Niche Markets: Great News! Hardly Anyone Cares About Your Work.
Given the sheer volume of content being produced today and the velocity and variety of formats at which it’s being published, there are two, counter-intuitive, things that thought leaders need to realize.
Most people couldn’t care less about your content. Yes, it’s brilliant; of course it’s better than anything else in the market — you’ve worked diligently perfecting your models for years. All that may be true, but the reality is most people and organizations don’t want it, don’t need it, or are too busy to even consider what your work can do for them.
You shouldn’t care about everyone loving your work. While it would be wonderful if the universe instantly embraced your content and the world quickly became better or smarter or more productive as a result of the exposure to your work, it’s just not feasible. Frankly, it’s probably not going to happen.
So if most people don’t care about your stuff and focusing on everyone is a waste of time, what’s a thought leader to do?
What you need to do is be incredibly focused, laser focused. Find your niche markets. Define your audience with a high level of specificity. Face it, we live in the age of the long tail. Start at the narrow end of the tail not the broad base.
If, for example, your content is management content — that’s a pretty broad space to go after. There are experts that are very widely known in that space and your odds of winning in the market are slim if you choose to initially compete with them. Pick the niche markets you can chip away at and have a real impact. Choose ones that you have experience or unique insight into. You might choose to focus on newly minted managers in the technology space or sales managers in the pharmaceutical sector. Less is more and it will be easier to get the attention of a narrowly defined audience with content and messaging targeted to their pain points and concerns. Stay focused and do not be tempted to go off in multiple directions at once.
In order to stay focused you need to choose to not care about everyone. Care a lot about the markets you are going to serve. Immerse yourself in that market. The more immersed you become the easier it is to gain insight into their needs and tweak and adjust your work to meet those needs better than anyone else.
Seeking niche markets is a bit counter-intuitive given that we all want our work to have the greatest impact that it can. But, if we want to leverage and effectively monetize our content, we have to understand the long tail and use it to our advantage.