You must have a niche in content marketing. A niche is defined as a distinct segment of the market.
Trying to create content without focusing on a specific niche is like trying to open up a restaurant that serves every kind of food — American, Italian, Chinese, Polish…
What would happen if you tried to open a restaurant like this? You probably would not succeed. You would have to purchase and carry different inventory for each nationality. Not only would carrying this inventory be expensive, but you also would need a lot of physical space to store it, which would be costly. You would be fighting an uphill battle.
This is what most content marketers do….
In my experience, nine out of ten content marketers create content for an audience that is too broad. Most of them fall into a very dangerous trap of thinking that the more people they create content for, the more prospective customers they’ll have access to, and the more customers they’ll have. The opposite is actually what happens.
When you are serving too broad a market, the content isn’t very interesting to many people, and it is hard to gain traction and build a following. Content is free and plentiful these days, to win at content marketing you need to create very specific content that will be remarkably interesting to a particular audience.
Think back to the example of opening a restaurant. In addition to inventory woes, when you try to open a restaurant that serves many different types of food, you won’t be seen as an expert in any one type of food. However, if you focused on one food type, like Italian, you could become the best Italian restaurant in your area, and attract more customers looking for excellent Italian food. Italian cuisine lovers from all over would hear about your reputation, and flock to your restaurant.
Think about the products and/or services you offer, or you plan to offer, with your business. Now, think about how many customers you would need for your business to be successful, based on your sale prices. It is not that many customers, is it?
Most business owners have a successful business with hundreds of customers or less, yet they try to create content for a market segment with millions.
When we started The Stem Cell Podcast, we originally planned to focus on information that would be interesting to both stem cell scientists and lay people wanting to learn about stem cells. We quickly realized that the content wouldn’t be as powerful or interesting to either of those market segments if we went that route.
So we decided to focus on the stem cell scientists, and made our show a detailed exploration of current research in the stem cell field. Doing this enabled us to become the go-to podcast for stem cell scientists, which allowed us to generate podcast sponsorships in excess of $100,000 per year. Needless to say, those sponsorships mostly came from companies looking to sell products to stem cell scientists.
The rest of this chapter will walk you through the steps that you can take to select a niche for your business, and provides examples from my own experience. Make sure you spend the time needed to select the right niche for your business, as it really does mean everything.
Though it may seem counter intuitive, this also applies if you are already a business owner, as you may need to narrow down your niche and offerings to increase your market traction and revenue.
Let’s get started on selecting your niche.
Author of The Content Marketing Equation