It's 2021, and nearly everyone you know is a self-proclaimed micro-influencer or side-hustler. You want in on the fun (and funds), but you're not sure how you'll stand out in an oversaturated market. You're beginning to wonder if you missed your chance at creating revenue on social media. Good news, you haven't—but you do need to play some catch-up to keep up with your fellow creators.
You're right to assume that you need a brand or "that thing" you're known for. Perhaps it's lifestyle content, career coaching, or baking adorable cupcakes online. No matter your umbrella of content and expertise, there's one phrase that will always be relevant to content creation, "the riches are in the niches."
Most novices aren't new to the idea of a niche, but they often confuse it with a target audience, an ideal client, or even a gimmick. All tools serve a purpose—and certainly the aforementioned have their own—but a niche is meant to be the "specific solution to a specific problem for your ideal customer or client."
For example, let's say you're a baker using Instagram as a platform to convert users into hungry customers. You may think "cupcakes" are your niche, but that's just scratching the surface. In this article, we'll help you discover how to pull the layers back and build a niche that will drive traffic, results, and revenue. (And keep the creative juices flowing too.)
Yes and no. Do you really need a niche to have a brand at all? No. But it's like asking the question, "Does my business really need a website?" Technically no, but it's a better bet to make one than to not have one at all.
A niche is ultimately an FAQ sheet for the casual browser or consumer. They want to know if you can help them, and your niche will tell them. To borrow our ongoing example, a customer looking for cupcakes may land on your page. Still, once they learn that you're best known for your kid-friendly, vegan, gluten-free cupcakes, they can now decide if you're going to be the best vendor for their upcoming event.
While narrowing down means that you'll be catering to one subset of clients over another, it doesn't mean you're going to lose out on business. Knowing "your secret sauce," and who you are specifically talking to, and the problem you're solving for them will make you an expert. And experts get to charge higher rates and solve more of the problems they want to solve.
If you're ready to take your business or brand to the next level, here are the eight tips for finding your niche.
Before you update your Instagram bio or hire a copywriter to help you with the wordsmithing, it's important that you've answered the fundamental questions. By examining your answers and brand, you're able to articulate your value, how you help your audience, and what makes you unique.
For the baker whipping up delicious gluten-free, vegan cupcakes for kids, they may answer the questions with:
When niching down, it's wise to consider your end game or key performance indicators (KPIs). More specifically, how do you want your niche to serve your business?
The baker may want to discover their core niche to drive more direct sales via social media. Meaning once they develop a concise niche, they can update their social media bios and brand bio on their website to sell to a much more specific audience.
The biggest fear a creator has when niching down is the prospect of losing customers and audience members. As Dallas Girl Gang CEO @amandaindallas wrote, "You should be losing followers. I know you might be scared to keep selling yourself because you will lose followers. The more focused and targeted you get with your content, stories, and services, the better. That means the right people are listening—leading to the right potential customers."
After making your way over the psychological hurdle, it's time to identify who your dream client is and what their average day looks like. And before you say your dream client is Oprah (which, you and us all), think about the person who is most likely to be a return customer or advocate for your brand.
The vegan, GF, kid-friendly baker's dream client may be a working parent on the go who simply doesn't have the time to make homemade cupcakes for their child's birthday party. This parent needs something fast, beautiful, and impressive. Therefore the baker might instead niche down to "busy parents who still want to provide the best ingredients and the best experience for their little ones," versus catering to "vegan parents who prioritize animal rights at all costs." Can both sets of parents buy from the baker? Absolutely. But understanding that the former is their ideal client will ultimately influence subsequent marketing materials, caption copy, and feed photos.
Another perceived blindspot of niching down is the fear that you'll be shackled to a carousel of bland choices and boredom if you pigeonhole yourself. Though the occasional creative block can come with or without a niche, seeing your niche as a launching pad rather than a boundary.
For example, catering to "busy parents who still want to provide the best ingredients and the best experience for their little ones" doesn't mean you can never branch out. But use your muse to inspire you for blog posts, new ideas, or in this case, fresh recipes or streams of income.
And here's the best news about niches and brands: they can (and should!) change. Think of your favorite influencer or consumer brand. Odds are, they've evolved as people or content creators. Jasmine Star started as a wedding photographer before becoming the photographer business coach she is today.
Try on different hats and see what fits, feels good, and drives results. Our hypothetical baker may find that they don't feel creatively liberated niching down to parents, and they might evolve into an online baking technique teacher. And that's OK! Finding your niche is like finding yourself; you have to try on different personas before figuring out who you are.
When you're experimenting and finding your niche, do not be afraid to niche down and get into the nitty-gritty specifics. Too often new content creators want to pick a safe topic like "lifestyle." Say it with us now; lifestyle is not a niche.
But if you're conflicted or clueless about which passion is worth focusing on, consider talking to your audience and loved ones. Figure out what they consider you to be an expert on or why they follow you now. You may be surprised to learn that people associate something you hadn't considered.
Another liberating aspect of content creation and defining your niche is the freedom to apply variations of your niche to fit the different services you offer. For example, the baker may make money from branded content, home deliveries, affiliate marketing, and online videos. They could easily tweak their niche while keeping its overarching theme to fit different needs or demands based on the audience or KPI.
Continue to ask for feedback from your audience so that you can serve your audience. Business and self-care coach Maya Fleming shared, "Sure, selfies are nice, and they help you to connect with your audience, but strangers are not likely to share a photo of you on their stories. With shareable content, people will share it and attract more people to your post and brand as a whole. How do you create shareable content? Think about smaller bites of information that may attract your ideal listener. Can you create a visually appealing list summing up the points of a popular or recent blog post?"
Ultimately, a narrowed-down niche should empower your brand and drive results. We'd love to hear how your brand has evolved over the last few years.