Why You Shouldn’t Stick to Your Niche

Why You Shouldn't Stick to Your NicheWhen people out of the blue get in touch with me and offer a guest post, I usually approach the situation with skepticism. It’s like dating – don’t make a move for a home run when we haven’t even gotten to first base yet.

So I replied to FitJerk’s offer with the same skepticism, and then some. “I don’t GET why you want to guest post – my readers aren’t even your target market. You’re into athletics; we’re into business and writing. What’s in this for you?”

In short, I couldn’t figure out his angle, his game, and it bothered me. (Marketers, take note of my very normal reaction to being sold.)

What he came back with was interesting – and worth sharing. Enjoy.

Humans. We love our common sense, don’t we? It’s brought us far as a species. If something causes pain, we tend to avoid it. If something causes pleasure, we do more of it. So when it comes to business, it only makes sense to stick to a niche where you can dominate and completely rock, right?

WRONG!

This is only effective when you want to do one thing, and that’s selling. While selling itself is important to any business, it’s far better to have fans with money than customers who pay once and never come back.

You see, business is about people. I want to show you why it’s a good idea to step outside your niche and spread yourself around.

Being with like-minded individuals and talking about what you do with them and why it’s cool is… well, cool. But let me ask you something: Are all your friends, the people you talk to, and the peers you hang out with all sort of in the same circle as you?

Mine aren’t. I have friends that do a wide variety of things to make a living. Why is it that on the internet, people only want to congregate with their “niche” population? It’s very one-dimensional.

I even heard from a blogger the other day that he would never guest post on a blog unrelated to his own because it wouldn’t get him any traffic and that it was a waste of effort. What a twit. Anyone who follows that advice to a “T” seriously limits online connections and life beyond direct sales.

See, if you’re a writer, a blogger or an online business owner, you need to connect with the community. The online community. And you can’t connect with everyone in the online community if you limit yourself to one select group of people.

How to Step Outside Your Niche for Real Impact

Grab a piece of paper. Write down 3 or 4 other niches that interest you, or things that you’re passionate about but aren’t good enough to monetize. Maybe they’re just your hobbies and you find the subject matter interesting. Whatever.

Just come up with 3 or 4 niches that you actually give a damn about. That’s the important bit. For example, my niche interests are humor, tech, writing (clearly!) & marketing.

Then find 3 or 4 blogs for each of those niches. Stay branded as whoever you are! If you’re Dick the Cupcake Maker, then be that guy. Start leaving comments. Connect with the blog owners and other readers. Email the owners and offer to guest post or to do an interview. Get known. Start offering some value. Don’t worry about feeling out of place.

That’s exactly what I did. And the result is that I’m not only known in the fitness community, but I’m getting involved with the blogging & internet marketing community as well.

Now here’s where it gets really interesting… so pay attention.

When someone in those “extra” niches of mine has a fitness problem and he’s looking for a solution, who is the FIRST person he thinks of? ME! When his friend wants to lose some weight or pack on some muscle, who does this guy recommend? ME!

This is the power of seeding and connecting. When you leave a seed in people’s minds, they’ll remember you when the time comes because you’ve talked to them before. You’ve connected already. They trust you over all others in your dominant niche who scream a desperate plea for attention.

Bleh.

You’re Out of Your Niche – And Still Making The Sale

I’ve made countless sales from meeting people who weren’t actively searching to get in shape. When we connected and met, no one was interested in making the sale. We were hanging out, sharing mutual interests outside our main niche interests.

But later on they’d say, “Hey, you’re a fitness guy right? Wanna help me out?”. Had I not connected with this person previously and already been in front of their eyeballs, I would have never had the sale opportunity.

See how that works? You made a sale without having to sell. You were enjoying your interest. Hanging out. Having fun outside your niche.

One of the best benefits of spreading into other niches is how you’ll come up with out-of-the-box ideas on how to one-up the value you offer to your existing customers in your main niche. This makes you stand out more than your competition.

Look at me. I’ve found ways to incorporate software and technology into my fitness business. I’ve found ways to inject humor into technical fitness articles so readers don’t fall asleep. I’ve become a better writer and started my fitness blog. Now I can communicate my theories, tactics and workout routines with laser-like precision.

And I’m still making sales.

Diversifying into other niches has been invaluable to me, my business and my personal brand. If you want to stand out in this ridiculously competitive world where everyone tries to out-shout each other, you’d better start spreading your seed in other fields.

Go on. Connect with interesting people that might become your customers. Or someone else will.

Post by James Chartrand

James Chartrand is an expert copywriter and the owner of Men with Pens and Damn Fine Words, the game-changing writing course for business owners. She loves the color blue, her kids, Nike sneakers and ice skating.

Join the Discussion. Click Here to Leave a Comment.

  1. Seems to me this is similar to online networking, in a more productive way. You’re being exposed to people who may well need you, but wouldn’t find you otherwise. And not only the exposure, it gives you credibility that you have a broad range of expertise and ability, not just a narrow focus within your niche. It makes a person more interesting when you can see that they have a range of interests.

    Thanks for the post, and I’m glad you broke through James’ cynicysm! :-)
    .-= Melinda | WAHM Biz Builder´s last blog ..Are you working in Isolation? =-.

  2. “Are all your friends, the people you talk to, and the peers you hang out with all sort of in the same circle as you?” – Of course not and yet you’re right, we seek out and interact more with those in our main niche in our online community. I think that one reason we do this is because the online world is so huge and we are so focused on our niche. Your idea to just choose three other niches that interest you is a great way to break it down to a smaller, easier way to get involved. Great post.
    .-= Heather Villa´s last blog ..The Metrics of Social Media =-.

  3. The idea of creating a diverse experience is good. It makes sense. But, are these really niches? Humor, writing and marketing, and even your specialty in fitness are more or less ubiquitous, at least within this community. As a result each tends to overlap the other, as you point out.

    I write in a niche – Tile Estimating in Commercial Construction. It’s not easily transferable to a mainstream community. No one here needs what I write about in my blog.

    I guess all I’m saying is that there are niches and niches.
    .-= Pat O’Brian´s last blog ..Types of Estimates =-.

  4. Interesting post.

    This shows that we need to get out and interact with those outside of our niche. I know and interact with people from many circles. It would be quite boring for me to only hang out with those that are the same as me.

    Getting yourself out there in front of others while listening, interacting and helping will build lasting relationships.

    Thanks for bringing this out in this post.
    .-= George Passwater´s last blog ..Ready to Build a Connection? =-.

  5. @Heather

    Yep, you’re right. Online is a massive place and so when you small chunk it to the niches you like, it’s more manageable (and more fun). I mean you wouldn’t see me at a Dungeons & Dragons convention… that’s for James. ;)

    @Pat

    OF COURSE those are niches. They can be small chunked further, but they are still niches, make no mistake about it. As for what you write about, sure it’s focused but finding a way to overlap isn’t so hard. I can find a million ways to relate construction work to fitness… get what I’m saying? :)

    Heh, as for this sentence: “No one here needs what I write about in my blog.” – Maybe not here, but that’s an assumption man. Dump that shit at the door, you or I don’t know everyone well enough to make assumptions. Someone, somewhere DOES need what you do and will find you… if you’re good enough and are known enough.

    Appreciate the responses.

    Cheers.
    .-= FitJerk’s Fitness Blog´s last blog ..Product Review: Power Pushup 3 By Lifeline USA =-.

  6. Mary E. Ulrich says:

    Seems like the bottom line is building a community who care and trust each other. You are right, if we just do a “niche” we pretend we are this narrow one-dimensional person and we miss out. Like we only like the color blue.

    Two questions:
    There are some who think one should have multiple blogs, one for each niche. Others think one should just have one blog, with different pages for their varied interests. Others have one blog and just post whatever strikes their fancy. What do you recommend?

    How do you get rid of “writer’s butt”?

  7. FitJerk,

    I came to argue. I came to say nonono, stick with your niche!

    (That, and yes, all my friends “offline” are quite similar in their interests and occupations, but I digress.)

    Stay *branded* as whoever you are! If you’re Dick the Cupcake Maker, then be that guy.

    When I got to that sentence, the whole thing clicked. I not only know what you’re saying and agree, but I realized I do it every day. My niche is very focused. I only read three blogs within my niche. Everything else I read is outside of it. And for years, I’ve been going around commenting, bringing my perspective to their subjects because I can make anything relate to what I do if I try hard enough, and because it’s a lot of fun to step outside my world. I’m a regular reader at humor blogs, hobby blogs, writing blogs, productivity blogs, advertising blogs (okay that’s not much of a stretch)… several places I’m forgetting… and even a fantastic blog written by a NYC film-location-scout. Now there’s a niche!

    So yesyesyes. Stick with your niche. On a personal level. Walk around with your niche all the time. Like carrying a business card.

    I’d never get work on line if I stuck to my niche. Other people who do what I do don’t need me to do it. Branching out is a great gig—I make friends, I expand my thinking, I have a laugh, and it even has positive business results.

    Can’t argue with that!

    James, another fine guest post. Well done.

    Regards,

    Kelly
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Octopus Obedience Training—Better Than Ricky Gervais =-.

  8. This is so true. As a virtual assistant, I tend to market and promote my services to my niche customer. The customer base that basically I feel safe and confident in. I attended a 30-minute coaching session a few days ago and the one area she said that really made sense was to not isolate myself with one niche market, especially if I am actively looking for clients. Basically to expand myself outside of my comfort zone. That doesn’t mean to spread myself thin trying to be everything to every body but to look around at other areas that I am also interested in and tying it all together. It definitely broadened my potential client base. Awesome article.

  9. Love this post. And y’know what? FitJerk just got a new reader (me).

    I think this post also speaks to the underlying fact that people are not one-dimensional. Yeah, I work in marketing. But I also write fiction, freelance, am into fitness, snowboard, am a sports fan, like humour, enjoy gadgets, and a whole bunch of other stuff that make me a human being.

    There are a bunch of niches that appeal to me, seeing them cross-over is just a bonus!
    .-= Adam Di Stefano´s last blog ..Free Marketing Costs More Than You Think =-.

  10. It’s like back in high school…some kids just stuck to their click: the cheerleaders, the jocks, the computer geeks, the motorheads, but there were the few lone travelers that wandered in and out of each segment, and found friendships across the board. Diversify while maintaining your identity. I like that. Go out and convert a few new people on the outskirts of town.
    .-= Cheryl aka Momblebee´s last blog ..Has Social Media Cheapened Creative Talent? =-.

  11. @ Adam – My own feed reader is pretty eclectic, and I appear in the comment sections of all sorts of places. I like the people and the topics, and I realize that plenty of my target market isn’t reading “how to write” blogs!

    @ Deneen – You go, girl!

    @ Kelly – Hee, glad you liked it, and yes, you’re just like me, browsing around through all sorts of blogs unrelated to your particular niche, but hob-nobbing with the people who can one day use your services – or even just point other people to you.

    @ Mary – Personally, I recommend that if you have very different interests, create different sites. For example, we have menwithpens.ca, but we also have capturingfantasy.com They’re “related”, in that it’s about writing, but one is about business and one is about creative fiction. They have no place together, even though they fall under that big “writing” umbrella.

    Too, consider the readers. A business-minded reader isn’t going to give two whits for a post on character development. He’ll skip that post and start to get bored. And vice versa. Niche!

    @ FitJerk – LOL – “Dump that assumption, man. That shit doesn’t belong…” Yessir!

    @ George – Wow. Yeah. Can you imagine talking to the same person, all day, every day, on the same subject? That would get tired fast and your creativity would suffer!

    @ Pat – Now, now, where were you, my good friend, when I was considering a new roof for my garage last spring? You didn’t belong here? Maybe you did. Maybe I would’ve said, “Hey, Pat would know about this! Or maybe he knows someone who would…” and then I’d email you and ask about options and you’d say, “Hey, I know someone” and I’d be all happy and go over there and then three people are thrilled and I have a new roof and…

    YEAH! You see how it goes?

    @ Heather – You and I work in totally different industries, and yet every time someone says, “Man I need an accountant or a VA,” I always think of you. “I know someone. Write Heather. Tell her James sent you.” THAT’S power. Just because you come hang out here :)

    @ Melinda – Trust me, I gave him a hard time. “But… I don’t get it. Why would you want to post here? What’s in it for you?”

    “C’mon man, you stupid thick idiot, let me post!!!”

    “But… I don’t get it.”

    “FREE POST, JAMES! You TWIT!”

    “Yeah, but… I don’t get it.”

    Thank god he’s persistent… ;)

  12. Great article. Pretty much what I do already, tho I need to step it up and do it more actively and purposefully. It helps if you put aside your preconceptions about who you are and what you can offer. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone; realize that we all have lots to offer beyond just our “area of expertise”. Example: I have a social work degree. Know what my upcoming business venture is going to be? A food website. Am I formally trained in food preparation? HELL NO. But it’s something I love, that interests me, that I do well. So I took the leap. What do you have to lose, anyway?

    Take @Pat (up there in the comments) for an example. Sure, tile estimating for commercial construction might be a fairly small niche, but Pat, are you going to tell me you have NO other related skills/knowledge (or unrelated ones)? From the construction angle, have you picked up hands-on knowledge on how to build things? Are you naturally handy yourself? Trust me, most people do NOT have that knowledge and would pay a pretty penny for it (just as Bob Vila).

    Or from the business side, do you know about things like how to select a general contractor, how to make sure you get what you pay for, how to read or write an estimate? Being in ANY field for ANY length of time (hell, being ALIVE for any length of time), you gain knowledge about a vast array of areas. There’s a TON of information in your head, Pat – you just need to understand that it has value.
    .-= Trish´s last blog ..If we never meet, does that mean I’m not real? =-.

  13. Continuing on Trish’s thoughts, Pat… how about local blogs in your area? That was something I did quite a bit when I first started commenting. I know at the least, we have “being here” in common. And since I work here…

    Worth looking into.

    Until later,

    Kelly
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Octopus Obedience Training—Better Than Ricky Gervais =-.

  14. This is definitely applicable to be in the non online world as well as im in a metal band and if we were to just keep playing shows in the metal genre were definitely setting up walls around ourselves and keeping new people from getting the chance to hear us. And that’s why we also try to play shows with poppier bands, or different bands of other heavy genres. it just makes sense to be able to pull in fans from different areas rather than just the one genre we play.

    go leafs go

  15. LEAFS?! LEAFS!!! WHAT?! *pounces on Suggy and beats him up*

    Les Canadiens, man!

  16. @Suggy
    hah, F – YES! Take that James… 2 leafs fans on the blog. That’s gotta sting.

    @Mary
    There is no black and white answer to your question, but here’s how you can end up at a decision. Of the 3-4 niches you wrote down… how adept are you at them? Do you FEEL like you know enough to compete with some of the top dogs in the field, or can you at least monetize it on a smaller scale and have it be an income for extra side cash? If so, then one blog for each is cool.

    But if you don’t feel like you can do that, or if you feel that your main niche deserves all your attention then just have separate sections in your blog for it. A little side area where you can experiment and do funky shit. Kind of like how my Gym has a movie rental area… they ain’t no Blockbuster, but if you’re looking for a quick flick, it’s pretty convenient. Why the hell not, right? But don’t take your eyes of the MAIN FOCUS and you should be good.

    As for “Writers butt”, er… what the hell is that? Opposite of writers block? Taking wild guesses here. Insight would help.
    .-= FitJerk’s Fitness Blog´s last blog ..Product Review: Power Pushup 3 By Lifeline USA =-.

  17. I wanted to hate this post, not sure why (maybe the “jerk” part of the name), but I can’t find a fault. It’s fabulous.

    Such great points across the board, and they make me feel a bit better about posting all over the place lately.

    Even if you aren’t selling, what’s wrong with having fun?
    .-= Nathan Hangen´s last blog ..Focus on the Actions that Matter =-.

  18. @ Nathan – That’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about myself lately. The fun. Finding the fun. Just having fun. Letting go. I think more of us online people need to do that.

    *sees FitJerk leaping into the Leafs fray and gets ready to pound the crap out of him too…*

    Les St-Flannells!! GO CANADIENS! *punch punch*

  19. James, Leaving my niche is the essence of my blog. I focus on cash gifting, but since the activity is not well known I decided to also write posts about mental science and fitness. I’ve studied personal development for the past 5 years. I’ve also been a fitness junkie for the past 17.

    You can only expand your presence by leaving your niche. Many operate solely by logic; they get logical results. Focus on a niche, specialize, and stick to it. This is limiting. I’ve been a successful gifter because I branched out from the beginning. My network outside of gifting grew from Day 1.

    Focus on your niche but play to your strengths. Use all of the tools in your arsenal.
    .-= Ryan´s last blog ..9 Ways To Attract Readers To Your Blog =-.

  20. Booty Monster says:

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaay FitJerk!!

    Go leafs Go!

    :)

  21. @Ryan
    Exactly. This man gets what I’m talking about. In many ways it stems from real world scenarios. When the net wasn’t huge, what did you have to do? That’s right… get your ass out of the house and mingle with randoms and be the charming dude that people recommended. It’s all coming full circle.

    @James
    Will you stop punching like a lil gurl… I hate being tickled. Specially by men. Just stick to you pen, ok? ;)
    .-= FitJerk’s Fitness Blog´s last blog ..Weekly Jokes & Something Special! – Part 3 =-.

  22. @ Ryan – I’m all about cash gifting. I’ll even take gifts in Mastercard, Visa… ;)

    @ Fitjerk – *examines pen…* STAB!

  23. *waves small black, gold, and white flag*

    Go Bruins.

    :P
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Octopus Obedience Training—Better Than Ricky Gervais =-.

  24. Mary E. Ulrich says:

    Only a fitness nut would NOT know what “writer’s butt” is. No, it’s not the opposite of writer’s block. It’s what happens to your butt when you are sitting at your computer all day and writing your story. (The reason I even brought it up was to reinforce the idea that writers indeed need fitness experts, and the point of your sharing expertise.)

    Leafs? You’ll have to explain that term to us down south.

  25. Nicole Brunet says:

    Speaking of octopus, Kelly. *tosses a couple octopi out on the ice*

    Red Wings, for the win. ;)
    .-= Nicole Brunet´s last blog ..NaNo: Day #1 =-.

  26. FJ, I never have any doubts that you will get whatever you go after. This is one great post & gives me & many others a lot to think about …. and DO! Yes, get off our butts & do something about it.. just like exercise.. get off your butt!

  27. Nicole,

    I could be wrong but I think Red Wings fans are probably the happiest of the bunch about now. I’ll go console myself with a Flyers game. Hooray for having two loyalties.

    Later,

    Kelly

    P.S. I couldn’t resist. Had to look it up. Coooooool.
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Octopus Obedience Training—Better Than Ricky Gervais =-.

  28. Nicole Brunet says:

    @Kelly No matter where your loyalties lie, you’ve gotta admit the Wings have some great lore! Octopus etiquette, indeed. :D
    .-= Nicole Brunet´s last blog ..NaNo: Day #1 =-.

  29. @Mary
    I see. heh, it’s funny you mention that because on my list of “articles to write” I have a special one coming up where I reveal some of my favorite exercises to help achieve a firm ass, so look out for that one. I do get a lot of booty questions so maybe I’ll put it up as soon as next week.

    Sign up for my mailing list and I’ll let you know when it’s live. In the mean time though, what you can do is set a timer and work in 2 hour blocks, it’s what our brains are best designed for. On that break perform some deep squats since they can be done on the spot have a small snack (protein rich, not carb heavy). This break should take about 20 mins… which is perfect since it takes us 20-25 mins to re-focus on what we were doing anyways.

    As for Leafs… it’s short for the “Maple Leafs” a popular hockey team and the Canadiens happen to be our rivals and shit…. and James likes them. So you can feel the tension in the air.
    .-= FitJerk’s Fitness Blog´s last blog ..Weekly Jokes & Something Special! – Part 3 =-.

  30. Hey! I step out to work for a few hours… Wow!

    I didn’t mean that my niche wasn’t valid or important someplace. I was reflecting upon the difference in a very narrow niche like my own blog, and something that’s more ubiquitous such as those mentioned in the post.

    The post if valid. I am simply reflecting on my world vs. Fitjerk’s.

    It makes sense to me to bring the bigger world into my niche, I do that all the time. But to my mind, it seems likely to bore the pants off the average reader to try to go in the opposite direction. That’s all I was saying.

    @James: Mentioned his roofing situation. My business is composed of $1-8 mil. sized projects. As I mentioned commercial work. My department is importing stone from Italy, France, and China. We recently completed an airport terminal using terrazzo, stone, and tile for example. I’m in a very different world than the average person might suspect. The average person thinks of what they use in their life residentially – that’s understandable.

    So my point: A narrow niche is not easily transfered to the masses. Cross fertilize certainly. But I believe very narrow niches aren’t easy for others to comprehend. Broad to broad, or broad to narrow works – that’s my view.

    Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on my own. I appreciate the thoughts and encouragement.
    .-= Pat O’Brian´s last blog ..Google Chrome OS =-.

  31. @ Pat – My brother is a high-end architect – he’d probably be all over what you do :) Alas, my garage got some black joe and plywood…

    And hey! I can do Wikipedia links too, you people, you! HAHAHA!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal_Canadiens

    CANADIENS! Bleu blanc rouge! Les Glorieux! And Youppi! Come on. He’s way better than an octopus. Sheesh.

    True story tonight:

    James: “Hey, dude… How are Les Canadiens doing this year?”

    Friend with thick French accent: “Ben, la. No good. Not good at all this year.”

    James: “Oh. Well.” Looks over at blog. “That sucks.” Thinks about possible Leafs domination. “Do they even have a chance?”

    Friend with thick French accent: “Ooooh. Mm. Ben, la. Mm. I do not think so. Not very good at all this year…”

    Still better than octopi.

  32. Nicole Brunet says:

    @James Really? Youppi?! Are you even for real up there? That’s just a bad imitation of a Yooper (c’est moi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upper_Peninsula_of_Michigan) dood! You WISH you could get away with something as cool as tossing octopi into the fray at a pro hockey game. ;)
    .-= Nicole Brunet´s last blog ..NaNo: Day #1 =-.

  33. Y’know, back when I was at school, I was taught that the plural of ‘Leaf’ was ‘Leaves’. You guys sure have some weird grammar rules…. ;-)
    .-= Melinda | WAHM Biz Builder´s last blog ..So What Do I Do With My Newsletter/Autoresponder Now? =-.

  34. @melinda
    Yeah that’s saved for when you’re in english class. “leafs” is how the name of the team is spelt out. haha… the Maple “Leaves”. If I pronounced it that way I’m pretty sure I’d get punched in the face. And a real punch, not a James punch. ;)
    .-= FitJerk’s Fitness Blog´s last blog ..Weekly Jokes & Something Special! – Part 3 =-.

  35. James,

    My octopii are way better than Detroit octopii. Mine are trained. And no I won’t explain it to you if you’re too busy having hockey conversations with your neighbors to click through.
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Octopus Obedience Training—Better Than Ricky Gervais =-.

  36. Lexi Rodrigo says:

    Very intriguing idea and makes a lot of sense. Of course, it helps that your niche, fitness, has a universal appeal. Fitness is something any human bein should be concerned about.

    For other niches, it may be more of a challenge to stay relevant. But I get where you’re coming from.

    Lexi
    .-= Lexi Rodrigo´s last blog ..When Freelancing Sucks =-.

  37. This article particularly caught my attention but not from a purely sales perspective.

    I’ve been thinking that maybe my subject is a bit limiting and finding it difficult to see how I can monetize it.

    Writing down 3 or 4 niches i’m interested in has given some new ideas for the direction of my site. Great post. thanks.

  38. You know, this is a really interesting post. I recently did an interview on my blog for the interviews with up and coming bloggers podcast, and the guy I interviewed was named Rich Lazarra. You can find his blog if you Google him. But one of the most interesting things he told me that he does as a strategy to build relationships is go tradeshows that have nothing to do with his industry. I guess what you are doing here is applying the same concept to the world of blogging, which is really cool. I have to agree that I’ve connected with bloggers who write about alot of different subjects and its’ been really interesting.
    .-= Srinivas Rao´s last blog ..Emergency Rooms, Eardrums, and surfers withdrawal =-.

  39. This post offers a great reminder to stretch beyond one’s perceived boundaries. I work with a law firm that focuses on business law in Ukraine. Definitely not “mainstream.” While it makes sense to interact with firms doing business in this area of the world, there is still substantial competition. However, by stretching boundaries I may encounter others who don’t live in our existing “fishbowl” and may then seek us out as the authority on business business law in that country.

  40. Interesting post and I definitely agree with the reasoning if you have time to blog outside your target market or your ‘niche’ as some people like to call it. The fitness industry can definitely appeal to anyone regardless of what industry they are in but I’m not sure if other ‘niches’ are as easily relatable. Something to think about though.

  41. I’m not sure I’m buying all of this. If I sell cars, for instance, I don’t sell them to other car salesmen. Sure I know the other folks at the lot, but if we are just buying and selling with each other we’re not going far. But if I sell Ferraris I’m going to hang out with guys who buy them, and they could be in all kinds of groups. I might have to join a certain gym or club or go to certain places. I’m still targeting the same niche – Ferarri buyers.
    Now if I want to get to be known as a Ferarri selling plumber, and take plumbing jobs as well. that’s a different story.
    .-= Ed Martin´s last blog ..8 Tips for Keeping Customers Happy on Your Site =-.

  42. @Ed

    You’re going about this the wrong way… all I picked up from that was “sell sell sell” no where did I see you say you wanted to “connect” with “people”. Sure, targeting Ferrari buyers is cool if you sell Ferraris but do you know how many hot chicks know RICH men? Lots. Go “bff” a few attractive, intelligent women… and they will goto BAT for you.

    Now tell me this… do rich men want to buy Ferrari’s? Hmm… and that was just ONE very tiny example.

    Direct selling and targeting your niche is something OBVIOUS you should be doing anyways. What I talk about is something on the side. Something extra that gets you known. Something that keeps you human and SOCIAL so you don’t come across as the douchebag car salesman that everyone hates.

    Get what I’m saying? Good.
    .-= FitJerk’s Fitness Blog´s last blog ..Weekly Jokes & Something Special! – Part 3 =-.

  43. Hi James,

    Not sticking to a niche is a good idea and with open minded people it will work I think.

    But with some blog owners it will likely raise ire when they see a comment from somebody with totally unrelated site.

    For example I know of people in the IM niche who despise comments made on their blogs by people with a weight loss site. They consider those comments spam.

    It is true though that a lot of these comments don’t contribute anything to the subject of the posts.

    I suppose that a creative comment may be accepted regardless of what niche the commentator is in.

    I’m thinking as I write here so I hope it makes some sense.

    Looking at it from my side as a person deciding whether to approve a comment I would definitely approve it based on its value and regardless of the niche of the person who commented.

    So yes, James, I have to agree with your viewpoint here.

    I even heard one very respected marketer say that one shouldn’t be hesitant about posting a comment in an unrelated forum as long as the comment has value.

    The worst thing that can ever happen is that the comment will be deleted.

    Sticking religiously to only one niche and not interacting with people in other niches does feel very confining.

    As for me I will get out of the confinement and contact people out there regardless of their niche.

    Vance
    .-= Vance Sova´s last blog ..Email List Building, Email Opt In List, Online Giveaways =-.

  44. @Vance – I can honestly say that if any commentator leaves something here with an apparent “I have this type of site!” kind of comment, I too mark it as spam. I think that’s a given with any blog owner out there, who gets sick of seeing comments from Diet Solutions or Firewall Software instead of Jack or Joe or Sally.

    Any commentator that comes and puts something thoughtful as a comment (with a real name) and who shows he or she has read the post shouldn’t stir up any ire at all, even on the IM blogs :)

  45. Gotta say that I just stumbled across this blog and found the leafs – leaves little debate very amusing! Regarding staying your niche… It’s important to keep your bread and butter type of customers and never let be too focal targeting businesses that could ultimately put you outof business if they went under. That said, I’d always recommend looking round the corner for other avenue outside of your usual niche as it could present you with a whole new path for your brand.
    .-= Krissie Smitherson´s last blog ..Only use Recycled Printed Carrier bags and save the planet! =-.

  46. @ Krissie – Neither Leafs nor leaves. Les Canadiens. That’s all you need to remember :)

  47. I’m sorry, I know this doesn’t add much to the conversation, but I just read this post from my phone and I just needed to say:
    I love this blog.

    That’s all.
    .-= Jack´s last blog ..Travel Zen: How To Avoid Making Your Vacation Seem Like Work =-.

  48. @Jack – Never apologize for that. Letting us know that what we work so hard to provide here hits a note with you is… well, that’s great. We’ll take that. :)

  49. Jack didn’t read the sign I posted outside:

    Don’t Feed the Egos.

    ;)

    Hi Jack. This blog is kind of awesome, isn’t it! James and team do a great job every single time out.
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Talent vs. Fate—Are You Good or Lucky? =-.

  50. Well, James, if you’re serious about going outside your niche, and you like tech writing, I invite you to consider a guest post with us. Our niche is tech for affluent, savvy baby boomers. Our community is growing, our traffic is strong and we’ve been around for 4 years. Plus, we’re fun and really, really nice. Just let me know when you’d like to send something over. Nice article here, too – I subscribed to the blog because of it – you couldn’t have given better advice that to encourage writers to come out and play – it helps develop your writer voice!
    mkp
    http://www.digitalgrandparent.com
    http://www.ontext.com
    .-= Maryan Pelland´s last blog ..Should passengers be allowed to use cell phones in flight? =-.

  51. I have had *so* many people advise me against my current blog set up. I have a few topics I cover on my blog – travel, lifestyle design, and photography, interspersed with posts about my personal life. I have a separate blog about my project to restore a vintage sidecar motorcycle, but that’s only because the topic is highly technical and might bore most folks. However, I get a decent amount of traffic regardless, and you know what? When I started an advice/lifestyle design-only blog, it got very little traffic, despite using similar marketing to that which I use for my main blog. I’m convinced that unless you’re at the top of your market, having a niche can make you come off as one-dimensional, and people tend to prefer to deal with more “real” people.

  52. I love this post! I have five different blogs, along with five different handles/names/emails etc. I find it so tiring trying to remember which hat I’m wearing and when.

    I love that I can be NessWorld the WAHM Magazine Editor wherever I go. Gosh it’s just so liberating!

    Good, good, no, Great Post.

  53. I lost my profession as a professor in exchange as a freelance writer. Now, I’m so happy with it and my career has become stable and stronger.

  54. Steve-Hostirian says:

    What a SUPER article, but even better all the GREAT comments! Wow! I’ve been concentrating on posting to industry forums this past year, but after reading this, plan to broaden my horizon. Thanks.
    .-= Steve-Hostirian´s last blog ..How to drive business by being noticed and remembered =-.

  55. Great post. It reminds me of when we did the exercise on ideal audience. Remember? I said in my comment that I felt that “Alex” is a psychographic representation of who I want to target. Yes, I guess I could pin him down in a demographic way too which would niche him. But it’s really the psychology that drives this audience I envision. Because people are people. So, while the conventional wisdom might be to divide our businesses by trade, it make sense to see where else might your customers may be. Your proposal of looking at 3-4 additional niches is a great strategic way to go about it. Excellent suggestion, James. Win. :)

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