February 5, 2021
When you’re a new freelance writer, it’s tempting to pitch stories on every single topic that mildly interests you. And while there’s nothing wrong with being a generalist, having a freelance niche can help you land more freelance writing jobs and earn more money.
Choosing profitable freelance writing niches will help you earn more money in less time and set you up to be a six-figure freelancer.
Here’s what you need to know about being a niche writer and how the right freelance niche can help you grow your business by leaps and bounds.
When you’re at the beginning of your freelance career, having a freelance niche under your belt can show that you have a deeper understanding of the topic and you’re in the know about the latest news and trends in a particular topic. Having a deep understanding of a freelance niche can make you stand out from the crowd.
After you get your feet wet in the niche, some of your editors might reach out to you and offer you assignments covering similar niches. For example, if you’ve frequently cover mindfulness, an editor could reach out and ask if write about sleep, too. The result: More assignments without having to send cold pitches.
I’ve had editors referred to me over the years based on my past experience as a staff editor working in the weight loss niche for Weight Watchers, Prevention magazine, and Muscle and Fitness magazines. When other freelance friends heard of an editor looking to assign a topic based on the weight loss niche, they referred me. That’s a beautiful thing to happen to a freelance writer!
As you get more experienced in the niche, it’ll become easier to pitch articles on that topic. Since you’re more familiar with the category, you’ll also be able to write faster, allowing you to make more money per hour. I found that it’s helpful to keep track of article pitches using a pitch document. If one article pitch gets rejected by an editor (or ignored) you can –and should–rework it a bit and pitch it to a different publication.
You should be familiar with the top magazines and websites in your niche and what sets them apart from one another. That will make it easier to quickly tweak your article pitch so it’s a good fit for another publication and hit send on that pitch email.
(BTW, here’s how to come up with article ideas.)
When you think about the best freelance writing niches, I think it’s beneficial to look to your interests first and then dig into the industry to find out if it’s a profitable niche and if it’s a freelance niche that’s overcrowded.
The obvious first step to finding your ideal freelance niche is to write down your interests, skills, and background. But I also like to tell people it’s about choosing a niche in a topic you’re curious about. When thinking about niches in content writing, ask yourself, What do I find myself pinning on Pinterest? What topics am I reading about when I’m done with work? What do I like to talk about with my friends and family? What types of music do I listen to? What TV shows and movies do I watch? What are some interests I have that not many people I know share?
The answers to these questions are clues as to the freelance writing niches you should pursue as a writer and freelancer. Not all of these will be profitable freelance writing niches or have large companies with big content marketing budgets. That’s okay, it’s just about getting started and coming up with ideas right now.
Once you have an idea of some topics that interest you, narrow your list down to two or three niches, then try to see if you can like take it deeper. Let’s say you’re in health and wellness, can you hone that in on nutrition, fitness, or meditation? I tell my coaching clients to go deeper once they have a narrower topic. Perhaps you want to write about home fitness equipment of smart technology and fitness. You might have an interest in exploring how supplements and vitamins impact nutrition. If you’re interested in writing about meditation, you could dive into meditation apps or explore whatever the next big thing is in this space. You get the idea. The point is to take this freelance writing niche exercise and brainstorm, but then narrow the topics down and explore whether you have additional knowledge that will set you apart in those more specific niches.
When you finally land on a few niches, dedicate particular days of your week or hours of the day to focus on finding jobs, reading studies, following blogs, and staying on top of trends and news, brainstorming ideas, or pitching in one category. By becoming an expert in the space, you’ll position yourself as the best freelancer for the job.
If you’re in a freelance niche that’s been hard-hit by the pandemic, perhaps the performing arts or travel, you’re going to need to get creative to find new clients within those content writing niches. Let’s say you’re a travel writer. Maybe freelance budgets have been slashed at a number of travel publications. This is a time I’d encourage you to find brands to work with that might be a fit within this niche. Look at the trends. Is RV life more popular right now? Is everyone going on road trips? Are more people camping these days or staying at VRBO and Airbnb homes? Perhaps you want to reach out to an RV manufacturing company. Look at camping equipment companies (there are tons), research publications like AAA magazine or any products and companies that are capitalizing on local travel. With any niche, freelancers need to think out-of-the-box when it comes to finding companies to write for.
(Find out: Are there any downsides to niche freelance writing?)
Many clients I work with know me as a health or fitness writer, but if you check out my freelance writing portfolio, you’ll see that I’ve written about a range of topics and consider myself a niche writer for quite a few of them.
When I wanted to branch out into the pet health freelance niche, I pitched some editors articles that involved fitness and pets, as well as how to care for pets and groom pets as a pet owner. This gave me a few writing samples that I could use when I approached pet brands and inquired about working with them. I’d send a freelance letter of introduction that was tailored to the pet health freelance niche and include the published samples below. Once I found a few brands to work with, I had more clips to those introductory emails and I seemed like even more of an expert in this industry.
Now that I’ve been writing about pet health for a few years, I’ve found it to be a profitable freelance writing niche. What I encourage my coaching clients to do—and you–is to think beyond what all the other freelance writers are going after. Whenever I’m in a pet store, I take note of new brands, of dog beds, pet toys, leashes, gates, food, medicine, you name it! There are tons of companies out there in many niches that would be excellent freelance clients. In order to find profitable freelance writing niches, think beyond editorial magazines and the companies you see frequently posting on Upwork.
Reach out to companies that you admire and would love to work with and offer them your freelance writing services. Tell them that you’re a niche writer and know how to speak to their audience. Soon enough, you’ll be raking in great money from some of most profitable freelance niches.
(Related: Should Freelancers Create Marketing Plans?)
Diana can help with:
Email Diana about opportunities: Diana(at)DianaKelly.com.