Three years ago (about this time) at the end of the summer, I told a story on my podcast that gave birth to a two year cliffhanger series called, “Zombie Strike.” The theme of that episode was based on the backyard tradition of grilling hamburgers and hotdogs for dinner. To spice up this story I added sound effects and asked in a dream sequence kind of way; “what would happen now if zombies invaded my cookout? I had a good time with it.
As I stood in backyard flipping burgers in the sun, I imagined a horde of the undead rushing my warped and picket fence until it fell. The onslaught left me no recourse but to retreat to my home defense shotgun (stand your ground) that I kept nearby. I placed well-aimed headshots at the undead until the ammo ran out.
One of my now good friends was a fantasy writer that took the characters from my tale and really went wild with it. He wrote “Zombie Strike: Doomsday.” What was even better, every week he gave me a chapter to read on my gun podcast. The chapters ranged from 15-20 minutes in length. Each one gave me the opportunity to practice narration and later try to do the character voices (though my British, sounds South African). I stretched.
This was before the AMC series; “Walking Dead” became a favorite of many. It was also right before the firearms industry started making everything for the zombie apocalypse ranging from lime green colored boxed ammo with hazardous material markings or the CDC put out what to do if the zombies attacked. For a while I was riding the wave.
I even got the attention of Hollywood about it. They asked for the audio to review but nothing came of it. When “Walking Dead” came out, I thought I had been ripped off but the stories are not even close. (I had my ten minutes of fame in my head though.)
There was a problem though.
I had a gun podcast. The zombie thing wasn’t popular with everyone in this community. It was early on when everybody that podcasted about guns were either into the latest hardware, gun rights activism or training. I was already had a niche by not doing what everybody else did. The zombie thing narrowed my group —way down. Those that loved the story were fanatical. The rest wanted to kill the story like they would a zombie if they could.
To fix that, I created a separate podcast just for Zombie Strike and kept it going until a little after the story ended with episode 200, two years later. Finances were tight so I didn’t think I could afford to keep paying to host a show I had no new episodes for. In hindsight, that was dumb. I should have kept it going. I found out that there were some listeners to my gun podcast that found me because of the ads I did on the zombie show for the other.
The author now puts the episodes on his blog, Derek-Ward.com and has kept the undead story alive.
Zombie Strike was a niche inside the gun community, that I accidently stumbled across. I used it to market my “pro-gun variety show” with success. I created posters and targets with zombies on it, which I sold to finance the podcast and distinguish myself from the other podcasters.
That niche helped grow my show from just being another podcast from a guy about guns to a variety show. It also gave me the confidence to experiment with comedy, interviewing, and singing.
A niche is a narrowly focused segment of a larger market. When the firearms industry fell in love with zombies, everybody went overboard. There are color targets now of zombies, dogs and hogs. There are bleeding 3-D zombie targets with faces that are supposed to look like soldiers, terrorist and ex-girlfriends. My stuff predated most of those.
I was glad I discovered the zombie niche in my community. It was an accident that I learned from. I found out that a niche could be too small and still be a beautiful thing. It is totally up to you to kill it if it doesn’t serve you well. If it’s a zombie, it won’t die but you can still learn from it.
…if it doesn’t eat your brains first.
You can get a hard back version on Lulu. and a Kindle version on Amazon.
Zombie Strike Book/ PDF
Zombie Strike Amazon / Kindle
If you want to learn more about blogging and podcasting, make plans to join me January 4-6, 2014 at the New Media Expo http://nmxlive.com/2014-lv . If zombies show up, I got you covered.——————————————-
Rev. Kenn Blanchard, internet radio broadcaster, online advertiser, veteran, concealed carry activist and harley davidson motorcycle enthusiast shares whats on the minds of hunters and concealed carry permit holders. http://blackmanwithagun.com