By Karen Martínez
As freelance writers, we often read about finding a niche. The pros tell us it’s a crucial part of success. Having a freelance writing niche, they say, can save you time when reaching out to clients. You’ll be recognized as an expert in your field.
You can even charge more money.
But what if you don’t have a niche in mind? What if there are too many options? If you have some ideas but you’re not sure where to begin, I understand. It happened to me.
So here’s a step-by-step guide to picking a profitable writing niche you love.
Discover yourself as a writer
Let’s begin with what you like. Let’s be honest, we could look for the best freelance writing niche to become a millionaire but if that niche is writing about submarine diesel engine, I for one would prefer to stay in my day job.
Ask yourself these questions:
What are your hobbies?
It could be anything. Like finding new ways to organize your kitchen, discovering new restaurants or setting up your family’s home network.
What are you passionate about?
Use your current and past jobs in your writing. Maybe you worked a few years in retail and you loved dealing with customers.
What’s that something you’ve always wanted to try?
Are you busy but your dream is to practice yoga, play piano or surf dangerous waves? With hobby niches, you can write about the topic and at the same time learn more about it. Let’s say you take surfing lessons. You could write about “5 Surfing Lessons For Beginners”.
Is there a field you’re good at?
Are you known by your family as the tech go-to guy or gal? Do your friends say you’re amazing with their kids?
Which websites and magazines do you read most frequently?
Look for patterns. Are you constantly reading pet care blogs or looking for tips for your car? You can write about that.
>> For in-depth, step-by-step instructions on how to find your niche as a freelance writer, check out the free preview video in Kirsty’s Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.
Focus on three niches
Once you’ve made a list of all possible niches, it’s time to narrow them down. This step is simple:
Write 10 if you enjoy the niche. Give a 1 if you find it revolting. You get the idea.
Do this exercise with every niche and then select three of them.
Research popular websites
Find popular websites on each category. Do a short Google search for common questions in the field.
Using the same surfing example, I googled : “How To Choose A Surfboard”. Research your topic. Visit some websites. Learn everything you can about them.
- Do you love the articles?
- Do you enjoy the comments section?
- Do you like the audience?
See which potential clients pay writers a good rate
In researching the websites you’ve looked up, start sizing them up as potential new clients.
- How many readers do they have?
- Are these general or specialized blogs?
- Do they use Google Ads?
- Do they sell their own products?
- Do they have targeted ads and/or affiliate marketing?
- Are they accepting guest posts or paid contributions?
This will help you to see if your niche is profitable.
Niches you enjoy vs. profitable niches
Now mix your passions with money. This looks something like this:
One circle is for topics paying a low rate. (I’m sure there are fashion, gardening and celebrity gossip blogs making a lot of money. However, in general these niches aren’t known for being high-paying clients.)
On the other hand, specialized blogs like in the insurance and real estate fields are always looking for reliable freelance writers. They pay well, but these kinds of topics are often perceived as boring by many freelance writers.
Consider supply and demand. If you really like the color blue but no one is willing to pay you to write about it, you’ll need to find another niche!
You have potential freelance writing niches: Now it’s showtime!
Read every day
Understand the topics popular blogs cover. See what works for them. What types of articles do they write?
Comment on blogs
Be part of their audience, this will help when pitching for guest posts. You’re also building relationships with their community.
Write guest posts
If you’re a newbie, ask for a non-paid guest post to start with. Remember you’re testing the waters with this niche. If you’re part of their community and you write for free, they’ll be happy to publish your post.
Get to know the readers
Answer their questions, ask for feedback, create a poll.
Examine your results
- Did you enjoy the process?
- Do you still want to write about these topics?
- If you don’t, start over and pick three more niches.
If you do, congratulations! You just found a writing niche.
Don’t put all your eggs into one basket
You chose three different niches. It doesn’t matter if it’s psychology for kids, finance and productivity. Or food recipes, fitness and travel. (Kirsty already has a great book on travel blogging.)
Just make sure you have plenty of websites and magazines you could write for. If something happens within one industry, you’re covered with two other niches.
This is also important to avoid getting bored of writing about the same topic over and over again.
You can divorce your niche
Don’t forget, you’re learning as a writer. If you decide you don’t like a certain niche after all, move on. You can always pick a new one. You won’t have to pay alimony.
Start freelance writing
You have guest posts, you know the community. You’re ready to go! Now is the time to pitch to potential clients. What are you waiting for?
>> Get ways to figure out your niche, pitching templates, countless tricks and tools, as well as step-by-step instructions on how to earn a living from freelance writing online in the Complete Freelance Writing Online Course: Beginner to Pro.
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Karen Martínez is a freelance blogger for hire. She’s the author of Freelance from Scratch, where she shares stories and tips for building a freelance blogging business and a better lifestyle.
Image courtesy of iriana88w via 123rf.