The jig is up. The word is out. Everyone seems to be using content marketing. Becoming a thought leader and creating an e-book, online course, and paid community is now commonplace. Some may even say too commonplace.

Want to learn how to step up your handball game? There's a thought leader for that.

Want to learn how to play chess underwater and blindfolded? There's a thought leader for that.

From 2015 to 2016, despite the amount of branded content increasing by 35 percent, engagement on that content decreased by 17 percent according to a TrackMaven study. Presumably, this situation will only gain more momentum over time.

So how do you stay relevant or scrape your way to the top in the coming years? The answer might be simpler than you think.

To survive the future of content, your brand needs to 'niche down' the focus of your content.

Instead of being the go-to thought leader on basketball, be the go-to thought leader on NCAA Division III basketball. Instead of focusing on cars, focus on Ford cars.

Here are three reasons why:

1. You'll automatically reduce the number of competitors you have.

After you narrow the focus of your content, you will be competing against less companies for the attention of your audience.

2. You'll cater to human psychology.

Humans crave personalized experiences. This is exactly why we love hearing our first names and enjoy the company of like-minded individuals. By nature, humans gravitate towards other people that 'get them'.

If you were the owner of a cafe, would you rather read an e-book on how to open a small business, or an e-book specifically on how to start a cafe?

If you were a track star in the 100-meter dash, would you want to learn conditioning exercises from an all star shot putter or someone who used to compete in your same event?

If you were a sculptor, would you rather take an online course on how to get clients as an artist or get clients as a sculptor?

3. You'll build a community of loyal followers.

The best type of customer is a loyal one, and the most effective way to create a loyal customer is by creating community through your business and content. Eventually, these loyal customers will become your brand ambassadors and even community moderators.

To make building that community easier, consider starting a Facebook Group and forum and encouraging those in your audience to engage.

By speaking to a specific group and getting to know them on an intimate level, your community will only grow larger and stronger if you continually provide value (which is the whole point of content in the first place).

Disclosure: Be sure to know whether or not your new target market will be large enough to sustain your business goals.

Another disclosure: Just because you have less competitors doesn't mean you'll be able to reap the benefits of content marketing with crappy content. Having high-quality content is a prerequisite no matter who your audience is.

What next?

  • Decide how you can 'niche down'.
  • Conduct online research, surveys, and focus groups with your target audience to find out which questions and pain points they actually have.
  • Create content that thoroughly answers those questions.

By narrowing your focus, you'll put yourself in a much better position to be the leading authority in a specific subject. Being a jack of all trades might be useful during an obstacle course or talent show, but it isn't useful in business.

To survive the future of content, you'll need to become the expert on a specific topic, not just another source..

Published on: Aug 14, 2017
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