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.