Hi guys, welcome to the latest edition of the Content Champion podcast. I'm really excited because this is episode number two in the Authority Content Experiment (ACE) - where you can watch over my shoulder as I build a niche authority site from scratch. If you want to follow me on this ACE journey, simply sign up for regular updates using one of the many forms on this page.
Last time we went over an introduction and overview to the whole project. This time, we're going to delve down into why I've chosen the yoga niche and do some research and analysis into the niche and the market size - and consider how I'm going to approach this market with my site. Without further ado, let's dive in...
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Order of Business
I'm going to split this analysis into eight sections. First, we'll look at the personal reasons why I'm entering this niche and how that reflects on the site that I'm going to build. Second, we'll look at some keyword research. Third, we'll consider the social media aspect of social sharing and the buzz that's generated by some of the content in the market place. Then number four, we're going to look at the market size of the yoga niche for 2016.
In part five, I'm looking at some of the types of products that are selling really well in the niche that I can also sell through my blog. Number six, we're going to look at some of the competition - which could be a bit daunting as some of the existing authority sites I found in the sector were amazing (but competition's always a good thing of course). In stage seven, I'll have a look at some of the content on those sites and consider exactly what they're doing. Have they got email lists? What type of content are they publishing on their sites and on their social media communities and things like that - just to see what we're up against.
Then number eight, in extension to that, I'm going to look at what I'm going to do to approach the yoga niche and how I'm going to set up my site and some general rules behind that. Then in the next episode of the Ace project, we're going to have a look at the site setup and some of the initial content that we're already creating to go onto the new site.
Table of Contents
1. My Personal Reasons For Choosing The Yoga Niche
You don't necessarily need to be passionate about your niche, and you don't need to be personally interested in it to make money from an authority site within that sector. But I do think it helps. I'm going to actually be the face of this new site, and there's a bit of a personal story behind it...
My wife's been doing yoga for about eleven years now and she swears by it. She's perhaps representative of someone who gets all the health and fitness benefits of yoga - and as such represents the ideal avatar in the marketplace. She does it for increased flexibility, she does it in alignment with other exercises like running and swimming, and she does it for general health reasons.
She ties it in with diet expectations as well and how that reflects upon what she eats. She's also interested in all the products that go with sustaining her 'yoga habit' - things like yoga mats, yoga balls, sneakers and training clothing - and all that type of yoga equipment that is so popular. She's also representative of someone within the niche in that she's a woman - so that underpins the fact that over two thirds of people who practice yoga in America, which is our target audience area, are female.
My personal take on this is that I have slight arthritis that manifests itself with pains in my toes and my left knee. For the past 20 years or so I've done weights for strength conditioning, and I currently do something called the StrongLifts 5x5 programme, which involves really heavy free weights in a weights cage which I've got in my shed. That works wonders, but my wife's been saying to me, "Look, you've got to be doing yoga to increase that flexibility."
So, I'm actually going to be taking up yoga for the first time in conjunction with running this blog. I'm going to put my name behind it, my face behind it and say this is something I'm actually physically doing myself. That can factor into the branding of the blog, and the direction I take it in - just to put a bit more authority and trust behind it, and add a bit more coherence to the whole approach.
You don't have to do this though, you can use a fake avatar if you like, but I've chosen to front the site with my real personality and character and everything that comes out of that. There's a very good reason for doing this is that there might be the possibility of doing some podcasting within this niche - because that scenario is something I've identified as a USP that could set my brand and my yoga blog apart. Not a lot of people are doing this very well, and as I've already got podcasting experience that's why I'm going to be fronting this site myself.
2. Keyword Research
I've been using the Google keyword Planner and also Long Tail Pro, Spencer Haws' product - and various other resources like Spyfu to dig down into the latest figures on the keywords that are trending and getting the most traffic, to get an idea of the size of the yoga sector.
In the yoga niche across the United States, we're basically looking at hundreds of thousands of monthly searches. The average monthly search for the 'yoga' term itself is nearly 250,000. Then you've also got all of the different types of yoga, 'bikram yoga' and 'asana' for example, then you've got the products that come from that like 'yoga mats' and 'yoga clothes'.
You've got yoga for different types of market sectors, such as 'yoga for beginners'. All of these search terms are getting tens of hundreds or thousands of monthly searches which bodes very well for monetizing the niche. There's obviously money to be made in this marketplace.
Also, there's a lot of people spending money on Adwords advertising, a lot of competition there which is a great thing because it proves there's certainly a lot of money to be hoovered it up if we choose some of the right keywords for the content that we're going to produce, and then promote it actively. That was really heartening.
I then went across from the Google Planner to the Spyfu tool and just had a look at some of the monthly searches in the States on that. This data differed a bit which is why it's always good to look at different tools. The main term was a bit lower, but gave us a figure around the 200,000 monthly searches just for the 'yoga' term and a global search volume of over 820,000 a month.
Then the data goes into different figures like the Adwords average cost per click for the broad yoga term which is 51 cents - then the daily costs on the term being spent across the niche (broad $768, phrase $489 and exact down to $37). Monthly costs are $23,000 for the broad match yoga term, anything down to just over $1,200 for exact match. In short, people are spending a lot of money.
There have also been 26 advertisers in the last twelve months on this exact term, and if you go and look at the ad duration it gives you an idea that there are a lot of people consistently running these ads for a long time. So there are companies persistently advertising yoga products using 'yoga' as the main keyword and subsidiary keywords like 'yoga training DVDs', 'organic yoga clothing', 'yoga instruction videos', 'yoga classes online', 'yogi yoga clothing', all this type of thing. Even some of the terms that don't have that much natural traffic are still getting advertised on with Adwords.
There's a massive amount of money to be made based on the keyword research within this niche. We've also done some keyword research into specific content pieces that I'm already creating for the blog, and that will be in the next podcast, but it's relatively straight forward within this niche to dig down into some amazing sets of keywords. I know that Chris Lee at RankXL talks about doing this really successfully - trying to get in a lot of related keywords with relatively high search numbers. Even though they're competitive, getting a lot of these related keywords in a long form piece of content and then promoting it - means you rank for all those terms and the long tail derivations of those terms within one page.
In terms of on-page SEO, that's what I'm going to try and do with my long form articles. Then I'm also going to have some shorter form reviews, but I'll go into that later on. There's basically plenty of keywords to play with, with a lot of commercial search intent and a lot of informational how-to terms as well - people looking to find out about different aspects of yoga (and not necessarily commercial searches which might be harder to compete with). Certainly there's enough interest to drive traffic in to my new site using some of those education-based explorative 'how-to question' type terms that can hopefully generate a lot of traffic. Then later on as the site gains authority, we can start to rank for some of those larger more commercial terms as well when I hope the whole thing should explode 🙂
Well that's a look into the keywords giving an insight into the size of the market. The yoga niche is massive, and there is loads you can do with it in terms of all the keywords that we've talked about and how that will feed into the content we create. I'm not worried about that now - I've satisfied myself that the market can sustain it.
3. Social Media
In part three we're going to talk about some of the social sharing that happens in the niche because that's also a good indicator of what exactly is going on. Social media is obviously more and more important, and a lot of the content on the new site will perhaps have to become shareable on social first. Then we'll add in more backlinks to it and it will get its organic traffic later.
If we do a search using the yoga term on Buzzsumo, we see that the authoritative sites in the niche that are publishing share-worthy long form content with multi-media in it and everything else - they are getting hundreds of thousands of shares on Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Pinterest across the board. There's a load you can obviously do with Pinterest in this niche because it's very visual, but also what surprised me about this is it isn't just Facebook and Twitter where people are getting a lot of shares for their content but also in some instances Google + is doing very well.
Pinterest (and perhaps Instagram) is a platform I'm going to focus on because there's a ton of stuff you can do with really visual content for yoga poses and yoga equipment etc. I've got lots of ideas for extended list posts, the type that are visually based like Jon Dykstra does at Fat Stacks Blog. The long and short of it is that there are a lot of newsworthy and share-worthy content pieces being created in the yoga niche, and if they're on authoritative sites (we will build over time), some of them are getting half a million shares.
Even on smaller authority sites, there are shares in the hundreds and the thousands - so this again bodes well. These are just quick simple checks, but it's all persuading me I've chosen the right niche in terms of the social media buzz created in the yoga industry for certain types of content. It's all showing me that this is a good niche to go into, so that's another box ticked.
4. Market Size
Let's have a look at the market size of the yoga niche in 2016. A couple of years ago, Stuart Walker on the excellent NicheHacks blog did a superb report on the yoga sector. It really helped me in deciding about this niche and I totally recommend his site. I've bought some of his products, so this is a fantastic resource.
However, over two years things have moved on, and there's another piece of research I particularly want to draw your attention to - The Yoga in America study conducted by the Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance. It's a 2016 study, and it bring things up to date a bit from this excellent report that Stuart did a couple of years ago. So I'll touch on some highlights to come out of this research:
- There are nearly 37 million people who do yoga in the States, and that's up from 20 million in 2012.
- Just over a third of Americans say they're pretty likely to practice getting involved in yoga in the next 12 months. That equates to about 80 million people.
- 72 percent of people that do yoga are female and 28 percent are men. That's up a bit from a couple of years ago as well, and more men are getting involved.
- People who do yoga, both men and women, are tending to supplement it with other forms of exercise like, I'm doing my weights - people do swimming and cycling and running.
- In terms of the demographics, you've got about 43 percent of the people doing yoga who are 30 to 49 year olds, with 38 percent aged 50 plus. The lowest of all, only 19 percent of people doing yoga are 18 to 29 years of age. I thought that would have been around the other way.
(This just shows perhaps the demographic of the silver surfer, the saga generation as we say in the UK, the older generation coming up to retirement - they're more worried about their health and want to get more involved in yoga because it's low impact, and it has really good results for your whole mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
Perhaps a niche site for older, elderly people doing yoga is something that could be focused on or could be a category or section on the new site. I know from my research that there are some blogs that actually just target this whole niche. Also, the 50+ demographic have got a lot of money because they've benefited somewhat from the economy of the last 20 years. Globally, in the States and in the UK, house price inflation has meant this group may have bought a house in their 20's or 30's that's gone up much more in value then a house would today. These people tend to have quite a lot of disposable income).
- About 75 percent of people in the US have been doing yoga for five or fewer years so people are relatively new to this.
- Then we have a look at the reasons why people start yoga, and it's roughly 61 percent flexibility. Stress relief 56 percent. 49 percent for general fitness. Then improve overall health is 49 percent. Physical fitness is 44 percent.
(What interests me about this research is across the board between 73 and 86 percent of people to different degrees have experienced a feeling physically stronger and report a sense of mental and physical clarity from doing yoga. If we're in the business of selling results, the net result of doing yoga is all of these things - increased flexibility, increased overall health, weight loss, increased strength. All these results that people really want on a fundamental level are all covered by yoga. That's very interesting in terms of how we approach content for the new site.
From a purely commercial perspective two things that come out of this research:
- Firstly, students spend over $16 billion dollars a year on equipment, gear and training or classes in the yoga sector. That's up from $10 billion in 2012 - so the niche is growing.
- Secondly, for every person that's currently a yoga teacher, there are two more who are interested in becoming a yoga teacher. That's a fantastic market opportunity in and of itself, especially if you have some sort of product, course or video series on how to become a yoga teacher or how to market your yoga teaching business.
There are so many opportunities for sub-sections of future products and services you can provide in this sector that it just all bodes very well. I would add in here something that I was going to mention earlier on about Google trends. We were saying that we're comparing a market analysis from a couple of years ago to a market analysis now in terms of what's changed. You can see that doing a search on the yoga keyword in Google trends shows you that over the last couple of years, the market has continued to grow.
There's been an uplift in interest notably between 2011 and 2015, but also since 2001 the overall interest in the yoga niche has broadly doubled. More and more people in America, and globally indeed, are getting interested in yoga. That bodes very well because it's quite a long period of time, a decade, and it's just going up and up steadily. That's another reason to choose this niche - when you can look ahead and say, "Is this going to be sustainable in the long term?". This definitely is.
Interestingly then, there's also some regional interest data that comes out of this. Places like the top countries of Canada, Singapore, United States, Australia, India, Ireland and New Zealand, where we've got interest growing over time. The United States is the third on this list which is our market. It's showing a sustainable growth of interest - but other countries such as Singapore and Canada and India itself, the home of yoga, have all been experiencing a growing interest in yoga over the last few years. All of that is fascinating, and we can feed this into the mix just to tick another box that the market can sustain all this business - and all these authority sites that are being created within the sector.
5. Yoga Products
In this section I'm going to look at some of the products that are being sold in the yoga niche. I'm going to predominantly focus on Amazon and probably AdSense for revenue, and maybe some Clickbank products, whatever suggests themselves as being a lucrative opportunity. I've done Amazon sites in the past and made good money from them, so I'm quite comfortable in that area.
For this new site, I've done some updated research on Amazon products. There's obviously a ton of yoga products available; books, yoga mats, yoga towels, yoga clothing, yoga DVDs, yoga training, all that type of stuff. In particular, I've zeroed down on two types of products that I'm going to start selling immediately. These will be reflected in the content I put on the blog and inform that content. One is yoga mats because that's one of the top searches, and one is yoga balls. They're sometimes called exercise balls or medicine balls as well.
Yoga balls and yoga mats are two things that people seem to want the most because they tie in with all the training and going to classes - in that they usually need a yoga mat to attend and practise. Also, people use yoga balls for training, to improve their posture and help their back.
If you dig down into the keyword research and then look at some of the products, you can get a good idea of the sort of things you can promote. After those first two, yoga mats and yoga balls, there's then yoga DVDs and yoga clothing - and all sorts of yoga books covering the different types of yoga and the spirituality element that I want to bring into my blog (more on that later).
There are also the products that relate to diet. I know my wife is keen on eating healthily, and that's something that goes with her training and her yoga practise. In this context, there's other products that we could go with in the healthy eating space - and everything else that goes with it.
While I'm going to focus on just a couple of products up front, there are a ton of really high selling products with loads of great reviews that I can add into the mix in future. Although in the past I always used to choose things over $100 - and some of these are less than that - I think the numbers they're selling in and the size of the market can sustain a blog that sells Amazon products of slightly lower value. I'd normally go for stuff that's between $100 - $300 and would have done very well off those in terms of commissions, but I think this niche is bigger than I've ever gone into before. So I think a $50 - $60 product can be sustained, and many of those yoga mats and yoga balls fall into that price range.
I'm also going to tie in these products to the email list I start as I build out the site. From the outset I'm going to have some value emails going out giving some tips on yoga, yoga poses, different types of yoga, some of the history about yoga and yoga training. Then I'm going to drop in some product emails and also some ads on the site that link through to some of those yoga mats and yoga ball products - and write some reviews of those as well.
6. Niche Competition
Now I'm going to take a look at the competition in terms of the existing niche authority sites out there. What type of sites are we looking at? I've already mentioned there are loads of different sub-markets within yoga. In short, I've found a ton of authoritative, great looking, well made sites with big social media followings, growing email lists with great email giveaways - most with well-produced long-form content, that are doing everything right in terms of content marking.
There are all sorts of niche sites in the yoga sector; there's a great site called Curvy Yoga, and they're doing a fantastic podcast on there which is doing very well (which got me thinking about podcasting in this sector). There's also the Spirit Voyage blog for a specific type, Kundalini yoga, and the practice of that and meditation. There's the Daily Cup of Yoga which has inspiring posts on yoga and spirituality and things that come out of that. Then there are stalwart sites like the Yogi Times - art, recipe and travel articles all with that yoga bent to it.
Then there are other sites that go through a personal journey with yoga. There's a good one run by Tara Stiles who talks about how yoga makes you feel better and enhances your health - she gives tips for yoga poses and healthy recipes and things like that. Then we've also got Allie Flavio at The Journey Junkie who's doing similar sorts of things, giving her thoughts on yoga, travel lifestyle. She's also got a great photographic and video element to her blog.
I'll also mention the older demographic there. There's a great blog call The Daily Downward Dog that I must point out. The blog is aimed at people practicing yoga over 40, and it talks about relieving some things like back pain and making yoga more accessible to people in that age group.
Then there are other notable blogs like The Yoga Blog (for inspiration) and The Little Flower Yoga Blog (for kids) both of which look at yoga from the point of view of whether it's lifestyle, a specific sub-demographic, a specific age group. In general, niche blogs in the space are tying in photography or recipes - maybe they're talking about yoga for people in a certain weight demographic or different styles of yoga. There's every single niche blog you can think of - because as we've proved - the market can sustain it.
What's very interesting about the authority sites doing well, is that when you look at them in a tool like Ahrefs or the Moz Site Explorer - they've all been building their links. They all have extremely share-worthy well presented long form content. As I often say, they've got all their ducks in a row when it comes to their internet marketing 101 essentials, like building email lists and having some great giveaways. They are also selling a variety of products, or courses, or services - or a mixture of all of those. So there really is plenty of potential.
7. Content Considerations
The types of sites already out there really feeds into step seven, the type of content that people are putting on those sites. As I said most of it is well produced and it does in the main look great. There's a lot of multi-media going on these sites, a lot of really great original photography, a lot of really great original videos - a lot of really great original training with all the yoga poses included. There are also a lot of extended list posts which is something I'm going to be doing some of.
Again, within this mixture of authority content, there is an increasing number of people that are looking at doing some podcasting - although that seems to be a minority of the overall sites available within the niche. As I said at the beginning, I love podcasting and it's nothing I'm fairly good at. So the ultimate reason I want to front up the blog myself is because I might want to start a podcast in the future.
If we're using the Skyscraper Technique from Brian Dean at Backlinko - if our aim is to better some of this content, then we're going to have to be at the top of our game. That is slightly daunting, especially when we're going to be outsourcing everything because I've got client work to do, (and the Content Champion podcast and other things). We're definitely going to have to enter this niche with our eyes open - and if we're just producing crappy, half-assed content and not promoting it very well, we will sink without a trace. However, there is money to be made if we do this all properly. That gives me a lot of hope for what I'm doing, and a lot of excitement with the ACE project in general.
8. My Approach To The Niche
My aim with this new site, because there's a huge sub-section here that I've identified in my research - is to tap into the spiritual side, the self-help side, the lifestyle side - the feel good side of things which is very positive. It means you can share some great images and some uplifting positive stuff that will do really well on social media.
The overall site design and branding will feed into that side of things as well. Although I'll have all the product reviews and be selling products through Amazon and AdSense ads - and probably looking at other affiliate products on Clickbank - I'm going to really focusing on that spirituality lifestyle side of things as well. Because this ties in with the net result of what my wife, (bringing it back to the beginning), gets out of yoga and what a lot of the people within the target audience we talked about get out of yoga - which is their holistic health and spiritual fitness problems being solved.
The answer to their questions, the solution we're providing for them, their end goal is to be more holistically healthy and feel better about themselves and be stronger, be more flexible, be fitter and to eat more healthily. That all ties in with that yoga sub-story. I want my blog, my branding, to feed into that because I think that will do very well commercially once I've built up some trust and authority.
What does this mean in practice? It means a great looking site, which we're building at the moment. A strong brand. A strong social media presence which reflects that brand and that messaging. It also means that I'm going to be the personal face of the blog because I want to do the podcast that I talked about potentially in future. It means, long form content with a lot of multi-media in it that's well produced, that looks great.
It means starting that email list straightaway and building that up and offering some really great lead magnets to get people signing up to that from the beginning. Then I'll get some feedback from the email list as to how they perceive the brand - and that will inform what sort of products and services they want to buy and end up buying through the site. I can potentially build a course in future to go with that too.
Also, looking at promoting that content over time, I know I'm going to have to build some good quality links and do a lot of outreach. Even though I'll have shorter, 500 to 1,000 word reviews on the site, I'm also going to have some pillar content that's 2,000 words plus to move the needle with organic search - as well as having the content that's immediately shareable on social media.
There's a lot to do! I didn't say this was going to be easy, but it is a very very promising and lucrative niche to go into. It would worry me more at this stage if I'd gone in, had a look at the research and it told me the market couldn't sustain another authority site. I'm definitely going to plow ahead with all of this, and I'd love you to join me 🙂
If you've got any questions (or words of encouragement), please leave a comment below. Failing that, join the ACE Project for regular updates...