You might’ve heard that you should choose a niche for your freelance writing, but have you done it yet? There are plenty of reasons to choose a niche for your writing – and one is success. A writer that is a “jack of all trades” so to speak might be successful enough to make a career out of their craft. But a writer that knows their niche is one that thrives.
Choosing the Right Niche and Focus Your Writing Is Vital to Success
Choosing the right niche for your writing might sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. First, you need to really understand what happens to your writing career when you choose a niche. Then, let’s help you figure out what your niche is so you can start paving your path to real success as a freelance writer.
You Become a Subject Matter Expert
When you choose a niche, you are dedicating yourself to a subject. That might sound scary, like your limiting yourself to only one type of client. Really, though, that’s what you want to do. When you commit to something, you eventually become a subject matter expert.
This could be something you already know a lot about or something you are interested in and only learned about through researching for your writing. No matter how you do it, becoming an expert in your niche will pay off in more ways than one.
You’ll also find that you get more people coming to you when you write for a specific niche. Often, clients will refer a writer with industry knowledge to others in their industry. For many writers, referrals are one of their main ways of landing new gigs. Clients also seek out writers that contribute to publications within their industry, so really, choosing a niche has more benefits than not choosing one.
People Will Pay More for Your Knowledge
Of course, the first and most important way choosing a niche is going to pay off is literally. People will pay you more when you’re an expert in your field. If you can provide a portfolio of clips in a single niche – especially if anything is published with your byline – it boosts your credibility.
It proves that you know what you’re talking about and that others respected your knowledge enough to let you share it with their audience. Say good-bye to clients paying $10-$25 a blog post or less and welcome yourself to a whole new level of freelance writing.
If you want to be able to demand a higher rate, there’s few better ways than becoming an expert in something.
How to Narrow Down Your Interests and Find Your Niche
Now, if you’re starting to wonder why you haven’t already chosen a niche, don’t worry. Starting out, most writers tend to generalize. Often, we feel like we’re doing something wrong turning down a gig – even if its something you’re not really interested in.
After all, it’s work – we don’t have to enjoy it, we just have to do it, that’s what we’ve always been taught isn’t it?
But we didn’t become freelance writers to do work we don’t want to do, did we? This career move, for most, is about freedom. The freedom to work from anywhere, whenever you want. The freedom to be your own boss. The freedom to pick and choose which projects you take on. All to create a career you can both be proud of and say you love.
Writers fail at freelancing all the time. One of the many reasons for that, is that they overload themselves with low paying projects they don’t enjoy so they can pay the bills.
I’m not saying you’ll never have a sort of boring project, or a client that you just can’t with. But if you have absolutely no interest and little knowledge on finance, then you probably shouldn’t be pitching the finance client on that job board just because you need money.
List Your Interests and Things You Know A Lot About
So, how exactly do you go about choosing your freelance writing niche? Well, one of the best starting places is to make a list of things that you’re interested in – or things you already know a lot about.
Are you a computer geek that lives and breathes code but couldn’t spend another day in a cubicle? Maybe you’re in construction as a trade but had enough of the hard labor. Or maybe you’re a gamer or can’t get enough of anime or horror movies.
It might seem crazy, but list anything you can think of. You’d be surprised just how much opportunity is out there – even entertainment gigs can be profitable if you’re writing for the right places.
Right now, you’re just looking to list as many things as possible – so go crazy. Love sports? Write it down. Does science fascinate you? Jot it down. Do your friends call you the human jukebox because of your encyclopedic knowledge of musical artists and their full albums? List it.
At this stage, don’t leave anything out. You might miss out on your perfect niche this way.
Pick Two or Three Subjects to Focus On
Now that you’ve got your list, you’ll need to narrow it down to two or three things. Most writers, even ones who have a main niche, still write on at least two main subjects. In my case, I write mainly for the cannabis industry – but I also create content like this blog post, aimed at helping other freelancers. I also have what I call my “hobby niche” with real estate. I don’t know nearly as much about that subject – but I know enough and since it’s a family trade, its something I grew up around and have an interest in.
Choosing your main niche is going to be the hardest – but there are things to help you narrow it down. The good news for new writers is that successful freelancers have already narrowed down which niches are profitable and which ones are better for side work.
With a little research, you can determine which of your interests or current areas of expertise is likely to pay the best. Try coming up with some blog post ideas, research other blogs or brands in your potential niche – get a feel for that industry and decide if its right for you.
If you could see yourself not running out of topic ideas – including ways to rework the same topic multiple times over for different clients – then you probably found your niche.
How to Become an Expert in Your Niche and Get Hired
Once you’ve chosen your niche it’s time to become an expert and get hired. There are many ways you can do that – but all of it requires writing. Pitch publications and blogs to get guest posts with your byline – this should be your priority because it starts positioning you as an authority in the industry.
This is something you’ll do throughout your career – so the sooner you get started, the better off you’ll be. Remember, guest posts are advertising for you, so in the beginning especially, don’t shy away from unpaid guest posts, especially if they will link back to your social media and website.
Aside from guest posts, other ways you can position yourself as an expert in your niche include starting your own blog or writing an eBook or two. Anything that has your name attached to engaging content showcasing your knowledge and research skills is going to help you in the long run.
From here, the next step is to start pitching paid guest posting gigs, job ads and cold-pitching companies in your newly picked niche. Your efforts positioning yourself as an expert in your field will help you land bigger and better paying clients than you probably imagine.
Don’t underestimate yourself – even if you know little to nothing about the subject that interests you, some research, great writing and strategic guest posting will position you as an expert in no time.
If you’re struggling as a writer or suffering from the feast-or-famine cycle that so many of us get stuck in, choosing a niche is your first step towards ending that and finding real success.