I hear it constantly: “My niche isn’t sexy enough for content marketing.”
It’s a lie.
It’s a crutch.
It’s a flat-out excuse.
The problem isn’t with the niche, it’s with your perception. The problem is you aren’t thinking about what makes your steak sizzle.
The “boring” niche actually has a secret weapon.
Here’s what it is and how to use it to your advantage.
Unique is good
More often than not, when you really look at a niche business that is offering something far from the mainstream, it’s interesting.
If it’s not in the mainstream, then it’s not something people are used to. So people are not desensitized to the subject and they get interested.
If you are running a niche business, then people don’t hear about it every day. They don’t see the interesting data and information you have — information no one else has.
People are so inundated with information now that they don’t react to what they are used to seeing. They’ve built up a tolerance to that which is familiar.
But they’re still hungry for content, and unique content is the only content that stands out.
This is where your “boring niche” comes in: to provide that interesting, unique content.
How do you find your sizzle?
Here is a three-step process for identifying what you have that no one else has … and how to use it to your advantage.
- Use the information that is obscure and unique to your business, and tie it in to existing internet fads or buzz topics.
- Take advantage of information that you already have access to, or are already using somewhere else. Repurpose that on the web in a new way.
- Take any kind of database you have, examine it, and drill down to what kind of information might be interesting to represent in a creative way.
Let’s see how this works in practice. I’m going to explain these points from the perspective of a consultant doing content marketing for a local chiropractor (which I was recently told is a “boring niche”).
If you’re a chiropractor, you know a lot about the spine and nervous system. Use that knowledge.
For example, put together an infographic around the ways the nervous system affects the body. Show a diagram of a body and run down a list of X number of ways that having a misaligned spine and neck can wreak havoc on your heart, lungs, and circulatory system.
I would click on that.
As another example: CrossFit is a huge fad right now, so explain how CrossFit can affect a person’s bone structure and nervous system. CrossFit enthusiasts will eat it up and may even use you as their chiropractor. You may even get on a site like Lifehacker.
You also are likely to have many pamphlets around your office that explain the function of the central nervous system, of good posture, and sleeping habits.
Use all of these pieces of information to form a content strategy for your blog: “3 Ways to Get More Out Of Your Sleep” … “How to Make Sure Your Workout Doesn’t Kill Your Back” … the potential topics are endless.
Tie in these pieces of information that are unique to you. You will pique reader interest, get an abundance of shares due to your interesting content, and gain a ton of traffic — which you can turn into business (if you’re smart).
But that’s not all. You can dig deeper …
Mine your data for content diamonds
Data is sexy.
It’s more apparent now than ever, mostly in the tech realm (with the people who will actually link to you).
Here are a couple of examples of how data can be turned into incredible content.
FlowingData used RunKeeper’s open API & database to put together a heat map of running routes in major cities. For example, this heat-map shows where people run in Atlanta, GA.
Beautiful, simple, interesting.
And made entirely from a free database of information that most would deem “unsexy.”
Another example would be Eat24’s hilarious ad data showing where people ordered their food … while watching pornography.
Essentially Eat24 (as they explain in the linked post above) discovered a very interesting aspect about their business while assessing their ad budget and social following.
They realized that many of their highest profile followers were porn stars — literally. They had advocates in the porn industry all over the place.
So, naturally, they decided to look into advertising on porn sites. And they discovered that the cost per 1,000 impressions on such a site was about 1/10th that of Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, or Twitter Ads.
With a limited budget, they decided to go out with some cheeky advertising on some of the shadiest parts of the web. Their ads stood out — like this one (yes, it’s safe for work) — and the Internet took notice.
With an insane amount of traffic coming from these ads, and at 90 percent less expensive than their Google ads, Eat24 took down all other ads and targeted this sector with an even bigger budget.
When people noticed this remarkable ad strategy, Eat24 started being featured on BuzzFeed and many other high profile sites, which boosted Eat24’s revenue even further.
To ramp this up more, they decided to throw the data they gathered while pursuing these ads into some hilarious infographics to post alongside their case study (which itself got more than 10,000 social shares).
One of the best data-backed infographics was named “The Most Sensual Food By City.” It showed which foods people ordered the most by city … while viewing you-know-what.
This particular strategy might not sit right with you, depending on your values. But the point is that a successful content strategy is all about tailoring the situation, information, and context to your business.
And sometimes it’s as easy as just finding a way to make people laugh.
Find the humor
Another amazing way to create engaging, sharable content is to find the humor in your business and exploit it.
Dissolve accomplished this impeccably with their “Generic Brand Video.”
Dissolve understood that brands were using their stock video content to create brand videos that catered to every audience possible. So, Dissolve set out to create the ultimate such video — using only their own stock footage.
The video is hilarious. It essentially makes fun of Dissolve’s own customers, who reacted with good humor and humility.
And the video got shared.
It has been viewed more than 1,270,000 times. That’s 1,270,000 potential prospects, all gained by resources Dissolve already had access to.
That’s insane exposure for a simple stock content site.
It’s also a content marketing dream: taking a simple, “boring” niche and turning it into something spectacular.
The 6-step process for using your secret weapon
So, to win as a “boring” niche:
- Think about the resources you have that you could repurpose into interesting web content: data, written information, videos, odd-use cases, the list goes on and on.
- Think about how you can spin that information to be interesting as it relates to modern trends and fads.
- Think about what medium the story would be best told through: infographic, blog post, video, gif, etc.
- Identify the communities and social channels that are the best fit for it.
- Use paid promotion, if necessary, to give that content a jump start for social shares.
- Rinse and repeat.
The next time you find yourself lamenting the lack of content opportunities available to you, remember: there is no such thing as a boring niche.
There are only boring perceptions of niches … niches that could be sexy and sizzle with the right creative approach.
So give your business a fresh, objective look and shift your perception.
Use your secret weapon.
If you need help, we’ve got you covered
Are you struggling to create content for a niche you think is too dry?
Are you unsure if your ideas are on the right track?
Or, have you had experience devising a sizzling content strategy for a niche you thought would be too boring?
Come on over to the Google-Plus discussion and let’s share ideas.
Did you like this article?
Then you should check out my previous contribution to Copyblogger: The Simple Truth People Forget When Trying to Grow a Business.
Flickr Creative Commons Image via Michael Leland.
About the Author: Sean Smith is a content marketer and social media strategy consultant, having worked with brands like Best Western, Holiday Inn, Bidsketch, and Baker Hughes to boost revenue through clever content and community building. He’s a lead marketeer at SimpleTiger digital marketing, and a consultant for hire. Get more from Sean on Twitter.