April 17, 2018
There are several pros and cons when it comes to writing for a targeted niche as a freelance writer. If you search online, you’ll read a ton of opinions from freelance writers that writing for a specialized area will help you make more money and improve your career. You’ll also read that you should diversify the topics you write about and not get stuck in a niche or you’ll be there forever.
While I’m often known for writing weight loss, health, wellness, nutrition, and fitness content, I have enjoyed expanding the topics I cover to learn new things–career topics, travel, emergency services, meditation–and opening myself up to new clients and different types of work.
Here, I’ll explore my opinions on the pros of writing for a niche market. In next week’s post, I’ll share my opinions on why you might not want to be pigeon-holed into one area and explore the cons of freelancing in a niche. (Check out this blog on the downsides of writing for a niche market.)
Once you’ve been writing about a topic for months, years, and over a decade, you’ll have a strong knowledge of the topic which can help shape your questions for articles. You’ll also know where to locate the best research, you’ll know if something a source says doesn’t sound like it’s true, and you’ll become a faster writer once you have this existing knowledge under your belt. Right now, if I had to write an article about “How to Lose 10 Pounds,” I would be able to recall studies I’ve read, sources who might be a fit, and some tips that would work for this article. If I was assigned an article on a topic I don’t know much about, like “The Top 10 Safest Cars of 2018,” it would take me much longer to do the research and find the best sources to speak to for that piece.
I’m fortunate that I have a wide, fantastic network of writers and editors who contact me when they have a weight loss or health article to assign. I also get contacted about projects, content marketing assignments, and even editorial jobs via LinkedIn when people search for weight loss, fitness, and health terms that lead them to me. An editor often feels more comfortable assigning out a story to a writer whose work they’ve read in a particular genre, or who came recommended, than picking a random freelance writer out and assigning them a topic that’s beyond their comfort zone. No one is contacting me about gardening, cars, or home repair topics, and that’s okay by me for now. (Here’s how to find any editors’ name and contact information.)
Once an editor gives you an assignment (here are some freelance article pitches that worked), you’ll have an idea of sources to reach out to who might be available for an interview. Whether I’m writing about nutrition, sleep, or fitness, I have a large network of experts I’ve used over the years that I stay in touch with. I trust their expertise and they often respond in a timely manner. That being said, any professional writer learns how to find sources for different topics they’re working on. (I explain how to do this in my Freelance Writing Online Course.)
If your specialty niche is one that can have many subsets, like health, there are a ton of ways you can write different articles for magazines, websites, and brands. When you’re trying to identify a freelance writing niche that will be lucrative for you, I suggest you start with your interests and/or your background knowledge. That could be banking and accounting if that’s your full-time job, it could be child care, DIY projects, cooking, a sport you participate in, or a hobby you pursue in your free time. Once you have some published clips in a niche, you can pitch different companies ideas based on your expertise. Recently, I wrote a white paper for a fitness client, I worked on sleep articles for a sleep app company, and I’m working on a magazine editing project in the diet sphere. Take the knowledge you’re gaining by writing about similar topics and spin that into fresh ideas and different ways to generate an income.
I think it’s a wise move to have an area you specialize in that you can get the bulk of your assignments in. But, I would encourage every writer to stretch themselves to try to write for new areas that they’re interested in, especially as life changes come along (like getting married, buying a house, buying a car, getting a pet, having a baby) and you find yourself coming up with fresh article ideas. I’ll discuss the cons of staying too niche with your writing in next week’s blog.
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