When you’re starting off as a freelance writer, it isn’t advisable to just dive into the game thinking you can write about anything and everything; that’s a surefire way to get overwhelmed and confused.
Instead, you need to take time to narrow your focus and only choose to write about specific topics or industries. Doing so will make it easier for you to find clients, come up with content, and—here’s the best part—earn higher rates. The more you focus on a given niche, the more of an expert you become; and this, in turn, allows you to command higher fees since companies are more willing to pay a premium for content produced by those who have specialized knowledge.
The question is, how do you find topics to specialize in? Well, if you’re currently in the niche-finding stage of your writing career, below are two steps you can take to find the one for you:
Leverage Your Professional Background
Find ways to put your professional or academic knowledge and experience to good use. What did you take up in school? What are some of the previous jobs that you’ve had? The answers to these questions can point you to the direction of your niche.
Whatever your professional background may be, I’d be willing to bet that you can find some writing opportunities if you do a bit of digging. The fact that there are courses and jobs dedicated to that profession is a strong enough indicator that there is a market for it.
Let’s say you’re a Registered Nurse who wants to venture into writing. One thing you could do is reach out to medical establishments and check if you can help them with their content needs. Perhaps that hospital down the street needs a new brochure, or the physician running his own private practice wants to start blogging.
You can also talk to your colleagues and see if they have any need for content. Maybe one of the doctors you work with needs someone to rewrite their LinkedIn profile. (Yes, people actually pay writers to do this.)
Look to Your Hobbies and Interests
Another great way to find a niche is to use your personal hobbies and interests. What do you love learning and writing about? What are some of the blogs or websites that you frequent? What do you choose to do in your spare time?
List the answers to these questions, and go from there. For example, if you like taking on DIY projects around the house, then you can venture into markets such as home improvement, arts and crafts, do-it-yourself websites, and more.
My story: Hobbies and interests are actually the very things that led me to my niche. See, I was always a huge follower of tech startups. I read blogs like TechCrunch and VentureBeat regularly, and I followed the accounts of venture capitalists and founders.
It should come to no surprise then that when I decided to venture into freelance writing, I set my sights on tech companies. I reached out to mobile app developers and startups to offer my services, and I wrote guest posts on websites frequented by tech entrepreneurs.
Taking these steps opened up a lot of doors and helped me land several gigs.
See if you can take the same path. Have a look at that list of hobbies and interests that you wrote earlier, find relevant companies or blogs, and then put yourself in front of them.
Starting out as a freelance writer? What steps are you taking to find your niche? If you already have one, tell us about how you landed in your current industry or market.