Are You a Pioneer or a Settler?

Are you a pioneer or a settler? Do you blaze trails, follow them while they’re still rough, or wait until there’s a nicely paved road?

Being a settler is easy. You just tread down the same old path everyone else has, making sure it’s safe. But being a pioneer is tough. You’re the first to pass this way, you’re not sure if you’re heading in the right direction, and some days you’d swear you’re going the wrong way. But the rewards are well worth it.

So how do you pioneer your new niche? How do you become a leader in your field, especially when there is no niche, or the people in it are not connected? In this case, it’s actually easier to be the pioneer, rather than to be one of many. By the time the settlers are finally getting involved, there’s a traffic jam on the road the pioneers have paved. But by this time, you’ll be way ahead of the pack.

Becoming a Pioneer

Here are a few tools and techniques you can use to establish yourself as an expert in your chosen field. Before you start, make sure you have identified your niche, know who the players are, and actually have some content on your blog or website.

  • Find your flock. Use,, and Twitter Search to locate them and start following them. Avoid those “get 2,000 followers per day” spam programs, and earn your followers the honest way.
  • Talk to strangers. Read and comment on the blogs of other people in your industry. If there aren’t any, find logical allies to your industry. If you manufacture marbles, and you’re the only marble manufacturing blog out there, find marble collectors and marble players. Leave comments on their blogs and respond when they leave comments on yours. Not only do you build up some link juice, you create relationships with potential customers.
  • Share knowledge. If you find articles that would be of interest to your audience, share it with them on Twitter and your blog. Write commentary about the articles on the blog, and share those as well. If you can become a source of knowledge, people will look to you for answers.
  • Consider video. Gary Vaynerchuk of and the author of Crush It, has built a social media footprint like an elephant’s by using video to sell and promote wine. Do video posts of you sitting at your desk, pontificating about industry goings-on. Publish excerpts of you speaking at conferences and events (this is also useful if you’re trying to build a speaking career).
  • Build your contact list. As you meet new people, keep your contacts organized in Gmail. If you use Outlook, sync it up with Gmail and keep that list fresh. Gmail is the go-to contact list by every social networking tool out there. Want to find friends on Twitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube? They’ll import your Gmail contact list with no problem.

These are just a very few steps to get yourself started finding your niche. I haven’t even touched on LinkedIn or creating an industry-related social network yourself. But these are enough steps to get you started.

What other tools and steps do you recommend? Leave a comment, and we’ll try to feature it in a future blog post.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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    About Erik Deckers

    Erik Deckers is the President of Pro Blog Service, a content marketing and social media marketing agency in Indianapolis, IN. He co-authored three social media books, including No Bullshit Social Media with Jason Falls (2011, Que Biz-Tech), and Branding Yourself with Kyle Lacy (2nd ed., 2012; Que Biz-Tech), and The Owned Media Doctrine (2013, Archway Publishing). Erik has written a weekly newspaper humor column for 10 papers around Indiana since 1995. He was also the Spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Jack Kerouac House in Orlando, FL.


    1. Hey Shafali,

      Being a caricature blogger would be no different than any other kind of art. There are a lot of good WordPress templates that photographers and visual artists use to showcase their artwork. Or you could just use a regular template and just post a caricature per day/week/whatever.

      One suggestion might be to post caricature about well-known social media types like Chris Brogan, Jason Falls, or Douglas Karr on your blog and invite them to link back to your blog, and possibly even write about it. The links to your blog will boost your search engine rankings, and you can be found even more easily on the search engines.


    2. Hi Erik,

      Thanks for the tips:)
      “If you manufacture marbles, and you’re the only marble manufacturing blog out there, find marble collectors and marble players. ” I’d say that caricatures are a niche in a niche, and though there are a few caricaturist bloggers – there aren’t many. I am wondering about others who’d be interested in them…

      .-= shafali´s last blog ..The Caricaturist is on Twitter Now… =-.


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