Lesson 4: Find a Profitable Niche
Lesson 4: Research a Profitable Niche
Many freelancers wonder if they should specialize in a niche in order to earn more money? Then, they often wonder if they’re going to lose out on other assignments because clients don’t think of them for other niches. I think it’s beneficial to come up with two to three niches you’re interested in and building up clips in those categories. Then, you can use those assignments and experiences to build up clips in a new niche that you’re trying to work in. (For example, if you were writing health and fitness articles and kept coming up with articles that also covered how to find budget-friendly workouts, how to save money on healthcare expenses, how to shop around for the best deals on consumer health products, you would now have a few personal finance samples if you wanted to start branching out into that profitable niche.)
>Here are some strategies to help identify a profitable niche:
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.
Rethink what you’re already writing about.
Is there a smaller niche you’re interested in that you can become a niche writer for? Not only are you a gardener, but you’re an expert in growing roses. Or, you’re into gaming and know a ton about tabletop games. Maybe you’ve been passionate about beauty topics and have your finger on the pulse in the eyeliner market or you know a lot about natural beauty products. Maybe you’re a fitness writer who can write about home fitness equipment as well as the intersections 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. I find that adding “tech” = “[NICHE topic]” helps me and coaching students come up with narrow niches that are profitable.
Jot down your areas of “expertise” and where you have a passion for topics. Then write down some brands you could do content marketing writing for, or, editorial ideas for a magazine or website. Keep this list handy when you’re feeling like you’re bored with your niche or you need ideas of clients to reach out to.
Look at what’s going on in the market.
Living through a pandemic taught us a lot of things, and pivoting should certainly be one of them. Having more than one niche and always working on your skills as a writer will give you sustainability during unexpected events. I’m thinking of how some of my travel writer friends and those I know who covered conferences leaned on other niches during COVID when budgets in those areas were slashed and it was uncertain when money would be returning to those industries. I was able to help out some of my clients in the healthcare space who were slammed with work but emailing them and seeing if they needed help with any assignments. I also worked on mental health during COVID stories that relied on my mental health writing background. Examine your skills and experiences and how they can be parlayed into story assignments. (If you homeschool your children, the past years would have been a great time to share your advice on how other parents can do their best with that.)
>How you’ll earn $100 or more writing for a niche:
· Once you have a few clips in a niche, you can reach out to other brands in that industry and offer your services. They will see that you’re specialized and have a deeper knowledge of their topic than the average writer. Having that background and experience translates into more money.
· Update your LinkedIn profile with the new niche and the names of the brands you work with. I get contacted by quite a few companies this way if they are looking for a “weight loss writer” or “mental health editor.” Make sure you update your website portfolio (and portfolios on third-party sites) with the latest work you’ve done in a niche, as well as SEO keywords that will help potential clients find you.
Feel free to email me with specific questions about your niche: [email protected]