It will be easy to get traffic once you run the show through a keyword research tool like LongTailPro, figure out what people are looking for and publish content that satisfies their queries.
I chose 290 shows that are currently in production, from 2013-2016, according to Wikipedia, and ran them through LongTailPro to assess their search volume and their Keyword Competitiveness (KC). Some of shows with generic names like "love" or "vikings" you'd have disambiguate a bit- but obviously the volume's there:
Some stunning results- Orange Is The New Black gets 823,000 searches a month. Rick and Morty, 673,000. Westworld 1,220,000! While the KC score might be high for the primary keyword, once you dive in to the long-tail, you'll find stuff like "Westworld art", which refers to a flourishing Westworld fan art community. "Westworld Theories" is a 49,500 monthly search term.
1960s TV, still relevant?
Even crazier than current TV search volume, check out the search volume (in the table below) for some popular 1960s TV comedies: Bewitched gets 74,000. The Big Valley, 14,800. Green Acres, 74,000. Hogan's Heroes, 49,500.
And that's just for the primary term- the long-tail will have tens or hundreds of thousands of more searches.
Moving on, I'd like to choose a genre of TV close to my heart and use it as an object lesson in niche site ideation.
Diving Into True Crime TV
This one's a little bit morbid, but bear with me...
My favorite genre of "reality television" is what I'd call True Crime- these are shows like The First 48, I Survived, & Forensic Files.
For the rest of this post, I'll use The First 48 as an example of exploring the TV niche.
Basically it's either live-action or scripted reenactments of crimes- with talking-head analysis of all the macabre details.
My favorite is definitely The First 48. The premise of this A&E show, if you're unfamiliar, starts with a murder, and documents everything that happens as the detectives arrive on the scene and try to solve the crime.
It's morbid. It's riveting and there is a passionate audience that loves these shows searching online for a fan site that shares their passion.
This is a good niche if you have a passion for a genre of TV show. You can even niche down into one show like this site does for the CNBC show The Profit.
You do have to be careful with copyright issues, in this instance. This site creator could potentially get a cease and desist letter tomorrow because of their use of The Profit in the domain. The entire site would have to rename. It'd be a disaster.
Extremely Low SEO competition means easy rankings for free organic traffic.
Cheap content: you can hire 'rewriters' off of a hiring platform like UpWork to create rewritten snippets for every episode you profile- this unique content will help you rank for a variety of micro-search terms.
Really fun niche idea if you're into true crime. You can also switch to a different genre if you're into science fiction, thrillers, romantic comedies, etc.
Exploding popularity with shows like Making A Murderer, The Jinx, and the Case File podcast.
If you love true crime, Nielsen reports that the Investigation Discovery channel is the top cable channel for women because of its true crime programming (Source).
Not a strong affiliate play, but there's potential to drive quantities of organic search traffic and to build up a Facebook fan page and monetize with AdSense and Media.net.
Insane search volume: "The First 48" alone has over 125,000 monthly searches according to LongTailPro- and it's only one of over a hundred shows out there you can profile.
The Bottom Line: While not as easy to monetize, if you're patient, you can leverage cheaply produced content to eventually scale up an AdSense (display ad) site (with some affiliate products). This could be good if you want to diversify your revenue and already have a solid content-creation process in place.
*If Google Trends doesn't load- just refresh the page.
If you're trying to find a niche, there's an opportunity here to create an awesome fan site that covers either a particular TV show or a genre of one.
It's an SEO goldmine.
Honestly, I almost did this one myself, just because I find myself Googling the shows, or the people profiled on them for updates, and finding essentially zero competition for these obscure search terms.
The site could produce series and episode guides. It could compile updates on show renewals, premier dates and cancellations. It could do in-depth profiles of, in the True Crime example, the detectives and forensic scientists that appear on the show.
People Google this stuff! You could interview the creators and become a high-quality, industry publication. In essence, there's a recipe for easy traffic acquisition from SEO.
Check out a sampling of true crime TV show keywords and their LongTailPro Keyword Competitiveness rating (Avg. KC) below.
The international insurance market is a trillion-dollar industry (Source). Selecting the right coverage can be incredibly complex for buyers, with ... Read More
How to get traffic
You'll find moderate competition for primary keywords ("The First 48") and the long-tail is ridiculously uncompetitive ("The First 48 tulsa").
Myself, I've often Googled for specific episodes of shows, either by name, or by season and episode number.
Granted, they're often looking to find free streams of the show, so you don't want to market your site as a streaming service. You can link to free streaming sites like Couchtuner to be especially helpful, as well as affiliate-linking to Amazon Prime and other paid streaming services.
Structuring The Site
Structuring this site the right way will be crucial- I'd recommend a single page as an episode guide, rather than creating a page for every episode. It's not good if the site looks 'thin', and having several hundred 50 word posts is thin and a headache to manage. Make sure that user experience is your primary consideration.
If you organize your site strategically, with episode guides and series pages, you will get solid traffic over time. You can also create 'meta-pages'- large, informational posts like The 20 Best True Crime Shows of all time- and deep link to the individual Series' pages on your site. Google loves this sort of unique, interlinked content.
A Live Example
This site is copying and pasting content from IDMb (definitely don't do that) and has compiled Season pages for shows that list out the episodes with YouTube clips and copied snippets.
I'd recommend spending more time writing up unique content for the primary Series page that links to the individual Seasons, which contains writeups of each episode, with video clips, if they're available. Before you begin, Google around and find a bunch of these style of fan sites and analyze how they've organized their content.
I love Cheap Content...
I also like this niche because you can leverage cheap rewriting, hiring UpWork writers to rewrite existing episode guides. That will let you churn out large amounts of content fast, on the cheap that will get you traffic because of the low competition for these keywords.
You might also discover the holy grail: free user-generated content. Besides attracting legitimate comments on your content from hardcore fans of the shows, you'll also find that there are people equally as passionate as you about true crime television who want a public forum to publish their thoughts.
They might write for you, free of charge. Imagine that!
There's a huge opportunity to leverage YouTube SEO- perhaps you create reaction videos to new episodes of current series.
You can play around reviewing series- giving a rundown of what the show's about, some interesting stats. This will be especially good if you've got a high-energy camera presence- people are searching for these shows on YouTube.
Obviously, they're probably looking for clips or full episodes- but it's still a space you can dominate with engaging content. That part is up to you.
Pretty obvious- you'll want to build a list. What you do with the list is up to you. Essentially, it will be an invaluable resource to alert readers to your new content, as well as market affiliate or joint-venture offers.
How to make money
On the money side of things you'll be promoting streaming services like iTunes, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go subscriptions- with higher-order opportunities emerging once you become a recognized authority in the space.
You'll have to deep dive into these affiliate programs- research which shows are on which services. That's also part of the value you can provide- helping your readers figure out where to watch these true crime shows.
There are definitely a bunch of affiliate opportunities available in this niche- you'll have to do your own research as you get deep into it.
You could also look at physical products like 4k projectors, VR headsets, high-end televisions- any sort of TV product that would embellish the viewing experience.
Your Own Product
Maybe you use Teespring to make your own t-shirts and advertise them to your audience (without violating copyrights). Perhaps you create a paid app for true crime TV show fans. Think outside the box.
Once you have some traffic, say a 1,000+ users a day, you might decide to experiment with AdSense, Ezoic, or Media.net ads using a WordPress plugin like Ad Inserter to sprinkle ads through your posts.
Down the line, if you stick with it, you'll be contacted to review new shows or otherwise advertise content to your readers.
How To Get Started
Choose a fun domain name
Think out how to structure the site (including tags and categories). It's important to sketch this out before you start so you don't have to redo it later.
Start picking off series and producing content around them- if I were doing it I'd have UpWork writers do rewrites of existing series guides for the show, and I would hand write Wikipedia style summaries of the show.
Once you've done a couple of shows you can review your process and make improvements as you go forward.
Outreach is essential- once your site has a strong content foundation, I'd consider joining forums dedicated to the shows, joining the discussion, and linking to your site. It's important, though, that your site is making a valuable contribution.
For example, you could rewrite episode guides and get organic traffic, but linking people to something like that in forums will get you booed off the stage. Make it epic!
Top Ranking True Crime Content
This could be a really fun niche- there's a massive amount of under-served search traffic. If you dedicate yourself to publishing lots of content, over time you'll discover lots of traffic that you can passively monetize.
As well, if you treat it like a business- the opportunities could be endless. You could scale this opportunity up to the point where you become an industry insider- the go-to resource for true crime reality television, recognized by major media entertainment companies as an influential player in the space.
A word about copyright issues. You'll also want to be careful choosing images- you don't want to violate copyrights.
In general, you see a lot of fan sites on the internet that are tacitly approved by the creative studios. But from the start you should only use images that are explicitly license for public use.
One workaround is utilizing imagery from Amazon Associates- so if you're in the affiliate program, and the shows are sold on their platform, you're entitled to use that imagery on your site.
Install a quality commenting system like Disqus- it's likely that you'll get some quality commenters on your site who want to speak their minds on the show.
You can also install a voting system so that reviewers can rate shows, or even episodes. In addition, there are some integrations you could do with Idmb plugins and Rotten Tomatoes plugins to publish their ratings on your site.
Ryan Nelson is a NYC-based Industrial-Organizational Psychologist and a full-stack online marketer. He created NicheFacts.com to help people discover and build profitable, content-focused online businesses.