You’ve probably heard that picking a freelance writing niche is a smart way to make more money writing.
And that’s true.
But if you’re just starting out as a writer, how do you pick the perfect freelance writing niche?
The short answer is … you don’t!
Now don’t get me wrong:
You should eventually focus on a particular writing niche or two. And we’ll look at the benefits of doing that, as well as how to pick the perfect freelance writing niche, in a minute.
But before we do that …
If you’re a new writer, with limited or no experience working with clients, then don’t worry too much about picking a freelance writing niche. At least not at first.
Would You Get Married Without Dating First?
When you’re a new writer, you don’t know enough to pick a freelance writing niche.
How could you?
You haven’t worked with many (or any) clients yet… you haven’t taken on many (or any) freelance writing assignments yet… you’re a newbie!
And you should take your inexperience as an opportunity to explore.
You want to explore working with different clients, in different industries and markets, and on different types of writing assignments.
After a few months of this, you’ll start to get a feel for what you like to write… and what you’d rather pull out your own fingernails than ever have to write again.
When I was getting started as a freelance copywriter, that’s exactly what I did. (Not the pulling out my own fingernails part; the working in different industries and markets part.)
I worked freelance for a small, but busy, digital marketing agency that had clients in about every industry you can imagine.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that I loved writing for the natural health market… but the dating market? Yeah, not my thing.
So if you’re a rank beginner, if you’re sopping wet behind the ears as a freelance writer, don’t worry about choosing a niche.
Choosing a niche is like getting into a serious relationship. And you wouldn’t get married without dating first, right?
Play the field! See what you like and what you don’t like. And once you start getting some experience, that’s when you’ll want to narrow your focus and pick a freelance writing niche.
Here Are 4 Good Reasons For
Picking A Freelance Writing Niche
So why is it a good idea to pick a freelance writing niche?
I can give you four good reasons:
Reason #1: You’ll be seen as an expert. Clients are looking for freelance writers who understand their industry.
In fact, one of the questions you’ll hear a lot from new clients is “Do you have experience in our industry?”
So by focusing on a single niche you’ll be seen as an expert. That will help you get clients faster and…
Reason #2: You’ll make more money. Did you know a general practice doctor makes an average of $195,000 per year, while a specialist rakes in a whopping $285,000?
Think about that: the specialist makes an extra million bucks every ten years because she focused on, say, cardiology instead of general practice. That’s amazing!
And when you specialize in a writing niche you’ll be able to command higher fees than if you were a generalist. And also…
Reason #3: You’ll have a much easier time marketing yourself. Marketing is all about getting noticed.
And it’s a lot easier to get noticed when you’re “John Smith, the world’s leading copywriter for feline toenail clippers”… rather than “John Smith, copywriter”.
Reason #4: You’ll write faster. When you focus on writing for one or two niches, you’ll write much faster because you won’t need to spend as much time researching.
And the faster you write, the more money you’ll make.
Not to mention, the faster you can write and complete projects, the more time you’ll have for other things like your family, hobbies, or long afternoons with a cappuccino and good book at your favorite cafe.
Four good reasons for picking a freelance writing niche, yes?
So now we need to look at…
How To Pick The Perfect Freelance Writing Niche
First of all, there is no “perfect” writing niche.
Just like there are no perfect people, no perfect vacation destinations, no perfect writers (except for Jorge Luis Borges), etc.
“Perfect” is a relative term.
Your perfect writing niche might be the actuary industry. But I’d rather tie raw steaks to my arms and legs and swim through a piranha-infested river than write for the actuary industry.
So how do you pick the writing niche that’s perfect for YOU?
Start with a self-audit.
- What are your passions?
- What are your hobbies?
- What is your work experience?
- What do you know more about than most people?
- What kinds of paid writing assignments have I enjoyed in the past?
These are great places to start looking for your freelance writing niche.
I encourage you to take 10 minutes today and write down as many of your passions, hobbies, areas of expertise, and work experiences you can think of.
And then take that list and run each item on it through these three crucial questions:
Question #1: Is it something you’re passionate about?
Without passion, your writing becomes a chore. And you’ll struggle to be as successful as the people who love what they’re writing about.
Question #2: Is it something you know a lot about, or could learn about?
It makes sense to choose a writing niche that you know well and understand.
But if you don’t know it that well, how quickly can you learn about it?
And are you willing to work in order to get really, really good at it?
Question #3: Is there a market for it?
This is the big one.
Because you can have passion and knowledge to spare, but if there’s not a market for your writing, you’re sunk.
Simply put: if you want to make money writing, you’ve got to write stuff people will pay money for.
Is There A Market?
How can you tell if there’s a market for what you’d like to write about?
Start by having a look at the list you just made. You can bet that a lot of the items on your list aren’t viable options for a thriving writing business.
If you were able to brainstorm a list of ten-plus different items, I can almost guarantee at least three of those items are prime candidates for your freelance writing niche.
And as a quick aside:
I think having two or three writing niches is a good idea.
For one thing, having two or three freelance writing niches — like Pilates studios and natural health, for example — offers good security.
And for another thing, writing in two or three niches will keep you fresh and engaged with your work.
Alright, now let’s take your list and first we’re going to head over to Google.
Let’s use Pilates as our writing niche example. On Google you’ll want to search for terms like:
- Pilates studio freelance writer
- Pilates studio copywriter
- Pilates studio “write for us”
- Pilates studio web design
Why am I including “web design” if you’re trying to build a freelance writing business? Simple.
One of the best ways to get clients, is by networking with people who serve the same market as you, but who offer a different service than you.
And I know many copywriters, myself included, who’ve given and received referrals from web design companies.
Next we’ll look at LinkedIn.
On LinkedIn you’ll search your for your writing niche — Pilates copywriter, for example — and look at these three tabs:
- “People” — Are there other writers in that niche?
- “Jobs” — Are there current job listings in that niche? And if so, do they seem like high-quality jobs?
- “Groups” — Join groups in that niche and look to see if people in those groups are asking for writing / marketing help.
Searching in Google and LinkedIn like this will help you get a feel for whether or not there’s a market for your writing niche.
But I saved the best for last.
I’ve researched and created a free special report that reveals the most profitable writing niches right now.
You can download this special report for free, right here:
Take a deep breath. We’ve covered a lot of ground so far, but we’ve got one last thing to do.
You see, there are currently 55 million freelancers working in America.
And by picking a freelance writing niche, you’ll stand out in this vast sea of freelancers. But you don’t want to merely stand out.
You want to be the first person who pops into a client’s mind when she needs writing; in other words, you want to make yourself 1 in 55 million.
So how do you do that?
You do it by specializing in a specific type of writing.
How To Make Yourself 1 in 55 Million
Imagine you’re the head of a Pilates studio and you’re looking to hire a copywriter to revamp your website’s copy.
You have to choose between three candidates. And here’s how each of these candidates approaches you for the project:
Candidate #1: I’m a copywriter.
Well, saying “I’m a copywriter” is better than “I’m a house painter” … I guess.
But surely we can do better.
Candidate #2: I’m a copywriter who specializes in writing for the Pilates market.
Now we’re getting somewhere. I mean, at least this copywriter understands the Pilates market. But I’m not quite sold.
Candidate #3: I’m a copywriter who helps Pilates studios attract more customers through SEO-optimized website copy.
Ding! Ding! Ding!
So which of these three candidates would you hire? It’s a no-brainer, right?
Candidate #3 is the only logical choice for this project. You want to do everything you can to be seen as the only logical choice for the projects you pitch and discuss with your clients.
And one way to do that is by specializing in a specific type of writing.
So which type of writing is right for you?
To find out, I encourage you to keep two things in mind:
One: What kinds of writing are you already good at?
Two: Is there a market demand for the kind of writing you’re good at?
Let’s dig into these two questions, shall we?
What Kinds Of Writing Are You Good At?
As a freelance copywriter you’ve got oodles of options when it comes to what you could potentially write.
These options include: emails, white papers, brochures, web pages, blog posts, long-form sales letters, video sales letter scripts, training manuals, etc.
This is just a small sampling of the writing options available to you.
But how do you choose?
Start with a self audit.
Think back on all the different things you wrote over the past 30 days. What did you really enjoy writing that you’re also good at writing?
“But Paul”, I hear you say, “I don’t have any clients yet. So I didn’t write anything.”
I can almost assure you, my friend, you did in fact write plenty of words … and those words could be the secret to starting a successful writing business.
To show you what I mean, let me share a personal example.
As some of you know, I lived in South Korea for seven years.
Seven years is a long time to be away from family and friends. So I found myself writing TONS of emails to stay in touch.
Family and friends told me these emails made them feel like they were in Korea with me. And as I wrote more and more emails, I got better and better at it.
At the time, I would have NEVER thought anyone would pay me to write emails.
But flash forward to today, and about 80 percent of the writing clients pay me to write are emails.
In other words, I took a writing skill I’m good at (emails) and leveraged that into a full-time writing business.
So what about you?
Do you write a lot of emails? Blog posts? Technical papers? Memos?
Make a list of what you’re already writing, and what you’re good at writing, and use that as a starting point to decide what writing services you’ll offer.
But as you’re thinking about what writing services you’ll offer, keep this question at the front of your mind:
Is There A Market For Your Writing Services?
I cannot stress this enough:
If you want to make money writing, you’ve got to write stuff people are willing to pay for.
You’re writing business will struggle, and you’ll end up stressed and frustrated, unless you focus on writing services with a strong market demand.
So how do you determine if there’s a market demand for the kind of writing services you want to offer?
First, choose a writing service you might potentially offer. Website copy, for example.
Next, take one of the potential writing niches you came up with based on your passions, hobbies, or areas of interest.
Now let’s head back over to Google.
What you’re going to do is search for a specific writing service within a particular freelance writing niche.
For example, if I search “Pilates studio website copy”, I get results for both individual copywriters as well as web design companies.
That’s a good sign. Is it enough for me to pull the trigger and specialize in website copywriting for the Pilates market?
I’m not sure. I’d need to do more research.
But at the very least, I’d mark down “Pilates studio website copy” as a possible candidate for both a niche I’d like to write for, and the writing services I’d like to offer.
And then I’d move on and go through the same research process with the remaining writing niches on my shortlist.
For example, “natural health website copy”, “drones website copy”, and so on.
By the way, you’re probably wondering how much clients are willing to pay for different writing services.
And there you have it, folks.
A simple, step-by-step process for picking the perfect freelance writing niche and writing services.
Don’t forget to download your free copy of my special report that reveals today’s most profitable writing niches.
And if you’re just getting started as a freelance writer, let me know how it’s going in the comments section below.
I’ll get back to you and help out in any way I can.