AskPat 35 Episode Transcript
Pat Flynn: Hi, what's up everybody? This is Pat Flynn and welcome to Episode 35 of AskPat. I'm here to help answer your online business and entrepreneurship questions, five days a week.
Today we have a question from Kevin. Before we get to that, I have a resource to share with you. That is SEMrush.com. This is a website, free tool that you can use. It's a website that you can go to to enter either a specific keyword or a specific URL for a website, and get a whole bunch of information about that. For instance, if you were to put a keyword, it would tell you other related keywords, how often those keywords are being searched for, how much advertisers are paying for those keywords, competitors and others . . . a lot of great information about that.
Of course, if you put a URL in there, it will tell you what keywords that that page is ranking for, its competitors and other stuff related to that particular niche as well. That's a great tool to use. Again, that's SEMrush.com, free to use, no affiliates or email required or anything like that which is pretty cool. Let's get to today's question from Kevin, which has to do with a website that he's looking to create, actually a website and a podcast. Let's hear about it.
Kevin: Hi, Pat. Kevin McFarlane here. First of all, I want to say thank you. You've been an inspiration to me. You are inspiring me to start a podcast this year, and start a niche website. The niche website I'm planning to start is an emergency room nursing website and podcast. My question is a little bit about branding. I am thinking about, like I said, starting an emergency nursing podcast. I'm trying to figure out whether I should brand my website as specifically for emergency nursing or give it a broader focus of nursing in general with hopes to expand later down the road. Your advice would be much appreciated, keep up the good work and I love listening to everything you do. I really like the new AskPat Podcast. I think it's great. Thanks so much. Bye.
Pat Flynn: Kevin, thank you so much for your question. Of course, when everybody is starting out, this is a very common question that people ask themselves is, “who should be my target audience?” Should I get specific and narrow it down or should I try and make it more general so I can have more opportunities to pull people in and serve more people?
Our goal here is to serve as many people as possible. A very common problem that people have is trying to create a solution for everyone or for a huge group of people. In doing so, in trying to target a very massive general space, they actually help nobody because it's very hard and difficult to be found. One of the goals that you want to do is become the ultimate resource for something.
I love this approach to starting something. Again, just a start. I always feel like you can start small and expand out later. The goal here is to become the ultimate resource for a particular target market. When that target market is actually talking to each other, your business, it can't help but not be mentioned. It will always be mentioned. You want it to get to that point. If you are the expert, or you become the expert at this, or you provide value and you are like one of the only ones talking about or you just do it so much better than everybody else. You are going to be the one that comes up in conversation. You are going to be the one that's going to be shared across social media platforms. You are the one that you are going to actually be able to create a real audience that is in tune with what you have to provide.
When you niche down, you can more easily talk the language of that target market. You can more easily provide solutions that are specific to them, without having to write other things that they may not be completely in tune with or in line with. The better you can tap into their needs and wants, and issues and problems, so you can better serve them, the more likely they are to understand each other as well. One of the best things about creating websites is to build the community on your site, because that community can help push your brand forward. It's more . . . it's just so much easier to do that when you are talking about something very specific.
I would definitely start with that niche down. The emergency nursing niche I guess you could say. Then if that goes really well, you can't help but have to expand from there. That's where I would start. That's going to give you the best chance. That's advice to everybody: “the riches are in the niches.” That was actually my quote of the day for you. I'm going to mention it at the end of the show like I do every quote. That's a quote that I remember because it keeps me in focus when I'm trying to start something new. “The riches are in the niches.”
For example, when I started my security guard training website, I could have easily targeted anybody in protection services, police cars . . . not police cars but people in the police force, in the military. Those are all protection services and people who are trying to protect and serve to keep everybody safe. Going down to the security guard training level, it was much easier for me to understand exactly what I needed to write about, exactly who I should be talking to, how to talk to them, and also do the research I needed to do to find all of that information, which at the time wasn't even available online yet, or at least organized in that way.
I used tools like SEMrush or Long Tail Pro and other ones like that to understand that there was this need, that there was a need for this information, and that it was being completely underserved. I could have targeted everybody and just had a site that talked about how to keep people safe in general. Even just the sound of that doesn't make much sense, but when I can specifically target someone who is interested in security guard training. How to become a better security guard, what to do when you become an entry level security guard, what's next? Armed security guard training, then baton training, then cuff training, and all that stuff. [Full Disclosure: As an affiliate for Long Tail Pro, I receive compensation if you purchase through this link.]
It was so much easier for me to talk to them and provide more to them because they are . . .
Quick side story—not story—but scenario or just truth. You go to the mall. How many different shoe stores are there? There is a shoe store for athletes, athletic footwear. There is a shoe store that's more high end. There is one for casual. There is The Walking Shoe Company. There is one that sells just crocs. There is a shoe store for everybody's specific needs when it comes to shoes. There is a Running Shoe store. Road Runner is the one here in San Diego.
If I am a serious runner, I'm going to go to the Running Store, because I know I can get the best information from those people because they are there just to serve runners. Do you know what I mean? I would rather go to Road Runner than Shoe Pavilion or Walmart, for example, to get my shoes. I would be willing to pay more because I know I'm getting the right shoe for me from these experts who are there to help me get fitted with the right shoes and who just know and can talk to me in a language that I'm interested in when I go there. I think that's the best example I could give you in real world as far as what would translate to online.
I would definitely niche down. The question is, how far do you niche down? You could niche down to such crazy levels where there would be one or two people in the world. You don't want to niche down too far. Where do you draw the line? A lot of people are like, “Niche down until there is no more competition.” I don't think that's good either, because you might be niching down too far. You definitely, there is a point where you would be serving not as many people as you could with that targeted information that you have.
For instance, under my security guard site, I could only target, for example, “security guard training in San Diego.” A lot of that information overlaps with training in Los Angeles, in New York, in Florida, and other states and things like that, and other states and cities. There is a point at which you will have to make a decision. This is who I'm targeting and this is the group of people you want to understand who that target market is.
A lot of people are worried about that there are people doing that already. There is competition. If there is competition, when you are doing your research, and you are trying to target a niche market, that's a good sign. Not too much competition, but you want there to be a little bit of competition because that means that there is . . . that validates your idea that there is a market out there for what you are going to provide. Also, you have an advantage coming in late.
A lot of people are like, “There is somebody doing it already. They already got it.” There is not like a thing people sign and say, “I'm going to be the one on this niche, and nobody else can join me.” It's not like that. You can provide information better, knowing what it's like now. You have an advantage because you have a bird's eye point of view on what exists, and you'd be able to come in and better serve the audience than how they are being served right now with who is available to serve them if that makes sense.
The last thing I want to tell you, this actually goes back to an interview that I was on at Mixergy.com. A very popular interview show with Andrew Warner, one of the best interviewers ever. He asked me a question when I was on his show. I was talking about all these little side projects I had, the security guard training site, and all these little things that I was doing. He asked me a question that I'm going to summarize for you or paraphrase it. He said something like, “Pat, what are you doing here with all these little things? Why don't you create the next big thing? Why don't you create the next Excel? Something everybody can use? Why would you even focus on these small time things?”
I was like, “That's a great question. Even though I might not be affecting the entire world with my wanting to help people in the security guard training niche, I am affecting somebody's world. There is somebody out there looking information about specifically security guard training. I'm going to give that information.”
You need to know that even though you might not be creating something that changes the entire world, you don't want to do that because everybody has a need and a want. There are groups of people who have those similar needs and wants. You want to focus on them because you can change their world. You will, if you niche down and you talk to them and you understand exactly everything that it is that they want, and need, and their pains and issues, and you can provide solutions for them and work with them to create those solutions to that you don't have to guess what they are.
Again, that's another advantage of starting small. Thank you so much for your question Kevin. I really appreciate it. An AskPat t-shirt will be sent your way. Again, that tool I mentioned at the top of the show is SEMrush.com. If you have a question you'd like answered here on the show, or potentially featured on the show, and maybe even get an AskPat t-shirt too, head on over to AskPat.com. Just use the widget right there on the page to your own question. I look forward to listening to it. Again, that quote that I already said it but I'm going to say it again because it's true. I don't know who said it first, but it's just it's true. “The riches are in the niches.”
I don't like using that word riches but it's just rhymes with niches. It sounds cool. I think a better way to put it would be, you can better serve people if you niche down. People will understand you more and you can talk to them much easier, and they will create a community around you and what you are doing. That's where the byproduct of serving your audience is the income that you can get as a result. Take that for what it's worth. Thank you so much for listening to AskPat. I'll see you in the next episode.
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