Can you start a new site outside your niche?

Prior to going to BlogWorldExpo I’ve maintained the position that trying to build an audience in a new, unrelated niche wasn’t the best idea. The whole point of list building and empire creation is culling together an audience of similar interests to which you can create a community.

Starting a second site in a related niche means you have the power of your community behind you. Emailing your loyal fishing enthusiasts about your new rainbow trout site makes a ton of sense. You get instant engagement and typically great testimonials from the old people. And doesn’t it make more sense than inviting all your fishing enthusiasts to your new quilting website?

Nevertheless attending a couple podcast sessions at BlogWorldExpo I learned a little something new. Cliff Ravenscraft, the podcasting king, and a few others remarked had success moving their audiences to new niches. And the reason is simple. . . while the audience arrives to hear all about the topic du jour, they come back because they become fans of the podcasters themselves.

The podcasters see their own personalities as the niche in the end. Through their voice and a microphone they can transform their “Star Trek” fans into groupies. And after hearing it from them it didn’t take me long to see that same phenomenon taking place in the niche website community. Lynn Terry for instance, long known for her internet marketing prowess, recently moved her fan base to her “low carbohydrate eating” website. What seemed like a seamless transition at first now resonates loudly that she turned her niche fans into just plain fans.

I shudder to think there is a formula to making this happen, but I gotta think there is a simple recipe. Provide great quality content served up with a side of personality and you’ve got a winner.

Just to cap off that point, Howard Stern is doing a pretty good job driving his fans to America’s Got Talent even though Howard can’t be himself on the family friendly show. Got any other examples?