A few weeks ago, I watched all 10 episodes of the Netflix docuseries Making a Murderer within 3 days or so. For someone who doesn’t watch much TV whatsoever, this was a major binge-watching fest.
I mentioned this binge to someone recently, and they mentioned that next time I should try speed-watching to get through it faster.
If you haven’t heard of this, speed-watching allows you to watch video content at about 1.5 times its normal speed. Gizmodo estimates this saves you 6 minutes per hour of watching, and the faster speed is subtle enough that it doesn’t dramatically disrupt your viewing experience.
My immediate thought was, wow — what an indication of the kind of content-saturated world we’re living in, that we need to speed up our shows just to get through all the ones we want to watch.
And the thing is, even playing things faster won’t allow you to get through everything that could interest and land in your Netflix queue. There is just so much to watch.
Have We Reached a Content Saturation Point?
This only touches upon the wealth of content available via Netflix that you’ll never have time to watch (even if you might be interested in it).
What about all the other video content there is to consume? What about your favorite YouTube channels or the expert using Facebook Live to provide interesting and helpful information every day?
Then there are the podcasts. The overwhelming, never-ending stream of podcasts that grow exponentially every single day that make it impossible (for me, anyway) to ever clear out the cache of new and yet-to-be-listened to episodes.
Don’t forget about the “stories,” either. Stories on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat — on top of all the other, non-story posts and images made on these platforms.
And of course, there are blogs like this. Millions and millions of people send their written thoughts out into the world every single second, on every conceivable topic.
Long gone are the days of the handful of main TV channels, the two or three major newspapers, and the one or two radio broadcasts you might regularly tune into. Content is in the hands of the people now — and obviously, no one person can ever find and consume all the content, in its many various forms, that exists today.
You could argue that we’ve reached a saturation point. That content is no longer as meaningful because of the sheer volume that exists.
But people have claimed blogging is dead for at least the past 10 years — and you can probably point to a huge list of successful blogs or name a few that you yourself regularly read.
In the same way, we’ve heard warnings about reaching the content saturation point for a long time now.
There’s no denying the world is noisier than ever because there are countless platforms from which countless people (and businesses, and brands, and marketers like me) can now crow.
That doesn’t mean that content is now invalid. It doesn’t mean content marketing is a waste of time.
People Still Consume Content That’s Relevant to Them
Think about how you interact with content and media on a daily basis.
You may watch the morning news while you get ready. Maybe you check out something your favorite technology vendor sent you in an email when you get to the office. Perhaps you watch a YouTube video as you eat lunch or tune into the newest episode of a podcast you just discovered while you complete your workout. You might end the day by scrolling through social media at night while relaxing at home.
Just because there’s a huge amount of content out there doesn’t mean you suddenly swear off all of it and stop consuming any of it.
You likely just got more focused and selective with what you give your attention to. And what earns the majority of your attention is probably what you find most relevant to your situation, your problems, your needs, your interests,
The same can be said for the prospective clients you hope your brand’s content reaches.
They still consume blog posts, emails, videos, social media posts, podcasts, and more. And what they take in is more and more relevant to their specific situations, problems, needs, and interests.
This is exactly why niche marketing is the key to successful content creation, publication, and distribution.
Niche Marketing Becomes Essential in a World Overrun by Content
Niche marketing requires you to hone in on highly specific market segments and then target those segments.
Lots of financial brands like to say their niche is women. I’m not sure if they realize there are well over 162 million female humans in the United States, or that a woman approaching her 60s who lives in rural Kansas and wants to retire on her schoolteacher pension has drastically different everything from a 30-something woman who lives in Washington, DC and wants to launch her own consulting business while planning to start a family.
Here’s how a smart financial firm might describe the niche they spent time developing:
We focus on helping professional women in their 30s and 40s who live in urban areas, who are newly married with no children yet but plans to add kids to their families in the near future, who either serve in leadership positions in their companies or who own their own businesses, who have disposable incomes and are involved with the household finances and are ready to do more to invest and grow wealth over the long-term.
See the difference between that and, “we focus on serving women”?
The more specifically you can define your audience, the more tailored content you can create for them — and the more that precise message will resonate with the people you want to work with.
If You Want to Stand Out, Get Yourself a Niche
Niche marketing helps you become clear, concise, and compelling with your message. Let’s get one thing straight right now:
No small business can be all things to all people.
You just can’t be everything to everybody — and those that try, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, succeed with no one. You will never be heard in a noisy world if you stick to general, generic ideas and messages.
So take the time to really develop your audience. Who do you want to speak to? Who do you want to work with? Who is important to you, and who can you provide the most value to?
Notice I didn’t say spend the time to find your audience. Getting into niche marketing is not about going out and finding a ready-made market. It’s about putting together the pieces you’re working with — like your experience, expertise, and interests — and seeing what authentically evolves from that.
If you want to develop your own niche, use these steps to get clearer on the specifics:
- Start by understanding what value you can offer, what services you want to provide, and who you want to work with. What are you passionate about and how do you best help clients? Maybe you have a background in the corporate world and figured out how to break free and manage your finances in such a way that you could launch your own freelance career — and now you want to help others find their own entrepreneurial paths. Maybe you grew up in a military family and married a military spouse, so you deeply understand the needs and desires of people with family members in the military — that could be the beginning of your niche. Look at your situation, experience, achievements, values, and interests. What’s there that you could translate into your business? What issues are you good at solving? What people do you deeply understand and think you can help?
- Get to know your target market. Once you develop an idea of the kind of person you want to work with, dive deeply into their world. Get to know them as closely as possible so you can describe them in great detail. This goes beyond age and gender and other basic demographics. You want to get into their heads. What are their beliefs, values, desires, fears, problems, challenges, accomplishments, and motivations? Look at your business from your target market’s viewpoint and identify what services they need the most that you can offer.
- Test your niche. Find a handful of people that you believe would be in your niche market. Ask if you can take them out for a coffee or a meal in exchange for asking them a few questions. This isn’t a sales pitch for your business. It’s a chance to validate some of your ideas about your niche and what services they might want from you. Describe what you do and why, and ask for their feedback. Ask questions about how they’d describe their needs, or what problems they would solve if they could snap their fingers and get a solution immediately.
- Directly incorporate your findings. Listen to your interviewee’s feedback and note what kind of phrases and language they use. You want to use important keywords and messages in your own marketing to better resonate with others in your niche. Then put your website, content, and services, all aimed at your specific market segment, out into the world.
- Iterate. From here, it’s a matter of tweaking your business and your marketing according to what works and what doesn’t, and further study, strategy, and planning around your niche. A smart business owner is constantly seeking tidbits of feedback (and deciding what’s valid and what can be disregarded) and evaluating how they can improve to better define and serve their niche.
Niche marketing is the secret to getting your message heard in a world that’s continuously buried by an influx of new content.
As the need to sift through what’s relevant to us and discard what’s not becomes greater — just to process what we want to consume — businesses who develop and serve a niche will rise above those who putter around the edges of plain, colorless content that could be for anyone and therefore attracts no one.