Local Event Niche Guide Idea

This next niche idea can be a really fun and lucrative one especially if you live in a big city.

The idea here is to create a local event site​ with a focused specialty or theme (music, tech, luxury, etc.) and monetize with sponsored content.

This post will examine the opportunity and discuss how best to approach it.  

Living in NYC, there's a lot to do. One way I figure out which events are worth going to is by relying on several NYC-themed event sites.

Some of my favorites include:

Watch My Video Walk-through of This Niche

I shot a video examining this niche- including a site review of the 5 event sites above using Ahrefs. You can watch it below.

Indeed, these sites curate NYC-area events in different ways.

For example, Gary's Guide focuses on startup, entrepreneurship, business, venture capital, digital-media events. The Printup List focuses on underground, cultural and musical events. The Skint focuses on free and inexpensive events. Guest of a Guest, by contrast, focuses on ultra-high-end events like invite-only parties and celebrity happenings. Brooklyn Based caters to the Brooklyn hipster- not as high-end as Guest of a Guest.

In Transit: Riding the G train in 1996

This comic by Tony Wolf introduces our new series, In Transit, reflecting on how we move around our city through essays, illustrations and articles. Check out more of his Greenpoint of View here. You can also follow him on Instagram and Twitter @tonywolfness. I've been a comic book fan my entire life.

In this way, these sites have discovered interesting ways of curating local area events that the big players like Meetup and Eventbrite just can't. In the process, they develop a core following- an audience who routinely visit for updates and trust the resources the sites market to them.

Why Choose This Niche?

  • Fun opportunity to build a trusted, local community resource
  • Cheap to produce event guides
  • Easy to outsource research responsibilities
  • Unique monetization opportunities (recurring payments from businesses that want to access to your audience)
  • Returning visitors- once you're discovered, people come back over and over
  • Immunity to Google algorithm updates (SEO penalties, etc.)
  • Easy to create unique content for a dedicated audience
  • You can build an email list with this audience

Not Just Events

Guest of a Guest and Brooklyn Based are also interesting because they are not just event-based. They also editorialize on culture, food and fashion. This is another interesting consideration- your event site could be a pure event list like Gary's Guide or, in addition, explore broader community affairs.

If you're going it alone, this might be a lot to take on- so perhaps curating events can be a good starting point.

It's important to understand that while these sites will often link to popular event ticketing platforms, it's to book the event- not to discover it. So, don't be overwhelmed by a site like Meetup.com. While an excellent site and app, your human touch is a powerful competitive advantage. 

Tech & Startup Events In New York - The #1 Resource for NYC Tech

With founders Amanda Bradford Venue (The League), Danielle Strachman & Mike Gibson (1517 Fund), Brett Hagler (New Story), Josh Miller (FarmShots), Ryan Smith (LeafLink), Kristen Hadeed (Student Maid), Nigel Eccles (CEO, FanDuel), Cindy Whitehead (CEO, The Pink Ceiling), Jason Fiefer (Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Mag), Allyson Dias (Program Mgr, Thiel Fellowship).

Word Of Mouth Power

And, think about this: whenever I go to an event from Gary's Guide, I often end up telling the host and other people at the event that I discovered the event on Gary's Guide- this word of mouth confers huge authority on his site.

This is an unorthodox, old-school way of getting traffic and building brand awareness. I've come to rely on these sites- Gary's Guide in particular. It filters out all the noise from event platforms like Eventbrite, which is often plagued by spammy webinars and lacks effective filtering and discoverability options.

Global | Guest of a Guest - People, Places, Parties & Nightlife

Read stories, find parties and view photos of people and celebrities at exclusive events - delivered to you daily by Guest of a Guest Global editors

Gary's Guide, for example, succeeds despite not being mobile friendly and despite a somewhat cluttered interface because it organizes real-time event information in a clear and dependable way. I know that every Monday its event list will be updated and that the wheat will be sorted from the chafe, so to speak.

While most of the events he lists can be found on EventBrite, it would take me hours to discover them as I sort through spammy nightclub promotions and 'financial freedom' webinars.

Is This Niche For you?

Think about where you live.

You might not be in a cultural hub like NYC, but could you provide value by becoming a one-stop resource for local area events? Could you niche down and curate tech events, cheap events, luxury events, cultural events?

Maybe you live in a remote location- you can still profile the activities of a nearby big city.

Cheap Content: The Holy Grail

Plus, since you're merely aggregating content (the events), it's really cheap to produce these event guides.

Once you figure out a process, you can even outsource a lot of it.

If you haven't read my other niche reports, one of my favorite recipes ​for building a successful online business is leveraging cheap content. When I first started building sites, I was recently unemployed after the startup I was part of failed. So I was extremely cost-conscious. If you're on a budget, this could be a smart opportunity to pursue- this curated event lists won't take that long to do.

And you can even use a Virtual Asssistant to help compile them on a weekly basis once you figure out which resources you want to pull event info from. 

Become A VIP

And, think about this...

Once you get big enough, you'll start getting invited to ticketed events and even get VIP treatment.

This could become a really fun and lucrative niche with an added social benefit. 

VIP

With some diligence you can get traction with local users who want a Gary's Guide for their home town- a destination site that is a one-stop resource for the week's best events.

Once you get some traction and build up an email list- your audience will become extremely valuable to anyone who wants to regionally target their advertising. Say a new sushi restaurant is opening up in downtown Ohio- you can tacfully promote it to your audience in exchange for sponsorship.

Perhaps a musical act you love is coming to town- you might get free tickets for yourself and giveaway tickets for your audience just for promoting it in your newsletter and on your site.

An Alternative Approach

An alternative way of conceptualizing this site is to create a national resource for particular events. For example, you could become the resource for legal seminars, the resource for veterinary events, the resource for event marketing professionals. It's definitely another method to consider.

Event Keyword Research

Below, I used Ahrefs.com to examine some of the U.S. event-related keyword volume. This really isn't an SEO play, but it's interesting to see the searches that are being conducted- it might help prime your imagination.

How To Build An Event Site

First, I'd compile some examples of local event sites I like and research them scrupulously. Then I'd examine WordPress themes and plugins to see what sort of event-specific technology there is to build this style of site.

Too often the local event sites I see don't invest in building a user interface specifically designed for event-style content. This makes it cumbersome for users to navigate. If your event site is music-themed, you'd want to make it easy for readers to jump between categories like metal, punk, rock and roll, etc. You could use WordPress Tags and Categories to help organize this content.

Another consideration- you don't want to copy event information and paste it on your site. Google frowns on this "duplicate content". I would consider either direct linking to the event page or including your own blurb.

Though, writing custom content for the hundreds of events you end up profiling is likely a tall and ultimately unnecessary order. Since this isn't an SEO play right off the bat, my recommendation would be publishing event lists that direct-link to the event page every Monday morning and do this for a couple months.

You'll eventually discover what the best process is for you as you dive into the work.  

Niche Market Research

The Opportunity

The idea is to create a local (or even national) event guide site. With some hustle and creativity the opportunity is there to become a trusted resource for event-goers, whether you specialize in Kentucky-area concerts or national legal training seminars.

I really like this idea because over time you can become a trusted resource plus it uniquely lends itself to 'worth of mouth' marketing. I'd caution you to think through your niche before you start- it's important that you don't go too broad or too small.

For example, a site that focuses on metal music in Kansas- it feels a bit too small. You might want to expand up a category to rock and roll in general and treat metal as a sub niche.

On the other hand, a general Kansas event site might be too broad. It could be difficult to cover everything and you lose the opportunity to provide high-value to a focused segment of Kansas citizenry.

Overall- this is a fun niche, especially if you choose to cover something close to your heart. If you love the startup community, becoming a resource for Kansas entrepreneurs could be a really fun way of getting involved with that crowd.

Niche Marketing Traffic

​​How to get traffic

While organic traffic will come with time, a cool way of getting traffic in the beginning is alerting every event-owner that you list on your site that they've been included in your week-ahead roundup.

People who run events are desperate to fill them and are usually the ones reaching out to promote them.

By providing them free exposure, they'll doubtless be thankful and might do you a solid in return. Whether that's a backlink or free tickets- who knows.

The really beautiful thing about this niche is that people looking for events do so every week, even every day, so if your event lists are good, you'll get returning traffic.

Much of the early work will be promoting your site wherever it makes sense- telling your friends, posting on relevant Facebook Pages, community forums, writing local newspaper editors.

Wherever your potential audience is- be there. A good exercise would be to list out every potential community resource and figure out how you can best let them know about your site. I would caution not to do this too soon- you'll want to have a somewhat substantial amount of content on the site so that people will be comfortable linking to you.

They don't want to promote a flimsy site that they're unsure will continue to be updated. Once you begin hooking people, you'll be able to capture emails, and you'll see that people will continue returning to your site whenever they need an event update.

How To Make Money With Your Niche

How to make money

To understand how these types of sites make money, let's use Gary's Guide as an example.

Gary's Guide has a Classes section where he links to schools providing tech instruction- a natural fit for his audience.

The schools are probably paying him to be promoted. He also has a Deals section with various promotional offers.

Besides that, there's a Jobs section where he publicizes job opportunities with NYC startups. Recruitment firms doubtless firms see it as a worthwhile investment to sponsor job posts on Gary's Guide because it gets in front of tech professionals. All of these promotions are likely getting him money- people are happy to pay him because they want to be in front of his tech-enthusiast audience.

Members of this audience might be interested in signing up to learn web development, buying tickets to an upcoming new media panel discussion, or applying to be a CTO with a Manhattan startup.

When you think about monetizing, realize that the theme of your site attracts a target audience who third-party marketers might want to reach. If you start a site curating beachcombing activities in Akron Ohio- you're not going to find many interested sponsors. But, if your site is a Gary's Guide for Los Angeles- that could be really big.

You won't make money as fast as if you followed some of my other guides that focus on affiliate marketing, but this style of site has its own unique advantages.

If you're consistent with quality content and guides, you'll get flocks of visitors who eagerly return to your site day after day to see what's happening around town.

This makes you immune to Google algorithm updates, affiliates dropping you from their program, or other common hazards of online marketing.

Pros

  • Opportunity to build a fun, local resource that engages you with a community you're passionate about
  • Returning visitors means that a consistent traffic source
  • You aggregate content (events), so it's pretty cheap to produce and outsource
  • Good potential for an email list
  • Diverse monetization opportunities

Cons

  • Generally not a super-fast path to monetization
  • Not a strong SEO play- you'll have to hustle to get exposure, rather than wait to rank in the search engines
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