Suze Cooper has successfully honed her niche. With more than 15 years of journalism experience across print and radio and trained by Trinity Mirror, she has worked in newsrooms around Kent producing front page stories and reading live breaking news on commercial radio station kmfm.
Now a director of her own company Big Tent Media, she works alongside her husband to support small businesses in telling their stories online through the creation of websites and via social media.
A self-confessed techy geek, she is fascinated by the possibilities of voice technology for story-telling. Suze is the creator of two Alexa Flash Briefings; an audible social calendar for content creators called Social Days and a what’s on guide, What’s On Medway – the listings you can listen to. She is a confident public speaker, eager to inspire and educate others about the possibilities of voice technology.
In this blog, Suze tells us, in her own words, How to find your niche as a social media freelancer #LikeAPro!
Q1. What are the benefits of finding a niche for growing your business?
Finding a niche enables you be laser-sharp when it comes to providing a service. By focussing on your niche you’re able to build up your profile in that area, which in turn can create further opportunities for you in that area.
By finding skills others may not be offering within your industry it gives you a unique selling point, differentiating you from others and making you the go-to contact for your specific skills.
Q2. What are the different ways we can find a niche?
♥️ – By finding something we love about our job
👂- By listening to what others are saying about what we do
✏ – By drawing on the skills we already have
Finding something we love about our job… If you enjoy doing it, chances are your passion shines through in your work and people are going to ask you to do more of it. So maximise on it – find others niching in that area, seek further training to hone your art and tell people what you are doing.
Listen to others… if you’re being asked to do more of a particular part of your job – create animations, facebook ads, Instagram Stories, then perhaps consider making that your niche.
Don’t forget the skills you have… it’s easy to retrain or start a new job after having children or take a career break and forget the skills we already have. There’s no reason why you can’t combine your former career skills, with your new skills and create a niche for yourself that way.
Perhaps a skills-based niche isn’t for you. You can also find a place for yourself by focussing on working within a specific industry or for companies of a certain size, or only working with businesses who want a presence on a particular social media platform.
Watch for trends in your industry and consider what you can bring to them and whether you can make that area your own in some way. Then work to build your experience in that area, make contacts, build your profile, write blogs for others, make sure people know you’re doing it. Rinse and repeat.
Q3. How did you go about finding your niche?
I wasn’t looking for a niche. It just kind of happened. In fact what ended up being my niche was everything I had tried not to tell people about when I was starting a new career as a social media manager!
I was having coffee with two other social media marketers and mentioned my background in radio and audio production and they were really interested and said I should start incorporating that into what I offer as a social media manager… so I did.
Up until then I had actively tried not to tell people about my journalism and radio background at networking events, because I saw social media as my new job. After that chat I realised I was denying 15 years of experience by not letting people know what I could confidently do.
Now I offer podcast editing, voiceover work and audiogram creation alongside social media marketing. I see it as content marketing with my niche being in the creation of audio-based content. I also create flash briefings which can be heard via Alexa devices and used for marketing brands and businesses.
The rise in voice technology means there’s a lot of interest in audio right now. I try to keep informed of trends and changes in the industry and have worked to make global contacts via social media. I also attend voice-related meet-ups and events and make sure I network at them and not just eat pizza!
Q4. What are the challenges you have found since finding your niche?
Nothing happens overnight, so while I have found an element of my work I love and that clients want, it isn’t possible to limit myself to only taking on those jobs at the moment.
There is also enjoyment in the variety of my work, but it can create tension between what needs doing and what I want to be doing. Isn’t that the case with most things in life though?
Q5. What has helped you to promote your niche and personal brand?
Showing up. I spend a lot of time attending events and meet-ups. I prepare for each one and reach out to key contacts via Twitter prior to getting there. This helps reduce my nerves at the door! People generally seek me out if I have sent them a video introduction and I am pretty easy to spot with my bright pink hair!
I am active within the audio and voice community on Twitter daily. I send out industry news via my feed and engage with others from around the world. This has helped build a profile and led to invitations to speak at events and guest on Twitter chats like this one!
I have a really supportive network of people, many I have met on Twitter but then met IRL too. They are my cheerleaders and supporters and the ones I turn to when imposter syndrome hits.
Q6. What are your top tips for finding your first clients after starting out own your own?
Tell everyone what you’re doing. From the mums at the school gate to the doctor’s receptionist. The more people you tell, the more seeds you plant. It may not happen quickly but that conversation could turn into a client a few weeks down the line. You never know where your next client could come from.
Forget that it feels like everyone is doing/can do what you are doing. That isn’t true. No one does it like you, because there is only one you.
Go to networking events that are not specific to your industry. While they are great for finding supportive people working in your industry, you are unlikely to find clients there.
Q7. What learnings can you share from running and growing your own business as a working parent?
- Sometimes you feel like you’re failing your family
- You can feel like you’re failing your clients
- Sometimes it’s super hard and that’s OK
- There will be times you will want to give up and that’s OK
- Find your support network and lean on them when you need to
- Don’t compare yourself to the mum over there because she is stood over there comparing herself to you.
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