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How Do I Approach Writing In A New Niche? Ask Anne

Ask Anne About Freelance WritingHi Anne,

I have a question for you. If I haven’t written in a niche before, how should I approach the clients in that niche?

Ron, who blogs at http://www.copy-e-writing.in

Hi Ron,

Niche’s aren’t like nations. If you can write about, say bird watching, you can also write about watching baseball, or travel writing, either to watch birds, baseball or something else. You don’t need a passport. Nor are you likely to get so throughly associated with a particular niche no one will let you write in another arena.

One of my favorite magazine writers is James Fallows who writes regularly for the Atlantic. Search on his name and you’ll see a writer who is a true generalist.

Sure, you mostly need to write about stuff you’re at least sort of interested in. If you hate baseball my example won’t work, unless you can find a market for a I-hate-baseball piece.

You approach the new niche in a professional way. If they are advertising, you craft a response that shows how you will solve their problem. If you’re initiating contact with an editor, come with two or three ideas. In fact, that might even work when you’re answering an ad – respond then add an idea or two. Editors simply love ideas.

If you’re reaching out beyond publishing to business clients, its the same thing. The fact that you’ve successfully written about widgets often means you can successfully write about a stegdiw (I think that’s widget spelled backwards.)

Always approach professionally. Always know your job is to solve a problem. Always listen closely. I think you’ll be delightfully surprised how easily your skills transfer.



Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • This has been a puzzler for me. I’m not experienced enough to really offer expert advice about writing, although I do have fun on my blog talking about it. I don’t have any real expertise in ANYTHING. Trying to come up with something to offer is tricky, especially for a fiction writer.

    And annoyingly, it’s taking time away from my book. I need DESPERATELY to get a schedule worked out for the summer.
    Elizabeth West recently posted..Upcoming- April A to Z Blogging Challenge and PoopedMy Profile

  • I’m in the process of “adding a niche” now. Thanks for the info!
    Brenna recently posted..Five ObservationsMy Profile

  • I find the easiest way to get into new niches is to sort of back into them from existing ones you write for.

    Example: You’ve written about insurance for a company. Then, you get a gig blogging about insurance for a bank. Then, you learn a bit about lending and pitch loan expertise to a consumer publication. And so on…
    Carol Tice | Make a Living Writing recently posted..Why Content is No Longer KingMy Profile

  • Great advice Anne. I’ve focused on just a couple of niches, and one — outdoors writing — required me to break in with no real experience.

    And you reminded me I have to renew my passport, although I like the pic from 10 years ago.
    John Soares recently posted..How to Succeed at Co-AuthoringMy Profile

  • Thanks for answering my question, Anne. You certainly cleared a few things.

    ~Ron ()

  • Ron, this is a great question and thank you, Anne, for a thorough answer. A lot of writers promote the idea of becoming an expert in a single area or two, but I’ve always been interested in various topics and love the idea of being a “writing generalist.” Thanks for the encouragement. =)
    Samantha Bangayan recently posted..Miaus and GuausMy Profile

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