I’ve been writing this blog since 2018.
A LOT has happened since then!
Just take a moment to let it sink in… everything that’s happened in your life, in the world, since 2018!…
At the outset, I didn’t think too much about who I was writing it for. I just wanted to get my thoughts and feelings out into the world, and I looked forward to finding out who might be interested!
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I’ve been able to obtain data about my readership; who they are, where they live, what they have in common.
The simplest interpretation is that I have a wide appeal. Mostly, my readers are other Solution Focused practitioners, but there are also people who are therapists or ‘caring professionals’ who don’t practice the same approach as me, and some people who don’t work in caring professions at all. Some are family and friends, some are people who’ve received a recommendation to a particular blog post that has touched on subjects they are interested in. Amongst this crowd are artists, musicians, actors, writers, gamers, and small business owners.
An important part of my strategy in leaving my job and setting up my own business (I told you a lot has happened!), has been to identify my ‘niche’. The thinking behind this is that because of the way our society functions, everyone is essentially looking for a specialist when enlisting help.
Think about it. If you get a flat tyre whilst driving, what’s the first thing you do after pulling over and stopping the car?
You’re most likely going to do one of two things; fix it yourself, or seek help to fix it.
If you have a spare tyre, the tools you need and you’re confident that you can change the tyre over, that’s what you’ll do. Then at some point you’ll look for somewhere to buy a new tyre. When you do that, you’ll probably either go back to a place you’ve bought tyres from before and been satisfied with the service, go to somewhere recommended by someone you trust, or otherwise you might ‘google it’. ‘Googling’, bear in mind, is a modern way of getting a recommendation from someone you trust. How online search engines have earned such widespread trust, and become such a ‘go to’ is a fascinating topic in itself! Perhaps for another blog…
So, what are you going to type into the search engines’ expectant, perhaps whimsically illustrated blank box?
‘tyres’ right? Probably followed by your location (although increasingly, you.don’t even need to type that bit in yourself!). Not ‘cars’, not ‘engineers’. Both of those would be valid options in seeking someone who might be able help you with your need for a tyre, but we live in a culture of specificity being rewarded. This means we’ve all learnt that the quickest, most efficient way to get our needs met is to clearly communicate in as few words as possible, either what we want (’tyres’, ‘food’, ‘entertainment’, ‘love’, ‘happiness’) or a problem we want solved (’flat tyre’, ‘hungry’, ‘bored’, ‘lonely’, ‘depression’) in order to get closer to what we want.
The other possibility, by the way, is that you don’t have a spare tyre, and/or tools, and/or confidence in that moment. In that case you’ll skip straight to the contacting a service you’ve used before or getting a recommendation part.
So, you’re being specific. The person who’s response is likely to appeal to you most is someone being specific back. A specialist, in other words.
Which would you opt for?:
‘We cater for all sorts of engineering requirements, from bridge building, to satellite launching, to car maintenance. Contact us to discuss your project and receive a cost estimate’
‘Tyres are my passion! Providing you with the best tyres, at the price you can afford, fitted perfectly as soon as you need them, in your location, as soon as you want them, is my guarantee!’
…I’m guessing the latter!
It may well be that the specialist tyre fitter happens to also be an expert at fitting wiper blades too, but if they’ve done a good job with your tyre and then you remember you need a new wiper blade, you’re likely to at least ask them, as a trusted person, if they can recommend someone who can do that…
The key to how this works is that there’s enough people looking for tyres to keep a mechanic in business, so the mechanic that appeals most to those people will get the call.
The great news for mechanics is that there’s also enough people looking for car servicing, new exhaust pipes, windscreen repairs and scratch repairs to keep them in business too, and there’s bound to be one of those things that they enjoy doing the most (which also generally means that will be the thing they’re best at). The most popular mechanics will tend to be those that focus on just one or two of their competencies in their marketing.
Specificity about skills is the basis for a great pitch. Another is specificity about who the service is for. The ideal is for the person looking for a specialist to come across somone who has the right skills, and who also specialises in working with people such as them (so for example, if I had a flat tyre and I found someone who specialises in fixing flat tyres, who can get to me in minutes as they’re just around the corner, and who has a deep love for the particular make and model of car I drive, turns up playing my favourite tunes on the stereo whilst they work, then spots the Southampton Football Club badge in the back window and tells me they also support The Saints, I’d suddenly be having a great day!)
So how does all this relate to my blog?
Well, the same principles of marketing which apply to mechanics also apply to anyone offering any service.
Since starting my private practice (offering a service), my blog has now inevitably become an aspect of my marketing.
Following the principle described above, although I know I can provide therapy/counselling and coaching to anyone seeking help with anything, as well as training and supervision for anyone doing the same, and that I can also entertain and inspire through artistic expression (writing and making music mainly), for the purposes of effective marketing to stay in business, I’ve identified a specific area in which there are enough people looking for something I can provide, and it’s an area which I am passionate about.
That area is the performing arts.
Working in my previous job, seeing students at a University, although I enjoyed talking with everyone, I would get a particular thrill when I discovered that my next appointment was with someone studying music, or acting, or if someone talked about their ambitions to be a professional dancer.
Music, and more broadly entertainment, has always been my greatest source of joy and fulfillment in life. I’m just generally fascinated by people and humankind, and it’s through the arts that we delve deepest into, and share most universally what it is to be human. My absolute favourite topics for conversation are music, cinema and games. My favourite TV shows include any music documentary, Jools Holland, Louis Theroux Interviews and Strictly. My favourite podcast is Kermode and Mayo’s Take. My current favourite YouTube channel is Justin Hawkins Rides Again.
I’m never happier and more in my element than when in the company of people who share such passions, and I know I can help anyone coming from that base to overcome any obstacles and progress towards living their dreams.
So that’s my niche. That’s the ‘you’ amongst you that I’ll have in the forefront of my mind when writing my blog going forwards.
It’s likely to affect the choice of topics, the style of writing and the language I use. It’ll resonate most with fellow music and movie geeks, whilst hopefully retaining plenty of appeal to people with all sorts of other backgrounds and interests (music fans amongst you may have already noticed how frequently I use song titles and lyrics in my titles and slipped into paragraphs, others won’t have spotted the reference but will have enjoyed other aspects of the writing).
So that’s you. This is me. Onward!