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I often hear a common challenge from our B2B clients: finding someone who can effectively craft thought leadership content tailored to their industry. Given our diverse range of B2B clients, including those in very niche sectors, this comes as no surprise. Writing a bylined article on insurance for life science startups, a blog post covering integrated WiFi marketing strategies for restaurant franchises or a listicle exploring alternative risk transfer options for unconventional businesses can be quite daunting.
The challenges are multifaceted: technical jargon to decipher, complex subject matter to grasp and the need to convey concepts to an audience that often has limited familiarity with the topic. To compound matters, there’s a smaller pool of media outlets in these niches, making content placement a competitive endeavor.
However, despite these hurdles, writing for a niche business or industry isn’t an insurmountable task for public relations professionals. In fact, with the right framework and practices, you can efficiently and effectively craft content for nearly any industry and topic.
Related: How to Market in a Niche Industry
Start with comprehensive research
The journey begins with thorough industry research. Familiarize yourself with the industry’s terminology, nuances, target audience and prevailing trends. Examine competitors and their content strategies, while also perusing content from prominent media outlets to gauge reader interests, preferred topics and writing style.
Once you’ve absorbed the essence of the industry, its trends and challenges, compile a list of valuable data sources. Consider data related to growth rates, market surveys and pertinent studies, and find out if the client has proprietary research or data to utilize. Furthermore, explore the resources available on the business’s website, such as informative blogs.
Add topic-specific insights from experts
Next, leverage the expertise of professionals within the business, particularly when crafting thought leadership pieces. These articles aim to share knowledge and insights from in-house experts, bolstering credibility through third-party endorsement upon publication. However, be mindful that the best experts are often the busiest individuals within the organization. Respect their time by conducting thorough research beforehand, with a clear working title, synopsis and key points or research to cite. Such preparation ensures that the questions you pose are neither easily answerable through simple web searches nor overly time-consuming for the experts.
In our experience, presenting a concise list of no more than five questions for a 15- to 20-minute phone or Zoom discussion is productive. Additionally, many experts prefer responding via email at their convenience, allowing their insights to be incorporated into the article. This approach imparts authenticity and a unique perspective to the content that research alone cannot achieve.
Think about it from the audience’s perspective…and the media outlet’s
To effectively connect with the audience, immerse yourself in their shoes, and tailor your messaging to address their specific needs, concerns and aspirations. Avoid the common pitfall of stating the obvious or delivering information that the audience already knows. For instance, when crafting a bylined article for CFO Magazine discussing liquidity as a tool for fueling innovation and growth, it is unnecessary to delve into the basics of liquidity, as CFOs are well-versed in this fundamental concept.
Recognizing the audience’s preferences is paramount, encompassing considerations of style, voice and format. Content designed for Bar & Restaurant Magazine’s audience will differ vastly from that pitched to TechCrunch, necessitating distinct writing styles and tones. Furthermore, familiarize yourself with the editorial guidelines of the intended media outlet, as some explicitly outline preferred formats and styles.
Use real-life examples or case studies
Real-life examples breathe life into your content, facilitating reader comprehension and demonstrating practical applications of theories and strategies. Readers are often seeking actionable insights, and real-life examples show how concepts and advice can be tangibly beneficial. Furthermore, they imbue content with a compelling storytelling element. In cases where privacy regulations constrain the use of specific examples, consider hypothetical scenarios or anonymize the information to remain compliant.
Follow regulatory guidelines and consult legal experts
A pertinent example underscores the importance of adhering to compliance and regulations when writing for niche businesses or industries: Imagine you are tasked with crafting a bylined article discussing risk assessment in life science startups. You come across a startup’s clinical trial results that provide an excellent case study. Unfamiliar with the compliance and regulatory landscape of this business, you submit the article after a cursory client review. However, unbeknownst to you, the inclusion of these results violates confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements. Moreover, sharing clinical results without adhering to proper regulatory protocols exposes your client to fines.
Such predicaments can be entirely prevented by thoroughly understanding the regulatory environment of the business and seeking legal expertise when necessary. In our experience, we collaborated on bylined articles for a client specializing in insurance for tech startups, including life sciences as one of their verticals. In every instance, we sought the approval of their legal team to ensure compliance.
By adhering to these guidelines and practices, you can overcome the challenges of writing for niche businesses or industries, crafting content that resonates with your target audience while remaining legally sound and authentic.