One of the things that was drilled into me at uni was to find my niche. That nice, comfortable bubble that I know so well, and which will eventually allow me to claim ‘expert’ status at some stage in the future. In the world of writing, a niche could be editing, storytelling or, as is my case, copywriting. But over the past couple of weeks, I have come to learn that occasionally stepping outside my niche can open doorways to many other opportunities.
If you have followed me over the past 18 months, you would know that I write for Netball Scoop. My role started as match reporting for the Queensland based netball teams but has since grown to include feature writing. My first feature article about umpiring legend, Michelle Phippard, was published in June. I learnt how to write feature articles at uni, but never that I would utilise the skill again. But as it turns out, having that experience allowed me to write the article which will now be growing into a series of semi-related articles and a few other collaborative projects. All of these opportunities are coming about because I stepped outside my copywriting niche and undertook a more challenging venture.
Expanding one’s niche isn’t a new concept. It is how everyone grows and learns. But why is it that expanding boundaries in business can sometimes be seen as a bad thing? Maybe it is because your niche market is like the backbone of your business, and if you stretch it too much, customers fear you losing the strength of that foundation. But, look at conglomerates like Woolworths or Google: they have expanded and are better for it. So, if they can do it, why can’t you or I?
Stepping outside your niche not only exposes you to more customers, but it can allow you to learn fresh skills and, like me, create new, potentially lucrative, connections. So, here are five ways you can expand your niche and start reaping the rewards:
1. Identify your motives. Why do you want to expand? Who will your target audience be? How do those two answers overlap with your current product?
2. Research your market to identify the gaps. This will allow you to market yourself purposefully for that gap.
3. Don’t neglect your backbone. I am guilty of this and have suffered a little for it. It can be easy to be sucked into the black hole of excitement and ambition to achieve the new goal but don’t neglect the market who got you to where you are. Keep them strong so that they can advocate for you.
4. Create a marketing strategy that would appeal to both new and old clientele. It’ll save you work and give you credibility with both audiences.
5. Deliver. You’ve identified, researched, touched-up and marketed the product. Now be sure you meet those expectations. Nothing kills a business faster than overpromising and underdelivering.
Stepping outside your niche can be scary, but it can also reinvigorate your love for what you do. I implore you to give it a go. You won’t regret it.
For more writing tips or to hear about my upcoming projects, please do not hesitate to contact me.