When you’re first starting out as a freelance writer, it can be tempting to be attracted into writing for clients in industries that you have no idea about and assuming that “research is a godsend”, right?
Trust me, I’ve been there and I’ve done that. I’ve taken on a £15 job to write a 500 word article about tiling a bathroom without knowing what ‘cladding’ means (or even owning my home!), solely to get more income and writing experience.
Whilst doing this is bound to boost your knowledge in a few different areas, it’s not going to make your business of freelance writing profitable.
Wanna know why? You don’t have a niche.
Why should I pick a freelance writing niche?
Whilst pitching for any ol’ website will be attractive to some potential clients, there’s one huge issue with not choosing a writing niche — people will class you as a general, “I’ll write about anything for some cash” writer; not a serious and dedicated writer that will give their soul to create a great piece that actually provides some value (maybe not to that extent, but you get what I mean…).
Don’t believe me?
The fastest growing freelance niches that have grown by more than 125% are specialised.
Think about it. If you’re running a business that sells beauty products, you probably wouldn’t bat an eyelid at job titles like “freelance writer” or “freelance copywriter”.
Instead, you’re gonna want to go with something like “freelance beauty blogger” or “freelance makeup blogger”; something that clearly demonstrates that this person is knowledgeable on the industry and has experience working with beauty brands.
Since you’re not a specialist, you can’t demand higher rates… Simple, right?
Which niche should I choose?
When you’re first starting out with your freelancing biz, you’ll probably struggle with finding a niche. After all, it’s something that your entire business will focus on so you have to make sure that it’s enjoyable… No pressure!
If you’re stuck on how to find your destined niche, consider the following:
What do you enjoy?
You’ll have to focus on this industry and work with clients who base their business around the niche.
Because there’s always the potential of writing for free to gain experience in high-profile publications, you’ll want to make sure that it’s something you love and have passion for – and willing to work for free to show it (we’ll talk about more this later on).
In short, pick a niche that you have a genuine interest in to make your life easier!Finding a niche you love is going to make your freelance writing career SO much easier! Click To Tweet
If you’ve got a handful of topics that you’re passionate about and love them all equally, you might want to refer to your past experience.
Think about the writing jobs you’ve done before. Which topic did you enjoy researching the most? Which industry had the nicest type of client? What type of biz do you actually want to help?
For me, I started my writing journey when I made my own blog at the age of 13. Originally, it was based around beauty and my general life, but that’s not something that I wanted to do forever. I was young and had no idea about the different industries that you could write for until I got my first ‘proper’ job at an online marketing agency.
This gave me the chance to explore different industries. We had a huge range of clients that I’d write for, from topics like pet and mobile phone insurance to number plates. I’d also write on behalf of the agency; blog posts that explain what ‘online marketing’ actually is.
The latter was the thing that really stuck with me. I enjoyed the business-aspect of writing marketing articles, and it’s what I’ve carved out as my niche to this day.
Demand from the market
If you love writing about movies and have written articles about it, that’s great. But the demand for movie articles might not be as high and you could struggle to find work.
Do some research about the most sought-after niches. They’re often the most profitable because they’re more-wanted.
If you crack a niche that is in-demand, you’ll never dry up on work and you can even up your rates.
Expanding your ‘niche’
It’s a common misconception that:
- Your writing niche must be around only one topic.
- Because it’s called a ‘niche’, it can’t be expanded.
Guess what? Both are wrong!
In fact, expanding your niche is a fantastic way to boost your knowledge whilst still being recognised as an expert. By branching out into similar niches that still run along the same vein, you could actually prove that you’ve got a super-brain for that area.
Start by choosing your umbrella topic. This is what you’ll use as your job title and the phrase you’ll use to promote yourself.
Here’s the structure I use:
Umbrella topic: Marketing
Branches: SEO, copywriting, B2B, social media, business.
How do I get experience within my niche?
Don’t worry, I hear you – “how can I get paid write about something that I love?”.
The fact is, you might consider working for free at the beginning of your niche-writing career just to gain experience – and be sure that it’s what you want to do.
I followed this exact method in the agency but I also went out of my way to create articles and pitch them to relevant publications, just to build a name for myself.
I managed to get featured in Social Media Examiner, The Huffington Post and Successful Blogging. Guess what? I didn’t get paid and it was a shit-ton of work.
But let me tell you… It is worth it.
Because I was a ghostwriter by profession, I had nothing to show to a client when they asked to see samples of my work. So, I worked my ass off to get writing written under my own name in an industry that I loved and had knowledge in and guess what? I used it to fill my portfolio page!
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