User Engagement

Read This Before You Start an Entertainment or Lifestyle Niche Blog

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We all have a set of books, TV shows, and movies we like. Once you start looking, you’ll find plenty of people on the internet who, like you, like The Lobster, My Little Pony fan-fiction, Twilight, the entire maze-like chronology of events in Marvel superhero movies, etc.

Geeky or pop, art or music, celebrity gossip or celebrity worship (Morgan Freeman may or may not be the God, but Chuck Norris is definitely invincible), classic or modernist, art, music, regular or eccentric hobbies, wacky pranks… it’s all here.

Entertainment and lifestyle is a part of us, which is why a niche blog in this space can be highly profitable.

The Scope of Lifestyle Blogging

A look at Google Trends (in USA) on Christmas 2016 showed this:

Four out of five top search trends are about celebrities, movies, and sports. Obviously, this depends upon recent events, and USA during holiday season in no way represents the entire world.

A year ago, the global search trends looked like this:

Star Wars – The Force Awakens’ release, Rugby World Cup, Cricket World Cup, and the Oscars made up for a substantial amount of search queries.

The search giant even published a fashion trends report earlier this year (August 2016).

“That’s, like, so yesterday!” Google: “You’re, like, so totally wrong, girl!”

People may or may not like their work. But they are passionate about their play, hobbies, and interests.

The great thing about entertainment and lifestyle is that anyone can find their passion (which, ideally, is what your blogging niche should be) within this category and the audience will be just as (if not more) passionate as you. Back to my first point about how nothing is too weird for the internet.

It’s profitable. Almost all the pure-play giants making actual revenue in this niche publish solely in verticals of Food (Bon Appetit, Eating Well), Lifestyle (Good Housekeeping, AARP, O – The Oprah Magazine), home decor (HGTV), and health and fitness (Shape, Women’s Health).

Popular websites within the niche are Diply, Wittyfeed, GameFAQs, Cracked, Nerdist, and countless others. Even some of the more ‘serious’ publishers like Reuters, Financial Express, Indian Express, Forbes, etc. are getting in on the action with devoted site section for entertainment news:

Benefit of blogging in this niche? Great and unending interest. You will have a loyal readership with minimal effort. But there’s fierce competition; which some would consider a nice challenge. According to Luke Jordan, SEO and blogging mentor, “You can use the saturation to your advantage.”

Ultimately, I’m happy to take a tiny piece of a big pie, rather than a big piece of a tiny pie, because every now and again you will create something special that drives tens or even hundreds of thousands of visitors (and a high level of revenue to match). You can make content better than anyone out there as long as you put your mind and heart to it, meaning you’ll stand out from the mass of people all doing the same thing.

— Luke Jordan, Founder, Intergeek.co.uk (Source)

What about revenue? Shouldn’t you be picking a more ‘profitable’ niche, like “WordPress” or “How to make money blogging”? Sure, money attracts money. But it’s not like there isn’t any competition there (money attracts money after all).

How do you pick a niche? (That’s a) Horrible mindset. Pick where you feel you most belong and serve them. If it’s the right place, money-making will be the byproduct of great service.

— Chris Brogan, CEO Owner Media Group

Like Confucius (and Marc Anthony, and so many others) preached, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

The Opportunity for Lifestyle Bloggers

  • The niche encompasses high-interest topics like health and fitness, beauty, fashion, food, dating, arts and entertainment, travel, and more. Interest in your blog and audience engaged in your content (if it’s good and not scraped together from other sources) will almost never wane.
  • Display Advertising: Your audience likes the subject, and engagement will be high on quality content. A healthy number of active view viewable impressions can help you make good revenue through CPC bids. Additionally, revenue for consistently high-ranking lifestyle bloggers can come from direct deals with CPG brands like Unilever, Kimberley Clark, Kellogg’s, Target, Mondelez, etc. (a lot of their products will fall in categories you will write about daily as a niche lifestyle blogger).
  • Influencer marketing: 59 percent of marketers will increase influencer marketing budgets in 2016. (Source)

What makes influencer marketing the emerging trend in digital marketing? With growing adoption of ad blocking and rampant fraud, advertisers are looking up other ways to reach customers. Lifestyle bloggers can really take it up a notch with the kind of trust and rapport they have with their audience. Here are a few notable collaborations:

>> Mogo, a reloadable prepaid card for shoppers partnered with Kastor and Pollux who created great content in-line with Mogo’s message of cutting shameful credit card debt out of shopping.

>> Alice Lane Home Collection partnered with Rach Parcell’s Pink Peonies (fashion and home decor blog) for product marketing, and she stepped up to grab the opportunity with aplomb.

>> Travel and lifestyle blogger Kiara Shwartz (of Tobruck Ave.) inspired an aromatherapy brand to create a custom line of scents based on her travels across the world, which she promoted like this.

Readers will always look up to trusted sources for what to buy next because there is so much content online. They will take this advice from their favorite blogs and ignore the rest. Lifestyle and fashion bloggers are creating a multitude of content and help their readers navigate the everyday.

— Sabrina Fenster, TheShelf.com (Source)

Ad Networks to Work With

If you are starting out and/or don’t trust the quality of ads a larger, more generalized network will serve on your blog, here’s a list of niche ad networks for various verticals within Entertainment and Lifestyle category:

> Health and Fitness

AdPrime Health (as seen on MedHelp, DailyRX, About.com, Mothering, and many other health websites), Healthy Ads (great quality control over ad creatives and contextual targeting), Burst Media (‘Wellness’ vertical has over a hundred health and fitness-related websites), FitAd Active (mobile ad network with rich media ads for mobile sites and apps), and many others (as listed here).

> Food

GourmetAds provides quality advertising for food and wine sites, promising high CPM, 100% fill rate from premium local as well as global brand advertisers like Nestle, Campbells, Unilever, Tefal, and thousands more. The network offers more than a handful of ad formats (including native-like background skins and over-the-page ads). Some eligibility restrictions include – top-level domain name, min. 10K monthly page views, no ad stacking, and at least one GourmetAd served above the fold.

They also have a publisher referral program where you earn a bonus from getting another food blogger to sign up to their network.

> Lifestyle (multiple verticals)

Media Nexus is a vertically integrated network, now with 9 verticals, many of which are exclusively for entertainment and lifestyle bloggers: Femme and Gents (fashion, beauty, entertainment, lifestyle for women and men, respectively), Casa (home improvement and related niches), Delish (food), Vital (health and wellness), Games, and Travel.

The network offers payment on Net 5 basis (meaning that earnings are held for 5 days before you receive it), after which the publisher can withdraw funds daily via PayPal (no minimum amount) or via wire transfer ($1000 minimum).

For beginners or those with a very small niche audience, there are networks with low entry barriers (in terms of page views or amount of content) with reliable payouts that you can sign up for.

Make sure you audit your picks, learn more about your network’s capabilities before you sign over your inventory.