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The Complete Guide to Choosing a Freelance Writing Niche

choose a freelance writing niche

Why do I need to choose a freelance writing niche?

Choosing a freelance writing niche:

  • Makes you stand out from other candidates
  • Allows you to charge more for your services
  • Sets you apart as having specialized skills
  • Allows you to create a career around your passions

I’m about to go over, in careful detail, what the benefits of choosing a freelance writing niche are. If you’re not convinced by the end of this article, please let me know in the comment and we can chat;)

 

First, let’s take a look at my own freelance writing niche for a second.

So, I chose fitness copywriting as my writing niche.

What does that mean?

*clears voice all professional-like*

Fitness copywriting, in a nutshell, is the occupation of writing content for fitness businesses that persuades readers to take a particular action.

 

That’s great Jessica, but I don’t want to limit myself to a niche. I want to write on a broad range of topics.

Okay, I get that…

But let’s look at this from your prospect’s point of view for a moment, shall we?

 

Why choose a niche?

I’d heard over and over from other successful writers that to be a successful writer, you need to choose a niche. At the time, I just figured I’d follow in the footsteps of those who know best.  But now I intimately understand why everyone says to niche, niche, niche!

 

Consider this…

You work at a running shoe store and you want to hire a writer for your store’s blog. You put out the word that you’re looking for a writer and you get approached by two prospects.

The first is a three-time marathoner, running coach, and fitness writer with no college degree or special certifications.

The second is a writer with an English degree who sells you on all the platforms they write for and journals they’ve been published in and contests they’ve won. They’re not a runner or exerciser in any form, but they assure you they can write about any subject.

 

Who will you hire?

I’d be hiring me the runner. Wouldn’t you?

Our marathoner knows all the lingo, all the subtle nuances of running, all the struggles that runners face. He can probably explain it in a fresh way too. He obviously has a passion for fitness, and it shows in his writing.

Our writing generalist doesn’t know anything about running from experience but can “research” it. They’ll probably do a “fine” job on the project, but they have no personal interest in exercise, so they probably won’t be able to convey your message with the enthusiasm and underlying knowledge it deserves.

 

Consider…

Consider the energy your readers will find behind the words too. One candidate has enthusiasm about running, the other has the opposite.

Consider their personal understanding of the subject. One lives it, while the other has to learn about it through other runners.

Consider the time it will take for each candidate to master the subject. One already has. One has a long way to go.

Consider how the two candidates accumulate information. One from their own experience, the other from what they read online.

Consider the conversations you’ll have with each candidate. One is on the exact same page as you. You’ll have to do a lot of explaining for the other.

 

Maybe you even start to wonder what made the generalist apply for this project at this point, if they have no personal interest in running.

You’re starting to sense a hint of desperation, because now you assume they’re just applying for any and every job they see. Meanwhile, it totally makes sense why the runner expressed interest, because this project is perfectly aligned for both you and him.

 

why choose a freelance writing niche

 

Think about how doctors and surgeons specialize and how it affects their services and their income. A general practitioner usually gets paid less than, say, a podiatrist. Why? Because of the specialty, the specific expertise.

A doctor might choose which body part and which type of patient they’d like to work with. Pregnant women, kids, geriatrics. Feet, brain, gastrointestinal system.

You get to do the same thing. You get to choose which subjects you get to work on and who you get to work with. That’s empowering and exciting!

 

I know for a fact that I landed one of my first lucrative clients because they were looking for a specific niche writer with specific qualifications. Read more about that here.

 

You see how niching benefits you now, right?

 

It’s obvious that a writer with an established niche, as opposed to a generalist, has a huge advantage.

 

How do I know which freelance writing niche is right for me? 

I speak to why I chose health and fitness in depth in this post on Horkey Handbook.

Simply put: it’s in my DNA. I love health and fitness topics so I naturally love writing and researching about them.

I’m already personally immersed in and have a sense of what’s happening in that world.

I already have passion for that subject.

I WANT to write about it every day.

I have major background in it.

 

So, what subject do you feel this way about? Or what do you have intense interest in? Or at least, what you don’t hate? What do you already know a lot about?

Now, write down your potential job title as though you’re creating a business card or email signature, like so…

 

Jessica Collins,

Health and fitness copywriter

 

Did that make you tingle a little inside? Good, you’ve found the right niche.

Did it make you feel like you just got roped into signing a two-year contract to a dingy apartment you despise? Chuck it. Start over.

 

Mindset moment: Don’t think that choosing a niche is a huge life-defining decision that you’re married to till death do you part. If you choose one and don’t find it particularly fulfilling or profitable, you can simply change it.

 

Okay, so now that we have that set…

 

What do you need to call yourself a [insert niche here] writer?

Why, just you and your own coronation crown, actually.

You just say “I am a {fill in the blank} writer. And, by the power vested in you, you are one.

Alright, I happen to have several certifications that do me well in the industry. I’m a certified personal trainer, sports nutrition specialist, and barre instructor. I’ve also run a half marathon and a handful of 5ks.

But you certainly don’t have to have these extra credentials to write in the fitness niche. Or any niche.

You don’t need anything except an interest in the subject and a willingness to learn more about it. Even though I know a lot about fitness, I still learn new things every single day about the subject.

You see, one of the perks of being a freelance writer is the mental stimulation!

So anyhow, it really is as simple as this. You don’t need to make it any more complicated than simply claiming your niche as your own.

 

credentials you need to be a freelance writer

 

Mindset Moment: Now, even if you don’t have an expansive background in the subject you want to write about, don’t let that stop you. If you want it bad enough, you’ll figure it out as you go. Spend time perusing relevant industry websites and publications to start absorbing the lingo and culture.

 

Decide on a niche

So now, let’s consider what niche you might be interested in claiming.

 

First, you can niche by subject!

Perhaps you already know exactly what your niche should be. But in case you don’t, take a little minute here to do some self-examination.

  • What do you love to do already in your own daily life?
  • What are you really good at?
  • What sections magnetize you at Barnes and Noble?
  • What could you talk someone’s ear off about?
  • What are you obsessed with or have been obsessed with in the past?
  • What types of magazines do you subscribe to?

 

For me, I’m always drawn to the health and wellness, nature, and self-development sections at Barnes and Noble. I’ve always been really good at coming up with ideas, connecting ideas, listening to people’s deepest desires, and writing. I’ve always been obsessed with strong women leaders, poetry, and psychology.

Now, some of these subjects aren’t really suited for long-term career growth. For example, I don’t think I have it in me to make a full-time living writing poetry, and it’s pretty difficult to break into for most people. I still write and study poetry, but it’s not meant to be my career.

Other subjects stick out for me and have a really lucrative place in our current society. Health and fitness is one of them. I’ve already discussed how much background and passion I have for the subject, so it’s a no-brainer.

Some of my other strong subjects feed into my health and fitness niche. For example, psychology mixes really well with fitness when you’re writing an article about workout motivation or willpower. The fact that I can come up with ideas like water certainly helps when I need to come up with clever product names or blog post ideas for clients.

So, what stands out the most to you?

How can your other areas of interest feed your niche?

 

You can also niche by content type!

You can niche yourself as a blog writer, white paper writer, website copywriter, ebook ghostwriter, Etsy product copywriter, etc.

You can also combine subject and content type niches. For example, you can be a healthcare white paper writer or a manufacturing industry blog writer.

You don’t have to niche down this far, but you certainly can if blog posts or white papers are your jam. Or you can choose two types of content and put packages together. For example, you could sell a package that includes 5 B2B blog posts and 1 B2B white paper for $xxxxx.

Do you have a particular type of content that you’d prefer to write?

Narrow down your freelance writing niche

 

Third, you can niche yourself by your clientele

Consider the types of people or businesses you’d like to write for. Often, large corporations have a lot of marketing spend for content. However, startups tend to be a little more progressive and open-minded than corporations.

Consider some of the people/businesses you could write for:

  • B2B businesses
  • B2C companies
  • App developers
  • Startups
  • 6-figure+ entrepreneurs
  • Amazon sellers

Again, you don’t have to choose specific clientele, but if you’re sure you only want to work with a certain type of client, you can add it to your niche, i.e. “I’m a safety blog writer for insurance companies.”


Now, another point I should mention is this: you don’t have to exclude any of your interests or audiences once you choose a niche either. You’re a well-rounded, multifaceted person. You should never have to narrow yourself down to one single subject!

While you might market yourself as a health and fitness writer, you can also add a comma and say you’re a health, fitness, and family writer.

You can have multiple niches! Or you can combine them!

Don’t limit yourself to just one subject if you’re just as passionate about one as you are of another.

I myself have several strong passions, none of which I’m willing to sacrifice: Writing, Fitness, Family, and Nature.

I fuse these subjects all the time with articles about workouts in nature and physical activities to do as a family. I even run two sites so I can nurture both passions. Flashfit Trainer combines fitness, writing, and family while Forest Bathing Central allows me to explore nature with more depth and breadth.

I’ve seen other freelance writers create two separate “work with me” pages on their websites. They send prospects from one niche to one page and prospects from another niche to the second page. It works!

The point is, you need to niche down, but not so far that you feel restricted.

You get to make this venture look however you want it to!

 

Allow your mind to wander over all the possibilities before you back yourself into a self-imposed corner.


Mindset moment: Niching, by definition, means placing all your focus on one subject. However, you can also infuse your other interests into your niche or, by golly, choose two to three niches. Who says you can’t? You little Creative, you!

 

Figure out if your niche is lucrative

When people say you need to “qualify your niche,” they’re just using fancy marketing-speak that means “check to make sure your niche can make you money.”

As much as I value volunteer work, I don’t want to put in the hours I do for pennies. And I’m sure you don’t either.

I left corporate to remove the glass ceiling over my head, and I don’t intend to erect my own either.

So, you just need to take a few steps here to make sure your chosen niche is lucrative.

Part of your niche’s profitability lies in your dedication to not settling for anything less than lucrative. Any niche you choose can be high paying or low paying, depending on where you’re looking for projects.

Content mill? Not going to pay your bills. Referrals from current clients? Totally bomb!

Some subjects really aren’t profitable either, unless you happen to find a gem of a gig.

But anything to do with money, health, and technology, for example, tend to be pretty lucrative.

 

So, how do you qualify your freelance niche?

Well, here are a few ways to do it:

  • Look at what types of projects repeatedly come up on freelance sites like Problogger. Repetition signals a solid niche.
  • Click on a few of those projects and see if they have a payment value posted. Like what you see? (Just remember, if you don’t like what you see, it doesn’t necessarily mean the niche is unprofitable. Keep researching).
  • Join and hit up a few of your freelance writing Facebook groups. Scroll through to check out what people are saying about pricing. You could also put out a post asking what niches other people write for and how profitable they are.
  • Google “[your niche] + content marketing agency.” Scroll through to get a sense of the quality of the niche and what types of businesses the agencies work with. Pitch a few while you’re at it.
  • If you notice a freelance writer online or in a group that makes a good profit, research or ask what their niche is.
  • Check your prospective company’s website or LinkedIn stats to see if they have a lucrative marketing department. You should get a sense that the company values marketing, particularly content marketing, and that they have a marketing budget to accommodate it.

If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a medal of honor. It means you’re serious about your freelance writing venture.

It means you know the value of information-gathering.

 

With that said, I sincerely hope this guide has given you valuable insight into freelance writing niches. I’ve shared so much of what I know and everything I’ve been told about choosing a freelance writing niche from other people, so you know what to do. Hopefully this pulled away some of the smoke and mirrors so you can make out the clear view.

 

~To help you even further, I’m currently researching and putting together a list of profitable freelance writing niches and a workbook to help you discover your golden niche, so you don’t have to spend any more time researching. Make sure to keep your eye out for that in your inbox. (If you’re not on my list yet, join my free Freelance Freedom from Corporate Email Series and you’ll automatically be placed on my mailing list.)

 

How about you?

How did you choose your freelance writing niche? What other questions do you have about niching? 

Leave a comment or pick up the conversation in our Freelance Freedom Facebook group.