If you’re spreading your limited marketing resources too thin or simply not getting the results you expect or need from your efforts, you need to find your content marketing niche. Follow these four steps to reach and convert smaller, more enthusiastic segments of your target audience.
- Learn One Weird Thing About Your Target Audience
Admit it: you’ve clicked on headlines braying about “the one weird trick you can use to lose 10 pounds” or “the one weird thing these 17 wildly successful people do.”
Weird tricks and things are great for clickbait. But they can also help people and companies learn valuable information about their target audiences — and develop effective content marketing strategies to speak directly to those groups.
The Content Marketing Institute has a great story about Hyland’s, a homeopathic therapy company. One of Hyland’s products, a therapy for leg cramps, wasn’t selling as well as anticipated. The company’s marketing team knew the product’s core market: active seniors. The challenge was finding a unifying theme — a niche — that supported a hyper-targeted marketing strategy suited to Hyland’s limited resources.
The solution was as hilarious as it was unexpected: pickleball, a bizarre (to outsiders) hybrid of wiffle ball and tennis. Hyland’s launched the Pickleball Channel, a visual content aggregator for pickleball enthusiasts — now the top resource for official and user-generated pickleball content.
- Build Web Properties Around Your Focus
Once you’ve honed in on a niche, stake your claim.
The first step for many content marketers is building a WordPress blog for the niche. (If you’re more comfortable with another blogging medium, that’s fine too — as long as you have a central node for written and visual content that targets niche-dwellers.)
Your blog’s traffic won’t blow up overnight. If you have an active social media presence, use it to drive current followers there. Buy low-cost, niche-focused Facebook ads to quickly boost impressions; redouble your organic efforts on Twitter and Instagram too. And launch a YouTube channel for video content and use a plugin to cross-post your vids to your main niche site.
- Recruit Influencers to Your Cause
Your content marketing niche won’t thrive without help from “influencers” — public or semi-public figures with built-in followings and ironclad credibility with the audience members you’re trying to reach.
AdWeek dives deep into the influencer question, arguing that you should take a realistic approach when you’re first starting out. Rather than targeting “big fish” who likely can’t be bothered to shill on your behalf, target “power middle” influencers with small to medium-sized followings. Do whatever you have to do to get these folks talking about your product: giveaways, comps, reciprocal arrangements, you name it. The more exposure your name gets in relation to your niche, the more closely your target buyers will associate the two — and the more successful your niche marketing operation is likely to be.
- Segment & Expand
Even the most niche-oriented products and services — hello, Hyland’s Leg Cramps — get restless after a while. Chances are, you do more than one thing well. Once you’ve followed the first three steps for your first niche, there’s no reason not to replicate it for other products and services in your portfolio — or create a new content marketing niche for the same product or service. In other words: learn, build, recruit, and repeat.
Does your content marketing strategy include a niche focus?