••• The International Writers Magazine - 23 Years on-line - Earn Money Writing?
Freelance Writing? You Need to Find Your Niche(s)
Making a living as a writer takes work
Freelancers are all the rage these days. There are tens of millions of contractors out there, many of which focus on one area: writing.
Both writers and editors are common in the freelance world — largely thanks to the communicating power of technology and collaborative workspaces.
This is great, but it also means every writer who tries their hand at the whole freelancing gig needs to figure out ways to cut through the clutter and make their own content, well, worth paying for.
That’s where writing for specific verticles and niches comes into play.
The Ups and Down of Freelance Writing
As an experienced freelance writer with nearly five years of contracting under my belt (and an additional decade of salaried writing before that), I’ve found over time that freelance writing can be both a poor and a rich man’s (and woman’s) game.
If you’re just starting out, you probably will get paid crap. If you write about things that you love, you’ll probably get paid crap. If you write whenever you can, but it isn’t often, you’ll probably get paid crap. Heck, if you write well but you miss deadlines and are a bad communicator, you’ll probably get paid crap.
That said, if you’re a responsible, effective, creative writer with high output and quality writing, you can honestly earn a lot of money by freelancing your skills.
You can also have a lot of fun writing about different topics. I started writing about coffee. Shifted to working on website design. Spent some time writing various topics, from survival prepping to dog walking. I remember one article about water stockpiling and prepping being particularly popular, as it came out right when Texas was having a serious power outage due to weather-related issues. The buzz around my writing was fun to see.
As I pushed harder into the experience, though, I found that even when I had gotten the hang of making money as a freelancer, writing for anything and everything had a financial ceiling. One client, in particular, dropped me not because I was a bad writer, but because as I raised rates, he realized that he could hire a professional in his niche to write for the same rate. Lower quality writing? Sure. More insightful information? Yeah…
That’s when I started shifting toward niche writing.
The Value of Niche Freelance Writing
Niche writing is as simple as it sounds. You pick a niche and focus on it. You could work to become a tech writer. You might specialize in the arts and entertainment industry. Food is another popular targeted area to write in.
There are as many writing niches as there are industries. If there’s enough attention on a certain sector of the economy for businesses to be made and thrive within it, freelance writers can get in on the action, too.
The best part is if you’re a good writer and you specialize in a certain area, your writing stock skyrockets. Suddenly, you can create quality content (which is at a premium these days) and that content can be imbued with serious, unique knowledge that can’t easily be replicated by other writers.
Why is this so important? Because one of the biggest things brands want to accomplish with their content these days is establishing themselves as authorities within their fields. They want their content to set them apart, and for that to happen, it needs to be unique and insightful. It needs to be confident and full of thought-leader-y kinds of things.
By focusing your freelancing writing research on a specific area, you can gain an edge over other writers. This makes you a more valuable freelancer in those areas, which naturally allows you to raise rates and expect better compensation.
Tips to Write for Different Verticles
If you want to be more niche with your freelance writing, here are a few tips to help you do so:
1. Don’t Limit Yourself
Yes, this is a weird one to start with. But the truth is, niche doesn’t mean exclusive. If you’re writing for any and every topic right now, try picking three or four primary ones that you enjoy and focusing on those.
For me, that has become a select area of business, management, personal finance, and Middle-earth — yes, the fantasy world. I focus on these four areas and make a lot of money doing that. Do I take other work? Sure, at times. I just wrote an article about shutters for luxury homes the other day. But I always prioritize my niche areas first.
2. Double Up Research
One of the beautiful things about niche writing is that you can recycle research …like crazy. Now, to clarify, I’m talking about reusing research, not writing. Plagiarism is a sin, people. Keep it out of your writing.
That said, if you’re researching something like the latest in AI development, who says that a fascinating New York Times article or a juicy Statista report needs to be used once and never again?
By all means, stow that knowledge and return to that source the next time you’re writing about AI. If you’re focusing on the tech niche, there’s a good chance it won’t be long before the information is useful again.
3. Keep Honing Your Freelancing Craft, Too
If you focus on a niche, it’s easy to become obsessed with it. Remember, you’re a writer first and a researcher second. Don’t let your paid work time (i.e. your writing time) be consumed by endless research.
Instead, pace yourself. Your knowledge will amass over time. Make sure to also continue investing in your actual freelance writing, too.
Go Niche or Go Home
There are many ways to succeed as a freelance writer. The important thing is that you focus on a specific strategy for success.
In the case of niche writing, you have an opportunity to continue writing in areas that interest you while increasing your pay in the process.
So consider how many vertices you currently write for. In which areas have you been particularly successful? Once you’ve identified that, pick a few of these and start moving in that direction. You might just find that giving an area a little extra attention will pay you back in spades.
© Jaron Pak - June 2022
• Jaron Pak is a writer who has spent nearly 15 years writing for different businesses, verticals, and topics. After a decade spent working in a full-time job, he branched off and spent the last several years freelancing. He writes and ghostwrites for Looper, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Inc., Yahoo Finance, Marketwatch, Fiscal Tiger, Nasdaq, and many other publications. He loves to focus on niches including entrepreneurship, business, personal finance, coffee, marketing, history, and especially Tolkien. He is a happy husband, a proud father, owns multiple businesses, and is the host of the podcast The Halfling.