Most of you have heard about that “niche” thing…you know, the rule that says that one of the elemental keys to success in business is to find your niche – that one thing you do best – and stick to it. The idea here, I assume, is to avoid spreading yourself too thin and/or getting into areas that you’re not so good at – because you’ll end up disappointing your client and in the process will kill the account and the referral and eventually yourself in despair.
I’m not buying it.
First of all, I’ve never only been good at just one thing. I’ve never only been good at just one type of writing. Yeeesh, even as a swimmer, I was a serious contender in four or five different events. If I’d had to swim just one race my entire athletic career, I would have drowned from boredom.
If I was only capable of writing one thing, or one way, or in one voice, I would have written my letter of resignation and moved out of the writing biz a long time ago.
Here’s my take…
In today’s economy, differentiation is the way to succeed. Differentiate yourself effectively from the competition and you’ll have more work than you want to have – and that’s a very nice place to be. Differentiation is essentially a matter of showing how your service or product or skill is better than that of everybody else out there.
I’ve walked into consults with potential clients that could only be categorized as a“niche ambush.” When asked for samples, the first one presented is the one I do. If it’s a press release, I’m a pr writer. If it’s an annual report, I’m a business writer. If it’s an operations manual, I’m a tech writer. If it’s an ad or a postcard or a brochure, I’m an advertising copywriter. And I frequently find myself having to kick up the pitch just to show that I’m more than a one-trick pony.
I’m a writer. I can write all those things
I can also write bios, and newsletters, and web content, and package copy, and video scripts, and novels, and screenplays, and tag lines of all sizes, shapes and colors. Because I can write (and have written) all those things, I can bring a fresh take to everything I write — a different angle on what might otherwise prove less interesting if done the same old way.
And because many of the rules of marketing and pr and advertising continue to change as a result of the explosive emergence of the internet, this makes me a commodity.
End of story. A writer without limitations has limitless value in the new world order.
Nix on that “niche” thing.