If you’re a new freelance writer, you’ve heard writers discuss their niche. So, what’s a writing niche? Should you focus on a specific niche, or go your own way?
Basically, a freelance writing niche is a specialty. It’s an area in which the writer is knowledgeable and experienced. It could be a form of writing, such as copywriting, or a type of writing, such as public relations. It can be an industry too, such as health care.
Some niches command higher rates than others: technical writing, for example. That’s a diverse area and can be highly paid, depending on the writer’s experience and training. Someone who’s spent five years with a respected company, or has a Ph.D. in an area, might confidently demand higher rates.
Could you earn higher rates for your writing niche?
Over my years as a writing coach, I’ve found that writers often have no idea how valuable they are. This means that they end up making much less than they could be making, for years on end.
It pays to visit LinkedIn regularly and join groups and conversations. One writer called me, in shock. She had no idea that writers with far less experience in her specialty were earning six figures.
“What do I do?” She asked. “I don’t want to dump my clients, but I don’t want to be exploited either.”
We created a development plan for her and discovered that she had several niches she could profitably explore while retaining some of her current client base.
Think about the kind of writing you do: you may already have a niche.
You may already have a writing niche—or you can develop one
Any experienced professional writer often has a specialty, although they might be unaware of it. For example, I’ve always enjoyed advertising challenges, and accidentally developed a copywriting niche.
Similarly with ghostwriting. I wrote a series of business books for a large publisher. During those years I gained a reputation for meeting deadlines without fuss, so they commissioned me to write chapters for books they had in production. And finally, to ghostwrite entire books.
Although many writers develop a specialty unknowingly, others deliberately set out to develop their knowledge and skills in a new and profitable area.
One of my students, for example, looked at his interests, and decided that he and his wife would join the creator economy; they’d sell their home and become digital nomads.
How to develop your writing niche
Start by considering your passions, skills, and experience. What do you love? What’s fun for you to write? Make a list.
In my magazine writing days, a colleague loved travel, but stayed with a safe job, contributing to several magazines. Luckily, a few months before the tech wreck market collapse of 2000, he’d developed a marine biology specialty. He didn’t miss a beat, joining a well-funded university research project within a month.
Why “fun to write?” Because it matters. If you enjoy what you do, you’ll be motivated and inspired.
Choose an area from your list, and explore. Chat with people, especially with your clients. Join LinkedIn and Facebook groups.
Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to developing a writing niche you love.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.