We’ve talked before about the importance of carving out a niche for yourself when building an author platform. Catering to a niche instead of a broad audience is going to make things easier for you in many ways in the long run and provide much more detailed, precise answers to your readers’ problems. However, have you honed your focus to a very well-defined niche? The more precise your message is, the harder it will hit home to your audience.
Initially, there’s a bit of a tradeoff when it comes to building a niche following. You resonate with fewer people, but the connections you make are much more meaningful. Marketing to a broad audience may result in more interested readers at first, but their level of engagement is going to be much less intense than a niche crowd. The big difference between these approaches is you can overcome the drawbacks of a niche audience much more easily over time. When you cater to a large audience and have a vast but lukewarm readership, it’s much harder to build that up into something more impactful that answers very specific questions. You may find more success with a larger target audience more quickly, but it’s likely to fizzle out sooner rather than later.
Niche marketing is the long game. When you start small, you give yourself the opportunity to hone your message into something that hits home on a specific issue. Once you’ve established yourself as a master of your craft and an authority in your field, it becomes much easier to grow your platform. You accomplish this by starting with a general topic, narrowing it down to specific concerns within that topic, then applying your personal experience and crafting it into your work. Your competitors are going to be a wealth of information and sometimes even inspiration.
It’s true that you can gain a great deal of insight from attending other writers’ events and even buying their books. However, be wary of emulation. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery in some cases, but not when it comes to building an author platform. Don’t bother trying to mimic another author’s success. See what has worked for them, think about how you’re different, and succeed in your own unique way.
Don’t stop there. Get to know your potential competition in your field. What questions are they answering? Who buys their books? Who attends their events? Learn what others in your field are saying and then find a way to relate to your audience in a unique way. How is your brand different? Leverage your personality and use your personal experience to craft a targeted message. Setting yourself apart is one of the absolute best tactics for building a successful author platform, and you need to capitalize on every opportunity you have to do so.
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