You’ve heard it a million times, you’ll get better results by finding a
freelance writing niche.
The whole idea of finding a freelance writing niche used to freak me out a little. Because I struggled to figure out what I was going to be when I grew up, I’ve got more college credits in assorted (commercially useless) subjects than makes sense. My job experience didn’t help much either:
- Staff accounting (a job that had me so nervous I still have nightmares that I’ve made a horrible math error… oh wait, that wasn’t a dream!)
- Medical office billing and reception (where did that file go???)
- So many different temp jobs during summers between years of college that remembering how to answer the phone became a challenge. (Ring, Ring…. Oh crap, where am I today?)
- Counter help, box assembler, and floor scraper at Heidi’s European Pastry Shop (ever gotten a cardboard box paper cut?)
See anything there that might make for a good niche?
Is your writing business doomed without a freelance writing niche?
Nah. You can work around it.
Here’s the shocking truth about finding your niche:
It will probably find you… and you’ll probably be shocked by how it looks.
Another little surprise – you may end up doing really well in more than one niche. In fact, over the years, you may start collecting niches like merit badges. Your niche might be a certain type of project, or a certain topic… or a certain type of project for a certain topic. Once you get rolling on writing professionally, you’ll start to see patterns, projects and topics that keep showing up.
It’s actually kind of funny, even ironic, some of the niches that I’ve stumbled into. Here’s a short list of projects I’ve been paid to do that qualify as niches for me, starting with the ones that make sense to me:
- Information marketing – course creation
- Local online marketing – white label content creation for marketers, content about this type of marketing
- Credibility book ghostwriting
And here are the niches that have shocked the socks off of me because I never saw them coming:
- Content creation for courses on how to pick up women. Yeah. I’ve helped create course content for some of the biggest names in what’s called the seduction industry. (Sounds a lot sexier than it is… and I don’t make this stuff up! We just wade through hours of audio and video and create the text versions of these courses which essentially help guys show up with a level of confidence that is naturally attractive to women.)
- Books and other materials for bodybuilders. It’s been a while, but over the course of my years in business, I’ve ghostwritten for a few prominent fitness authors with biceps the size of Volkswagens… which brings us to the next niche.
- Volkswagens. The classic kind, like 40-50 years old and restored for the cost of a modern luxury car. I’ve never pursued any sort of journalism-type of gigs before. But in the course of helping my very favorite client (and S.O.) with the marketing end of his business which restores dubs, I’ve now written feature articles for many of the major international magazines in this niche. Here’s a link to the most recent (my article starts on page 70 – this is a free issue) http://www.volksamerica.com
- HVAC. I can’t even tell you how many content pieces my firm has done for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning companies. It’s a lot. I’ve learned a lot, but at the start, didn’t even know how to work a thermostat. Now, I could about heat pumps, geothermal, split systems, and package systems with some intelligence.
- T-Shirt articles out the wazoo. Writers on my team still wax nostalgic about writing literally hundreds of articles about t-shirts (each) for my client Matt. Good times, good times. I miss that guy.
Never saw them coming. Never sought them out.
Same thing from the project-based-niche angle. White papers are one of my two new favorites, accompanied by the ghostwriting of books for business owners. But we produce a metric ton of blogs every month (if such a thing can be measured like that), and have written a lot of course materials in different niches (not just dating!).
Anyhow, here’s the thing with finding your freelance writing niche:
It will probably find you. And it will bring friends.
The best explanation of finding a niche that I know of comes from Peter Bowerman. His was my first guide on the ‘how to’ specifics of building a thriving writing business. If you haven’t gotten this book yet, you simply MUST. In print. To read and re-read. To mark up. To keep handy. It’s one of the few physical books I’ve kept. It’s that good.
Full disclosure, if you buy through my link, Peter will send me some money that I’ll
probably use to buy bacon.