Must you focus on just 1 niche?
A reader wrote this to me:
“My passion is to help people lead a happy life. I want to help people achieve fulfillment in 3 important areas of their lives… relationships, finances, and career.
As I’ve read and researched, I see that many experts recommend tailoring down to a specific niche, and focusing on narrow issues; thereby warning against taking a big range of topics. I perfectly understand that the 3 areas I’ve picked are so wide! In fact, each has countless sub-topics.
But what I’m trying to do is link the 3 of them together because I believe that they are the core factors that affect people’s happiness and well-being. If people do well in these areas, they’re more likely to excel in other things.”
I imagine some of you reading this are wondering the same thing—being multi-passionate and multi-talented, how can you restrict yourself to just one thing?
Here is what most marketing experts will say: niche down to ONE of your multiple interests.
In fact, it’s even better to emphasize a specialty within one of those mega-topics, aka “niching down.” Examples might include: “Dating for Urban Millennials” or “Financial Planning for Mid-Life Entrepreneurs” or “Christian Career Coaching.”
I used to offer this advice as well.
But over the past years, my views have changed on this.
I’ve seen too many people try to constrain themselves into one area, and then getting bored or otherwise regretting the narrow focus.
I now believe that it’s not always right to niche down, but rather, to ask yourself these questions:
- What area(s) am I likely to be able to sustain consistent content creation?
- What area(s) have products/services that I would be proud to promote, whether it’s what I create myself or what I sell from others?
Integrating multiple areas into one
Your potential readers and fans may enjoy having a "one-stop shop" of content, and if you cover multiple areas or integrate them, it could be interesting for them.
Or they might love your weaving together of these various topics into a more holistic perspective that they don’t usually see elsewhere.
It’s impossible to know, until you start!
You must experiment to really know which areas (or all of them) are deeply enjoyable for you to create consistently, both content and offers. This is how you become increasingly skilled in these various areas. You’ll also keep observing what your audience likes.
Be open to audience feedback. Niche down only if you really feel – based on your grounded experience – that it is needed. Not because business coaches say it’s a good idea. Because maybe you’ll never need to niche and still be able to have a thriving business.
Over time, you might naturally decide you want to niche more specifically, or make it more broad, depending on your audience’s feedback about what topics of content you’re best at creating.
Be open to it, but don’t force yourself to choose before you’re ready.
Notice who responds to you
If you aren’t at all sure about the Audience you wish to address, then I recommend addressing all the audiences that interest you… one post at a time.
Your own existing connections/network will weigh more heavily in one particular type of audience, and thus you’ll get more engagement from that audience, which then naturally encourages you to focus more on that audience.
In short: as you notice what gets a response, you’ll be naturally moved to create more things like that.
One offer at a time
Even though you might enjoy dabbling in many areas, I would recommend that your offers (services, programs, packages, events) be more specific.
You can have as many offers as you’re willing to create. Experiment with trying to sell (or enroll people into) a variety of things.
For example, different webinars, different coaching offerings, different group programs. See which of your offers gets more interest from your audience.
They are seeing one offer at a time from you, anyway, not all your offers at once.
Each time you offer a webinar, for example, they’re only seeing that webinar in front of them, not remembering all the other webinars you’ve offered, and they don’t know what future webinars you’ll offer. People are generally overwhelmed with information these days and look only at what’s in front of them right now.
Let me repeat: your most likely clients generally don’t just randomly visit your website and get confused. No. They’re more likely to see your offers, one at a time, as you announce them on social media or via email newsletter. Or they might browse your site and then just focus on one of your offer pages.
The usual business advice of “don’t confuse your audience” is too vague to be useful, in my experience. Your potential clients will respond to whichever offer they see from you, for example, in a social media post, or in your email newsletter, or in a webinar, or on a sales page. They got there because of your general credibility/connection with them. Then, they’ll say “yes” to the thing if they want it.
It’s probably beneficial to your business if you offer more things, so you can test the market.
Excellence and credibility
Ultimately, it’s about developing excellence and credibility.
Whatever topics you choose, the goal is to become excellent at it, and therefore, truly credible.
The benefit of a focused niche is that it’s easier to become excellent and credible sooner, due to consistent practice in one focused area. Spreading your energy into multiple topics means that it’ll take you longer to get great at any one thing.
But it’s a tradeoff.
If you really enjoy or are passionate about creating content in multiple topics at once... or if you're not sure which one to choose yet... then don't choose yet!
The bottom line is that you need to have a consistent rhythm of content creation and offer creation to get excellent at it… whatever the topics may be, and however you integrate them.
It is totally fine to choose later, or stay broad if you're getting good audience feedback.
This post was first written in July 13, 2018. Updated in Oct of 2022.