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Time to hitch this horse to a niche.

By January 5, 2010January 8th, 2010Critical Copywriting, How To, Marketing, The Business

For a long time now, I haven’t niche myself. I intuited, assumed and experienced the fact that the wider I cast my net, the greater the number of fish I could possibly, and did ultimately, catch.

You’ll notice that this goes against what most people will tell you to do. As a matter of fact, it goes against what I tell you to do in my eBook (How to Become a Successful Copywriter). But that’s because I subscribe to the ‘if it’s not broke, don’t f*ck with it’ school of thought. And for me, it wasn’t broke. Wasn’t. Past tense.

Raise your hand if this fun little recession we’re having has taken you down a notch (or is just bumming you out severely or is even just reducing the number of massages you can get each week). My hands are raised, too. I actually just heard that the average business took a 40-50% hit in 2009. Which made me feel good for a nanosecond because that statistic shouted, ‘It’s not you! It’s the Cheney, Rove, Bush trifecta’s!’ at me.

But still and of course, after I reviewed my year-end numbers, I ate some ice cream (best stuff ever), moped for a few minutes and then sat down to figure out how I was going to fix this situation. Which is when it hit me. While I can write about anything and while I enjoy the variety, I think it’s time to hitch to a niche.

I’ve got it all picked out, came upon it by working with a client within it…will tell you about it soon. But, here are some things to think about if you’re going to go the niched route.

  • Find people within the niche that you can talk to – get an insider’s view about what’s needed
  • Then, figure out how you can give them what they need and want
  • Pick something that you like and where your interest will be held
  • Research and see who else is working within this niche and how they’re doing it
  • Then figure out how to do it better
  • Tell everyone you know what you’re doing because many of them will say, ‘Hey! I know someone who would be perfect for you to talk to!’ And we all know that a direct introduction and personal connection is KEY.
  • Create a proposal, something pretty that: 1) answers questions, 2) provides total information, 3) makes people want you 4) is the perfect response to, ‘Can you send me something to look at?’ (post on how to create a fab proposal is HERE)
  • Even if you niche, don’t ditch the broader scope completely…no need to shut doors, burn bridges, close windows (anyone besides me want me to stop rhyming?)

Loving the plaque in the picture up above as it is beyond apropos. It tells us that ‘…this was a meeting place for pioneers that tied their horses to the hitching rail while conducting business…’ and that they were, ‘…hardy and foresighted pioneers…’

Huh, just like you and me.

Image credit: stuttermonkey

Join the discussion 14 Comments

  • Alisa Bowman says:

    Great lessons learned. They apply to so many things beyond business, too.

  • Amanda says:

    Hmmm… perhaps I should find a niche. Maybe I’m broken! Also, what ice cream are you eating and where can I get some?

  • Julie Roads says:

    Amanda – click the link in the post – on ‘ice cream’ – it’s this coconut stuff – it’s good for you and it’s AMAZING. Try a health/natural food store – and try their site for locations. But I know they have it on the west coast (’tis where they’re based).

    And, you aren’t broken.

  • Edgy Mama says:

    Timely, timely, J. I thought I had a niche–Asheville-alt parenting columnist. But apparently, even that niche is too broad for the book publishing industry. Two publishers have told me they love my writing, but I need a smaller niche. So I’ve been researching parenting books, trying to figure out how to rewrite and market my book proposal. Right now it kind of feels like trying to squeeze myself into a guitar case. But you’re right, it’s a really important learning experience.

  • Julie Roads says:

    Yeah – I’m with you, AF. I would have thought that was pretty niched! Maybe if you throw in the that bit about being a member of the PDC?

  • Edgy Mama says:

    Good idea. Alt-parenting columnist who likes pink dildos. Sound like a winner!

  • Ari Herzog says:

    How can you say you don’t have a blogging niche? You write. Is that not enough? You write about writing. Is that not more than enough?

    If nobody was commenting, I’d be concerned. But people are, and have; so, again, what’s the problem? ;)

  • Julie Roads says:

    Hey Ari! Nope – not talking about a ‘blogging niche’ but for my copywriting business. This blog definitely has a focus – writing and life as a writer – even has a tagline up there on a scrap of paper.

    Since Writing Roads began, I’ve written about the following topics: banking, insurance, education, farming, parenting, yoga, kids clothing and stuff, insurance, medical equipment, finance, health, real estate, coffee, restaurants, Martha’s Vineyard, flex and work/life balance, engineering, dry cleaning, marketing, photography, mental health, minorities, human services, architecture, interior design….I could go on and on. Not niched – and quite fun, I must say.

  • Sandra Foyt says:

    I hear you! I’ve been struggling with whether or not to settle down and stick with a niche. Last year, I was highly reluctant to do so, partly because I didn’t like the idea of constraints, and partly because I couldn’t figure out the niche that covered the topics that I cared about.

    This year, I’m finally ready to settle down, and get serious about writing as a business (not my niche!) and not just for pleasure.

    By the way, glad to hear that I don’t have to fully ditch the broader scope. That’s music to my ears!

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