All it takes is a quick Google search and you'll see that there is a TON of information and advice out there on niche marketing and content marketing strategies. But this post is going to be a bit more specific … more niche, if you will. Because when you step away from the bigger marketing and content plans, the actual writing for a niche audience presents its own unique set of challenges. The biggest challenge is that the vast majority of us writing in the marketing industry entered it as generalists — not subject-matter experts in pharmaceuticals, farming, engineering or [insert random and technical niche here]. When working with a new niche client, we writers have to learn how to write for them. And we have to learn FAST. Here are 6 tips for conducting a self-guided crash course on writing for your niche audience.
1. Remember that your audience is human
Regardless of their particular niche industry, at its core, your audience is made up of living, breathing people with needs and desires. What are their pain points? What do they need to be successful? What problem can your client solve for them? Getting to know and understand the people inside the professionals is one of the first steps to providing them with valuable content — and helping your client build a relationship with their audience.
2. Get to know the landscape
Search out and subscribe to as many industry blogs and publications as you can. Set Google alerts. You'll build a deep understanding of important industry themes, lingo and trends, as well as stay abreast of changing regulations and breaking industry news—all giving you the ammunition you need to write like you actually know what you're talking about (and, eventually, you will).
3. Stalk the competition
Get to know them inside and out. What are they talking about and in what way? Doing right and wrong? What do their customers have to say? Knowing their tone, topics and where they stand in the marketplace can help you distinguish your client from its competitors.
4. Tap your best resource — the client (a.k.a. Break it down now)
Your client is a wealth of information, and many of them will talk your ear off if you ask the right questions. Ask the big ones, the small ones, weirdly specific ones and even stupid ones. Your client will appreciate your interest. And if the subject matter is complicated or highly technical? Ask your client to break it down for you — to explain the most basic functions and benefits to you like you're a 12-year-old, or even a 6-year-old. That elementary understanding will help you assimilate the information and channel it into useful and original materials instead of simply regurgitating the fodder you're given.
5. Respect your audience's time
More often than not, if you're talking to a niche audience, you're talking to industry professionals. Busy ones. Show them that your client values and respects their time by making content that's easy for them to read. Write short paragraphs. Use bold headlines, subheads and key phrases to draw their eye through the content. And don't be afraid to bullet, bullet, bullet. The key is to make the content scan-able — when the right bits of info catch their eye, they'll read more.
6. Give them something unexpected
A little surprise and delight can go a long way. Whether it's a funny, industry-related video or useful industry insights (NOT directly related to your client's product or service), sharing or creating this kind of content shows your niche audience that they are more than just a transaction to your client. And that's the kind of business they want to do business with.