Sometimes the thing you’re passionate about is a hard sell to others. Maybe it has a reputation for being kinda nerdy, or maybe it’s usually presented in a boring way. Here are five tips for turning your niche interests into something other people care about!
Say you’re a writer, and you like writing something really specific, like dystopian lobster romance. You can’t find any publication to submit to, but you know it has an online following. Why not create your own?
When you’re in the early stages, building an audience is important. If you’re making something that needs contributors, advertising in relevant places (eg. seafood stores or romance bookshops) and telling people in your community about it is the best way to spread the word.
In terms of your actual content, what is the specific sub-topic you’re going to focus on? What new angle are you going to bring to the genre? Are you focusing on Australian writers? Or writers of colour? Or artists who are female or non-binary? The more specific you are, the better you can carve out a new space. This might get people interested who wouldn’t usually gravitate towards your topic.
Pick an appealing design scheme. Choose something ‘on-trend’—I know this will seem unnatural to you, a consumer of niche interests—but hear me out. If you use tacky, boring or off-putting design for your book/zine/website/advertising, no one will approach it in the first place, let alone consume it.
If you want to present your niche interests as something other people will care about, you need to sell it to them! I’m not advocating for selling out—if you use super cliché and annoying advertising you won’t attract anyone—but don’t be afraid to approach an artist who is gaining traction and popularity for their work.
There’s a reason designs become popular, and it’s usually because they’re appealing to a wide range of people. If you can’t decide for yourself or have no idea what’s popular, you need to do some research and/or get help from someone who this comes naturally to. Trust me, it’s very very important. I can’t count the number of times I’ve overlooked a product on first glance to learn later on that’s it’s actually great.
Once you’ve roped them in with a cool design, make sure you choose accessible content. My philosophy is this: whatever your interest, you’ll need to make some concessions if your goal is to gain a wider audience. If you literally don’t care what other people think, good for you! That’s not what this is about. This is about producing content that is not only niche-subject-specific, but might take into account what it looks like to newbies or people who haven’t heard of it before.
You might want to focus on content that is leaning more towards entertaining than factual, for instance. Maybe some of it’s serious and some of it’s funny. The last thing you want is for it to be presented in a boring way, even if it’s something you personally find interesting. The ways your niche interest are usually presented are keeping it niche, so think of new ways to present it for your project.
In the end, you’re the one who’s interested in dystopian lobster romances (or whatever) and you’re going to have to work quite hard to sell that to an audience who is wary of things they’re not comfortable with. Maybe you can get chefs interested, or make a tinder profile as tongue-in-cheek marketing. Be social, talk about it online and IRL and have fun with it!