Finding and Reaching Your Niche
Welcome to the fourth lesson, where you’ll learn about influencers.
Have you noticed everyone is talking about niches? They’re right. Don’t shoot in the dark like commercials do on TV. To be successful online, you need to target niches, especially if your brand is small. Instead of addressing a broad, generic target, you should find and reach out to one or a few niches. It will prove much less competitive than targeting a big audience, and you’ll stand a much better chance.
Finding Your Niche
Niches are small audiences identified by a common interest, and although they’ve always existed, they are now easier than ever to find: people share so much about themselves on the internet, about their life and their interests, so reaching them is not difficult. They often gather in communities and groups both offline and online: maybe as a small association or club (offline) or a Facebook group or forum (online).
No matter how big or small your niche is, no matter if it’s one or more, it’s important that you identify it so you can tailor your message for the right people.
The easiest way is to start by typing their interest(s) on search engines and skimming through blogs, forums, and social networks. Are you targeting amateur runners in the NYC area? Stay-at-home moms who love handicrafts? You’ll find them. And you’ll learn a lot about the people you want to sell to.
You’ve found your niche. Now, what do you do? How do you connect with them?
Reaching Out to Your Niche
The best way is reaching out to key individuals who can share your message for you. So, think in terms of “authority.” Authority today doesn’t require any formal approval. Anybody who likes, shares, or comments positively on something actually “gives” authority to the author of that content. The most liked, shared, appreciated, and popular individuals in a niche are what we call influencers. Influencers should be a key target of a digital PR strategy because they can really help you get your message across, sharing it with their community and influencing people’s opinions. They have the power to affect buying decisions because of their reputation.
An influencer can connect you to many people, acting as someone who gives their advice to friends and acquaintances, helping you spread the word, and enabling that word-of-mouth process that is so relevant on the web.
Look at the most active and most frequently mentioned individuals in your niche and find a way to contact them. When looking for influencers, keep in mind these criteria:
• Reach. How big is this person’s audience? How many people can they reach?
• Context. Is this person in exactly the same field as your brand? Be specific, as “subfield” is even better: narrowing down is always a good idea. Is their audience really relevant to you?
• Action. Do people just like them, or do they take action and follow the given advice? If they suggest your brand, would their audience just listen or go and buy that product or service?
Sometimes finding them is really easy. For example, you’ll notice on your brand’s Facebook page that some fans are especially active and often create conversations. Or, on your blog, some people regularly comment on your posts and spark interesting discussions. These are influencers who are already supporting you, and if you haven’t done it yet, you can reach out to them and see if you can work together on your promotion. But what about reaching people who are not connected to you yet?
Why not start by searching a group of Twitter hashtags that are relevant to your brand and seeing who’s talking more about them? Or, you can search for Facebook groups and see who runs them. You can also Google blogs in your topic to find bloggers with a large following. Try a tool like Traackr or Buzzstream if you want even more.
Now that you have identified the people you want to reach, you can prepare your message. And this is exactly what we’re going to do tomorrow.
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