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Play for the Niche Market

Courtesy of an inset on page 32 of the newest issue of Travel and Leisure Golf:

Number of views on YouTube of a clip from High School Musical 2: 18,402,146
Rank of this clip when the search term "golf" is sorted by number of views: 1
Number of views of the first clip that's actually about golf, a minute-long segment of Tiger Woods on SwingVision: 1,217,046
Rank of this clip: 20

Fascinating. On YouTube, there are 19 clips that aren't really about golf that are ranked ahead of an actual clip about golf. In other words, only 5% of the top 20 YouTube "golf" clips have anything to do with golf.

You know what this means? It means if you run a nonprofit that teaches golf lessons to inner-city kids or refurbishes old golf clubs for low-budget schools or auctions off dinner with Tiger Woods for a fundraiser, you will never be found on YouTube.

At least you won't if you're playing to the mainstream market, if you're trying to be found by anyone interested in "golf."

This is why if you're a nonprofit, you need to forget the mainstream and go for the niche market. Yes, upload your video to YouTube, but make sure you'll show up when someone searches for "inner-city golf" or "underprivileged kids golf" or "nonprofit golf" or "charity golf" or anything else.

Those are the people you want to find you anyway. Everyone else is just interested in Zac Efron or the perfect approach shot or Wii Golf or what angle your right elbow should have on a good backswing. People who search the more speficic terms are interested in your work and will be happy when they find you. Better to have 12 of their views that 12,000,000 of the other.

On a golf course, a hole with a par 5 is designed to give you a choice. Either you can go for the green in two and try for an eagle, a very difficult (and therefore very rare) shot. For the average golfer, making it to the green in two strokes will require two nearly perfect, very long, shots. And while trying, if you're like me, you'll send a few balls into the woods or water in the meantime.

However, you can also choose to lay up and make a birdie or a par. This is less glamorous, but requires consistency and can be done with shorter shots with less margin of error. This is the less risky and smarter play. Your chances are much better.

And so it is with playing to a niche market online. Don't worry about being in the top 20 when someone searches for "golf" clips on YouTube. That's a longshot (and irrelevant, as we've learned). Instead, be in the top five clips when a more direct term is used. Take your par and go home happy.

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