What is a freelance writing niche and why you should choose one?
A freelance writing niche is a topic, type of content, industry, or combination of those three where you focus your services and energy. Don’t worry if you have no idea where to start. This article will walk you through the steps to find the best writing niche for your passion, talents, and business goals.
First, it is important to understand why you should choose a freelance writing niche. Choosing a niche to focus your freelance services on is simply a smart business move. There are 8 major reasons why freelance writers should choose a freelance writing niche to advance their writing careers.
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1. Showcase your expertise
Having a very specific niche establishes you as an expert and the go-to person companies in an industry will seek out to write a specific type of content.
Think about it from the client’s point of view. If you own a small boutique residential building company, do you prefer a freelance writer who specializes in blogging about architecture, high-end home design, and construction? Or a generalist who writes about whatever gig crosses their plate (pet care, make-up, etc) and has no specific knowledge in your field?
2. Build your reputation
Freelance writing within a particular industry helps you build a reputation amongst a smaller pool of companies.
It is hard to establish a reputation across multiple industries because there may be little communication between potential clients. But if you focus on a specific type of written content for a specific type of client, for example, blog posts on patient education for dental offices, your reputation as a freelance writer can spread much faster to other clients (i.e. other dentists) in that field.
3. Get more referrals
When you build your freelance writing reputation in an industry you get more referrals from within that industry.
If a client is happy with your writing services they may refer you to someone else they know in their industry. They are much more likely to know a potential client in that niche who needs a freelance writer than know of a random opportunity in another industry. Plus it is easier for them to describe to someone else in the same field how your area of expertise and writing services helped their business.
4. Improve the accuracy of your marketing and cold pitches
A writing niche helps you figure out which potential clients you should spend your time pitching to.
According to the Small Business Association, there are over 31 million small businesses in the United States. How do you know where to start? And what about larger brands? Government organizations? Non-profits? Influencers?
A writing niche helps you focus your marketing and cold pitches to the right clients for the greatest chance of getting freelance writing jobs. You will be better able to show you can provide the exact type of writing content a potential client needs to get the results they want.
5. Build client trust
Even if you don’t have a lot of experience, clients are more likely to trust you enough to hire you if they perceive you are an expert with special knowledge in a niche. They are more likely to take a chance on a newer writer if that writer is focusing on a specific topic and type of content.
6. Advantage over the competition
Having a niche makes it easier to win contracts with high-quality clients who are a joy to work for and pay well.
The competition on freelance writing job boards can be fierce. Just take a look at all of the freelance writers discussing their quests for gigs on quora.
7. Increase your earning potential
Area expertise in a defined field will make you more valuable to clients, allowing you to command higher rates.
The higher-paying writing jobs generally go to specialists, not generalists. This is especially true for the profitable freelance writing niches like digital marketing, finance, cryptocurrency, tech, health/medical, CBD, real estate, and SaaS.
8. Increase the accuracy, efficiency, and authority in your writing
Knowing a niche well, the industry-specific vocabulary, the major players, the trends, the target customers, etc improves the accuracy of your writing, helps you create content faster, and decreases the time you need to spend researching and fact-checking your work.
The less time you spend on a fixed-price contract, the more contracts you can take on, and the more you will earn.
What are some examples of writing niche categories?
- Careers (resumes, career advice, remote jobs)
- Creative hobbies, arts & crafts (knitting, crochet, woodworking, DIY fashion)
- Diet and Fitness (weight loss, keto diet, vegan diet, cross-fit, bodybuilding, yoga)
- Digital Marketing (affiliate marketing, email marketing, social media, SEO, eCommerce)
- Education (college life, education manuals, textbooks, curriculums)
- Entertainment and media (anime, celebrity gossip, show recaps, movie or music reviews)
- Entrepreneurship (small business, side hustles, work from home, freelancing)
- Faith and spirituality
- Family and Parenting (family life, homeschooling, adoption)
- Fashion and Beauty (product reviews, trend alerts, tutorials)
- Finance (personal finance, investing, retirement planning, mortgages, credit cards, debt management, FinTech, small business finance, accounting, stock market, cryptocurrency, budgeting and frugality, FIRE, student loans, real estate)
- Food and Wine (cooking and baking, product reviews, recipe developer, food events, industry news, wine and beer)
- Gardening and landscaping (succulents, water-efficient gardening, landscape design)
- Green and sustainable living (electric vehicles, recycling, climate change)
- Health and well-being (alternative health, CBD, organic living, supplements, addiction recovery, meditation, pregnancy, mental health, minimalism, intentional living)
- Home (home decor, interior design, home organization, home improvement, co-living)
- Homesteading and prepping
- Pets (cats, dogs, horses, pigs, fish, hamsters, training, pet foods)
- Productivity and goal setting (productivity apps, journals, task planning)
- Relationships (dating, marriage, divorce)
- Senior living (retirement, social security, medicare, returning to work, travel, assisted living, retirement communities)
- Sports and Recreation (all sports, camping, RV life, fishing, outdoor gear reviews)
- Technology and Software (SaaS – Software as a Service, coding, tech gear)
- Travel (travel deals, hotels and restaurant reviews, sustainable travel, family travel, senior travel, digital nomad lifestyle)
How do you choose a freelance writing niche?
Start with this niche topic exercise
This is a great exercise for both those just starting their freelance writing business and those who have been working for a while but want to niche down to advance their freelance writing career. These steps are going to make it easy to clearly articulate what you do (what services you offer) and who you do it for (potential customers).
You can use the results of this exercise to craft your business plan, define your writing services, set up your writing samples portfolio, create your writer website, set up your LinkedIn page, create your media kit, and pitch your writing services to potential clients.
Don’t stress too much about finding “the one” niche. You can always pick two or more writing niches to try out. Alternatively, you could try spending half your time writing in a niche and half as a written content generalist until you find your footing.
Make a list of all of the things you enjoy doing or topics you enjoy learning about
These could be general interests, hobbies, activities, or passions. Don’t censor yourself or think too much about whether or not you could market this niche just yet. What types of news articles, blogs, or books do you tend to read? What do you do with your free time? What do you wish you did with your free time?
Now make a list of everything you have special knowledge, expertise, or authority in
Think about your past work or volunteer experience, education, certifications, and special skills you have developed. What is on your resume? If you are in need of inspiration, you can take a look at freelance job boards.
Look and see if there are any areas where your lists of interests and expertise overlap. Circle them.
An area of overlap is the ideal niche to choose. But don’t worry if you don’t see any areas of overlap.
Circle 3-5 topics that excite you the most. Now try to niche these down again.
List 5 sub-niches for each of these topics. Get even more specific. For example, if you chose finance you might list retirement planning, credit cards, life insurance, annuities, and student loans. Can you think of two more sub-niches within those? For retirement planning, you might list the FIRE movement (financial independence retire early) and retirement planning for millennials.
It is also critical that you learn your niche’s sub-niches to improve your writing, fine-tune the topics and services you plan to offer, and focus your efforts on the types of clients most likely to respond to your pitches.
Remember this is just an exercise and you can always widen your niche later.
Think about what the market is like for these topics.
Now that you have a list of potential writing niches it is time to research the market for these topics. Luckily, no matter what your expertise, there is likely a market for that niche if you look in the right place.
You can start by checking out freelance writing job boards like FreelanceWriting.com, ProBlogger, and BloggingPro to see if there are clients looking for this type of writing. This will also give you some idea about how much that industry pays. In general, niches like financial services, tech, health, and hospitality (hotels, airlines, etc) are among the most profitable freelance writing niches.
You will discover more about the market for these topics as we dive into your ideal target clients.
Who would your ideal freelance writing clients be?
Think about the writing niches you are researching. Who are the target clients for those niches? Who are the customers (the target audience) for the products and services of those clients?
Here are some potential target clients for your services:
- Construction firms, home builders, plumbers, electricians
- Dentists, doctors, nurses
- Educators (teachers, professors)
- Financial planners, estate planners, accountants
- Gyms, yoga studios, other sports studios (gymnastics, karate, racquetball)
- Job seekers, recent graduates
- Magazines, newspapers, journals, and e-zines
- Mortgage brokers
- Insurance brokers and companies
- News outlets
- Non-profit organizations and charities
- Online e-commerce stores
- Pharmaceutical or medical device companies, healthcare organizations
- Places of entertainment (nightclubs, casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, amusement parks)
- Realtors, property managers
- Retailers (hobby stores, home improvement, fashion/makeup, outdoors, car dealers, electronics)
- Service providers (utility companies, landscaping, car repair, beauty salons)
- Social media influencers
- Software companies
- Small business owners (online businesses, farms, dry cleaners, bakeries)
- Trade publications
- Travel-related (tour companies, tourism boards, airlines, hotels, vacation rental companies)
Make a list of all of the industry outlets for your niches (and the opportunities in the market)
Here is where you are going to find opportunities to pitch in your niche.
As you make this list you will essentially be starting your target client spreadsheet that you will use for future marketing and cold pitching. You are also going to use this list to craft your business plan and market strategy for your writing services.
Think of all of the major players, places, brands, bloggers, influencers, businesses, trade organizations, conferences, and industry news outlets for your topic niche.
Google each of these. Search on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Make note of any people who would be your first point of contact, their email addresses (and phone numbers if you find them), Facebook profiles, and other social media handles.
As you do this research, keep an eye out for any opportunities in the market. For example, are there businesses in your industry that would benefit from adding a blog to their website? Could their landing page copy be improved? Is there some aspect of their product or service you could highlight through better promotional material?
What are the potential content types for your writing niche topic?
Think about what types of content your target clients need and value. Below you’ll find ideas for the types of writing you can do.
- Article writing (pitch article ideas to a magazine editor who accepts or declines)
- Blogging (write blog articles based on the blog or website’s niche, long and short-form SEO writing)
- Business plan writer (for startups and small businesses)
- Case studies (video script or article interview of a person or business about their problem before they used your client’s product or service and the results they achieved with the product)
- Copywriting (all types of marketing, advertising, and promotion materials – sales letters, ads, product descriptions, email campaigns)
- Course writing (curriculum outline and course lessons for bloggers, small business owners, and coaches)
- eBook writing (for bloggers, small businesses, influencers)
- Editing and proofreading (for particular niches like tech, engineering, law, and medical that require special knowledge for accuracy)
- Digital marketing (email newsletters, email sales funnel, landing pages, lead magnets, marketing materials, email marketing campaigns)
- Grant writing (for non-profits, universities)
- Ghostwriter (write blog posts, articles, books, or other material for someone who takes credit for the writing)
- Media kits (for artists, musicians, influencers, and anyone who creates something or offers services)
- Medical and scientific writing (technical writing for scientific articles, research papers, and regulatory documents)
- Press releases (for musicians or artists promoting new material, companies promoting new products or services)
- Product descriptions (e-commerce websites, Amazon product description, packaging and product instructions)
- Product reviews (like consumer’s digest)
- Resume writing (for job seekers, scholarships, and graduate program applicants)
- SEO writing (specific written content crafted to drive search engine traffic to websites)
- Social medial writing (social media marketing, Facebook ads and posts, Twitter tweets, Instagram, Pinterest pin descriptions)
- Speeches (politicians, celebrities, weddings)
- Technical writing (science, computers, and software)
- Video script writing (promotional campaigns, Youtube and TikTok, tripwire marketing, sales pages)
- White papers (industry informational documents to promote a product or service)
What will your writing content do for your clients?
Figuring out what your services will do for your clients takes a little more thought. Think about what pain point your services solve for your clients. What things might the company find essential to doing business and succeeding but might be lacking? Here are a few examples:
- Automate processes in their business and increase efficiency
- Comply with industry or government regulations
- Develop email funnels to get customers to trust before they buy
- Find new customers and increase leads (peak interest in new customers, drive traffic to a website through SEO)
- Implement a content marketing strategy (research and write content or articles that will bring new customers to your client)
- Increase sales and earning potential
- Increase customer engagement (entertain them, foster brand loyalty, keep them coming back for more)
- Increase customer retention (keep them from leaving your client’s services)
- Improve company culture
- Meet the needs and demands of their customers
- Optimize sales conversions (how do you convince customers to buy)
- Outsource skills they don’t have amongst their employees
- Save time and money
- Recruit talent to their company
- Work less (you do the work for them, you write the course content for the course they sell on their website)
Put it all together to find your writing niche
Complete the phrase below using your lists from the exercise.
“I write (content type) for (target client type) to (what your content does for your client).”
Now you have found your niche!
Here are some examples:
- I write blog posts and landing pages to help climbing gyms attract new customers and increase membership sales.
- I write online course lessons for dentist continuing education modules that focus on key learning concepts and keep customers engaged.
- I write resumes for recent college graduates that catch the attention of top-tier talent recruiters in the tech industry.
- I write media kits and press releases for independent musicians to promote new albums and increase bookings at music venues.
Summing up the importance of a writing niche
For the best chance at success, your freelance writing business needs a niche. Choose a writing niche that inspires you, draws on your expertise and experiences, gives you a marketing edge, builds your reputation, and attracts high-paying clients.
Are you ready to set up your freelance writing business? Take the next step and read the Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Freelance Writing Business.