This guide will show you how to make content like the top 1% of creators.
By the end of this guide you will have three things:
It all starts by defining your niche.
(If you already have a well-defined niche, you may want to skip ahead to step 5)
Most new creators struggle to define their niche. Many experienced creators struggle to stick to their niche.
If this sounds familiar, you’ve likely had fears that maybe you’re just not that interesting, knowledgeable, or disciplined.
None of these things are true. The real problem is you haven’t methodically “discovered” and flushed out your niche.
The “Book Method” will help you not only define your niche but also give you hundreds of content ideas that will make you an authority in that niche.
Your niche should be a topic you could see yourself writing a book on one day.
Why? Because if you want to be a successful creator, you will write a book for that niche. Even if it’s not an actual book, you will need to write enough content to fill the pages of a book.
If the thought of writing a full book on a topic sounds dreadful, it’s not the right niche for you.
Therefore, your niche needs to fulfill one of the following two requirements:
Ready to get started?
The best way to zero in on your niche—i.e. the topic of your “book”— is to start broad and gradually go deeper.
Step 1: Start at the highest level with easy questions.
If you had to write a book in any genre, what would it be?
Example of Genres:
The answer should come to you almost immediately.
Most people struggle to define a niche, which is hyper-specific.
But choosing something as broad as a book genre is easy.
Most people know intuitively if they would enjoy writing a Sci-fi book vs. writing a memoir.
Step 2: Now go down a level.
Now that you know your genre, you need to choose a “subgenre.”
Let’s say you chose the genre of “business.”
This is still a broad genre. So ask yourself: “What specific part of business would I like to write about?”
Examples of Business subgenres:
Choosing a subgenre should still feel fairly intuitive and easy.
Step 3: Go down one final level to find your niche.
What is one level down from a subgenre?
A sub-subgenre…which is just a complicated way of saying “niche.”
Let’s say you chose the subgenre of “Marketing and Sales” in the last step…
Here are examples of niches within the Marketing and Sales Subgenre:
Think of all the successful books and businesses created on the backs of these niches….
Depending on your niche you may want to stop here, or go down another level.
Step 4: Is your niche too specific, or not specific enough?
Some niches are broader than others.
For example: Content Marketing is a broad niche containing many smaller sub-niches like blogs, video, webinars, newsletters, E-books, and more.
As a rule of thumb: the fastest way to build authority and an audience is to focus on a sub-niche.
That said, there are exceptions to this rule. Some businesses or creators will want to create content for multiple sub-niches that ladder back up to their core niche (more on this in a moment).
On the other side of the spectrum are niches that are already narrow.
For example: Pickleball is a good niche in-and-of itself. Going deeper into a sub-niche of “Pickleball paddles” or “Pickleball apparel” would limit your ability to create interesting content and grow a large audience.
If your niche is too narrow, your total addressable market is too small to grow a successful business in. If it’s too broad, it will be difficult to grow an audience.
The trick is to find a niche that is narrow enough but not more narrow than that.
Exceptions to the rule:
1. Companies. Earlier I mentioned Joe Pulizzi’s company The Content Marketing Institute. Joe’s company creates content about a dozen topics: social media, SEO, content strategy, video, etc. This works because the Content Marketing Institute has the resources and scale to successfully create authoritative content about a variety of Content Marketing sub-niches.
2. Later-stage creators. If you already have a large audience, you can expand the topics you talk about to broaden your audience and keep things fresh with your day-1 fans. Neil Patel and Sahil Bloom are great examples of this. Patel started by creating content mostly about SEO, but today he talks about video content, CRO, email marketing, social media marketing, and more. Bloom similarly started by creating mostly finance content, but has since expanded into content about philosophy, self-improvement, and pretty much anything that piques his curiosity.
Now that you’ve properly defined your niche, it’s time to create a content roadmap.
The following exercise will not only help you to create hundreds of content ideas, but will ensure they all connect and ladder up to your core niche.
Step 5: Write the “table of contents” for your “book.”
You can do this easily on a Google Sheet using the following format:
To give you a real-world example of what a popular creator’s “table of contents” would look like, let’s use the example of Dan Koe. Dan is a well-known creator who makes a 7-figure annual income from his content ecosystem.
Example of what Dan Koe’s “table of contents” might look like:
These are all real content topics that appear on Dan’s YouTube, Twitter, website, and suite of knowledge products.
While Dan operates in a wider niche than many creators—since his content spans the niches of business, philosophy, self-improvement, and writing— all of his content still ladders back up to his core niche.
For example, many philosophies and self-improvement strategies Dan talks about ultimately ladder up to his core overarching genre of business, and subgenre of entrepreneurship.
If you want to be a successful content creator in 2023, you need to act like the top 1% of creators.
The most successful content creators are strategic and focused in their output. Think of it this way…
Bad content strategy: a mishmash of unrelated ideas with no relationship to each other or a central theme.
Good content strategy: an interconnected web of ideas in which each new piece of content strengthens and reinforces what has already been created so that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Use the “Book Method” to zero in on your niche and create a strong foundation of “thought leadership” content, so others see you as an authority worth listening to.