Brainstorming Adjacent Market Possibilities

You’ve got years of experience and lots of good contacts in your industry.

But unfortunately, that industry has little demand for written content. And you wonder how you can build a freelance writing business on that.

Will you need to start over in some new industry and leave all your experience and contacts behind?

Not at all.

If you get creative in your thinking, you can come up with related markets that DO have a high need for written content.

Markets where you can still leverage your experience and contacts!

In today’s article, I’m going to walk you through a few examples of how you can branch out from your current target market and identify related markets you can target.

Example 1: The Pulp and Paper Industry

Let’s pretend you spent the first part of your career working on the production side of the pulp and paper industry.

Unfortunately, pulp and paper isn’t known for great marketing. You don’t see big players in the market, such as International Paper or Weyerhaeuser, putting out a lot of marketing content.

There may be exceptions, of course, but this a mostly commoditized market. The opportunities for freelancer writers aren’t great — so you need to look elsewhere.

1. Companies that sell to the pulp and paper industry

If pulp and paper producers aren’t a good market, then how about companies that sell or provide services to that market?

For example, software companies sell to paper producers. The industry has become much more sophisticated over the years, and software companies would play a role in that.

2. Organizations that consult with the pulp and paper industry on regulatory matters

Pulp and paper producers are subject to many government and environmental regulations. Therefore, you might find opportunities with firms that provide regulatory compliance services, such as monitoring, tracking, consulting, auditing and reporting.

If you have experience writing for regulatory consulting firms in the pulp and paper space, you can also expand your search outside that industry and target at other industries that are heavily regulated.

The pulp and paper industry is also a big consumer of energy. So how about targeting companies that help pulp and paper producers reduce their energy costs?

Again, these companies may serve a wide variety of industries, so that too can open up new opportunities.

3. Associations

The pulp and paper industry has many associations affiliated with it.

For example, a quick Google search reveals:

  • American Forest & Paper Association
  • Northwest Pulp & Paper Association
  • Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry
  • Pulp and Paper Safety Association
  • And many more!

These associations almost always have a need for content for their websites, newsletters and publications.

And many of them outsource a lot of their writing.

Example 2: The Construction Industry

The construction industry isn’t known for its marketing content. But again, you can find adjacent industries if you get creative with your brainstorming.

1. Associations

Construction has tons of associations — and they’re always in need of content.

A quick Google search reveals:

  • Associated Builders and Contractors
  • Associated General Contractors of America
  • American Institute of Constructors
  • National Electrical Contractors Association
  • And many more!

2. Organizations that consult with the pulp and paper industry on regulatory matters

Design and engineering are intimately connected to construction. And guess what? Design and engineering firms generate a lot of reports and documentation.

Someone needs to write this stuff!

3. Companies that sell products and services to the construction industry

Lots of companies sell to the construction industry — such as software, consulting services and other similar professional services.

Many of these products and services are new, expensive and/or complex. This makes them likely to need good marketing content.

4. Regulatory compliance

Regulatory compliance is also an important aspect of construction. Lots of companies provide consulting services to help players in the construction industry make sure they’re in compliance with all rules and regulations.

As in our first example, companies that providing consulting services on regulatory compliance will often service multiple industries, not just construction. This can open doors to new opportunities in other industries.

5. Shows and conferences

Many shows and conferences are targeted to the construction industry. They need marketing materials to promote themselves.

A quick Google search reveals:

  • The Better Buildings Summit
  • CICPAC Annual Conference
  • California Construction Expo
  • The National Association of Women in Construction Conference
  • And LOTS more!

Example 3: Higher Education

Content marketing in the higher education space can sometimes be low margin.

But there are some good pockets of opportunities if you know where to look. Some of my coaching clients have done very well in this space.

1. Companies that sell to higher education

Lots of companies sell to the higher education industry, especially technology products and services.

Again, these products and services will be new, expensive and complex, which means they’ll likely need marketing content.

2. Downstream products

When we think of higher education, we often think of them serving young people not long out of high school.

But many colleges and universities also have high end programs targeted to executive leaders. There’s a lot of competition in this space — and these programs are expensive — so marketing materials are needed, such as white papers and case studies.

3. Ghostwriting books for professors

Writing and publishing is still an important part of the job for most professors. But many of them don’t have the time or skills to write a book and would gladly work with a ghostwriter.

Don’t Discount “Mini Expertise”

When you consider the expertise and experience you can leverage, don’t discount “mini expertise” that you might have acquired in previous jobs.

Just because you worked only in pulp and paper, construction or higher education industries, that doesn’t mean you didn’t get exposure to other industries along the way.

For example, I had a software company client that sold expensive software to manufacturing companies in the food and beverage industry.

As part of my job, I wrote a lot of case studies for these clients.

As a result, I became a “mini-expert” in the food and beverage industry, even though I didn’t work in that directly. And that’s experience that was able to leverage when going after other prospects.

Look Up, Down and Around

Just because your experience is in an industry that doesn’t have much demand for marketing materials, don’t think you’re out of luck.

Look upstream, downstream and across to adjacent industries to find related industries that do need marketing materials — and where you can still leverage your background.

Once you start mind mapping and brainstorming, you’ll come up with a list of new possibilities.

Plus … whenever you’re ready, here are 4 ways I can help you grow your freelance business:

1.  Grab a free copy of my book for ESTABLISHED writers/copywriters.

You’ll discover how to quickly and predictably reawaken dead leads, generate new client opportunities and convert not-yet-ready prospects into freelance writing clients. — Click Here

2.  Download a free copy of my new book for writers who are NEW to freelancing.

I’ll show you the 3 things you need to do to get your business off the ground safely and land your first paying client faster.  — Click Here

3.  Join my implementation program and be a case study.

I’m putting together a new implementation group this month. If you’d like to work with me to grow your income quickly with better clients (and become one of my new success stories). Just email me at [email protected] and put “Case Study” in the subject line.

4.  Get a 1:1 strategy call with me.

Are you a 6-figure writer who’s trying to earn more in less time with less stress? Let’s jump on a quick call and brainstorm some ideas for getting you there. Just email me at [email protected] and put “Brainstorm” in the subject line.