Find your Niche
By CGW Staff Writer
Why You Need a Niche It is hard to enter the arena of writers in the world today. The goal is relatively simple: you have something to say, and you want people to come to hear it. The goal may be simple, but as you likely know already, it is not easy in the slightest. The competition for an audience is fierce and it seems there are more people than ever for eyes. In an era that is increasingly built around social followings, you can see how one might fall into a soulless marketing game. But as you split test topics and market test headlines, you must keep sight of your message, your mission, and the audience you first felt called to reach as you scratch and climb to build up your platform and body of work.
You need to lock into your niche in order to stand out among the saturation of writers and creators today. Figuring out your unique knowledge and message is the first step. What questions were you asking yourself, God, your peers, and experts two or even ten years ago for which you now have answers? Chances are you’ve matured. How did that happen? What do you know now that you didn’t know then? Your life is unique and you have had unique revelations, whether you’re aware of it or not. This just might be your niche. you have the authority and experience to write about it.
Your Unique Voice
Developing a unique voice in your writing may be difficult, especially for newer writers, but it is important if you are in this for the long game. Studying other authors whose styles you relate to or consider well-crafted is the first step in understanding how to develop your own (explore this topic here.) Diverse audiences call for diverse voices, so learning how to best write for your subject matter will take you to the next level and add intention to your writing. A dramatic saturation of diverse audiences (particularly online) means that you have a chance to reach large audiences with ideas that you may consider unrelatable despite them being incredibly useful to others. But beyond finding an audience who can relate to and appreciate your work, in order to achieve success as an author, you must make your niche the main source for your audience to find that niche. Alternatively, build up your identity as an author/persona/platform so that your readers become familiar with and attached to your work and your “brand” that they will continue to follow your work. Your idea, your unique take, your discovery, or whatever unique spin you can put on your message will cause readers to stick with you and listen to what you have to say.
Figure out what you know that nobody else knows. Be careful not to get caught up catering to the people for the sake of winning over an audience. Your message comes first. Present them with something new, something that you believe honestly that they need to hear, and something specific enough that nobody could tell it to them like you could. Remember to say what you must say (another article linked here). Let it be your aim is to become the go-to place for audiences to get the type of content you provide. Whether you’re an entertainment writer, a writer of devotionals or study materials, a video creator, or any other type of creative, you must create a market (so to speak) and place yourself at the top of that market, or at least near the top.
Become the Market for The Work You Want to Create
It doesn’t matter whether you’re producing books, videos, articles, a social page, or anything else; it’s not about the content form. What matters to your readers (besides your message) is you. They are looking for a niche topic, and they need a niche voice to deliver the message they’re looking for. Medium has a great article on how to find and develop your niche. You have to be intentional and specific with your subject material and your message because that’s what gives it a unique voice.
Another great way to convey a personality in your work for readers to form a relationship with is to build up a social presence (online or locally) to show people who you are and give exposure to what you do and what you’re about. You have to show them why you’re worth listening to. This principle goes beyond just writing. In order to build any kind of following for your work, you have to create an image for it that unifies it and gives people something to attach to.
Yet (obviously) more important than your image (brand) is the actual content of your work, because if your brand identity doesn’t lead readers to any real substance then they won’t stick around for long. I you write what matters to you, it will matter to them. What do you have to share that they didn’t know they were missing?
The thing about successful creatives is that they are good at translating what they do and what they believe into a digestible, presentable form that is both unique and challenging to their audience, but at the same time easy to grasp and apply. If you struggle with writing in a clear and direct way, you can practice the elevator pitch method to get to the root of what you need to say.
Start broad with your content and narrow it down to your real message. Hook your audience with something they can relate to or that they find familiar, and then take them a level deeper at a time until you’ve brought them comfortably to a niche that nobody else is able to provide for them. It is easy to mess this part up, as you can estrange your readers too much and cause them to lose interest if what you’re sharing with them is too alien or introduced too abruptly.
If you’re a Christian writer especially, your niche is already quite restrictive to who your audience is. If you need help finding a niche within this market, check out Lucidbook’s article on finding a niche within Christian publishing (linked here.)
Chuck Kralik is an author who has found a niche in devotional writing. Consider his niche: He writes for Christian audiences, but not just anything–specifically devotionals. This style of writing is made to be essentially 100% applicable to the reader immediately upon reading. It’s not a message that takes months or years to follow through with; it’s an immediate turnaround, meaning readers can consume it quickly and move on to whatever he has next. This style of writing is consistent and once a reader base is hooked to the material, they will likely continue to follow his work. You can read more about Kralik and exactly what he does here on Medium’s website linked here.
Once you hook your readers, they will attach to your personality (or even the personality of your writing, not necessarily you personally) and your message. It has to be unique enough and applicable enough that they can form a connection with you and/or your message. Provide something new, useful, relatable, and digestible, and in return, they will listen.
Just Get Started
Whether you’re already at work or you’re just starting out now, it’s time to get the ball rolling. Start writing something today. What questions were you asking into the void 2 or even 5 years ago that have led you to today? Captivating a diverse audience is incredibly difficult. It takes time, but building your message this way will ensure you know what you’re talking about and you have a unique point of view to share, which is all readers need to attach to your ideas. Create your own field where you are the leading authority, and provide wisdom for those seeking answers in that field. If you hold to your message and your voice, then your work will work. Eventually, you can broaden your niche, but timing is everything.