Find yourself a nice comfortable niche and sell it like blueberry pancakes

Did ya catch that headline? Don’t sell it like hotcakes, sell it like blueberry pancakes. Be specific.

Let’s put that another way:

Don’t be an international news service that decides it wants to appeal to the demographic of roughly 18-30.

Sell to a niche, not a demographic. Local moms are a niche; Women are a demographic.

Kansas Jayhawks fans are a niche; teenagers in Chicago are a demographic.

Many many bonus points if you can find the niche in your town full of people with no outlet, no forum, no place that gets them together to share their experiences:

Somewhere, I like to think, there is or will be a network comprising only those who can find it. And when I finally stumble in there, they’ll say, “We’ve been waiting for you.”

That’s Sheila Lennon, found by way of Steve Outing today.

Find the unserved niche in your town.

Here’s a hint: If your newspaper isn’t covering it, it’s unserved.

10 Replies to “Find yourself a nice comfortable niche and sell it like blueberry pancakes”

  1. Absolutely right.

    I got into a spat with a fellow executive once because she wanted me to build a web site with a specific target audience in mind. She wasn’t telling me the audience, but she said something like, “you should decide if your target audience is 35-year-old women with children and if it is, make your design decisions accordingly.”

    My first response, “hell, we’re not doing a very good job of reaching any audience right now. Why don’t we just try to reach AN audience first and figure out who to target with other products later.”

    I wish I could have made the case as well as you just did. The conversation might have gone better.

    I’ve never been comfortable targeting a demographic. People aren’t demographics. They are interests. I never put it as well as you just did, but it something I learned well in doing rvclub.com.

  2. @Sean – What’s hyperlocal? 😉

    But seriously, a community in your circulation area that’s going unserved because you just laid off the reporter who used to cover that neighborhood?

    That’s a hyperlocal opportunity. Build something just for them and let them report on whatever they want.

    I’m somewhat dumbstruck by how few easy options for community participation I see at some hyperlocal sites.

    Which is why I’m asking the question: What’s hyperlocal?

  3. This is an excellent thought piece, and one which could lead to some fine reporting and blogging.

  4. It’s truly amazing how many niches are unserved and how many you never would have thought existed. Instead of trying to create the specific niches why not create the platform that all the niches can live on and make it local and let them connect with their own as well as others. This is what OnMyCity.com has done and is doing.

  5. @craig – I certainly like the idea of using a white label social networking platform to served unserved niches. We just launched a site of that lineage this week.

    The point is that newspapers need to ID these niches, not just throw up a generic all-community/all-topic site, or try to appeal to teenagers by sex-ing up some shovelware.

    In clumsier words, a logo and a demographic do not a successful community site make.

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