My birdfeeder is back in action.
I had to take last year off because our next-door neighbors were enjoying unwanted mouse visits in their basement.
Apparently, birdseed is attractive to rodents as well as to birds (who knew?). The less of it nearby, the fewer mice to contend with.
This summer, after doing some research, I discovered Wild Delight Sizzle N’ Heat Bird Food, and am back in business. This seed is loved by birds but, thanks to its spiciness, of no interest to rodents (again, who knew?).
Except… the crows have arrived. While technically birds, they scare away everyone else and drain the feeder at a rapid pace.
I have now learned that crows, unlike most other birds, are particularly wary of shiny, moving objects.
So I put my bald head there and shook it around. I’m kidding. I hung a couple of old CDs nearby. (No disrespect intended, John Mellencamp.)
Two days in and so far, so good – just normal-sized birds.
Narrow Content is More Compelling
When I first started feeding birds a few years ago, the information I paid attention to was very general in nature: what kind of seed to buy, where to place the feeder, etc. Broad-based, Parade Magazine kinds of things.
But then the mice problem came up. So I had to dig deeper.
And then the crows began arriving. Deeper again.
With each successive problem (or “challenge,” for the glass-half-full among you), my interest became both narrower and more intense.
I wanted specific answers to specific questions – and I cared more about finding them than when I was just reading whatever might have randomly come to my attention.
All to say that when you create newsletter content, you, too, want to narrow your focus – in terms of both the scope of what you cover and the audience to whom you are writing.
As a financial planner …you could write about finance in general. Or, as Michelle Morris does, publish a newsletter that provides, “practical information about money for single women.”
As a seasoned entrepreneur … you could write about the ins and outs of running a small business. Or, as Belinda Sandor does, you could publish a newsletter for, “Virtual Assistants on making more money, in less time, with better clients.”
As an expert in the inner workings of nonprofits … you could write about how to be more effective as a nonprofit leader. Or, as David Mersky does, you could publish a newsletter, “for nonprofit leaders to strengthen fundraising and enhance executive search.”
Of course, by narrowing the focus of what is covered and who it is intended for, these professionals necessarily reduce the size of the potential audience (not every birdfeeder owner has a problem with mice).
But, in doing so, two (good) things happen:
#1. You move to the front of the line.
People have very specific problems, rodent-related and otherwise.
So while it’s true that I may occasionally come across some good mouse advice in the Parade magazines of the world, when I find a publication that specializes in this topic, it becomes the obvious choice.
And, the people who publish it are the ones I’m going to look to hire first if the problem gets too big or too complicated for me to handle on my own.
#2. You speak to a much more engaged audience.
It’s a smaller audience, definitely. But their problems are more severe and specific – they are paying much more attention to you and what you have to say.
Further, as a small professional service firm or solo, “market share” is an irrelevant concept. That’s Nike’s problem. We have clients, not customers, and they number in the dozens at a time, not thousands, let alone millions.
The potential size of the market is so large that even when you narrow your focus, it may as well be infinite. You lose nothing by ignoring most people in search of the few who eagerly await what you have to share.
It’s not a popularity contest – it’s a contest to get referrals and, ultimately, more clients.
Here’s the bottom line.
There are birdfeeder owners and there are birdfeeder owners. Most of them – the vast majority – have only a passing interest in whatever you are talking about.
But some of them can’t get enough. Choose a narrow audience and figure out what problems are keeping them up at night.
Write to them about that and there will always be a crowd at your feeder.
- Have you ever shaken a bald head? Was it your own?
- Do you still have CDs in your house? How many?
- What narrow audience do you focus on in your writing and/or work?
Share your answers below…