housing than we've ever had. If there were more homes on the market for sale that actually matched our buyers' needs, our sales numbers would have been significantly higher for 2015.
So how do you find your blogging niche? For us our choice came straight from buyer needs. An out of state buyer couple that wanted to buy a patio home and we quickly found they were NOT easy to find. Little to no information on the web, our MLS has no special designation for them (so they might be under Condo OR Single Family Home), basically it was a bit of a scramble to find patio homes for sale. We DID find one for our buyers and they're pretty happy with their home. But that transaction was our light bulb moment. Our niche had been identified and key factors for us were:
- Demographics & Demand (baby boomers want low maintenance housing)
- Type of Buyer (not first time buyers, but experienced buyers with no issues with financing)
- Lack of agent competition (While there are agents that live in patio home communities and do well in their own community, there doesn't seem to be anyone that has taken it outside of their community)
- Barrier to entry (the lack of an MLS category means other agents have to WORK to find patio homes. Most won't, so that means the years of digging and exploring we've done (and continue to do) gives us an information advantage unlikely to be matched)
- Price point (patio homes aren't starter homes, so they typically sell ABOVE the median price for our area, so selling patio homes is a productive use of time when working with buyers).
- Opportunity (there are enough patio homes bought and sold in our market to make it worthwhile to pursue the niche)
- Geography (are your target homes within an area you can adequately cover?)
While we can't say these are the exact and only criteria to use for selecting your blogging niche, we think taking these factors into account can help you select your niche.
Bonus tips to help your niche blogging work:
- Concentrate your material (for us that means we have an ActiveRain Outside Blog dedicated ONLY to our patio home posts, our other posts are on our main AR blog and another AR Outside Blog). And we have repurposed our blog posts into pages on our Wordpress site complete with custom IDX search pages.
- Decide where you want your traffic to go and push it there! For us, that means our WP site with the custom searches. Buyers LOVE easy to use home search!!
- We do withhold SOME information from our sites, otherwise every non-specialist agent could go to our sites and find out all we know. We keep some information in reserve for clients and make that known on our sites.
- Leverage other social media. Cross post to Facebook, use Pinterest to pin your posts, etc. Again, drive traffic where you want it to go.
- Learn enough about SEO to be dangerous! You don't have to be a guru, but understand the basics so your niche posts can be found.
- Write enough to make the odds of you being found improve! This isn't a write 5 posts and expect to be done type of activity.
- And don't forget a call to action! Give the consumers a reason to contact you!
So identify your niche and get to work! With dedication, a niche can REALLY change your business!
Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help!
Liz and Bill aka BLiz