How To Pick a Niche For Your Newsletter

+ 10 Niche Ideas You Can Steal

Deep Dive

How To Pick a Niche For Your Newsletter + 10 Niche Ideas You Can Steal

If you want to start a newsletter but don’t know where to start — this is for you.

Before you start writing you should pick who you’re writing for. Your niche. But picking a niche is hard.

Most advice about this is dead wrong.

For example, “Write about what you’re passionate about.”

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple…

You need the ability and skill to monetize that passion — and some niches are MUCH more lucrative than others.

That’s why I created this system for finding a newsletter niche:

The Formula For Picking a Niche

When picking a niche, ask these 4 questions:

  • What unique experiences and skills do you have?

  • What are your passions and interests?

  • How lucrative is this niche/topic?

  • How exactly can you monetize?

You want to pick a niche that:

  1. You’re genuinely interested in (so you can stick to it)

  2. You have experience in (so you can create insightful content)

  3. Has lucrative monetization opportunities (so you can build a successful business)

To understand #3 you need to know how newsletters make money…

Which Niches Can Be Monetized Best?

Some newsletter topics and niches make much more than others.

To understand why, you need to know how newsletters make money.

There are 2 primary ways newsletters scale to 7 figures and beyond:

  1. Sponsorships/ads - Promote a product — get paid for that promotion

  2. Owned products - Sell your own content, product, or service

Let’s break down sponsorships:

To build a newsletter that will be monetized with sponsorships, you need to know WHO sponsors newsletters.

The biggest newsletter sponsors are almost all in these 3 categories:

  • SaaS

  • B2B software

  • Personal finance/investing

According to data services like Who Sponsors Stuff, OpenRates.co, and my experience with over 50 newsletter clients.

If you want to build a business around sponsorships, you should build an audience that these advertisers want to get in front of.

  • B2B software and SaaS companies want to reach decision-makers at companies that have buying power.

  • Personal finance and investing companies want to reach high-net-worth investors.

Now, let’s talk about owned products…

How do you sell a product or service to subscribers?

The most successful newsletters I’ve seen sell products that help people:

  • Make more money

  • Save more money

This could mean:

  • A subscription that gives stock tips and investment insights (Examples: Motley Fool, Agora, MarketWise)

  • Course or membership that helps you start and grow a business (Justin Welsh, Ship 30 for 30, StarterStory)

  • Course or membership that helps you be better at your job and start/advance your career (Lenny's Newsletter, The Pragmatic Engineer, Byte Byte Go, Reforge, Wall Street Oasis)

Use This Framework To Pick Your Niche

By now you should have some idea of:

  • Who you could write for

  • What you could write about

  • How you could make money

That’s good. Next, you need to determine…

What Is Your Newsletter’s Job To Be Done?

A newsletter — at its core — helps the reader solve a problem.

Step one of starting your newsletter is to develop your newsletter’s value proposition — how your content solves a problem and helps the reader.

To do this, we’ll use the “Job’s To Be Done” framework.

Here’s what this means…

You can bucket every great newsletter into the “job” it’s doing for people.

For example:

  • Help me save money on flights: Going

  • Help me become a better dad: Daily Dad

  • Help me build better habits: James Clear

  • Make me smarter about crypto: Milk Road

  • Keep me informed with just the facts: 1440

  • Help me expand my vocabulary: Word Daily

  • Inspire me and help me be positive: Nice News

  • Keep me up to date on tech in 5 minutes: TLDR

  • Help me sell more sponsorships: Creator Wizard

  • Help me get a job on Wall Street: Wall Street Oasis

  • Help me win more at fantasy football: Football guys

  • Help me use AI to become productive: Superhuman

My newsletter’s job to be done is to help you grow and monetize your newsletter. To share news, insights, and tactics on how you can do that.

If I can do this job for you, consistently, you’ll keep reading.

When starting a newsletter your goal should be to find one “job to be done” that you can do better than anyone else in the world.

You don’t need to be the best in the world right now. But strive to be.

Find your “Job To Be Done” by answering 2 questions:

  1. Who exactly are you writing for? Think of a specific person. What would they find extremely useful or interesting?

  2. What is the concrete job you’re doing for them? Be specific. How exactly will you help them fulfill their desires, reach their goals, and solve their problems?

Here are a few tips to better answer these questions:

Think about one person.

Seriously, just one. That could be a friend, client, employee, reader you know, or even your past self.

It makes the content you’ll create personal. Personal content helps you solve that person’s specific problem.

What is most personal is most universal.

Problems that one person has are likely problems most of your subscribers will have too.

Don’t be vague.

Your job to be done should be specific, tangible, and concrete.

That job should be something people would pay for (even though your newsletter will be free).

If your job to be done is:

  • Help me become smarter

  • Make me happier

  • Entertain me

  • Inform me

It’s too vague!

Think about how you’ve helped people in real life — with your work or in your personal life…

  • Is there something you can do better than anyone else?

  • Or is there something you’re obsessed with more than anyone else?

For most folks, that “thing”, that “job” will be small.

That’s okay! Think small. Think narrow. Think niche. You can expand or broaden your job later.

Getting your first 1000 subscribers is about showing how you can serve 1000 people.

If your job to be done can only help 1000 people in the world who have a specific problem or interest, that’s good!

Help those people better than anyone else. Then expand later.

Pick a Niche, Then Go 2 Levels Deeper

“Become the best in the world at what you do. Keep redefining what you do until this is true.”

Naval Ravikant

By narrowing down who your content is for, you stand out.

Most newsletters fail because they try to be everything to everyone. Then end up nothing to no one.

There are so many newsletters about:

  • “business”

  • “politics”

  • “sports”

  • “fitness”

  • "health"

  • “tech”

  • etc.

Your newsletter will likely fall into one of these categories. But it should be at least 2 niches “deeper” to stand out!

For example:

  • Fitness → Bodybuilding → How to bodybuild on a keto diet

  • Tech → AI → AI for marketing → How to use generative AI to make ad creative

  • Local news → Things to do in your city → Restaurants and food in your city

  • Business → Media companies → Newsletter-first media companies → How to get newsletter subscribers

After niching down 2-4 more levels you can find a topic you’re a world-class expert in.

If you’re not an expert yet, that’s ok. Pick a niche you're obsessed with. Something you could see yourself writing about for 10 years.

Over time, you will become an expert and your content will improve.

Follow The Money

My #1 piece of advice for newsletter operators is to reverse engineer their newsletter niche from revenue.

Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you love scuba diving and want to start a newsletter for divers.

It could work.

However, there are some big challenges:

  • There are not many sponsors actively buying in scuba newsletters.

  • Divers may not typically purchase information products like paid newsletters, courses, subscriptions, and memberships.

  • Divers may not be accustomed to reading newsletters. They may prefer another medium.

Instead, you could start in a more crowded niche that has:

  • Thousands of brands sponsoring newsletters

  • A market of people who buy information products

Think of niches like investing, HR, retail, IT, e-commerce, marketing, healthcare.

All these niches have dozens of successful newsletters because there is money in that niche.

That’s why it’s okay to go into a crowded niche. Media businesses are not winner-take-all.

There’s always room to do something different. Or to execute better than your competitors.

10+ Newsletter Niches Ideas

Here are the newsletter niches I would pick if starting today:

1) Finance and investing (stocks, crypto, real estate, VC, PE, angel investing, personal finance)

This is a massive category with dozens of lucrative niches inside.

I would pick a hyper-niche within finance and investing to start with:

  • Small-cap stock investing and trading

  • Self-storage real estate investing

  • Investing in single-family homes

  • Personal finance for founders

2) Luxury (Watches, cars, fashion, drinks, jewelry)

Another massive niche with many great niches to pick from.

I would start a newsletter based on one item or category:

  • Wine

  • Yachts

  • Cigars

  • Bourbon

  • Watches

  • Sneakers

  • Sports cars

  • Every day carry

  • Women’s or men’s fashion

3) B2B (HR, marketing, IT, healthcare, media, banking, etc.)

Industry Dive (a B2B media company with millions of newsletter subscribers) sold for $525 million in 2022.

This is one of the biggest acquisitions in media ever.

B2B newsletters are lucrative because if you build an audience of business owners and operators that have huge purchasing power, the sponsorship opportunities are massive.

B2B newsletters have the highest ad rates I’ve seen.

CPMs can be $100-$500+ while most B2C newsletters sell ads in the $30-$50 CPM range.

Make sure you pick a B2B niche where the professionals who work in that industry and job function actually buy stuff.

And the more stuff they buy, the better.

For example:

  • Marketers have big budgets to spend (a part of their job is often buying things to help their company grow).

  • On the other hand, customer support employees don’t have much buying power or decision-making ability on what they buy.

This is why there are dozens of marketing newsletters and very few newsletters about customer support.

Which B2B niche should you pick?

There are so many possibilities.

Industry Dive has 30+ publications ranging from agriculture to legal, to manufacturing, to cybersecurity, and many more.

WorkWeek has 10 newsletters covering marketing, media, healthcare, sales, and more.

All of MorningBrew’s new newsletter offerings have been B2B: RetailBrew, MarketingBrew, HR Brew, IT Brew, CFO Brew, and Healthcare Brew.

If you want to start a B2B newsletter you should pick a niche that:

  • You have deep experience in

  • Has buying power and decision-making ability

4) Sports betting and fantasy sports

I love this niche for 3 reasons:

  • The readers are super passionate

  • The opportunity to sell sponsorships to sportsbooks is huge

  • Readers are willing to pay for information to help them win more

There are already a few super successful newsletters in this niche:

  • FootballGuys has 600k+ free subscribers and thousands of customers who pay for their subscription

  • FantasyLife has 400k+ free subscribers and recently raised $2M from investors

5) Local news

Local newsletters are awesome.

Here’s why:

  • Most local news companies are old and outdated.

  • They distribute newspapers or magazines and the content is boring.

  • On the other hand, local TV stations mostly cover crime and have an older viewership demographic.

There’s room in the market for a new way to get local news.

And there are already people who have built 7-figure businesses with local newsletters:

  • OverStory Media Group has 14 local newsletters

  • 6 AM City has 26 local newsletters

Local newsletters are simple to write and grow.

They can scale to 6 figures in one town - and 7 and 8 figures when expanded into multiple towns.

We recently broke down the business model and growth strategies on my podcast here.

6) Hyper-niche, hyper-passionate audiences

Here are 7 more niche ideas:

  1. Rush Media” — Newsletter about fraternity/sorority news, culture, and events. There are 750k+ members and 9M+ alumni.

  2. Newsletter about religion (or a topic from a religious perspective). The Pour Over has 450k+ subscribers and covers daily news from a Christian perspective. This could be done from the perspective of another religion or on other topics.

  3. Newsletter for a fan base: Star Wars, Warhammer 40k, Star Trek, Soap Operas, Marvel, Dungeons and Dragons, Magic the Gathering, etc.

  4. Newsletter about expensive hobbies: Reef keeping, motorcycling, fishing, hunting, camping, crochet, quilting, etc.

  5. Newsletter about collectibles: Sneakers, coins, trading cards, stamps, comics, dolls, antiques, vinyl records, etc.

  6. A newsletter that tracks and summarizes open start-ups, people who share income reports, and build-in-public content.

  7. A newsletter about being a better dad or mom

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