Here’s the Secret to Building an Audience as a Content Creator
If you check out my LinkedIn page, you’ll see that I introduce myself as a freelance writer specializing in design and architecture. Here on Medium, I’m focusing more and more on fitness and health. Two worlds, two languages, two identities, two aspects of my work. And two different niches.
Niching down is key to building an audience as a content creator or attracting clients as a freelancer. Consider the Instagram accounts you like the most — don’t they focus on a very specific type of content? This concept is so powerful that it pervades most fields. Think about restaurants. I don’t know about you, but when I see a menu featuring Mexican food, pizza on the next page, and then sushi, I get up from my seat and leave.
Aiming wide gets you nowhere. Your audience and customers want an expert, not a Swiss Army knife. That’s why you need to focus. How? I’ll let you choose between two methods.
#1 method: Dig into your obsessions and let your audience decide
“Behind our obsessions lies our truth” — One of my photography teacher
What are the topics you can’t stop thinking about? The ones you read about incessantly? The ones that excite you or intrigue you, or both? That’s what you should write about first.
This is the strategy I used on Medium. When I started writing here a year and a half ago, I wrote about everything from personal development, putting words to ineffable life concepts, travel, fitness, nutrition, but also photography, writing, freelancing, productivity, relationships, homosexuality, and books.
Many content creators assign themselves an arbitrary niche early on in their journey, but I don’t think that’s the right strategy. Writing (or creating) about anything and everything at first offers two advantages.
First, you discover what you really want to write about. I found out that I didn’t want to write about photography, relationships, or homosexuality so much: I just wanted to express myself on one or two topics, but then I was done. This process naturally weeds out and selects your topics.
Second, you get to see what works. You can create as much as you can, if you don’t have an audience, it’s like gesturing in a vacuum. Your public is your main target. That’s why they’re the ones who will choose your niche for you.
This is what happened to me. A few months ago, while checking my stats and income, I discovered a common pattern that became more and more obvious as time went on. I’ll let you see for yourself:
All of my top-earning articles so far in March are about fitness and nutrition. And this was the case in the previous months as well. BOOM! I’ve found my niche.
At first, create content about whatever you want, without restricting yourself. Over time, you’ll find out if a topic stands out or not. Double advantage: you are sure to write on a topic you like + you build an audience that likes what you do.
#2 method: Be open to whatever comes your way
Four years ago, I was contacted by a press agency specialized in design and architecture. They were looking for a freelancer to write their press releases. To this day, they are still my most important client.
At the time, I was just starting my career. I wasn’t specialized. Instead, I believed that the more one writes about a wide variety of topics, the more successful they are. How wrong I was!
I was lucky: the fact that I wasn’t specialized yet didn’t seem to bother them. After giving me a test, they hired me.
That’s how I became an expert in design and architecture.
After writing and translating thousands of texts for them, I learned more about these subjects than I ever imagined and realized that I liked both fields more and more. I decided that this would become my niche. I listed it on my freelance pages. That’s how other design and architecture firms started contacting me. It’s a virtuous circle. The more you specialize, the more specialists you attract.
Even if you didn’t choose your niche yourself in the first place.
Of course, if I had ended up writing about something I hated, I would have stopped. But I just opened my mind, and that opened doors for me in return.
The bottom line
Content creators can’t control what works and what doesn’t. Most of us start out creating something out of interest. Sometimes it finds an audience. And sometimes it doesn’t.
I let my audience and my clients choose my niche while making sure I agreed with them. Regardless, I firmly believe that you can’t create good content about something you don’t like. Doing it for money or success is a dead end.
And that doesn’t mean you’re trapped. Look at me: I just told you I was focusing on fitness and nutrition on Medium. And I’m writing an article about freelancing.
Nothing is set in stone. Stay tuned to opportunities and yourself. Let it flow.
You may also like:
2021 Beginner’s Guide for Succeeding on Medium
The complete method I used to earn $1000+ each month.