Finding Your Niche
SUMMARY OF THE COURSE
The purpose of this course is to help you master the necessary skills and knowledge needed to create your YouTube channel and establish your online digital presence within this platform. The material covered in this course is best suited for users with little to no knowledge of or past experience with YouTube. The content of this course is divided into four modules and distributed over four consecutive weeks. Once you complete all four modules, you will be able to leverage your YouTube channel and better promote your A Good Cause campaign.
Last week we discussed how to set up your YouTube channel. This week we will be discussing how to find your niche.
Finding Your Niche
With almost 48 hours of video being uploaded every minute, YouTube can feel like a crowded place. However, Kevin Allocca, the Head of Culture and Trends at YouTube, argues that “niche is the new mainstream.” With the internet allowing individuals to be more and more selective about the content they consume, creators fill this need by producing more and more specific content. This relationship creates niches that wouldn’t normally thrive in mainstream media but are very successful online.
When starting your YouTube channel, it is extremely helpful to establish your niche before you begin uploading videos. This will help you know your audience and help your audience know what they can expect from you. Maybe people follow you because they know you’ll teach them beauty tips or because they want to see all the exotic places you travel to or all the volunteer work you do. Whatever it is, creating content for a specific niche will help you be more successful on YouTube.
As you create and distribute content on your channel, it’s important that you find the right audience for your videos. Sally Hogshead, one of the most awarded advertising copywriters of her time, explains that “you will not win by being invisible. Today, you win by being seen and remembered.” Finding your niche can help you be seen by the best audience for your content and inspire the right people to remember you. This week’s session will provide tips and tricks for finding your niche. The Learning Objectives are as follows:
-What Value Do You Provide?
-Who Is Your Target Audience?
-What Makes You Different Than Your Competitors?
-Cultivating Your Community
-Implement What You Learned
-What To Expect
What Value Do You Provide?
Before you start your YouTube channel you need to decide what value you can bring to your audience. What are your videos going to be about? Are you an expert gardener? Do you love salsa dancing? Are you a med student? Do you travel a lot for your job? Whatever you choose is fine, you just need to be able to articulate a specific category to your audience so they will know exactly what to expect from you.
If you’re unsure of what value you provide, start by looking for a need. Kevin Alloca explains that “if content doesn’t exist yet that serves our needs, that help us perceive, interpret, and respond to the world around us as directly as we’d like, we’ll use what’s available to create it ourselves.” If you’re struggling to find your niche, consider what content you wish was available to you and try to create that content.
In their book, YouTube Secrets, YouTube gurus Sean Cannell and Benji Travis share with us a tip to help you find an identity for your YouTube channel. They “recommend building [your channel] at the intersection of your passion, your proficiency, and your profit.” Got a hobby that sets your soul on fire? That’s your passion. Got a knack for getting something done right? That’s your proficiency. Does your passion or skill have the potential for monetary growth? That’s your profit. Creating content that lies at the intersection of passion, proficiency, and profit will help you establish your niche.
As you try to establish your niche, it’s important that you define who your audience is and what exactly it is they need from you. In his book, Making Ideas Happen, Scott Belsky of Behance argues that, “your ability to push your ideas broadly will also depend on how well you tune in to the needs and concerns of others.” Is your target audience moms looking for healthy toddler recipes? Or elderly people trying to learn new technology? In order to establish your niche, you need to look at the needs of the individuals in your target market and find a way to meet those needs.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
In her book, How The World Sees You, Sally Hogshead argues that “if you fail to understand what your audience truly values, then you can’t communicate yourself in a way that makes people want to build connection and loyalty.” Maybe you’re a makeup guru but you’re not connecting with your audience because you don’t explain where your audience can purchase the products you use. Maybe you’re a travel vlogger but you aren’t addressing the typical issues travelers experience and how to overcome them. By being able to recognize, articulate and cater to their needs, you will begin to cultivate trust between you and your audience.
Take a minute to think of your ideal viewer: how old are they? What is their gender? What do they do for a living? What is missing from their life? Make a list and profile a member of your audience. Get specific. For example: Kate is 26 years old, she is married with two kids, holds a degree in political science, works part time at a law firm and is hoping to learn how to eat healthier and train for her first half marathon. Because I now have a better understanding of Kate (and my ideal audience as a whole), I can specifically tailor all my content to help her achieve her goals.
What Makes You Different Than Your Competitors?
Now that you have an idea for your channel and you know who your audience is, the next step is for you to define what makes you different than other YouTubers in your niche. Most new YouTubers look at their competitors and tell themselves, “I have to be better than them.” However, being different is better than being better. Positioning yourself as different immediately takes away the competition and always you to focus on your work. Scott Belsky argues that you “should start with identifying the strengths that differentiate you from others.” Adding to this, Sally Hogshead says, “rather than just knowing your strengths, you need to know your differences.” What strengths help you stand out? Maybe you and your family are full time adventurers and you can center your travel channel around families and providing tips to make it easier for parents with small babies to travel. Maybe your chef training in other countries allows you to have a cooking channel that focuses only on exotic foods. Or maybe your auto repair tutorials are all in Spanish. All that matters is that you use your strengths to make yourself different than other YouTubers. Why is differentiating yourself important? “When you successfully differentiate yourself,” Hogshead explains, “you become the go-to person in your category for one particular reason,” helping you to own your niche.
Cultivating Your Community
Whatever your niche, the audience that you gain will begin to feel like a community. Once you start to see a following, it’s important that you cultivate your audience into a community. Scott Belsky explains that “with thoughtful stewardship, your community will become the ultimate platform for your ideas.” It is here within your community that you will be able to improve your skills. You can cultivate your community by responding to their comments, incorporating their feedback, and giving your community a name.
At the heart of why individuals are successful online is that they are able to create experiences that build a community or that build a sense of belonging. These experiences create a sense of ownership and include activities such a Q&A’s, live streams, challenges, requests for feedback, and more. Getting viewers involved allows them to “own” your content, making them much more invested in it.
Implement What You Learned
Now that you have a better understanding of how to find your niche, your assignment this week is to establish what value you can provide, profile a member of your target audience, outline what makes you different than your competition, and find ways to cultivate your community.
What To Expect
Our next module in this course will help you gain a better understanding of what type of videos are being uploaded to YouTube and how you can decide which one is best for you.