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Death of The Watercooler Moment?

by | Mar 25, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

Did you see the reality show Traitors?

Or were you one of the millions who watched Mr Bates vs. The Post Office?

These were hugely popular recent TV events on network television that created what are known as ‘watercooler moments’.

Both shows were talked about… gossiped about…. and argued over in homes and offices across the UK, with mass media coverage and huge audiences tuning into them at the same time.

Watercooler moments like these used to happen a lot.

(Ok, so watercooler might be a bit of an Americanism. In UK offices this could also be in the kitchen… waiting for the lift… or (in the old days) having a cigarette break!)

Nasty Nick’s comeuppance in Big  Brother, plane crashes in Emmerdale, ‘Free the Weatherfield One’ campaigns to liberate Diedre Barlow in Coronation Street.

Even a simple Saturday night of TV could be a mass event, with millions watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, or Noel’s House party, or Morecambe and Wise.

The same once applied to pop music…

People would watch Top of the Pops every week and countdown the charts.

Most families (parents, kids and grandparents alike) would know who the big pop stars were… David Bowie, Boy George, Kylie Minogue…

Number one hits would sell millions of copies and everyone would know the song, whether they liked it or not (‘Birdie Song’, ‘Agadoo’, ‘Shaddap You Face’ anyone?!)

But do you know what the current number one record is?

I certainly don’t – and I’m a music fan.

I also didn’t watch Traitors or Mr Bates vs. The Post Office.

Because the truth is, despite a few anomalies like these, the age of the watercooler moment is mostly over.

The era of shared cultural experiences, focussed on a pop song or TV show, is also over.

What we have now is a hugely fragmented cultural world, split into numerous smaller tribes.

This is even true of the internet.

Back when I started writing about online business opportunities, there were much fewer platforms and networks shared by large groups of people.

But now…

The era of the internet ‘town square’ is over

Even people on the same social media network get vastly different streams of content, with vastly different worldviews, styles and attitudes.

When you go onto Google to search for something, you get an algorithmically created version of online reality tailored to your search history – it is not the same as someone else’s results,

When you click on a YouTube video, the suggestions that appear next to it are not the same as someone else on Youtube at the same moment.

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“The internet… went from what felt like a single town square to a vast expanse of micro communities organized around topics of interest,” says Zach Blume, co-founder of digital shop Portal A. “The sheer amount of content that was being created — maybe that was enough for people to start breaking up into smaller groups and more specific groups.”

Appealing to a mass audience is now increasingly difficult. Only the big companies with big budgets for big advertising campaigns across TV, radio and social media can really manage to shout out over the internet noise.

So it is unwise to try and dominate a big market. You either need a lot of luck or a lot of investment to stand out from the crowd and capture an audience.

But because online society has been split into tiny communities, it becomes a lot easier to identify a small tribe and dominate a narrow niche  – without needing a big budget or a lot of expertise.

Rather than trying to grab the attention of the ‘town square’…

You can simply enter a tiny virtual café on the corner where a small bunch of superfans and obsessives hang out…

The power of the tribal sub-niche

The trick is to focus on what I call ‘ultra-specific niches’.

By focusing on small internet ‘tribes’, you can find places with a high demand for information and products…  a clearly defined worldview…. and strong emotions …

All of which are fantastic ingredients if you want to market a product or service.

In tribal sub niches, you have much lower competition, and easier access to the audience you want to reach.

Sometimes simply tracking a hashtag, following a bunch of people on Instagram, or going on a specialist forum will find you hundreds, even thousands, of people interested in a specific topic or pastime.

By creating products tailored to these niches, you can become dominant very quickly.

For example, let’s imagine you want to make a digital product for gardeners – perhaps a downloadable planner to help people organise their gardening activities.

But there are countless gardening planners out there – it’s a huge topic with mass appeal.

So any planner you create risks being drowned in a sea of similar products.

Instead, you need to think about a sub-niche.

Rather than trying to reach every gardening enthusiast on the internet, you might zoom in on those who are specifically interested in growing vegetables in Britain.

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This would then become your niche. There are far fewer planners about growing vegetables than there are gardening planners.

But maybe there are still too many vegetable-growing planners.

So in this case, you might narrow it down. This time on people interested in growing herbs – perhaps for medicinal and health reasons.

A planner for UK herb growing is an ultra-specific sub niche with almost zero competition, yet a good demand.

It’s like finding a small corner in a bustling market where you can set up your stall.

In that corner, you’re not just another face in the crowd; you’re the go-to person for that particular need. And the people who visit are not just passing by – they are looking for exactly what you have to offer.

That’s the beauty of niche marketing – it’s not about being everything to everyone, but about being something really valuable to someone in particular.

It allows you to stand out in a crowded online space and find a dedicated audience who appreciates and seeks out your expertise.

How to Use AI to Find Sub-Niches

ChatGPT is a great tool for identifying tribes and sub-niches.

You can use a prompt like: “Act as my marketer and researcher. I am interested in creating a product targeted at [GENERAL AUDIENCE but I want to find a more profitable sub-niche where there is a smaller, dedicated audience of fans. Please suggest X subniches.”

For example…

Act as my marketer and researcher. I am interested in creating products targeted at people interested in DIY, but I want to find a more profitable sub-niche where there is a dedicated audience of fans. Please suggest 3 subniches.

You might get the following:

  1. DIY Furniture and Woodworking: individuals interested in crafting their own furniture or woodworking projects. Products could range from complete DIY furniture kits to specialised tools and materials for creating custom wooden pieces.

 

  1. Sustainable and Eco-Friendly DIY Projects: people who seek to reduce their environmental impact. Products could include kits for building solar-powered devices, upcycling materials for home decor, or creating personal care products with natural ingredients.

 

  1. DIY Electronic Kits and Robotics: This niche is perfect for hobbyists interested in electronics and robotics. Offering kits for building drones, customising electronic gadgets, or creating robotic toys can attract tech enthusiasts, educators, and students.

You can then see if there’s a way to narrow it down again.

PROMPT: Break down [number] into 2 more sub niches.

So in this case, I might ask for DIY Furniture and Woodworking to be broken into sub-niches, like this:

  1. Upcycled Furniture DIY: This sub-niche focuses on the transformation and repurposing of existing furniture pieces into something new and unique. It appeals to environmentally conscious consumers and those looking to give old furniture a second life.

 

  1. Custom Home Decor Woodworking: Specialising in smaller-scale woodworking projects that add unique touches to home decor, such as custom picture frames, wall shelves, plant stands, and wooden signs. This sub-niche appeals to DIYers looking to personalise their living spaces without committing to larger furniture projects.

So now instead of ‘DIY’ as your focus, you might end up in the much smaller niche of people who upcycle wooden materials into furniture.

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Next, use Chat GPT to outline the ‘tribal identity’ of your sub niche.

PROMPT: Give me a detailed description of the type of person who is into [sub niche] – what are their goals, fears, desires and worldview?

You’ll get something along these lines…

The person interested in Sustainable and Reclaimed Wood Projects is often environmentally conscious and values sustainability not just as a practice, but as a core principle guiding their lifestyle and choices. They are likely to be passionate about reducing waste, conserving natural resources, and promoting a more sustainable way of living. Here’s a detailed description of their profile… Etc

Now use this prompt: Where do they hang out online? Give me some options and some keywords and hashtags to help me find them.

You’ll get a result like this…

Online Platforms

  1. Instagram: A popular platform for sharing visual content, including projects made from reclaimed wood. Users often post their creations, DIY projects, and tutorials.
  2. Pinterest: Ideal for finding inspiration, tutorials, and DIY ideas related to reclaimed wood furniture and decor.
  3. Reddit: Subreddits dedicated to woodworking, DIY projects, and sustainability can be valuable resources for advice, inspiration, and discussion.

Keywords: Sustainable woodworking, reclaimed wood projects, eco-friendly DIY, upcycled wood crafts, green woodworking, woodworking community, DIY furniture projects, reclaimed wood design, sustainable home decor.

Hashtags: Use these on platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to find relevant posts and communities.

  • #ReclaimedWood
  • #SustainableWoodworking
  • #EcoFriendlyDIY
  • #UpcycledFurniture
  • #ReclaimedWoodFurniture
  • #WoodworkingProjects
  • #SustainableLiving
  • #GreenWoodworking
  • #EcoFriendlyLiving
  • #HandmadeFurniture

Now you can use this information to go out and find your tribe!

As you will see, it won’t take long to find the kind of people you want to market to!

And you can probably reach them for free, or with a low budget targeted ad campaign on social media!

What do you think?

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