I struggled to get paid what I was worth for a long time as a freelance writer. You know why? Because I was a generalist. I would write about anything. When someone asked me what my specialty was I would say, “I can write anything!”
*Insert the sound of a deflating balloon here*
Yah, potential clients don’t want to hear that you write about all kinds of things. They want to know you specialize in their category. They want to know they’ve hired a writer that knows industry terms and sounds like they genuinely know what they’re talking about.
Why Clients Want to Know Your Niche
Okay, think about it this way… You wouldn’t hire someone to paint your car if their sign says, “We can paint anything!” No, you’d want someone who has years of experience painting cars so you know your vehicle will come out looking shiny and flawless.
Picking Niches Changed Everything
Eventually, I wised up and focused on three topics: DIY, health/science and tech. Know what happened when I finally pick some niches? I quadrupled my freelance income.
How to Pick a Niche
Picking your niche isn’t as overwhelming as it may seem. All you really need to do is think about what you like writing about. This is the most important thing. Remember, you will be writing about this topic day in and day out, so you better enjoy it.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Do you love researching the latest scientific discoveries? Then you may be a science writer.
- Can’t wait to write about the latest iPhone? You may be a tech writer.
- Adore sharing tips on eating healthy? You may be a diet or health writer.
- Do you like to build or fix things, then write about it? You’re probably a DIY writer.
- Have the need to share your parenting tips with the world? You could be a parenting writer.
- Feel the overwhelming urge to talk about movies or the latest Hollywood gossip? You’re probably an entertainment writer.
- Do you know the difference between post modernism and expressionism? You may like being a fine art writer.
- Does doing your taxes or following the stock market give you a high? You might be a financial writer.
- Were you a marketer in another life? Copywriting or content marketing may be for you.
- Do you love correcting someone’s grammar more than you love writing? You’re probably better suited as a copyeditor.
Don’t Get Too Narrow, Though
While you’re narrowing down your niche, remember not to get too specific. A broad category will allow you to find ample work, while still anchoring you as an expert.
For example, "tech writer" is nice and broad. This niche label lets me write about anything under that enormous umbrella, including tablets, phones, computers, home hubs, self-driving cars and home security. If I picked tablet writer, though, my niche would be so narrow I wouldn’t be able to find much work. Plus, I would get bored very quickly!
Now, I want you to go sit down with your trusty notebook and write down all the things you like to write about. Then, choose no more than three to be your specialty.
Want more tips on becoming a successful freelance writer? Read my book: