What, exactly, is a niche in freelance writing? Dictionary.com says it’s “
I’ve also developed a certain expertise in running (back in the day), 12 step recovery, parenting, Buddhism and ecology, real estate sales, and probably a few others I’ve forgotten about.
Every single one of them came about because I was following my on interests. I didn’t set out to specialize in any of them so I could write about it.
Instead, started to run for my health and wrote about it, got sober and wrote about it, had kids and write about it, etc. After awhile it became obvious and natural to write about writing.
A niche can make things easier
When I sit down to write a post for this blog, I already know I’m going to write about the field or topic freelance writing. It’s a pretty broad area and I’ve demonstrated I can stretch it even wider by writing about things that aren’t normally thought of as fitting in this niche.
Editors, marketers and publishers love niches
Editors, marketers and publishers all love niches because it defines what they’re doing. They also love finding writers who have experience in their particular niche. The tighter the topic, the easier their job. If they will only market left handed monkey wrenches they eliminate all the information about anything but. If they can slot you as a writer in their particular topic, they’re set, at least as long as the writer is willing to write for them.
On the other hand, if they think they can only work with a writer who has experience in their niche, they are truly limiting their choices.
You don’t need a special topic to write well
While having a niche or several does mean you’ve developed a certain expertise in that area, that expertise isn’t a guarantee of good writing. To put it the other way, you don’t need specific expertise to write well. This is what editors and publishers often overlook when drafting job requirements.
Don’t fret about a niche – not unless you’re doing something truly specialized. Chances are over time you’ll develop some specialties. It’s okay if that happens organically. Plan and work a niche or several if you want, but don’t stress over them.
Apply even if you aren’t in their niche
If you see a job posted that appeals to you, that doesn’t mean you must have experience in that particular topic to land the gig. Generally, the hiring authority first wants to know that you can write well. That’s why they want samples. They want to read something you’ve written to see, first of all that you can write, and second that your writing voice is close to the style they want. These days we’re seeing more and more requests for native English or native American speakers. What they really mean is they want you to write with what might be called an American accent. If you’ve got these basis covered you’re in good shape.
Most freelance writers are good generalists. Oh they may have a broad level of experience in an area. For example, included in this blogs are topics on sales, copywriting, business, social media, hiring, entrepreneurship and others. I’m qualified to write in any of these areas. If you think about it you’re qualified to write in more niches than perhaps your writing credits demonstrate at the moment.
Take the risk – refuse to be limited to a topic or a single area of expertise.
Do you have a niche? Do you have experience writing outside it? Tell us about it in comments. Or ask a question and I’ll do my best to answer it.
You might also enjoy 9 Tips for Starting a Profitable and Sustainable Freelance Writing Business.
Write well and often,