Often, freelance writers will struggle to settle on a target market.
This is especially true if they’re just starting out.
So sometimes, they’ll decide to target two markets. And these two markets might have little in common.
Maybe it’s fitness and high tech.
Or higher education and hospitality.
Or healthcare and nonprofits.
Generally, you should avoid targeting more than one market at a time.
But if you DO have legitimate reasons for targeting more than one, you can take steps to make the situation more workable.
Why targeting multiple markets isn’t a good idea
The main reason I discourage this practice is because it ramps up the complexity of your business.
When you have multiple markets, you have to create multiple buckets of content, especially when those markets don’t have much in common.
Because what you create for one target market may not resonate with the other.
As a result, you’ve immediately doubled (or tripled) your workload!
Having two target markets can also create confusion in the mind of your target audience.
What will prospective clients think when they visit your website and see that you write copy for not only their industry but another, unrelated, industry?
It might be enough to scare them off.
Do you REALLY need to target more than one market?
Before you settle on targeting more than one market, take a closer look at your reasoning.
Some new writers will look for growing markets and then pick the top ones. “High tech, education and healthcare are really hot right now, so I’m going to target those.”
But that isn’t a good rationale for targeting multiple markets.
Instead, you should base your decision on your experience, background and skills. That’s where you’ll get the most traction starting out.
In other cases, writers will choose multiple markets to hedge their bets. “If this market doesn’t work out, then I’ll still have this other one.”
But again, that’s not a good reason.
The only good reason for choosing multiple markets is because you already have good traction in them all.
In other words, you have experience, background and skills you can leverage for each.
If you do ultimately decide to target multiple markets, you can do three things to make the situation more workable.
1. Find the common thread
Start by finding a common thread that links all those markets together.
This thread will help to explain your positioning to prospective clients. It will help them make sense of it.
Often, this thread will be your past experience.
I worked as nurse for 10 years, then took a job with an NGO as a healthcare worker. Today, I provide writing services to all types of NGOs.
Sometimes the thread will be some commonality that the markets share.
I help busy executives create thought leadership content in industry X and industry Y. Audiences for these industries have a lot in common, such as….
2. Split your efforts unevenly
Even if you decide to target two markets, that doesn’t mean you have to give equal weight to each one.
By splitting your efforts unevenly, you minimize the amount of extra workload you’ll take on.
For example, you can choose to put all of your prospecting efforts (i.e. outbound marketing) into just one of the markets you’ve selected.
Over time, this strategy may allow you to transition out of the second market altogether, which is helpful if you’d prefer to work just in one.
3. Conduct an annual review
If you do end up choosing more than one target market, conduct an annual review.
Things can change significantly over the course of a year. And you might decide to drop one of the markets you’re targeting if you’re no longer getting traction.
Ready, fire, aim!
Most importantly, don’t let a debate over which (and how many) markets to target paralyze your efforts.
You’ll rarely pick the exact right market from the outset. Instead, make your best guess and pick something — and then refine as you go.
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