This July 9th at Wix Lounge I’ll be doing a class called Resume 2.0 focused on helping you use digital marketing tactics to burnish your “personal brand.” It’s only $12, but you can enter to win a FREE spot here. This article is one of a four-part series on the foundational elements of Resume 2.0. Read more here.
I’ve got this friend who’s worked in traditional ad agencies for most of his career. He’s a totally savvy guy who’s hep to the “next big thing” for the industry — big data — and yet he’s stuck organizations that are slow to get the religion.
What’s a guy to do? Lovingly hand-craft a powerpoint that will go unappreciated — or pen a blog post that could affect change in hundreds of different industries?
People who are a little bit outsider-ish, who can see the future, have big opportunities in this very unstable job market we find ourselves in. When you can access so many tools and platforms there’s never been a better time to carve out a niche of expertise that just might launch your career to the next level.
But enough of the theoretical…here are some of my favorite examples of people who have used online media to build a serious niche for themselves in the discipline they feel most passionately about — in photography, design and comedy.
Photography – Philip Bloom
I took a class from photographer Philip Bloom at the last Vimeofest in 2010. He really inspired me, not only to give DSLR cinematography a second look, but also because he’d done such a great job branding himself in a highly competitive space. Photography as a profession is increasingly under threat by the proliferation of increasingly amazing photography equipement for the consumer. You’d never know that based on Philip Bloom’s sensational success. Why?
He repackaged his best qualities and targeted them to a growing niche. There was a whole group of people who wanted to learn how to use DSLR cameras (formerly still cameras) to shoot video that looked like professional film. They’d need a lot of instruction and gear advice to do that. On his site, Philip Bloom provides all of this and more — for free. In doing so, he’s raised his visibility, and gotten a lot more jobs.
A great example of someone who’s fast on his feet in the face of a changing market.
Design – Swiss Miss
“Swiss Miss” is the nom-de-blog of Tina Roth Eisenberg, a “Swiss designer gone NYC.” She started her publishing empire several years ago as a way of curating and presenting her favorite design finds. Over the years its grown into a very popular entity.
What I like most about Swiss Miss is its a great example of someone who successfully set up something independent to support their primary business (design). While the blog is not a sales pitch for Tina’s services, it is nicely aligned with them. Additionally, it’s served as a launch pad for a number of other awesome ventures such as Creative Mornings and Tattly.
Swiss Miss is a great example of the creative mini-mogul.
Comedy – Andy Borowitz
Comedy is a seriously brutal business, full of cutthroat competition and stinging rejection. Yet by being an early adopter of web publishing technology, Andy Borowitz has built an audience in the millions. Starting in the early aughts, the Borowitz Report hosted short satiric pieces that were perfect fodder for sharing on the “social web.” Featured in the pages of numerous national and international newspapers and magazines as well as television, radio, and his own books Borowitz has proved that the Onion hasn’t cornered the market on online comedy and a one-man publishing empire can command a massive audience.
How do you learn from the greats?
Think about what you love about your work — and where you define your individuality. Carve out a unique take on your passion, turn it into a blog that you post to regularly, and voila, you’ve got a platform.
These are just a few examples of my favorite ways people have used their passions to carve out authority in a specific niche — and found a way to support their creative endeavors.
I hope you’ll share a few of yours in the comments.