So, You’ve Been Creating Content?
I’m really into the idea that everyone should build a business around his/her personal brand. I believe that’s where the career landscape is headed in the not so distant future.
I love the idea of taking something from scratch and building it up while connecting with other like-minded individuals and making money in the process. This shouldn’t be just any business, though. It should be one that is rooted in your interests and talents and is something you can’t wait to get up in the morning to do.
If the above sounds interesting to you but you have no idea where to begin, that’s okay. Neither did I. The key is to start before you’re ready.
Begin by creating content that reflects what interests you about the world. It can literally be about anything and doesn’t have to just focus on one subject (at least for now).
In terms of type of content (e.g. photo, video, text, etc.), do what suits your personality and natural talent best. You probably already know what that is but feel free to experiment too.
In the process, you will start to find your voice and get other people, both current friends and new ones, interested in your journey. Maybe that means building an email list. Or starting a blog. Or creating a YouTube channel. Regardless of what it is, you will soon get in a groove with your content production and your fans will expect to hear from you.
While this is all well and great, at some point, you need to start narrowing down the content theme you want to focus on most and become an expert in. This isn’t to say that you can’t create content around a number of topics, but you should at least begin focusing on one industry that aligns best with your interests. Remember, at the end of the day, you need to build a product or service that will be able to replace (and hopefully surpass) the income you’re making at your current day job.
This is exactly where I’m at right now. I feel great about my content production and distribution but am itching to latch onto a niche that I can really sink my teeth into.
If you’re struggling to find your content niche, here’s what I think you should do:
1. GET MORE FORMAL FEEDBACK.
I currently evaluate my writing and email newsletter performance by the numbers. For my blog posts, it’s about Likes, Comments, and Views. For my newsletters, it’s the Open Rate. The higher those metrics are, the more I know that a particular piece of content is resonating with people. Occasionally, I will get more detailed feedback via comments and one-off email replies, but that’s more few and far between.
What I really think is a great next step is to ask for feedback. Get in touch with anyone who has engaged with your content in the past, most notably your email subscribers. Solicit feedback via in-person meetings, online surveys, casual emails, etc. Just make sure you give them the permission to be brutally honest with you; otherwise you won’t learn.
The best way to know who your audience is and how you can get more people just like them to collaborate with them. They will not only help point you in the right direction when it comes to finding your niche, but they will also become bigger fans in the process. Listen to what your audience has to say and consider doubling down on the area or theme that seems to be resonating the most.
2. REVERSE ENGINEER YOUR CONTENT.
What I mean by this is a content analysis. While it’s definitely important to evaluate what’s been performing well, don’t forget to ask yourself why you’ve been creating the content you have, not to mention taking a closer look at the content you’ve be consuming daily.
Here’s a list of questions that will help guide your analysis.
- What content am I creating? Consuming? Sharing?
- Why am I creating, consuming, and sharing that content?
- What are the common themes I’m seeing?
- What’s not being said or talked about within these subjects?
- Are there any areas or themes I’m interested in but haven’t focused on? If so, why and what kind of content could I make around it?
By answering these kinds of questions and others, you’ll have a much better understanding of what your underlying passions are. Some of the common themes that immediately jump out to me when thinking about my content are personal branding, career development, success, life lessons, writing, and book learnings.
3. PICK ONE OF THE THEMES AND GO DEEP.
Once you answer the questions above, you’re bound to discover that you have multiple areas of interests. That’s totally fine. I’d recommend trying to prioritize them based on level of excitement. A good litmus test to do is to ask yourself, “If I were to go the bookstore, which of these areas would I most want to read hundreds of books about?” Shout-out to author James Altucher for that one.
Once you do this, pick the interest at the top of the list and start going deep on it. Brainstorm content ideas. See how the theme might overlap with other ones on your list. Experiment with your audience. Watch what happens. After a couple of months, you’ll have a sense of if you’re on the right track or need to start the process over again.
If you feel like you’re at a point where you don’t know where your content is headed, I’d highly recommend trying out the process I outlined above. Let me know how it goes!
Any advice for figuring out what your content niche is? Share it in the comments below.