Growing up I was a soccer player. I was never the biggest or the fastest, but I loved playing the sport. My position on most of the teams I played was a utility player. When the center mid got hurt I played midfield. When we were short a defender I played left back.
I was able to do this because I had good fundamentals and understood the game. This versatility kept me in the game, but never allowed me to be a star. I did not take the time necessary to make myself an expert striker, midfielder, or defender.
I see a similar story when I look at company blogs. As a good inbound marketer, you’re working hard to produce as much content as possible on everything in your industry.
This is a good thing. It keeps you in the game.
Creating this foundational content is the first step towards inbound marketing greatness. However, it begins to limit you when you start trying to establishing yourself as a thought leader. You start finding yourself writing so much that the quality goes down. You start losing focus on what your customers and readers care about. You start finding you are competing in both organic search and thought leadership against the Fortune 500 in your industry instead of your true competitors. You become a utility player – a generalist.
The best blogs, the ones that are living up to their full potential, know the basics of their industry. They establish they know them through their writing, but then they make a transition. They start focusing on their niche of expertise. This focus allows:
You to get better quick at learning the nuances of this niche and providing truly helpful information.
People in your industry to identify what you are great at and start treating you as a specialist.
Google to identify easier how you can help (which allows you to pick up those valuable longtail keywords)
If I were to do my soccer career over again I would definitely spend the same time I did to learn the fundamentals and understand the game. However, the minute that was completed I would focus – become a niche expert – a goalie perhaps (that no one could score on, of course). Focus will lead to better success in the long term for both soccer and your inbound marketing blog.