Do Content Creators Need to Niche Down to be Successful?

by kaya@comfygirlwithcurls.com
Should you Niche Down as an influencer or content creator?

Let’s dive into a topic that has been the subject of much debate in the ever-evolving landscape of social media and content creation: “Do Content Creators Really Need to Niche Down to Succeed?”

The answer to this seems to be evolving with the trends. Back in the day, when blogging was king, promoting a niched-down presence was queen.

And when social media first became the primary way to monetize as a digital creator, this advice to ‘have a niche’ carried over.

But as TikTok has blown up, and influencers seem to be gaining popularity for “just being themselves”, advice channels have pivoted towards encouraging aspiring creators to “be their own niche”.

So what’s the truth? Let’s demystify this thing.

Should you Niche Down as a Content Creator/Influencer?

If you prefer to hear me rant about the topic (and boy, is it ever a rant), check out the below video. If not, I’ll summarize it below in a much more organized fashion.

The Niche Conundrum

“Having a niche is the only way to become a successful creator.”

“Niching down is the worst advice for content creators.”

“You are the niche.”

“Forget the niche, focus on your audience.”

I’m sure you’ve heard variations of these statements shouted by ‘experts’ all across social media and blogs alike.

But… can we find a middle ground and tone down the sensationalism a bit? The journey of a content creator is not black and white, there is not a right or wrong way do it.

Both creators with niches and those who we’ll call “personality creators”–those who are the brand–have always coexisted and seen success respectively.

But the key is to understand the pros and cons of each side, and determine which avenue is right for you.

Understanding the Niche

Before we delve deeper, let’s define what a niche is.

In the digital marketing realm, your niche is the specific topic you focus on as a creator. Sometimes people will flip the script and instead of a niche topic, say they are speaking to a niche audience with a specific set of interests.

And the concept of niching down is to hyper-focus on your chosen subject, getting even more specific.

For example a general niche might be travel.

But niching down would look like targeting a smaller subset of that topic, i.e. luxury travel, budget travel, cruises, backpacking, etc.

a bullseye to illustrate targeting a specific market by choosing to niche down as a creator

Benefits of “Niching Down”

Niching down is actually a very strategic and logical way to build an online presence, where competition is often fierce.

1. Authority and Recognition

The entire principle of niching down is to actually make your life as a content creator easier.

When you set out to be a resource on an incredibly specific topic, you’re unlikely to face as much competition. The broad realm of food blogging is likely to be a lot more saturated than the one of African dishes.

And this lack of competition means it’s easier for you to emerge as an authority in your niche of choice. With time, you can become synonymous with your topic–when people think of it, they will think of you.

While you may not attract millions of followers by pursuing a niche, you do end up with a super engaged audience who view you as their go-to expert.

2. Monetization Opportunities

“The riches are in the niches.”

While the phrase might be overused, it speaks brilliantly to the monetization potential of being a hyper-niched creator.

Because if you are the expert on a topic, you have a heightened level of trust with your audience. People are going to want to buy the products and services you recommend or offer yourself.

When you niche down, you can make a ton of money through affiliate marketing and selling your own products.

People are also really likely to want to join your memberships or support you through Patreon to have continued access to your information.

3. Separation from Self

If you create in a niche, you can separate yourself from content the way a business-owner might set themselves apart from their work.

You don’t need to feel like you are under a microscope, with strangers wanting access to and critiquing all the different aspects of your life. You can show up, talk about your topic and ‘clock out’ in a sense.

Why Creators Hesitate to Niche

So if creating with a niche has the potential to be so profitable…

Why has there been this big push away from it?

The rise of personality creators—influencers who have become the brand themselves—has led to a shift in advice targeted towards creators. And I think this is because the most viral and globally-known creators do not have a niche.

And as we see them posting whatever they want on any given day, as people tune in regardless, it’s easy to want that for ourselves.

But what people forget is that the majority of these viral creators, began with a niche. They were known for something specific at one point, but as they gained traction or blew up, people began to become fans of them as individuals.

I, myself cover quite a broad range of niches on ComfyGirlCurls, but only after years of initially growing my audience as a Natural Hair blogger.

Screenshot of ComfyGirlCurl's Instagram Grid showing a page that isn't niched down as a "lifestyle" creator.
Pictured grid includes my sponsored content with a clothing brand, a vitamin company, and a carshare company.

Although don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to creating without a niche.

Benefits of Being Your Own Niche/Brand

1. Flexibility and Creative Freedom

Not wanting to be boxed in is one of the primary reasons people resist niching down.

If you, yourself are the niche, you can get away with sharing so many different aspects of your life–exploring diverse topics while staying true to your audience.

This flexibility can prevent restlessness and a sense of burnout for creators who want to share more of themselves–who want to feel more deeply understood by their online community.

2. Overcoming Choice-Paralysis

Then there’s the fact that choosing a niche can be paralyzing for some aspiring creators. Many won’t even start because they are stuck in the decision-phase–scared to dive into a niche for fear of not picking ‘the right one’.

So in consciously choosing to be your own brand–you allow yourself to start creating without the pressure of hyper-focusing on a specific topic. You can just create as you see fit.

3. Diverse Income Opportunities

Sometimes when creators are restricted to a niche, they might feel limited by how profitable their particular niche is.

For example, the commissions that beauty influencers make on affiliate marketing will be lower than the commissions of a creator who is recommending expensive camera gear. Similarly, when it comes to landing brand deals, budgets seem to vary depending on the product types.

But if you are the niche, you can leverage income across multiple categories.

The REALITY of Not Having a Niche

All that being said, I think there are some hard realities to pursuing content creation without a niche.

First, growth is likely to be slow.

If people come to your Instagram page, or your YouTube channel and can’t get a feel for what you do, and what they can expect from you next… they’re not likely to hit follow or subscribe.

Second, it’s hard to stand out.

As we covered earlier, the internet is a saturated place.

It’s harsh, but unless there is something specifically unique about you, your personality, or how you approach content–what is setting you apart from everyone else who is trying to build a presence and a following off themselves.

Advice for Aspiring Creators

So now that you have all this information… now what?

Well, if you have a hyper-focused interest or are extremely knowledgeable about a particular topic, consider creating a niche platform.

On the other hand, if you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of narrowing down your focus, start by talking about a few topics that represent your life. This way you don’t feel completely boxed in, but you can build an online presence quicker as people know what to expect of you.

And finally, your niche may find you as you adapt and grow. You aren’t locked in to whatever you begin with.

Related Posts: 10 Hard Truths for Aspiring Creators

Final Thoughts on Niching Down.

The key takeaway I hope you have from this post is to find a balance that works for you.

Whether you choose to embrace a niche or be your own brand, remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to success in the dynamic world of content creation.

Cheers to finding your unique path, and may your social media journey be as rewarding as it is enjoyable! If you’re a beginner seeking more tips, check out this video to get started.

Until next time, happy creating!

Related Posts:

You may also like

Leave a Comment