Do you know who you are shaking hands with? Do you know who has your business card? Your brochure? Do you know for a fact that the people with whom you are networking are the right people? Many people network as if the one with the biggest rolodex wins. That hasn’t been true for a very long time, if it ever was.
Today, it is all about narrowly defining your market and cultivating that niche to your advantage. If you are a musician, what are you doing at a florist convention? You need to be at an RIAA convention glad-handing the right people, and promoting yourself to the movers and shakers who matter to you. This seems obvious in the real world. But we tend to forget that the same rule applies online.
Here are some ways to make niche promotion work for you online:
Niche Promotion for Musicians
There was a time when a musician did not have to worry about self-promotion. That was one of the big advantages of signing on with a major label. If they thought you were worth the investment, they would do everything in their power to promote you and your work. After all, they were making a huge investment in your success. They did all the leg-work to get your music played on the radio, and your album into the music stores. If you were very lucky, you would get an end-cap.
Today, you have the ability to do an end-around the music industry. That is both the good news and the bad. Your new-found freedom as a musician comes at the cost of you having to navigate the waters of promotion all by yourself. If you do not have a background in the legal ins and outs of the music industry, self-promotion could be a real uphill battle.
Music publishing companies like TuneCore have stepped in to help independent musicians find their niche audience and license their music for royalties. The challenge is not getting an end cap in the record stores. It is getting placed and promoted on iTunes and Amazon. It is making sure that the people searching for new-age thrash pop alternative music find you, presumably the only one in that fictional genre. But if choose carefully among the many music publishing companies, you can get your music out there.
Niche Promotion for Writers
For reasons that should be obvious, I’m a big fan of writers. Like musicians, we have discovered a new-found freedom from the oppressive thumb of the man. By “man”, I mean publishers who acted as gatekeepers of the world of print.
To even get a serious shot at a publisher’s attention, we had to hire expensive agents just to get our manuscripts into their hands. Managers and publicists would be responsible for arranging book tours and other promotional vehicles. Without an agent, today’s writer is lucky to get a decent placement on an obscure blog, that is, if they are not using a service like Contently to promote their work.
Contently is a network that connects people who need content with the people who produce it. Writers can set up web pages that serve as a portfolio. They can also gain access to special freelancer resources and tips. It is a service that brings the power of niche promotion to freelance writers. When writers have the right promotional tools, they can focus on what they do best: writing, not self-promotion.
Niche Promotion for Coders
If there is one group of professionals in the world that needs help promoting their services, it’s coders. There are a lot of talented coders and a lot of businesses who need coders. They often have a hard time coming together. This may be partially due to the somewhat introverted nature of programmers. They spend all day typing letters and symbols that don’t exactly equate to any human language. They are not exactly extroverts who can easily navigate the social and political waters of high-level employment.
Code monkeys rejoice! Now, there is a service called oDesk. It is for computer types what Contently is for freelance writers. It allows you to post your particular skills on a page that can be viewed by companies and individuals looking to hire someone with your unique abilities. You no longer have to play the game of office politics to work on projects that interest you. Just use the right promotional tool, and the good jobs will come looking for you.
Whatever your business, it will benefit from the power of niche. By narrowing your promotional efforts in the places and to the people that matter, you will increase your opportunities for success.