@Planet13: Could you give me an indication of how big your narrow niche is? Say for the most searched for keywords, how many searches are there roughly per month?
What I have seen from my end is for less competitive niche, forum links can push previously unranked keywords to 2nd page at best. But not strong enough to make it to the 1st page.
I wonder if this is what everyone observes as well. Any thoughts welcome.