Oh, so now you need a freelance writing niche, too? You only have to be a freelance writer for about seven minutes before you start hearing the chant: Find Your Niche! Find Your Niche!
What the @(#*& Is a Niche?
For most freelancers, the first step is going to be a quick, possibly slightly embarrassed Google search: What is a niche? Don’t be embarrassed! You might have been born with writing talent, but that doesn’t mean you’re automatically versed in the marketing lingo you’ll someday throw around like it’s your native tongue.
Your niche is basically your specialty. Developing a niche makes it easier to command much higher fees for your writing, because you’ll be known as THE writer clients seek out. You’ll be sort of an expert in writing in that niche, and experts always make more money than generalists.
Which Niche Will You Have?
The way I see it, there are two types of specialties out there: field and function.
A field specialty would be your years working in the fundraising office of a non-profit, your degree in biology, your former career as an accountant, something you learned inside out over a period of years until you became somewhat of an expert. There are tons of clients who are looking for a freelance writer with this odd mix of field experience and the ability to write.
A functional specialty comes from writing the same content type over and over. How many SEO articles have you written? How many blog posts? Sales letters? Brochures? Press releases? My very first freelance writing gig involved writing 100 500-word articles about mortgages (for $2 each! HORROR!). How much do you think I knew about mortgages by the end of that project? How much did I know about writing 500-word articles? Enough to have a specialty, for sure.
You Might Already Have a Freelance Writing Niche
Take a close look at the projects you do for your clients. You may find that twenty clients in a row needed press releases written. Think that might be considered a specialty long about press release #19? The same goes for ebooks, articles, blog posts, website text, white papers, or any other project type you seem to land over and over again. By writing the same type of project repeatedly, you may have your niche thrust upon you by default – not a bad thing.
That can also happen with field specialization – and it doesn’t always happen because you’ve spent decades in the field, or that it’s a deep personal interest you’ve cultivated.
For example, I have written a TON of content for bodybuilders, dating coaches, and juicing gurus. I don’t even lift! (well, not much), I’ve never been a guy trying to pick up girls, and you can’t juice bacon… so that’s not happening. But I can write about this stuff because I’ve written about this stuff so much. Possibly there’s this underground network of bodybuilders who are passing my name around – I truly don’t know how they all find me, but they do.
Learn Once, Write Many Times
That brings us to one more benefit of having a freelance writing niche. Niching cuts your learning curve. You don’t have to research quite so much. You “get” what your client needs. You know your way around and don’t have to have so much direction. You’d develop packages, systems, methods, and client questionnaires that would make the whole process easier for yourself and for your clients. All this translates to making more money, from an efficiency standpoint alone. The faster you can deliver excellent content, the more money you can make as a freelance writer.
Keep Writing; Your Niche Is On Its Way
Finding your niche (or niches – most writers end up with more than one) might be an obvious, instantaneous no-brainer. Or, it might take some time and consideration. The task of finding your niche is not an emergency – it’s more like a treasure you’ll want to be on the lookout for as you build your freelancing business. You might not have a freelance writing niche today, but if you stick with building your writing business, it’s pretty much a guarantee you and your niche will find each other sooner than later.
So, where are you in finding your freelance writing niche? Have questions about it? Connect with the Working Writer, Happy Writer community on Facebook, and ask away.