Entering the right niche is the difference between finding success in any industry or finding yourself on the streets. We can’t stress enough the importance of finding your freelance writing niche and sticking to it to find success.
I asked over a hundred freelance writers how they found their writing niche. I took down notes, did some charts, and started to notice a pattern. In this step-by-step guide, you’ll find the results.
While this isn’t a set guide to finding your freelance writing niche, it should help shed clarity on your life.
Also, make sure to check out the ultimate guide to freelance writing where I compile everything I’ve learned over the past half-decade of digital marketing.
Table of Contents
Specialization = Success
Let’s clear something out.
The best thing that you can do for your freelancing career is to niche down. Specializing in an industry will help you stand out from your competition. A smaller, more specialized niche will make it easier to build your portfolio and convey your unique value proposition.
Like many of you, I first started out as a general content writer. It wasn’t until I neared the end of my first year as a freelancer before I started niching down.
I saw the immediate financial effect.
From charging $10USD/hr to $30USD/hr in a day, I revised my portfolio to cater better to the finance and crypto niche. To niche down, I changed my cover letter, resume, and personal branding. In specialize
Step 1: What are you good at?
Take a step back and do a SWOT analysis of yourself and your skills. The best niche to enter is the one that you’re already in – one way or another.
Everyone has transferable hard skills that could be applied to more than one career. Architects and Indoor Designers, for example, could very well write for lifestyle blogs. Data Scientists with an interest in Finance could create predictive models for stock movement. There are so many opportunities to transfer hard skills between careers – it’s only a matter of finding them.
For those who don’t believe that they have any strength, in particular, don’t worry. Think about your hobbies and document your projects. You could just as easily build your portfolio from there.
Step 2: What does the world need?
The niche you enter must be existing and solve a social, economic, or environmental problem. It needs to be valuable though “valuable” is subjective. Otherwise, how will you get paid to write?
The good news for you is that no matter what hobby or niche you choose, there will be a need for writers.
When searching for your niche, make sure that you’re capable of providing something of value to the world. Make sure it’s interesting enough for others to want to look through it and make sure it’s factual enough to be used as statistics.
“Does it provide value to humanity?” is the perfect question to assess your commitment and belief toward your niche.
Step 3: What will earn you money?
This third question asks if you can make a good living from this line of work. Is there enough of a community backing it to allow you to make a living from this niche? How hard will it be to monetize your work?
Poetry, gaming, and humor, for example, are notoriously difficult niches to monetize. So while these may be of great interest to you, this does not necessarily mean that you can get paid for them.
Whether or not you may get paid for your work depends on how much traffic a site could generate. So make sure that there exists a community of people already searching for the topics you’re looking to write about.
Step 4: What will your network allow?
After you’ve answered and established the first three questions, it’s time to find your first client. This can be bolstered simply by asking around your network to find any available jobs, especially in highly competitive niches like Data Science and Finance.
This circles back to what we mentioned in the first question. Your network is one of your strengths. You can easily leverage the people in your life and provide mutual value to jumpstart your freelance writing career.
We talked about how you can leverage and find work through your network in our other article so make sure to check that out if you’re interested.
Step 5: Get To Work
Undoubtedly the most important step is to just get started. The success of any individual freelancer is dependent on their professional branding.
And how can you build a positive business reputation if you don’t have anything to show? How can you build your portfolio or network as a writer if you never get started?
Just get started. Worry about the details later.
On Finding Your Freelance Writing Niche
The niche you’ll end up choosing is personal. Don’t let individuals or financial factors determine your niche. Ensure that what you do creates value for others, builds on your skills, and pays you well.
In doing so, you’ll find your niche. If you’re into psychology, you’ll find that many of these questions follow the framework laid down by Ikigai. Many of these principles and questions are applicable to other careers – so take what you will.