How to make a digital product – Part 1 – Picking a niche

Welcome to the start of our new mini course on how to make a digital product! Let’s dive straight in.

How to pick a nice for your first Digital Product


For the longest time I struggled with this. I knew I wanted to create a digital product, but I had no idea what it should be about.

Here’s how the ‘gurus’ tell you how to pick a niche

When I first got started online I soaked up some of the most popular teaching on Internet Marketing. To this day I can’t recommend a single course that truly tackles how to pick a niche as most of them fall short – let me tell you why.

Conventional niche selection wisdom looks something like this.

  • identify some things you are interested in
  • conduct keyword research to establish if there are keywords/keyphrases that get decent amounts of traffic
  • look at who is currently ranking for those keywords and evaluate how competitive the market is
  • Try and find a niche or sub niche with just the right amount of Search Traffic / Competition
  • Build sites and content and backlinks around theses keywords

This all sounds fantastic in theory. In practice, it’s incredibly flawed and doesn’t really work in 2016.

Tons of people new to Internet Marketing are still spending thousands of dollars on courses from gurus which preach this outdated approach as gospel.

Don’t get me wrong – keyword research is important – later. Don’t pick a market based purely on what some gurus success formula tells you.  What tends to happen is as follows:

  • you end up spending a ton of time researching niches you have no interest in.
  • you get too narrow, too quickly – you may end up limiting the scope of your site and brand to be too specific – what looks good on paper doesn’t always translate well to an online brand. The more specific the niche, the smaller the market.
  • you waste time trying to apply clinical formulas to what is often a very emotive, emotional decision – you remove instinct as a value variable in making decisions about what markets to go after.

My quick and simple niche selection process

Let me save you months of research and a few thousand dollars. This method works best for someone completely new to the world of Internet Marketing and making a living online. It gets you up and running creating an actual online business quickly while the others are still doing keyword research.

Step 1 – Pick a niche based on what you can actually create a hell of a lot of content for

Time and time again I’ve followed the conventional niche selection process only to arrive at a ‘perfect’ niche – with absolutely no idea or interest in creating content for it. When you start, your ability to create content, lots of content, lots and lots of compelling kickass content that people love, will be the only thing that separates you from everyone else.

Content is the oxygen that will give life to your new website. If you can’t create tons of it early on there’s a very high probability that you will fail.

Right now there’s some kid out there who’s about a launch something new about Body Building. It could be anything – a YouTube Channel, a Udemy course, a Facebook group or some new Membership site. I’ve no idea who that kid is, but he exists. The scale of the web tells us this – because every year a new Internet star is born. And they’re not born into sub niches about Estonian Stamp Collecting (apologies to all you Estionian Stamp Collectors out there!). They’re born in the most hyper competitive niches on the planet. Health, Travel, Finance, Entertainment, Gaming, Food etc. They’re not studying niche success formulas. They’re producing kickass content for markets they know and love.

That’s what they start with because that’s what is needed to stand the test of time.

Step 2 – Validate your niche

If you’re like most normal human beings there’s probably only one or two things in your life that you can create tons of content about. If you can think of lots of things then kudos – you’re better than the rest of us. Now if you’re thing happens to be Estonian Stamp Collecting – you may just be out of luck if you’re trying to make a living online (then again what do I know!). How do you validate your niche? Here’s how:

If you never make a penny from creating content for this niche would you still consider doing it?

But Ed, we’re here to make a living online? Why would we still create content for something we can’t making a living from? Here’s why – there’s a very high probably that you won’t make a single penny for a very long time when you’re just getting started. Most ‘gurus’ won’t tell you this – after all – it doesn’t really help sell courses 🙂 But it’s the harsh truth. You need to be prepared to stick it out and take the time to build your content and your audience. That can take years. If you go into something for the love of it, rather than the promise of millions, you’re much more likely to stick it out. Some of the biggest success stories online are from people who started not with the intention of making money online. That was a very happy byproduct. Pat Flynn had his first success online almost by accident by using his website as a place to write and publish his course notes for his own Architect exams. My advice is to be prepared to commit to 12-18 months of creating kickass content on a consistent, regular basis before you expect to earn a penny. Hopefully it will happen long before that. But this is what making a living online in a bootstrapped, homegrown manner looks like – it ain’t easy folks.

Step 3 – Study the competition

Not once have we talked about Search Traffic / Competition ratios – and we won’t. What I could recommend is studying who you are competing with. On an Internet scale, even the narrowest niche probably has some competition. If your niche has absolutely no competition you’re either tackling something completely new (which is rare) or you’ve gone too meta. If you’ve tons of competition do not discount your niche. Ok so it’s probably going to be a lot harder to take on a hyper competitive market, but I argue strongly you are much better off tackling a large, competitive market that you know you can go the distance in, creating tons of kickass content – you’re job is now to become better than the competition. Look for your competitors weaknesses. Look for the opportunities that are too small for them to tackle because they’re bigger/slower or simply too complacent to proactively go after. You’re the new kid on the block who is hungry for success. Your unique perspective is your greatest strength – learn to trust it and listen to it. Don’t be swayed by the naysayers.

So that’s it for Part 1 – stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow when we tackle the most thorny of subjects – Planning.




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