When it comes to branding yourself and looking for public speaking gigs, it can be hard to find a balance between reaching your niche target audience and reaching a big enough audience. Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of trying to please too many people, and in the end, don’t please anyone.
Marketing guru Seth Godin explains that people need to target their specific group of people who have the same problems, desires, and interests. When professionals such as public speakers do that, they can more easily connect with their audience since their message speaks directly to the audience’s problems and desires.
Therefore, as a public speaker, you need to ask yourself do you want to:
- Be a small fish in a big pond, or
- Be a big fish in a small pond.
When you have a target audience, you understand what keeps them awake at night, what difficulties they’re having, and what their aspirations and goals might be. When you speak, they will feel you’re speaking directly to them, and their problems are being heard.
The real-world issue that many of us face is that we are limited by our resources. Unlike multinational corporations and world-famous celebrities, many of us have a limited marketing budget and operate as a team of one. Because of this, it’s nearly impossible to compete as a small fish in a big pond.
In my personal life, I too was forced to ask myself the question “Do I want to continue being a small fish in a big pond?” Before the pandemic, I was forced to take my business online due to my family needing me more at home. I decided to take 60-70% of my business online, leaving 30% so that I could still do in-person presentations which I love. Now, here is where it took me a while to find my current niche.
During this time, I run my first year-long speaker program. However, I quickly realized my niche was too broad. My audience was too varied in experience and industries, making it difficult to make an impact and expand my brand. Through this experience, I realized that I wanted to work with those who had been in business for at least 5 years and were ready to speak publicly rather than complete beginners.
Following this, I tried specializing in storytelling, but:
- I became a smaller fish in a bigger pond as I hadn’t the years of specialization compared to others in the niche; and
- Just focusing on storytelling didn’t satisfy me.
Finally, after much thought, I decided to join Clubhouse in January 2020. It was a breath of fresh air. Clubhouse is a social network based on voice, where people around the world come together to talk, listen, and learn from each other in real-time. So, I went on stage to add value, ask questions, and connect with the panel. After several times, I had become a regular moderator in the room.
Through my experience at Clubhouse, I was constantly asked about my expertise as a TEDx curator since there were few contributors in this space. Because of this, I was able to meet and identify my niche, those who wanted to become thought leaders and deliver a TEDx presentation.
This experience taught me that to become a big fish in any pond, you need to become a big fish in a small pond first. This way you can learn and understand your target audience and grow within your niche before expanding outwards. This practical advice can be applied to anyone, including industry leaders, local businesses, and public speakers.
If you want to learn more about how to leverage your target audience, check out these videos to educate yourself and learn about the next steps you should be taking.
How To Find Your Target Audience | Target Market Research
Finding Your “Who” with Seth Godin
How To Find Your Niche
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