Earlier this week, I shared an article from Career Rookie magazine about taking a resume to the next level, showing how that advice for job-seekers might apply to blogs.
Today I want to quote an expert who takes speakers to the next level. In his book, the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Success as a Professional Speaker, Dr. Thomas Lisk teaches methods of "Scoping Out Niche Markets".
Since blogging plays such an important role in any company’s overall marketing strategy, every one of the four questions Dr. Lisk poses to speakers relates to blog marketing as well:
- Can you list all markets or industry types that could purchase your kinds of expertise?
- Which of those markets needs your expertise most?
- Which markets are most likely to purchase your services?
- Which organizations in these markets have enough funding to afford your ongoing services?
The word "niche", I learned, comes from a French word meaning to nest.
According to Robert Schwart, Dean McCorkle, and David Anderson of Texas A&M University, niche marketing means "targeting a product or service to a small portion of a market that is not being readily served by the mainstream product or service marketers".
In a way, blogs are the perfect marketing tool for niche markets. Remember that you, the business owner, are not going out to find anyone! Blogs, after all, use "pull marketing". The people who find your blog are those who are already online looking for information, products, or services that relate to what you know, what you have, and what you do! Your online marketing challenge is not to seek out the people, but to help them seek you out!
Your blog helps you accomplish that task if you provide up-to-date, frequent, and relevant content which online searchers can easily find. But that content will need to be tailor-made for people who, as Dr. Lisk so aptly points out,
- need your expertise, products, and services
- are likely to purchase from you
- can afford your expertise, products, and services
I think the most valuable insight bloggers can gain from Dr. Thom Lisk’s book for professional speakers is this: There are no shortcuts to effective marketing. As with any other worthwhile endeavor, niche marketing takes work. When it comes to researching niche markets, Webster’s Dictionary notwithstanding, "scoping" has to come before blogging!