Content Marketing, Social Media Case Studies

How to Win at Content by Targeting a Niche

badge guest post FLATTER How to Win at Content by Targeting a NicheParadoxically, the more information sources available to the consumer, the more niche-focused content creators must become and the more successful they’ll be. Even in a world with 52 billion indexed web pages in Google’s database, unique content opportunities exist. You, as a marketer, have to find and exploit these content holes in your marketplace. Tractor Supply, the largest retail “farm and ranch” store chain in the United States teamed up with a guy named Andy Schneider to cut through the clutter and drive new revenue by exploiting a content hole in the marketplace.

Tractory Supply & The Urban Farmer

Most of Tractor Supply’s stores are located in rural areas or the outlying suburbs of major American cities. At any one of their stores, you can find everything from welding supplies and riding lawn mowers, to fashion-forward men’s and women’s work wear. What’s interesting about Tractor Supply is that they target the “hobby farmer.” They say that less than 10 percent of their clients describe themselves as full-time farmers or ranchers. They are “suburban homeowners” or “self-reliants.”

Plenty of Commodity Content

KnowHowCentralScreenShot How to Win at Content by Targeting a Niche

Like any good marketer, Tractor Supply creates tons of content. In the “Know How” section of their website you can find information on everything from feeding horses to properly operating a chainsaw. But all of this is commodity content – content that that’s widely available (so widely available, in fact, that it doesn’t add much value).

Meet The Chicken Whisperer

Andy Schneider is the Chicken Whisperer. That doesn’t mean he can communicate with chickens—it’s the brand he’s built for himself. Andy dubs himself the “go-to guy across the country for anything chicken-related.”

AndySchneiderChickenWhisperer How to Win at Content by Targeting a Niche

Every weekday (yes, five days a week), Andy hosts an online radio show (hosted on BlogTalkRadio) about keeping backyard poultry. Whether you’re raising “show” poultry, trying to live a self-sufficient lifestyle, or just keeping a few chickens as pets, Andy and his guests answer your questions and share stories from the backyard poultry movement.

Today, 834 episodes after he started, Andy’s audience tops out at well over 20,000 backyard poultry enthusiasts from around the world.

“We have truck drivers and school teachers, urban chicken enthusiasts and vegans, that all listen to our show,” Andy says. There are even “feed and seed” stores around the country that stream the radio show live over PA systems every day from noon to 2 p.m.

Andy Schneider fills a content hole. His content isn’t for everyone, it’s only for people who raise poultry and those people are loyal subscribers. They tune in everyday and they follow Andy’s every move.

Andy & Tractor Supply Team Up

Almost every week, Andy and his family hit the road with his radio show. Armed with a microphone, headphones, and a laptop, Andy can broadcast from almost anywhere (that’s the power of BlogTalkRadio). A few years ago, he even broadcast from his car on the way to Nashville. When Andy comes to town, it’s a big deal in the backyard poultry community. Listeners and fans from all over come to see Andy live and in-person. A few dozen times a year, Andy broadcasts from a Tractor Supply store.

ScreenShotFromNewspaper How to Win at Content by Targeting a Niche

The Chicken Whisperer Drives Revenue

Andy’s listeners show up in droves and next thing you know they’re purchasing a dozen baby chicks, chicken coops, chicken feed, incubators, and poultry supplies galore. Andy easily sells 100 new chicks at an appearance, and sometimes they sell out fast. The typical chicken owner spends $144 on feed alone each year. That means if Andy brings in 300 new customers, he just drove more than $40,000 in annual revenue for each Tractor Supply he visits in one day (not to mention all the other stuff poultry enthusiasts purchase over the course of their chick’s lifetime). By the way, chickens can easily live eight to 10 years, which means that over the life of the chickens, Andy sells $400,000 worth of chicken feed at each store he visits.

Andy Schneider fills a content hole. One that drives real revenue where ever he goes.

Finding Your Audience’s Content Holes

In today’s online world, creating and distributing commodity content doesn’t drive measurable results. Filling a content hole does. You need to ask yourself what deep insight and information the most passionate people in your audience want and need? Ask yourself, if you dive deep into your audience’s interests, how can you be more relevant, more often? How does your brand really add value to their life? Who’s your Chicken Whisperer?

What if….

What if you filled a content hole for your audience? What would it mean to your business?

  • http://morekeynote.com/ tpldrew

    Thanks Jay and team for inviting me to post!

  • http://tommangan.net/ Tom Mangan

    Who knew there was a Chicken Whisperer? Great post.

    • http://morekeynote.com/ tpldrew

      I know, right! So glad you enjoyed the post, Tom.

      – Andrew

      • http://tommangan.net/ Tom Mangan

        I was a newsman for over 20 years so my instinct is to always get the most interesting detail into the intro. I totally would’ve tied myself in knots trying to open with The Chicken Whisperer somehow.

        Did you think about that going that route when you were writing the piece? I’m always curious to find out why other people structure their blog posts in a certain order.

        • http://morekeynote.com/ tpldrew

          Tom,

          I was in the TV news business too! :)

          Yeah, leading with the Chicken Whisperer in that intro paragraph would have been great… :)

          To be honest, I wrote this for Jay months ago and I can’t remember if I tried or not. (But I should have.)

          Thanks so much Tom!

          – Andrew

  • Gillian Polard

    “Who is your chicken whisperer?” – great closing sentence that I will be repeating to myself for a long time!

    • http://morekeynote.com/ tpldrew

      Gillian,

      So glad it will stick with you!

      – Andrew

  • http://www.strategicpropositions.com Jose Palomino

    This gives me hope. And it’s the EXACT conversation we were having today during our marketing meeting. The good news is we had our “Ah-Ha!” moment about filling in the content gap for our market — now it’s time to do it!

    • http://morekeynote.com/ tpldrew

      Jose,

      So glad the timing was right!

      Let me know how your niche market turns out!

      – Andrew

  • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

    Love this post, Andrew. Setting a goal of filling a content hole is great, but knowing what that content is can be a challenge. Sometimes, your audience may not even know what they want until they see it. Can you offer any other examples of brands doing this well?

    • http://morekeynote.com/ tpldrew

      Thanks Sarah!

      Sure… check out Fold Factory’s 60-Second Super Cool Fold of the week for Direct Mail Designers (that’s a pretty small niche.)

      – Andrew

      • http://sproutsocial.com/features/social-media-engagement Sarah @ Sprout Social

        Just watched one – wow, there are a lot! Very cool though. Thanks for sharing, Andrew!

        • http://morekeynote.com/ tpldrew

          Sarah,

          Yes there are a lot of them! To be successful in building a relationship with your audience you must have a great content brand that you consistently deliver on a regular basis. Fold Factory Has been doing that for four years-hence almost 200 videos.

          Pretty cool, huh?

          – Andrew

  • Callifrey

    This is a great post. Research your clientele, to detect niches that you (and they!) may not be aware of. Podcasts are also very easy to do, just ask! Thanks for this post, there are great ideas, here, for the small business.
    http://www.kevinlapp.ca

    • http://morekeynote.com/ tpldrew

      Callifrey,

      So glad you enjoyed the post!

      – Andrew

  • Lisa Cash Hanson

    I have two primary businesses. One a diaper changing pillow with a smart phone – The Snuggwugg that fills a whole :) The other my blog Mompreneur Mogul for women who work from home.
    I have had some ideas lately to change and do exactly what you mentioned. There are a ton of work from home sights and I’m a little odd since I’m also lunching a baby product ( not the typical stay at home job :)

    One thing I noticed in women especially is they are often gazing. Into the other girls yard thinking they have it so much better.

    I shared in a recent post how I was thriving and crying. Basically sharing all the challenges that come with launching a product and being a mom and a coach. That seemed to strike a chord. I would love to share more posts like that but still working on drilling down to find that exact “hole”

  • http://www.themediablueprint.com/ Candra French

    This was a great post! It illustrates how a company’s digital persona (online content, such as the Chicken Whisperer’s online radio show) can meet the pavement.

    Digging further, for targeting audiences online, I would advise companies to research the jargon or dialect associated with their services. Your mention of the “backyard poultry movement” piqued my interest; I have never heard that before.

    Google’s new keyword planner (gag) shows 6,600 searches per month for “backyard poultry,” definitely an online content niche.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

  • Graciousstore

    It is very important to find your niche and build all your content around that niche to demonstrate your expertise in that area