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There's No Such Thing As Being Too Specific

There's No Such Thing As Being Too Specific

Stewart Hillhouse
Stewart Hillhouse

Be specific – as specific as possible.

Be specific about everything:

  • Who you're creating for
  • What others will learn from you
  • What topics within larger topics you cover


Traditional knowledge would have us think that appealing to the largest audience possible would be the best move.

But the opposite is actually true.

The more specific you are, the faster people who have the same interests will find you.

Experiment Early and Often To Find Your Topic

It will take time time to find a topic that satisfies both you and your audience. In the early days you won't have many people paying attention to you – that's the best time to experiment.

Once you've found a niche that you like, pressure test your topic by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Is this a topic that I'm proud to be known for?
  2. Do I have a unique perspective or way of teaching this topic?
  3. Do I like spending time with the kind of people this topic attracts?

Once you find a topic that answers "yes" to those three questions: stick with it.

I started large (Marketing) and have since narrowed down into Audience Growth. I know there is still a need for me to get more specific.

It's only once you have an established audience around a seriously specific topic should you start to begin to branch off into other interests.

Case Study: From Biology Study Prep to Lifestyle Blogging

As an example, Ali Abdaal started his YouTube channel by documenting his methodology for studying to be a doctor at medical school. He was specific about the courses, the techniques, the subject matter, even the school he was attending.

Ali's first video is about studying for Section 1 of the BMAT exam (see what I mean by specific yet?)

After 100 videos, he strategically moved on to general note-taking and knowledge management. He's since expanded into general productivity, creativity, and self-improvement.

Had he started with just self-improvement (maybe the most vague topic every), he likely would have struggled to build a core audience early on.

In Summary

  • Start small. Be specific. Experiment a lot early on.
  • Assess the audience you're attracting. Do you like the kinds of people you're attracting? If not, try something else. If yes, keep going.
  • Make it very obvious who your content is for and what your audience will get from listening to you.

Get One New Marketing Idea Each Week

If you found this useful, consider joining Top Of Mind Weekly – a short email I send on Thursdays. You'll get one new marketing idea each week, plus a breakdown of how to make it work for you.

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