Anyone can have a content rich web site. Using the excuse that you are not an expert in the niche is … well … just that – an excuse.
Get creative. Think outside the box.
Don’t limit your thinking about content to mean self-authored or paid ghost writing articles.
Remember that content serves a number of purposes. Original content is great, especially for search engine bait and establishing authority, but don’t discount the impact non-original content can have on your site visitors. I’m not suggesting copyright infringement, plagiarism, stealing or anything else like that.
I think Google, Yahoo, Bing, your prospects, and your return customers expect to see a mix of original content and non-original relevant content on sites of authority. Why?
The largest, most visited, and often most trusted niche sites on the Internet are often positioned as “portals” or gateways into the niche. They contain a wide variety of content – the answers to questions and information needs aggregated into one place. You’ve heard the term “one stop shop” no doubt. It applies to info sites just like it applies to shopping outlets.
I submit to you that any niche site can become an online portal. The important key is to remain laser focused on a very deep and “tight” niche. A golf site is not a good choice because the market is way too broad and already filled with huge competing portals. But if you get creative, you can dig deep down into golf and create a mini-portal for a very specific and “tightly defined” sub-niche.
If you think of your site in terms of becoming a “portal” or “gateway” your mind will begin to suggest tons of sources of content that will elevate your web site in the rankings and endear you to a very specialized market. (Important note: Don’t get caught up in negatively thinking a niche can be too small to support a full time income. Rabid fans in groups of 300 or even less can give you a $3-5K/month income. Really!) Conversion to sales is the name of the game.
Here is a list of 21 sources of content for any niche – I have no doubt there are many others:
- Your own writing – You are or become the expert in the niche and author your own articles, blog posts, reports, white papers, etc. Of course this is best accomplished if you already have experience, training, or education in the field and you can write engaging copy.
- Become a student in the niche – If you have a passion for the topic, being a student and writing about your learning experiences can give you serious content and well as educate you in the field over time.
- Repository of online relevant content – Many portals become like a library of both paid and free content that others create. Of course, permission to share is mandatory.
- Become a researcher – You can create unlimited content for any site by researching topics, writing your findings down and publishing them to the niche. Good researchers can spin their magic in most niches. This is a skill that anyone can learn – but it takes time and some talent at writing that not everyone possesses. Research can be outsourced … and so can copywriting.
- Become an aggregator/curator – Find content both online and offline around planned topics, then gather snippets of content, links, and most importantly … add your own editorial or insight into the mix.
- Interview experts in the field – Could be written, audio, video, Q & A, book or chapter summaries, etc. You might even interview and expert by sending the person a list of topics or questions to be answered.
- Outsource your content to other professionals – Again the content could take the form of video, audio, written word, reports, training guides, etc. The web has seen a plethora of article writing services, ghostwriters, freelance authors, and similar services.
- Find public domain content – This is an absolute goldmine for those willing to spend the time to learn how to tell if a work is in the public domain and then learn where to find these gems. Remember that public domain is not exclusively vintage work – the federal government pumps it out every day and lots of writers contribute to “creative commons.” Public domain content is online everywhere!
- Glossary or dictionary – Every niche seems to have a set of terms and phrases that are spoken/referenced in the niche – “jargon” is often important and relevant. Could such a glossary be compiled and placed on your site? Would that be laser focused content?
- Profiles – Every niche has pros, heroes, stars, pioneers, up-and-comers, established authorities, “gurus,” etc. Ask for a profile, explain the purpose, and put it on your site. Most pros will be glad for the publicity and may already have a press kit waiting for you (with a picture, bio, and other relevant information).
- Put a niche forum on your web site – An active forum, even with a limited membership, can give you lots and lots of relevant content that can become a magnet to your site. Be sure to alert your members that any content contributed by them in the forum is owned by the forum.
- Crowd sourced content – You’ve heard of it before. Entice niche participants to write on topics in the niche in exchange for a link, maybe a pre-set stipend, a bonus, a free product, or anything. Some people just like to see their name in lights and won’t expect any reward.
- Summarize the discussions of others – Join Facebook groups, Yahoo groups, forums, etc and summarize (without using names) the discussions around relevant topics. Often you’ll get links to valuable web sites, recommendations of good books, tips and tricks for niche procedures, etc.
- Editorials on relevant news/controversies – Set up email alerts for certain niche keywords (and tags) in Google then summarize the news and events and add your own “take” or analysis of the situation.
- Interactive elements – Remember content doesn’t have to be merely articles. Set up surveys and polls, chat capability, FAQs, Q&As, ask for feedback on certain topics or articles or news, let subscribers submit suggestions, comments, questions, requests for coverage of particular topics, etc.
- Announcements, events – Keep a section updated on your site for current and future events, gatherings, seminars, book signings, etc. People will be very interested in “happenings” in the niche if you have a rabid audience.
- Spotlight others – This can take many forms. What it entails is giving other businesses, professionals, and even your subscribers a platform for relevant niche information that will become unique content on your web site. The sky’s the limit here for how you choose to shine your light on others (i.e. their products, web sites, biographies, opinions, talents, skills, favorite _______ in the niche – I hope you get the point).
- Article exchange – Can be done with just certain chosen (invited) writers, blog owners, webmasters, etc or it could be open to anyone in the niche. The key is to keep control of overly promotional content and make sure that all the submissions are top quality.
- Art or photo gallery – Stretch the definition of content. Visual content can be a great hook for your web site. Encourage it and provide an easy subscriber friendly solution. Besides graphic images, audio files, videos, and pdf documents are important alternative forms of content.
- Niche product reviews – Pretty self explanatory. When you get good at this, it provides a constant stream of original content in almost any niche. The material can be re-purposed from (or to) product review sites.
- Syndicating and licensing content – Syndicating is powerful even though the content is not always original. What if you found a great niche site that had lots of unique content but very few visitors? It happens all the time. Many webmasters don’t know how to drive traffic. Would syndicating such content be seen as “fresh” and “unique” on your site? Sure, just be careful to get permission to distribute the content to others.
Of course you don’t have to have all 21 of these content suggestions working for you – pick and choose what fits your site goals, your abilities, talents and purposes.
Content is a wide arena when you think of all the possibilities in terms of what would appeal to your site subscribers. Yes, “original” self-authored content is wonderful. Do it! But if you are not a writer, or don’t want to outsource all your content, don’t limit your thinking to the usual “self authored” definition of content.
To your online business success!