It's rare for an affiliate marketing entrepreneur to stumble across a genuinely profitable niche that doesn't have much competition.
Where there's money, there are tons of people competing for customers' attention.
Even in relatively small niches, you're likely to have at least a few competitors.
Sometimes they're other niche affiliate sites like yours, sometimes they're online magazines or blogs, and sometimes they're companies that sell a product or a service related to your niche.
There will always be other content out there.
So in many cases, your challenge is to either create content that's better than what's already out there, or to find questions you can answer that your competition hasn't yet addressed.
There's one big question that every affiliate should ask: “Am I niche enough?”
Niches nest inside one another, from broad top-level subject areas like “electronics” or “pet care,” all the way down to individual products.
While it's true that some niches are too small or too specific to build an entire website around them, “niching down” is almost always beneficial.
Broad niches tend to be saturated by big companies and publications, making it difficult to compete with them in this day and age.
If your niche is “home and garden,” for example, you're competing with the likes of Better Homes and Gardens.
Success isn't impossible, but it can be a tough go. This makes it much easier.
If you're struggling to get any traction, you might want to consider to narrowing things down a little more in order to stand out in the crowd.
Are you niche enough?
I presented a workshop to a group of students in Des Moines a few weeks back.
One student asked if I would launch CMI the same way today as we did almost 10 years ago.
My answer: absolutely not.
If CMI launched today, there is no way it could compete as a broad education and training site for content marketing.
There is simply too much competition now. We would have to focus on a niche like nonprofit content marketing or content marketing for financial services companies. Or, perhaps, we’d have to change the audience.
The question you need to start with is, “Are you niche enough?” How do you know?
My litmus test is this. Answer these first two questions.
- If you employ the resources you have for the strategy, can you be the leading informational provider in that niche to that audience? If the answer is yes, move to Question 2.
- In this niche to this audience, are there fewer than 10 legitimate competitors? That includes your real competitors (who sell your products and services), media companies, bloggers, influencers, and anyone else who covers the niche.
If there are more than 10 competitors, your niche isn’t niche enough. It will be incredibly difficult to break through with so much competition in that area, unless you are truly able to differentiate yourself.
For example, when John Lee Dumas started his podcast EntrepreneurOnFire (EOF), hundreds of competitors were going after the startup crowd with real-world advice.
Most of those competitors had bigger budgets. But, no competitor created its platform as a daily podcast. That was John’s “content tilt.” John has never missed a day in over four years.
Today, he’s a multimillionaire.
You can read more about how to craft content that can shine and stand out in a crowded landscape in the full article at The Content Marketing Institute.