Content writing to move your niche market.

Basic concepts for content writing that anyone can master. This tutorial will help drive audience engagement and interaction for any niche market.

I’ll tell you a secret about content writing for niche markets, composed into this one simple phrase: Content writing is easy until it gets hard. Why? Because the deeper you get into this craft, the more you want to do: type of content, Google analytics, buyer personas, case studies, keyword research, relevant content, original content… the list is really long.

Also, consider that the more narrow the market, the tighter the community. We also expect that such communities, thoughts, ideas, and concepts (especially for products and services) are more natural to express mainly because market demand and need are well-established.

Content writing for niches also invites people to share ‘secret’ information like novel concepts, adaptations, and new developments. Name the niche market, and you find volumes of ‘things’ seekers seek. This means that information is readily available, making the gathering process reasonably easy. That leaves the hard part of knowing how to package your information into ‘chunkable’ bites for your target market to consume. 

Chunking It Down

There are two aspects of ‘chunking’ that I’ll briefly cover here. One is the people-driven aspect, the other is the machine. All content writing must consider both aspects. For the people, we’re looking for readability. We don’t want to pass everything we know into one freaking long blog post (like this one) and expect people to ‘get it.’ How will people find the important stuff it’s buried deep inside your manifesto? 

Thinking about the machine, we have to please the Google/Bing spiders. We can’t make the chunks too small that search engine spiders can’t find them, or if they do, the algorithms will slap low-quality penalties and rank it far below search results that you’ll need a gravedigger to find them. Read The Google Endgame for more details about achieving a balance between people and machine optimization. 

This lengthy article sets down what I call “the 3 scopes” of content writing: Scope of Knows, Scope of Conversation, and Scope of Specialization. These concepts distill the essential skills that most marcom pros study in college, with added inflections from 30 years of experimentation to make content writing more effective and easier to deploy. 

Content writing for your “Scope of Knows”

A funny name for a pretty serious task: knowing your audience. This is about as basic as it gets for content writing—without being trivial or prosaic. First, let’s admit that you’re in serious trouble if you don’t know your target audience. Of course, remember that the focus here is on content development for marketing communications and public relations. But at the end of the day, you must know these three things before you begin:

  1. Know your audience – That’s pretty self-explanatory, isn’t it? Particularly in a niche market. But this goes far beyond demographics – you’d better know a lot about their personality, opinions, and past experiences.
  2. Know what you want to tell them – It’s up to you what you want to tell your audience, but remember that the choices are practically limitless. The direct approach is to write about product or service features, benefits, and concepts. The indirect method would be writing about ideas that relate back to features and benefits.
  3. Know what you want them to do – Vote, friend, follow, buy? Whatever your call to action, do not forget to keep asking for it, via social media and your regular communication with your audience (be they clients, customers, constituents). Some may think of this as the “CTA” – the ‘call to action’ and you would be right.

Here’s another bit for you to consider. Engaging with content isn’t just about creating something beautiful to look at or interesting to read; it’s about how we strategically unleash content into the wild, dictating its flow and interaction with our audience. This is where the rubber meets the road in turning casual engagement into meaningful interaction and, yes, sales. Now, a beacon in the murky waters of metrics guides us toward effectiveness in this endeavor.

Once upon a time, we measured engagement by ‘average time on page’ (AToP, or ‘dwell-time’ for us marketing oldsters). The conventional wisdom held that a longer time on a page signaled a greater likelihood of converting engagement into tangible interaction. For those peddling information online, an AToP of 3-4 minutes was considered decent, six minutes was gold, and anything under a minute was a red flag.

But let’s pump the brakes for a second. Can we genuinely say 3-4 minutes of page engagement is a surefire predictor of high-level interaction? Mmm… maybe not. Remember, ‘dwell-time’ is a cumulative affair. Our audience might spend a few minutes with our content before jetting to other digital havens like Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. Here lies the art of strategic placement (cue ‘timing’ and ‘tagging’), stretching dwell time to perhaps over an hour, depending on the offer. This brings us to a crucial realization: dwell time is not a solo act; it’s a chorus echoing across your entire marketplace landscape.

Google recently launched a new toy, GA4, that helped sharpen our attention on what really matters: average engagement time. And to be clear, this wasn’t just to change up their nomenclature; it’s true a paradigm shift. Google’s pivot underscores a deeper understanding that quality engagement goes beyond loitering on a page. GA4 looks at how users interact with content, favoring meaningful actions over passive presence. This approach offers a larger lens through which to view our content’s impact, nudging us to craft experiences that catch the eye and hold the mind. In this brave new world of metrics, it’s clear that engagement isn’t just about time spent; it’s about time well spent.

And “knowing” everything we want from our content is the starting point. 

Content writing for your “Scope of Conversation”

Regarding content strategies, this stage is the one that people often skip over. This is the area where I pay the most attention because I want to make the conversation’s scope as tight as possible. I’ll look for any clue about where my audience is going. For instance, if I’m writing for a car mechanic, I may start by casting my net as broadly as possible to catch as many people in my target audience as possible. I may want to give away tips on how people can tune their cars, an easy hack for silencing a noisy power steering system, suggestions on troubleshooting simple electrical problems, and so on. The resulting “conversation” may traverse all sorts of related topics and ultimately back to you as the expert.

Then, as I learn about the audience, I may move toward more aggressive issues. Let’s say that my mechanic works on electric and gas-powered cars. I’d start looking at the pros and cons of various models of electric cars – the cost of maintenance, electricity, and reliability. I may then tighten subsequent articles to focus more narrowly on comparisons of hybrid cars vs. all-electric; or types of batteries and development of new battery models.

Whether I increase audience members’ likelihood of purchasing a hybrid or all-electric vehicle is neither here nor there. The point is I’ve injected my client into an ongoing evaluation of information. If the post is informative enough, they may interact with my client for answers to questions and ultimately end up as a new customer once they’ve made their choice.

When I think of “scope,” I also think of “ROI.” Okay, not “return on investment” – although that’s important too. I’m talking about the gold standard of content development: Relevance. Optimized. Impactful.

  1. Relevance – Not only define your target but get into their head and know their trends.
  2. Optimized – Refine the content and identify the conversations that trigger engagement, interaction, and conversion.
  3. Impactful – Dial into audience attitude and aptitude for HOT topics they care about.

Content geometry is essential as I keep this ROI in my rearview mirror. I’m anxious to feed my target audiences with content they want but cautious about letting them drive too much of the conversation. I stay close enough to the conversation to learn just the right “pick up line” to attract the interest of my target audience, e.g., topical triggers that delight die-hard fans or several target audiences for the same offering.

A little note about Niche Replication-Differentiation

You can’t talk “scope of conversation” without addressing niches within niches. Say for instance you have products/services you offer that meets the needs of one or more sub-niches. My most recent experience was writing about cybersecurity while addressing the unique needs of vertical markets like K12 education and higher education. Both are pretty similar, both have similar requirements – however they have unique situations. In such instances, specialty content tailored for each sub-niche can outperform a generic ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Especially on search visibility. However, crafting entirely new content for each segment can be daunting.

The temptation might be to duplicate your content and tweak it slightly for each sub. This practice, known as “niche replication-differentiation,” involves copying content, making relevant adjustments, such as changing URLs, headlines, and subheads, and rewording at least 60% of the text content. Even the page layout and names of accompanying images should be altered for each new page.

You might wonder why the focus is on rewording 60% of the text content. The reason is that Google and Bing flag content with over 40% word-for-word duplication as ‘duplicate content.’ While not technically a penalty as in days past, Google might choose to list only one version of your content, leaving you no control over which version that might be. A 40% differentiation has traditionally been sufficient to avoid this issue.

But beware. In light of Google’s recent algorithm updates focusing on “helpful content,” it’s essential to tread very carefully with content replication-differentiation. This update seeks to prioritize original, high-quality content that provides a satisfying experience for users over spammy or duplicated content. Therefore, while some duplication may be tolerated (e.g., content intended for a specific niche), it’s crucial to ensure any replicated content is significantly updated or altered to add genuine value.

Simply plugging in different adjectives or using AI content generation tools to rewrite content may not suffice. Google’s algorithm is sophisticated enough to recognize and ignore such attempts at duplication without meaningful differentiation. While using AI for content generation won’t incur a penalty, Google will probably not include content that appears duplicated with only superficial changes (even if it does meet the 60/40 mix). The goal should always be to create unique and genuinely helpful content to your audience, aligning with Google’s push towards enhancing user satisfaction.

Rabbit holes: engagement through inquiry

The ultimate goal for mapping your ‘scope of conversation’ is generating engagement through inquiry; by using the audience’s thirst for new information to drive the conversation TOWARD whatever conversion you want. If all the pieces come together (and I’m paying attention), I can design the “scope of conversation” that will help me guide enough of the conversation to excite real-world discussion.

When I create content, I think about what kind of information my target audience wants and anticipate a range of responses. Rabbit holes come to mind. Check out my chapter on content silo strategies that goes with this chapter (but was making it waay too long). One last concept to think about: we want our rabbit holes to be as deep as possible. This takes us back to the previous point about dwell time, right?

Content writing for your “Scope of Specialization”

Niche markets are all about specialized conversation. That’s where your content writing must take you. The more experienced your audience, the more specialized your content writing should be. And with specialization, our goal is to increase your topic authority. For example, set aside age groupings and buying habits, then look for specific content angles that may engage members of those groupings.

Another strategy – niche audiences respond well to user-generated content. Find a way to produce and publish content, but ensure that the content doesn’t compromise authoritative customer experience reporting. Also, remember that depending on your industry, laws could govern the use of ‘testimonials.’

Not long ago, marketers created educational content to specialize with creative wrappers, making it seem like you weren’t being pitched. They built playful storylines that hid the ‘pitch’ within the narrative. How can you make these tactics work effectively for you? Three key points:

  1. Structure and consistency – the more ‘niched’ your audience, the more control you need to deploy. Example: stick to your topic. It may be tempting to blog an op/ed about what seems like a relevant issue but make darned sure that your opinions loop back to the most important topic: your product/service.
  2. Trend and moods – rather than try to force patterns of your own, follow your audience’s atmosphere and be ready to adapt when moods shift. The prerequisite (of course) is that you’re paying close attention to your audience (i.e., direct customer interactions, social media, predictive analysis). If you gain enough authority with audiences, you’ll find you can move trends yourself. Knowing key topics well enough, you may anticipate changes in attitude and opinion. Bonus points when you can change audience opinions with just one tweet!
  3. Wonder and wit – because people love to be challenged and amused. I can harp about “talking about what your audience talks about” all day. But what does it take to drive the audience? You need to master the topic to tap into the conversation’s experimental side. Humor may come into it, even a strategically placed sarcastic remark may generate a massive response from your target audience. Where do you find these insights? Look for imaginative uses of your product or services from existing customers. Watch your competitors for ideas. Peruse audience commentary and observations and watch for the truly inventive (and funny) things people do.

Is there a conclusion to this?

The fact is, all markets are niche, or they should be treated as such. And, as with most marketing rules, we always leave room for interpretation and personal processes. 

The nuanced art of content writing for niche markets matters most. And it isn’t just about filling pages. It’s about understanding your audience, sparking conversations that matter, and drilling down into what makes your content not just seen but felt. Remember, Google’s latest moves around “helpful content” aren’t just new hoops to jump through. They remind us why we do this in the first place—to connect, inform, and bring something genuinely useful to the table.

So if you’re really searching for a conclusion, know this: the real magic happens when you strike that delicate balance between being informative and interesting, and selling. It’s not just about avoiding the trap of duplication or spinning content with a few swapped-out adjectives. It’s also not about how well you can sell a product from a landing page. It’s about digging deeper, finding those nuggets of insight that resonate with your audience, and presenting them in a way that’s accessible and engaging.

I was in a training session with a group of content writers when I realized that we don’t write sell the product from a web page (that’s just silly). We write to sell the idea that our audience should engage us to help them decide what you’re selling is what they need.

One more example of how content writing in niche markets as a continuous loop of learning, adapting, and refining. With each piece, you’re not just filling space; you’re building bridges. And while the algorithms may shift and the digital landscape may change, the heart of content writing remains the same — connecting with your audience on a level that transcends the mere exchange of information. 

Happy hunting.

About: Ray Wyman, Jr is a content creator, communications professional, and author with more than 30 years of experience. Visit LinkedIN or for more information.

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