If we learned anything this year, that would be how fast things could happen. In just a blink of an eye, you could lose the company you have worked hard for in many years. The Havas Group report shows that 77% of brands could disappear overnight and no one would even care or notice.
The last thing you want is for your brand to be unnoticeable and forgettable. As much as possible, you want to stay relevant in your niche. This can be very challenging with how trends can quickly fade, how your market can be unresponsive, and how your success can be temporary.
Fear not. There are lots of tips on how to become successful in your niche and stay relevant.
I don’t think it’s all about success; but in any case, it’s important to stay on top of your industry or retain the attention that you have for different cases. If you’re trying to become a public speaker or a consultant and you want to get to some type of fame, you get some exposure.
You may be getting an influx of clients or the attention that you need for a while, but it’s really hard to retain that over a continuous period of time.
How to Keep the Buzz Going
Now, I’m also going to start with another disclaimer: It’s really problematic. You could become too annoying for your audience.
There’s a very fine line between being helpful and being supportive for your clients and for your audience, and then being the one who always shows up in all the conferences and is just everywhere, being obnoxious.
It’s something that everyone has to define and set for themselves. What really matters here is discussing the best strategies and the best practices of staying relevant in your niche.
1. Stay Ahead of the Game
One of the important things that you need to know is that in order for you to be recognizable and be helpful, you need to stay ahead of your game.
Whenever you get invited to conferences, to different panels or broadcasts and other media interviews, the hosts or the organizers are trying to get to you because you have something to tell—something that is unique, important, relevant, and is contributing to the conversation.
Unless you are ahead of the game—innovating, and covering the latest stories, testing the latest best practices, or experimenting—you’re not going to attract attention for very long or you’re just going to recycle the same old stories over and over again.
Now, don’t get me wrong. You can still do away without any of this. Sometimes, the experience just matters. You can be the “history” person who shares the best practices based on their experience over the past 20 years.
I’ve done that myself as well, but it’s just not the same. You’re just not giving a head start to the people you’re speaking with, which is why you’re probably getting fewer media opportunities and fewer chances to really get the exposure that you need so that you can stay ahead in your PR events and other relevant activities.
2. Balance R&D With Visibility
There is a need to balance your R&D work. If you recognize the fact that innovation is important, then this means that you spend a lot of time in the lab doing the following activities:
- running organized experiments
- testing out new concepts
- reviewing dashboards and analytics for your clients
- figuring out what works and what doesn’t
- conducting field studies
It is fine to spend a lot of time in the business. You need to be a practitioner even if you’re a manager, or even if you’re an executive. You still need to be a practitioner in order to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Now, the tricky part here is that the more you’re being a practitioner, the harder it is to actually spend the time you need to allocate on the buzz, answering questions or interviews, PR events, podcast interviews, and that kind of stuff. So, balancing these two parties is really important. This is what I recommend to other people because this is something that happens to me as well.
There are certain event seasons like March through May. October and November are really heavily packed with events. January and February are usually quiet. Summer is also quiet, even though some podcasts are happening. The spring and the open season are pretty active, and packed with holidays and other events across the world, so that’s why they’re intense.
The problem is that this also happens to be, for the most part, overlapping with the heavy business season when sales and a lot of other business-related activities are happening. Most of the time, I try to position that. January and February are going to be quieter, and summer is going to be so-so.
So, I’m spending the vast majority of my time on R&D work, writing, documenting, learning, and exploring because I know that I don’t have that many sales to do and probably won’t do that much more recruitment at the same time. I would also not have that many PR activities.
Just this last October, I had six different conferences within a month, virtual events, workshops, and webinars, just as we were having the heaviest sales season with 14 high profile blue-chip leads.
Trying to balance this out and allocate one or two hours a week on PR opportunities or interviews, spreading them out so that they are still scheduled and I don’t miss any opportunities. I make sure, however, that I don’t overwhelm myself.
3. Do Regular PR Work
This is like reiterating the previous two tips, but just try to not forget also that in order to stay ahead, you need to be visible.
One of the best ways to be visible is to spend more time and attention to PR work, which entails a lot of media exposure. The following are some PR activities to engage in:
- Guest blogging
- Networking opportunities
As discussed earlier, there are some strong seasons. During the quiet seasons, you can focus on guest posts. You can also probably work on a top spectacular piece, which will be showing up and exposing your R&D work to the public and then generating some buzz for yourself through press releases or something else to get the ball rolling.
This way, your exposure efforts are not going to stay in vain and you won’t have huge gaps with three to four months where you almost post nothing; where people, more or less, forget about you. And then all of a sudden, there can be a rapid rush of lots of your different stories going on. You can recognize that most of the experts that you’re following, like top-ranking influencers, are always on a call, on a podcast, or on different sorts of PR activities.
Some of those PR activities are scheduled ahead of time while some are planned. Some of those are recycled, such as old events just resurfacing again. But in any case, you need to keep that in mind and try to replicate that so that there is some cadence and regularity.
4. Give Back to Your Community
You can be an influencer doing lots of different things, but it’s really hard to just be someone working with the enterprise, just being very inspirational, but doesn’t give back to the community.
Even people like Tony Robbins, who’s working with presidents, shares so much out there and has tons of free videos and books. He has lots of other things accessible to his fans. The same goes for Simon Sinek, who is working in a different department.
Now, you don’t have to target your fans as your customers, but you need to respect them and you need to appreciate them. You need to give them a reason to keep following you and keep cheering for you. Give back to your community, through your content videos or freebies. If you’re a developer, give out free software, free research, and other helpful stuff and resources that they can gain from you, learn from you, and just use. This leads to the fifth tip.
5. Create Complementary Resources
Create freebies that scale. This means that you need to create evergreen content, link-worthy content, and other resources that can grow your brand because your brand and your popularity come from your existing network and your existing name, and this needs to expand further.
You need to nurture your existing contacts, the people that know about you, and build new contacts. At the same time, try to gain some organic visibility through search engines, backlinks, and collaborations based on your existing content or on your existing resources.
Nurturing your audience or existing customers and having a place for your new followers gets a very complicated mix. So unless you create content that scales, that gains visibility over time, organic links, or organic email subscribers, it’s going to be harder for you.
I just recorded a video for content marketing tips for 2021. You want to make sure you check this out because it’s very relevant to this topic.
6. Stay Engaged With Your Peers
I’ll be honest here. This is the part I’m neglecting the most. I have been trying to create and maintain a group or Slack community with people I respect, fellow content creators, and other entrepreneurs and networkers. If you have any tips, definitely do let me know—tools or systems or so to keep in touch with important peers.
But in any case, I do know how important this is because you cannot do this alone. You do speak at events oftentimes with more or less the same people who are doing similar stuff for the same communities. The best thing you can do is just boost one another, help one another by working together, such as by co-hosting webinars, running campaigns together, and just keeping in touch and helping through link building, sharing, and promoting new products, and new polls. You could be using your email list together and spread the word among content communities.
There are sharing pods or groups of people on social media that can share and like your posts. That’s extremely important especially in getting the status of someone who’s like a known figure in a specific industry. Making sure that you utilize sharing pods also shows as a sign of progress, of commitment, of mutual respect for all of the community members. This is definitely something that’s extremely important and can be extremely valuable for you.
7. Network Regularly With Your Own Audience
Why is this one also important? It is because your audience, your followers, and your fans are actually the people who made you. You would never have gotten invited to certain conferences and some niches. Most of your organizers would say, “You know, we would be happy to have you because you have an audience of people who will enjoy this event”.
Organizers, journalists, and other Press people would ask whenever I submit for a guest post somewhere how many my followers are. It’s not just about the influencer status, because I don’t consider myself such. They also have certain targets to hit, so they need followers and fans who can engage and perhaps, watch ads on the site or share so that other people can watch ads. It’s just how business works.
Your creative perspective matters because, without it, you won’t have followers, but at the same time, your followers matter just as much because without them you will not get the traction. And it’s kind of a catch 22—unless you have followers, you can’t really generate new ones. But, if you have them, the wheel keeps spinning because they keep reading your content. It’s almost like a snowball just falling through the mountain. So, network regularly with your audience and try to connect with them.
That’s why I love my email list because this way people can reach out to me on Facebook and social media as well, even though not everyone engages as much. Even though it’s easier on Twitter, especially on LinkedIn, just try to engage with them and try to speak with them, mention them in your post, do polls or other survey questionnaires. It’s really important to just keep them engaged so that they know you care about them.
8. Collaborate and Cooperate
Try to create mutual pieces of content. Your favorite artists are probably collaborating with your favorite musicians and doing shows with other musicians. Your favorite developers are probably gearing up to build a sitemap collaboration.
It is important because we, as individuals, are just not enough or are not always efficient, and are not always helpful. But as a group, as a team, we can create a more enriched content, better and higher in quality, more comprehensive, covering different angles, and also reaching a broader audience.
The email blast to webinars or other events makes sense because you can reach a broader audience, and you still have the same target ecosystem and it still delivers the best results possible. You can also consider starting a podcast or starting a webinar series with guests just to keep yourself motivated. If you both have a marketing channel, you can collaborate. This is the easiest way to make it work.
Or if you have an assistant, you can also just put this on their calendar so that you can team up and work with other people. They can even do outreach for you and look for partnerships and networking opportunities.
9. Analyze and Gather Feedback
If you want to stay on top and stay successful, you have to analyze and gather feedback to see what works. Look at your analytics, comments, shares, backlinks, and anything else in order to figure out the key areas for improvement.
Now, some of your pieces are going to be outcasts in a good or a bad way. Some of them are going to be wildly successful because they’re viral stories. Some of my top pieces are highly contradictory from back in the day, just landing on top of Hacker News or some other sources. That doesn’t mean this is the type of content I want to read or write continuously, but it still gives some indications of what people react to or what my audience is reading, so I can analyze that.
Read your competitors, talk to your peers and your followers. Gather topic ideas and headlines to try to get the ball rolling for as long as possible.
10. Stay Laser-Focused on Your Niche or Your Audience
There’s a twist here. There’s something very important that is applicable to certain industries, and some people have a really hard time understanding—most of the time, you need your buyer persona.
You need your target audience and your ecosystem. You need to know who is the person you’re building your company for. In some cases, especially if you work with the juniors, or if you’re a teacher, a presenter, or a promoter, you start with an audience. After a couple of years, this audience has evolved and has moved on.
If you are teaching those juniors and in two years, they are no longer juniors, your content is no longer applicable. So when I say laser-focused on your audience, you have two options here. You either stay focused on the niche and just take on the next wave of juniors, or you try to somehow expand and keep up with your audience so that you can still lead them through the journey in a continuous period of time. Both are possible.
Just keep in mind that at some point, less experienced people are going to grow up and get to a point where your initial resources are no longer going to work. They can either stay as your fans, but not as readers, or you need to figure out a way to explore. Just pick one of those two, because you can’t really ignore either and get comfortable with it to ensure that your content stays ahead of the game.
For the most part, you can get some traction. It could be a PR buzz. It could be a featured show somewhere. Or, you could just spend a year working on your brand, working on freebies and conferences.
Those are some of the best tips that I have to give so that you can still stay relevant in your niche while also working on your business. You don’t have to put a lot of time or a lot of attention to this. In any case, with little effort, you can still retain the attention you are getting.
There are ways to make it work, especially for social media. You can have an assistant who can support your activities or someone at the office, such as your marketing department.
With these tips, you can still keep in touch with other creators for so long and prolong this period of getting more opportunities over time. You can still kick back some of that to your business and refine processes, unlock new opportunities, or even test new channels, new strategies, or new services.