This article was written by guest contributor Bob Baker,

Most songwriters and musicians hate to be labeled or categorized in any way. You probably feel the same way. That’s understandable. You’re a creative being, and you want to be free to express yourself in all kinds of ways. Unfortunately, what’s good for the muse isn’t always what’s best for the self-promoter.

The best way to attract a loyal following fast is to specialize. You can’t be all things to all people. If your image, style or selection of songs is too watered down, you leave nothing for most music fans to latch onto.

Singer-songwriter Brad Belt offers a good example of what I’m talking about. For several years, he enjoyed a nice hobby as a middle-of-the-road pop songwriter. His music covered the standard topics of love, relationships and letting the good times roll.

Then, several years ago Brad attended a songwriting workshop and was struck with one piece of advice: Write songs about topics you love.

Since he’s an avid golfer, Brad wrote a humorous song about playing the game. His golfing pals responded positively. So he wrote another funny, golf-related song. And another. Those were well received too. After a while he had enough golf songs to put out an entire CD of tunes about the sport.

The results?

Brad held an album release party at a local country club and sold more than $800 worth of CDs in one night. He then put together a string of live performances at golf courses and country clubs throughout his region. By narrowing his focus and filling a niche, Brad has more fans and more recognition than he had when he wrote pop songs for a mass audience.

The thing is, Brad can still write and perform some regular pop songs and exercise his versatility. But keeping his primary identity as the funny-golf-songs guy, he makes more of an impact.

Here are three questions for you:

1) What topics do you love writing and singing about?

2) What potential niche audience could you attract by focusing on a specific topic?

3) And, most important, with what musical identity could you have the most impact?

Bob Baker is the author of “Guerrilla Music Marketing Online,” Berkleemusic’s “Music Marketing 101” course, and many other books and promotion resources for DIY artists, managers and music biz pros. You’ll find Bob’s free ezine, blog, podcast, video clips and articles at