Three Steps to Niche Marketing Online

March 31, 2010 · 5 comments

Bacon, reprise.
Image by Drunken Monkey via Flickr

I was chatting on Facebook with my friend Tehlia last night, who writes two blogs, has a Twitter account, an Etsy shop, and a Facebook Fan Page. She’s an amazing designer of fabulous scarves, which my daughter can attest to, and she is quickly becoming connected in the communities that matter to her and her business via social media.

I think she is doing an awesome job at it, but all that is besides the point of this post. Right now, I’m talking bacon scarves… because that’s what we were talking about last night.

Who’s the Nicheiest?

I mean seriously, does it get any nicheier than writing about bacon? You don’t have to answer that… Tehlia was contracted to crochet a scarf that resembled bacon for a woman who writes a blog called, You had me at Bacon. The comedy, right? She ended up cranking out this stunner which is a ridiculously awesome rendition of @smorty71′s favorite swag from SXSW.

So we were chatting and I told her a few things she could do to get more targeted exposure for the bacon scarf, to see if there may be more demand out there. I came up with this method when trying to figure out how I could market @mathiask’s I am Choking iPhone app. Because let’s face it, it’s pretty niche in its own right. So here are the methods that I shared with Tehlia last night.

Finding Niche Bloggers

Finding people around a given niche isn’t all that hard, and finding out who they’re connected to isn’t all that hard either, apparently. Here are three easy searches to perform to start mapping out your niche:

google search I know it may sound lame, but whatever you do… don’t sleep on the Google search. As an example, searching the term “bacon scarf” turned up some interesting results. From the looks of it, Tehlia has no direct competition with regards to crocheted scarves. However, the bacon scarf has been done before in other materials. That’s nice to know, but what’s nicer to know are the URLs to the sites that have written about bacon scarves in the past. These are not necessarily sites that focus on bacon or scarves, but they may be apt to write a follow up story about a new bacon scarf kid on the block…

google blog search Obvious and necessary all at the same time. The Google Blog Search is a staple in every social media practitioner’s tool box to sniff out topical blogs around various niches. For these purposes, I found it more useful to use the Advanced search feature for the word bacon in the blog’s title. That seemed to return better results for what I was looking for in this instance, blogs about bacon. But feel free to mix it up to suit your individual needs.

alltop Usually my dark horse pick to find blogs around niche topics. It totally came through in this instance. I’ve personally found that using alltop to find blogs either works really well or doesn’t work at all. No middle ground there…

amazon I’ve grown fond of searching Amazon.com for book authors that I then cross reference on the Twitter. A bit of detective work on your part, but when you find an author of a book on the subject you care about, who has a blog or Tweets regularly, then you have possibly found someone who you really want to create a relationship with…

Organizing Niche Bloggers

Now that you’ve found some blogs that have created communities around the niche topic you care about, you should really organize them. Here are two things you can do:

spreadsheet The tried and true method for most people. Making columns for the pertinent details around names, links, and notes will really help you stay organized.

twitter lists I enjoy making lists of the people who I’ve gathered up, and importing them into Tweetdeck, because then I can see what they’re talking about and possibly comment or reply on what they are saying. When I do this over a period of time, without asking for anything, then I become familiar.

Pitching Niche Bloggers

Want to get an influencer’s attention about your product? Why not ask them how they like to be pitched? That’s exactly what Tamar Weinberg did in her tremendously in depth post, How to Get an Influencer’s Attention. The consensus:

short and sweet News flash: People you don’t know don’t care about your life story. So get to the point and get out. I like to use two sentences personally, that include:

– A brief description of the subject and why it benefits the blogger
– An open ended ask to be written about on the blogger’s site
– Links to more details

Here’s an example:

I made a bacon scarf that I thought your readers may enjoy, based on this post you wrote in September 2008. It would be really cool if you were able to write about it on the Royal Bacon Society.

-Tehlia

Experiment with your tone and directness of your delivery to figure out what works best for you, but KEEP IT SHORT! If they think what you’re talking about is interesting they’ll click on a link to find out more and/or reply back to your E-mail. If not, no harm done…

That’s It

It’s really not that hard to find, organize and reach out to people around specific niche topics with all of the free tools available to you online these days. How do you like to attack this situation? Please let me know in the comments below.

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