I just finished reading The Long Tail, Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More. Having read the phrase “The Long Tail” in various blogs and postings, and never quite catching the full meaning, I was curious. Come to find out that it’s a very interesting phenomenom that I will attempt to explain here.

In a nutshell, it’s the idea that anything produced has hits, very popular big sellers, then some medium sellers, dropping off to nothing. In the physical world there are limitations that don’t allow for anything less than big sellers. You may not be able to find that book you wanted in the bookstore because they can only carry so many titles. The same holds true for music stores, video stores, etc. there is a limit to the available shelfspace. So, we have been only able to get what is relatively mainstream. Well, the times they are a changin’.

The Long Tail is the trickling down of volume of items to be consumed and yet still being available to all. long tail

The Long Tail: Green = what was traditionally available, Yellow = what is now, additionally available.

Three factors have come into play that have allowed us to have greater access to whatever we want:

1) Anyone can produce. Videos, blogs, newsletters, music, etc. are now so easy to produce and store digitally, anyone can do it. It doesn’t have to appeal to everyone and be a hit. It is about the specialties, the niches.

2) Easy means of distribution. Upload your videos, music, ebooks, etc. to the internet for the world to find.

3) Connecting the supply and demand. Through search engines like google.com, commercial sites like amazon.com, and various auction sites like ebay.com, the public can find items in whatever niche they choose. It doesn’t matter how obscure, if the owner/producer is putting it out there to be found, it can be found.

Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail, posted a great example of how Netflix utilizes the long tail of video. Read here: Long Tail 

So what does this mean for us in the health and fitness world? Do we have a long tail of opportunity? There definately is. No longer do we have produce hits to be able to get our workout videos to those that want them, or educational videos, ebooks, newsletters, blogs, class playlists, etc. Niches make their mark in the long tail. There are even storefront services that help you create your virtual store such as Yahoo Stores or kickstartcart.com/ .

Be a niche and find your market in the long tail of fitness products.

Good luck and best wishes, Mark.

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