Producing content you made yourself isn’t that difficult if you look at it the right way. Most forms of non-fiction content can be broken down into a series of questions. From biographies of famous historical figures to videos on getting perfect abs, this content can be created by answering questions customers are likely to have.

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Hunting down niche audiences

December 31st, 2007

Here are the basic steps towards identifying an audience within a niche:

Look for publications and services that target people with specific interests: Magazines and journals targeted at a specific group of people indicate an active niche with commercial potential. Magic magazines told me a lot about what kind of audience was out there for my content.
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Your audience is a group of people in your niche that you want to market products and services to. Rather than trying to identify potential customers out of a random pool of people, it’s easier to find them by letting them identify themselves. My audience was people interested in magic who were willing to spend money on books and tricks. This is the same demographic that buys magic magazines. By flipping through those magazines I could get an idea of what people were buying and how much they were willing to pay for those items. By looking at the circulation of the top magic magazines I was able to get an idea of my potential market size. This is a very important number to know. I’ve known many first time authors try to approach a niche and expect sales twice the size of the number of people in it.
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Changing mediums for new content

December 17th, 2007

When you read a book and think that it would make a great movie, you’ve determined that it could be put into a different medium and be successful. Sometimes a concept is introduced in the wrong format. A good book might make a great video. An interesting lecture might make a great audio book. Sometimes you don’t have to change the content; just the way it’s presented and delivered.

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What kind of business sense would you attribute to a store that closed on the busiest shopping day of the year? What would you think of a TV network that decided to air reruns on the one night that most of America is in front of the televisions? Welcome to the world of podcasting.
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Sometimes there’s a new niche and nobody in it really knows what they’re doing. Other times a niche has passed its peak and the people making money in it have begun to neglect it. It’s almost a cliché that anything “underground” looks like it’s been mimeographed in a basement and assembled like a ransom note. Many opportunities are just waiting to hit the mainstream if someone could make them a little bit more user friendly. Read the rest of this entry »

Here’s a cool resource of information from Apple featuring profiles of different companies and individuals that all use Macs. One of my issues with Macintosh magazines is that they’re all pretty useless. I wish they’d follow Apple’s model and tell us more about how people are using the technology than write articles on the 10 best FTP utilities (Transmit, end of story) or how to back up your iPod.

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Apple Pro

What do you want?

December 2nd, 2007

Here’s one way to identify a niche for you to create content; ask yourself what you want in your life.

Think about your hobbies and interests. What do you want that you can’t find? What kind of information do you want to get your hands on? In what form do you want it?
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Identifying a need

November 28th, 2007

Every product I’ve ever released has been based upon satisfying some need that I observed. This became pretty easy after I published my first book. People flat out told me what they wanted. In unsolicited letters and email my customers told me what they liked and didn’t like. When I received several inquires about magic tricks about making yourself float, I released a booklet based on just that. It was my best selling magic booklet ever.

If you have an interest in a special niche, the best place to start with market research is yourself. Look at your shelves. What are you buying?

When I first got interested in filmmaking I started reading a few beginner books, but mostly biographies of filmmakers I found interesting. I also started buying DVDs of independent films that were like the ones I expected to make.

After I made my first film I decided to write a book about the experience. I realized that there really wasn’t anything out there about making independent films with digital video that didn’t read like a cookbook or boring how-to manual. I wrote the book that I wanted to read when I first got started. I had learned plenty of information that wasn’t in anything I read. Most books assumed that you were going to be shooting on film and had $100,000 to spend. My audience was people like myself who wanted to get into film but didn’t want to get a second mortgage to do so.

I followed the same formula I had followed in the magic business. I created something for myself. I solved one of my needs. It’s hard to go wrong with that. You’ll be your most critical customer.