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Building the business of niche journalism

Niche journalism has provided newspapers a new way to expand their revenue and retarget their audience. Here’s how publishers have leveraged the trend.



Niche journalism is seeing a transition of its reporters and audiences to online communities. It draws readers in because of its unique angles, in-depth analysis, and specialized content that targets a specific market.

If mainstream news will cover growth in a major U.S. city, niche journalism will narrow the focus even further. It would concentrate on a couple of towns and share interesting ways entrepreneurs are launching new stores in that area.

Finding success in niche journalism

Finding content that complements what they offer their usual readership is one way to find success in niche journalism. Pubsoft noted that “comps” or “titles deemed comparable to other works or publications”are related to the content that they regularly publish, and which their loyal readers just might like.

Comps can also bring in “adjacent readers” who do not belong to the publisher’s market base. For instance, a publisher who has a solid base of IT readers can build tech-related comps like science-fiction. There just might be enough fans in the tech community who watch Star Trek movies, binge on superhero TV series, and devour Orson Scott Card books. Meanwhile, other sci-fi buffs who do not subscribe to the tech news but have heard of the new content offering are also potential targets.

Niche journalism triumphs in the age of digital media

Niche publications are now thriving in an industry that is believed to yield to its demise soon.

Getting creative

Another way to bring in the audience is to dig even deeper into the content. It is also wise to concentrate on uncommon subjects, but which the audiences may end up loving. Take for example the case of Time Inc.’s Extra Crispy Vertical. It lures readers in with the various ways they can make their breakfast experience more sumptuous and filling. The content zeroes in on morning meals. This site had 51 breakfast-specific stories when it launched. Niemen Lab notes that Extra Crispy is refining its choices even more as it is actively looking for a “bacon critic.” Said critic will give bacon lovers culinary tips on how to make their favorite piece of cooked meat more sizzling and appetizing.

Specialized content can also be a business by which niche journalism makes money. Danish dairy company Arla Foods, which is expanding its cheese products in the U.S., sponsored the site launch of Extra Crispy.

Quality vs. quantity in niche journalism

At the end of the day, it is quality content that brings the readers in. It is also something that readers are willing to pay for. Wired says that this is the experience of Blendle, a media platform that offers readers rare but useful news content for a small fee. for a few cents, they can download articles from The New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. While Blendle still has to find its footing in America, it is enjoying huge success in Germany and the Netherlands.

Media researcher Odylzyko says: “There are only a small number of stories that are really unique.” However, these are the ones that readers are willing to open their wallet for, and which sponsors are more than ready to leverage on. And they are the ones that will keep niche journalism alive and thriving.

Olivia McCall is passionate about education, women and children’s rights, and the environment. A long-time investor, she covers news about the latest stocks (lately marijuana and tech), IPOs and indices, and is always on the lookout for socially responsible startups. She also writes about the food sector, and has a keen interest on cryptocurrencies.