July 5, 2023
Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, being a niche writer can help you stand out from the crowd, gain new clients, and showcase your area of expertise.
A niche is another word for specialization — it describes proficiency in a particular subject, be it personal finance, health care, SaaS, real estate, technology, fashion, furniture, or travel. It can also refer to expertise in specific types of content, like SEO long-form content, copywriting, email marketing, case studies, social media posts, or podcast scripts.
To be a successful niche writer, you need to know your strong suits and produce engaging, well-researched, high-quality content. Here, we’ll share top tips to hone your craft and take your writing career to the next level.
First things first: there’s nothing wrong with being a generalist. If you have the research and writing skills (and the stamina) to cover everything from organic farming to blockchain, more power to you.
That said, specializing in a specific niche sets you apart from other content writers and lets you focus on subject(s) that are truly in your wheelhouse. Having a niche shows potential clients that you have the knowledge and experience necessary to create great content for their brand. Business owners want to hire someone who knows what they're talking about, whether it’s as a full-time staffer or a part-time freelance writer.
The other benefit of being a niche writer is that you can command higher rates since you’re a subject matter expert. As a thought leader, you can create more compelling, in-depth content and provide insights and info that doesn’t just rehash easily Googled factoids.
Having a niche allows you to sharpen your skills in a particular area, further developing your knowledge and making you more valuable to current and future clients.
There are many methods of finding a niche. Some recommend picking your favorite subject and devouring as much information about it as possible. Others recommend dabbling in a few different writing niches to discover what resonates with you.
Obviously, choosing a niche (or two) and sticking to it can save time and help you focus your efforts. The downside is that without enough thought and planning, you may pigeonhole yourself into a niche you don't enjoy. (Sort of like choosing a college major when you lack direction.)
Fortunately, following the tips below will help you determine which writing niche is best for you.
If you love what you write about, you're much more likely to be successful at it. One of the best ways to identify your interests is to take a look at the types of information you already consume.
What subject matter do you enjoy reading about? Whether it's politics, productivity, tech startups, makeup tutorials, children’s nonprofits, or business-to-business (B2B) content marketing, listing out the specific niches that appeal to you can be a good place to start.
It’s also important to remember that not all content is the same. For instance, there’s a difference between being a copywriter versus a content writer. Think about the type of content you enjoy consuming and what kind you want to produce.
Building a successful writing career is much easier when you know what your subject inside and out. Based on your education and work history, you're probably already an expert or proficient in some realm.
Still not sure? Ask friends and family what they think you're good at. Figure out what types of information you can effectively share with people to improve their lives. Oftentimes, identifying your strengths and existing know-how can help you pinpoint a writing niche.
It also helps to identify what expertise you're lacking. Maybe you have some general knowledge about a certain industry but aren’t very skilled in the nitty-gritty details. If you know a lot about medical services but don't know much about medical regulations, you can expand your degree of specialization or avoid those specific niche areas.
The old adage “practice makes perfect” holds true when it comes to niche writing.
For instance, if you fancy yourself a fashionista with a flair for persuasive language, write short social media posts to share about your latest sartorial finds. Then create other posts in the tone and writing style of some of your favorite brands. If you like the idea of being a copywriter, try creating taglines, slogans, product descriptions, and other promotional copy for brands that pique your interest. (Even if they never see the light of day, the point is to practice.)
On the other hand, if you have a lot of content writing experience in a particular field but want to try your hand at another genre, go for it. For example, maybe you’re a published food writer but you’re interested in pursuing topics related to personal finance. Write a few long-form articles to test your writing skills and gauge how you like (or don’t like) it.
You can also use your personal blog, social media accounts, or personal docs to write about different topics that interest you. You’ll not only get a stronger sense of whether you’re headed in the right direction but you’ll also have a few writing samples to submit for potential paying gigs.
The bottom line is that no matter what type of writing you want to do, practice is essential to succeeding in your chosen niche.
Even if you’re not a social butterfly in person, you can always network online. LinkedIn is a good resource for building professional connections, including business owners (who many need your services) and fellow writers. Spend some time looking at what people are posting and engage with content that interests you. You may also want to connect with bloggers you admire or other freelance writers in forums or groups (for example, Freelancing Females on Facebook) to get insights and job leads.
Many writers tend to stick to one or two niches. However, don’t feel trapped by your initial selections. What drove your interest last year may be different this year. Or maybe you’ve gotten some work in a particular writing niche and are now considering heading in a different direction.
Take time daily, weekly, or monthly to write down ramblings, thoughts, and ideas. Brainstorming is a key part of the creative process, so make sure you’re giving yourself the opportunity for greater possibilities.
While there’s no shortage of freelance writing niches, a few rise to the top regarding job opportunities. Here are some of the most profitable niches for writers.
SEO writing (also called digital marketing writing) is another profitable niche for freelance writers. Today, small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike use online marketing methods to reach more customers — and SEO writers can help in that effort.
SEO writers work closely with marketing strategy team members to create content that’ll rank higher on search engine results pages — in other words, on the first page of Google. Content can include everything from promotional landing pages and long-form blog posts to case studies and email newsletters aimed at the client's target audience.
Pro tip: Get access to freelance writing jobs within your field of expertise.
If you can make complex material easier to understand (with precision and accuracy), then being a technical writer could be your path to a steady stream of income.
Depending on your area of specialization and writing skills, you could find technical writing opportunities for drafting white papers, journal articles, how-to guides, and user manuals.
Because these writing jobs involve a significant amount of technical know-how, they tend to pay well. It’s worth noting that if you’re going to pursue technical writing, you’ll likely need at least a bachelor's degree or several years of experience in a relevant field.
Pro tip: Check out our guide on finding technical writer jobs.
If you prefer to work behind the scenes and aren’t concerned with amassing bylines, consider ghostwriting. As the name suggests, a ghostwriter is the unseen (and uncredited) “ghost” who creates content for someone else.
Traditionally, ghostwriters have been associated with writing and editing a person’s autobiography. But they can also create content marketing materials for various brands and agencies. According to SalaryExpert, a salaried ghostwriter makes about $72,000 annually, although the most popular skills for ghostwriters are creating advertising material and writing scripts.
Pro tip: Learn more about ghostwriting for business.
No matter where you are or how much experience you have, being a niche writer can help you stand out from the competition. Identify what you do well and consider the types of writing projects you’re interested in. As you gain experience in your writing niche and become a subject matter expert, you’ll do more of what you love and make money doing it.
To learn about well-paying writing gigs within your area of expertise, join our Writer Finder network. Instead of scrolling through endless job board postings that lead nowhere, we’ll reach out to you when a project comes up that suits your niche. It’s free!