I recently got this excellent question from a student in my Extraordinary Business Builder’s program. And it gave me pause for thought.
For an entire hour I’d been beating the bandwagon about how you can’t thrive on the Net without a niche that’s “an inch wide and a mile deep” as the saying goes. And I do believe that to my core.
But then came this very interesting question . . . what about all those oh-so-successful self-help generalists? They didn’t have much in the way of a niche to their work? The mind boggles when you consider how many there are: Cheryl Richardson, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Byron Katie, and Marianne Williamson (well, OK, she’s kind of in that Course in Miracles niche). And that’s just for starters. If I had an hour that list could get pretty long.
So what about these folks? Why didn’t THEY have to crank up the niche just like the rest of us? What helped them break out and become international stars?
The fact is that all of these people burst onto the scene in the bad old pre-Internet days, when book publishers and TV producers still decided who was in and who was out.
Think about it. All of them were firmly established by about 1995 if not much sooner. And most of US didn’t start really hooking into the Web to find our experts until well after 2000.
Back in the Eighties and Nineties, it was TV, newspapers, magazines and books that made stars. Today, however, the entire equation has changed. Redoubtable strongholds like The New York Times have seen ad rates tank by as much as 6% as the Net takes hold, and Time Inc., the nation’s largest magazine publisher has laid off 800 employees and put 18 titles up for sale. The Television Bureau of Advertising reports steady losses to ad revenue, with some quarters losing as much as 12% since 2005.
Why? Advertising Age sites consumer-created content as “rapidly rising as . . . transformative a force as the initial emergence of the internet itself.” And this from Orville Schell, dean of the University of California at Berkeley’s journalism school, “The Roman Empire that was mass media is breaking up, and we are entering an almost- feudal period where there will be many more centers of power and influence.”
Convinced yet? And what does this mean for you, personally?
The Net really IS your new center of influence. So you want to mine that for all it’s worth. Now it’s all gloriously up to you. You get to blog and be discovered by the media. Or perhaps they’ll find your viral video on YouTube. Or maybe you just won’t mess with the media at all and go straight to the people with your viral manifesto. Or Google Adwords. Or your podcast. Or your ezine . . . or . . . well, you get the idea.
(Note: The viral video ‘The Evolution of Dance’ is up to 49 million + views on youtube.com, which is bigger than the average American Idol audience – which, itself, attracts the biggest TV audience of all time.)
BUT . . . take note . . . getting known on the Net is not even remotely possible if you don’t have a clearly defined niche. Because that is how Google, Yahoo and your new Net buddies find you. And that, dear friends, is why you, unlike Deepak and Wayne, need a really hard, tight niche.
About the Author: Suzanne Falter is a best-selling self-help author, speaker, and singer who helps men and women find true joy and fulfillment. In losing her 22 year old daughter, Teal, in 2012, her work has deepened to radiate her daughter’s free-spirited love for life and passionate quest for freedom. It is this spirit she is here to share with women at mid-life. Her articles and columns have appeared in numerous women’s magazines and she is the author of How Much Joy Can You Stand and Living Your Joy.