Adam Westbrook // ideas on digital storytelling and publishing

How to make a niche work for you

Posted in Next Generation Journalist by Adam Westbrook on May 18, 2010

You’ll hear me gabber on about a niche all the time these days. Thing is, a niche is one of the keys to unlocking all the money locked in the future of journalism. Niche is the future.

Forget broadcasting to the many – think connecting with the few.

It’s not quite as simple as ‘choose a niche and they shall come’ sadly. You have to choose it wisely, and choose one where there is palpable demand for your news product or service.

On today’s Next Generation Journalist post on journalism.co.uk, I pitch aggregating content as a great way to found a business. Here’s an example of how that could work.

A local hero

Last week I was invited to speak at Press Gazette’s Local Heroes Conference at Kingston University in London, where  I am also Journalist-in-Residence.

One of the most inspiring speakers there was David Parkin – a man who took the plunge and launched into a niche product. Guess what? He’s making it work.

He founded TheBusinessDesk.com, a regional website aggregating and creating financial news. Think the Financial Times, but on a regional scale.

  • new angle on a successful business model – check
  • well defined target market – check

Currently running in Birmingham, Yorkshire and Liverpool (note, not London), the Business Desk hires 10 journalists.

  • a small, nimble operation – check!

It is supported through several means. Firstly, advertising around articles on the website. Because of theBusinessDesk’s niche audience, and its rather well off niche audience, these are advertisers willing to part with some cash. Then there’s the daily mailing list of business news, aggregated by the site, sent to 37,000 subscribers. This too is sponsored. If you knew your brand could reach 37,000 business people in their inbox every morning, you’d cough up some cash right? Thirdly, there’s the events which are organised for the community.

  • multiple revenue streams – check!
  • no total dependence on ad revenue – check!

The Business Desk has also recently launched an iPhone app for its subscribers too. It’s free, but supported by advertising.

  • entering a major new market – check!

David Parkin, quite humbly, revealed the company expects to turnover £1million this year. Impressive.

Now I don’t know anything about the company’s running costs, but I do know how inexpensive a website and mailing list is. And I can imagine 10 staff aren’t costing a huge amount of money.

David Parkin has made the niche model work. Now apply it to the hundreds, upon hundreds, upon hundreds of other niches out there – and you’re in business. If you want to get it right, get your hands on the ebook – out on Thursday 20th May.

6 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Richard Kendall said, on May 18, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Agreed, give the audience what they want.

    If you can target a particularly hungry niche audience that are willing to pay for the content/product (the business community being the most obvious, but shows what can be achieved) you’re all the more likely to succeed.

    Great to see some hope for the future.

  2. Chris Barry said, on May 19, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Just to clarify our North West operation is run out of Manchester, but covers all the region centres including Liverpool and Preston.

  3. teylor said, on May 21, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Great to see some hope for the future.

  4. Diandio said, on June 9, 2010 at 8:03 am

    Better Automation Programs At Cheap Price : kingsbot.tk

  5. customer service jobs fl said, on June 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Niches.. humm

  6. […] How to make a niche work for you […]


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: