When it comes to revitalizing your content marketing strategy, thinking small can be a spectacular way to win big. Just ask Brian Chesky. As the co-founder of Airbnb explained, the best piece of advice he ever received was to “build something 100 people love, not something 1 million people kind of like.” In other words, aim for individual trees instead of trying to conquer the whole forest.
In the marketing realm, this is known as targeting a niche, and it really works when handled thoughtfully and intentionally. Niche marketing involves focusing on introducing your products or services to a smaller, well-defined audience. That way, you can aim all your pertinent marketing content, such as blog posts, thought leadership articles, and even pay-per-click ads, toward the needs of a few rather than a huge swath of potential buyers.
You’ve no doubt been at the receiving end of niche marketing, whether you realized it or not. For instance, let’s say your household includes a puppy. If you buy a lot of puppy products online from one website, the site probably sends you puppy-related content. You’re not getting content meant for pet parents of lizards or toucans or hamsters. Why? You’re part of a niche audience (puppy parents).
The benefits of focusing on niche audiences as part of your larger content marketing strategy can be compelling and profitable. After all, you’ll be able to engage with narrow audiences and serve up highly personalized experiences. You’ll also start to build up your credibility as a niche expert. Consequently, when niche audience members need answers, they’ll automatically turn to you and your company.
This doesn’t mean you can’t still cast wider nets with your marketing content. Niche marketing is just one of the elements of a content strategy you’ll want to use. However, it’s an important one because it enables you to drill deeper into market segments and build trust with niche communities.
Taking advantage of all that niche marketing can offer requires some forethought followed by action. The following steps are excellent starting points to home in on valuable prospective buyer niches.
This step might sound like a no-brainer, but it deserves more than a passing glance. Naming and claiming your ideal customers based on their roles, ages, experience levels, budget, likes and dislikes, historic buying habits, and more will take time. A good place to start is by looking at your current best customers.
For instance, sit down with your sales team and find out more about the customers who are achieving the best results or who keep coming back to make repeat purchases. What types of niches do they represent? Be as thorough as you can. If you’re in a B2B climate, look at both the specifics of the person with the authority to make purchases and the specifics of that person’s overall company.
Once you’ve begun to identify one or more niches, talk about content that the niche audience likes to consume. Does this niche seem to lean more toward how-to videos or vlogs? What social media sites does the niche use? Ultimately, you’ll wind up with a fleshed-out profile of a typical niche audience member.
Now that you have a better idea of your niche, head straight to your favorite keyword research tool. First, look at the keyword rankings for your website. See whether any of the keywords you’re ranking for pertain to a niche audience. Be sure to keep track of them because they’re going to be useful for later content development.
Next, do a quick checkup on your top competitors’ keyword rankings. You’re looking for relevant keywords they’re ranking for that would attract audience members from your targeted niche. These might be keywords you’re ranking for. But if you’re not ranking for them, they could be hidden opportunities.
With all your niche keywords in hand, you can begin to inform your content creation. Remember: Your searchers will be looking for information using long-tail keywords that resonate with their niche. So you’ll probably want to prioritize the narrow keywords over broader ones.
You have your niche. You have your keywords. At this point, the only thing left to do is map out your content for the coming months. You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel, though. Chances are strong that at least some of the content you already have can be repurposed to craft messaging that will intrigue and engage your niche audience.
Pretend you’re a company selling organic nut-free butters to consumers with nut allergies or intolerances. You realize that a niche audience is Millennial adults who can’t safely eat nuts. After a quick content audit, you realize that you have a lot of existing information on nut allergies in general. Because the content is so generic, you can easily take key elements of it, create something unique, and redirect the content toward your niche audience.
As you document your niche content marketing strategy, seek others’ input. Your internal team peers and, if appropriate, relevant external partners can help you determine which of the owned and paid content you’re proposing is likely to net the strongest ROI. At the end of the day, you’ll have a solid plan to start your niche content marketing journey.
You'll also want to make sure you include your most important key performance indicators in your documented content marketing strategy. That way, your team will know how to determine whether your efforts are effective. More on that next.
Data in the form of KPIs lets you know whether you’re reaching or missing your niche audience and generating content marketing ROI. This enables you to adapt and change as needed.
The specific metrics you track will depend on your ultimate goal for your content marketing efforts. For example, if you're aiming for lead generation, the conversion rate is a key metric to keep an eye on. If you're really focused on building thought leadership and brand awareness among your niche, social shares and engagement will be important to monitor. If sales enablement is your target, keep tabs on your close rate. Or if SEO is the most important objective right now, you could track your organic search traffic closely.
Your company can’t be all things to all people. And that’s just fine. Often, diving below the surface in a more specific area can be far more rewarding than merely skimming along the top.
I'm a content-obsessed word person with a passion for finding the coziest coffee shop in town. By day, I'm the content marketing manager at Intero Digital's Content & PR Division. In my downtime, you can find me hanging out with my husband and son, reading a book, sipping a latte, drawing, hand lettering, or watching "The Office" for the zillionth time.