The importance of content marketing has been proven time and time again. Today’s customers expect to be engaged with, not shouted at, and by providing compelling content you create a positive vibe around your product, as well as opening the lines of communication with your potential customers.
But what about in niche environments? Can content marketing work for those businesses where the focus is very specific? Is there an audience out there for content that doesn’t necessarily have a broad appeal?
Here are a few thoughts on how to make content marketing strategies work well for any niche.
Research Your Niche
As a niche market, you have to be careful about taking on commonly held beliefs regarding the type of content marketing that will work for you. What might work well for broader markets might not work at all for your niche! You need to know where your niche hangs out, how they interact with one another, and what they need.
This is why research and analysis is so important for those using content marketing in niche areas. “Niche analysis and research inform the strategic planning process that helps business owners and bloggers focus on the most important and effective strategies in their niches. This is a crucial step that many people neglect,” according to Jared Dees of Analyze Niche. He goes on to say, “Each niche market is different, so analysis and research can be a big help in selecting the best strategies to help you advance past your competition in your unique situation.”
Know your analytics. Be aware of the content that draws the most comments, receives the most social media shares/mentions, and brings in the most traffic and back links. Don’t overlook the importance of digging into the results of your current content marketing and figuring out which methods and strategies are working the best in your niche market.
Create New Content for Your Niche
Sometimes those in niche markets incorrectly believe that because their topic of interest in narrower than most, it’s less important for them to update their page on a regular basis. They reason that, since their focus is so specific, it’s okay to leave the same content up for a longer period of time.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Danny Boles at Slideshare puts it this way: “An important niche marketing technique is to get new content on your web site. Once your web site is ranked by the search engines, any kind of subsequent web crawls will look for refreshing material. If your web page has not been updated in a while, your ranking will drop. The meaning of a ‘while’ varies from search engine to search engine, but it’s best to not let an update go greater than a week.”
Take home improvement specialist Ana White for instance. She has a huge following because she creates high quality, original posts that provide the best plans for specific home projects. Home improvement is a niche, but by creating the best content in her niche, she has an enormous following with over 73,000 likes on Facebook as of this writing.
Become a Hub for Your Niche
Or, in the words of Tom Martin, “Be the campfire.”
What if you became the place that everyone came to talk about your niche market? What if the ability to interact with potential customers was so great that even your competition came to your site and engaged in the conversation? If you could do this, you’d have customers and competition creating content marketing for you.
Martin suggests, “One content marketing strategy might be to create campfire conversations that brings that group together on a regular basis. You might try using a Google Hangout to not only bring them together but give your prospects a chance to mingle with the top 100. Would that be valuable to you and your prospects and customers?”
For example, if you visit Problogger.net, the first thing you’ll notice across the top of the site is that you’ll find a lot more than blog posts about professional blogging. Rowse provides job boards, forums, and guest posting opportunities in addition to leaving his blog open for comments. Problogger is more than a blog with information. It’s a community of like-minded bloggers.
Increase Interaction Around Your Niche
Hannah Smith at SEOmoz notes that many niche companies cultivate a greater interest in their company by allowing their customers to help create the content. Some run contests in which their readers can compete such as the ground breaking pin it to win it contest hosted by Land’s End that introduced many users to the power of Pinterest for user-created content. Others ask for suggestions regarding projects or host outings that involve their products, and then encourage the customers to post these on their website in the form of pictures or guest posts.
By allowing customers to engage in their content marketing, these companies create connections with their customers that run deeper than their competition. Besides creating more points of interaction with your customers, you’ll empower them to market your brand for you.
Most young adults reported in a recent Marketing Profs survey that they tend to trust the endorsements of total strangers who have recommended a product. HubSpot reports , “More than 8 in 10 say user-generated content from people they don’t know influences what they buy and indicates brand quality, while 51% say it is actually more important than the opinions of their friends and family, and far more trustworthy than website content.”
You may find yourself in a niche market, but there are plenty of ways to use that to your advantage. If you work on keeping your content fresh, increasing your interaction with potential customers, becoming a place where people gather to discuss your niche, and dedicating yourself to researching the types of content that works best for you, you can create successful content marketing that will work for any niche.