I have some bad news, and it might be tough to hear.
Not everyone is going to like you, trust you, believe in you or want to work with you.
You might be rolling your eyes and thinking, “of course not, I didn’t think that …”
Take a good look at your marketing, though. Who are you writing your marketing messages and promotional materials for?
I hear so many small business owners say “I work with anyone who …”
Even if you truly believe that anyone and everyone could benefit from your solutions and services, if you try to dilute your message to appeal to everyone, it will not stand out to anyone!
Choosing a niche market is a courageous step. If you’ve done it, congratulations! Please read on.
If you haven’t done it, please take the Lighthouse Test by Jan H. Stringer and Alan Hickman. [Update December 22, 2014: The test is now available here with a subscription to the Attracting Perfect Customers newsletter.]
Once you’ve chosen your niche, here are three ways to make sure that your writing is targeted to exactly who you’ve decided to serve.
1. Know your niche.
[Updated December 8, 2012] When she used to have a business called Money Smart Woman, Cindy Morus created a composite ideal client named Debting Debbie. She could tell you anything you needed to know about Debbie, including what kind of place she lived in, her education level, what she cared about, and how much money she made.
What’s more, every time Cindy sat down to write something for her website, newsletter or other promotions, she knew exactly who she was writing for.
Even more important? Debting Debbie, sitting at her computer, could feel that Cindy was talking just to her. She felt seen, heard and understood, and she instantly connected to what Cindy was offering.
As well, there were a lot of people that heard or read Cindy’s message that had a “Debting Debbie” in his or her life, and they instantly recognized this was a website they should pass along.
2. Write headlines that draw the right readers in.
Be as clear as you can in your headline about what the reader will find within. Yes, it’s important to get the reader’s attention by asking questions, using a snappy catch phrase or making a bold statement. But you also need enough detail for your ideal client to know that this material was written just for him or her.
Even if you don’t address the person you’re writing the article for in your headline, you can address the problem they’re looking to solve or the solution you have to offer.
3. Research, read and collaborate to write for your niche.
“The fact is people are no longer looking for more information. They are looking for the exactly right information at the precise moment they want it.”
Keep up with the newest trends and read the latest news. Find, evaluate and share the information your ideal client is looking for.
Also, remember that two heads can create more content than one. Collaborate with another expert in your area of specialty – someone with a complimentary service to your own. Write an article together, interview them as an expert and publish a podcast or package it all together with a learning guide you can both sell as a product.
Quick Writing Prompt: Who’s the “Debting Debbie” of your niche market? Now look back at something you’ve written and evaluate whether he or she will see themselves.
Note: This article was edited on July 26, 2008 to conform with The Customizable Style Guide for Coaches Who Write.