What to Do When You Can’t Pick a Freelance Writing Niche

Freelance writing niche

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.

>> This is a guest post by another successful freelance writer. I went from full-time worker to full-time writer online. Find out how I – and many other writers – got started RIGHT HERE.

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:

picking-writing-niche.png

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.

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.

11 Comments

  • Karen Martínez P.

    Reply Reply July 10, 2014

    Thanks for letting me write for your readers, Kirsty!

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply July 12, 2014

      You’re welcome Karen. It’s a great post!

  • June

    Reply Reply July 11, 2014

    Hi Karen,

    This is a fantastic article. It’s really helped me as I’ve been wondering about niches and my freelance writing business. Although I’ve been blogging for a while, I only have one regular client. I need to build up a portfolio (and make some money) but couldn’t make up my mind on a niche. Your article has helped me a lot.

    Thank you. 🙂

    • Karen Martínez P.

      Reply Reply July 14, 2014

      Hi June,

      Thank you! I’m so glad it helped.

      I think you survived the most difficult part: finding the first (and regular) client!

      Your client’s testimonial and a few guest posts would really help to build up your portfolio.

      Have you started pitching to prospects? 🙂

      I would love to know what niche you chose and how it’s working for you.

  • Patrick Icasas

    Reply Reply July 19, 2014

    Great post, Karen! I think one of the most useful takeaways from this article is the realization that you can always find another niche. Picking a niche isn’t the same as picking a university course (of course, those don’t set your career in stone either)!

  • Karen Martínez P.

    Reply Reply July 21, 2014

    Thank you, Patrick!

    Exactly. It’s not like picking a college and paying for the education. If you change your mind, you lose all that money. It’s not the case with your freelance niche.

    I think knowing it helps to reduce the fear of making the wrong choice and actually taking action.

    Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • Zachary (QuickMeUps.com)

    Reply Reply September 3, 2014

    Great article, thanks so much for sharing. I started a blog at the beginning of the year and want to now expand into freelance writing. I’m from the US but live in Chile so am trying to find something in that niche, we’ll see how it goes. I like your idea of listing out all ideas, and that no idea is set in stone. I also generally enjoy international business, as well as meditation and positive thinking (basis for my website). Fingers crossed to find something in one of these areas. Thanks Karen!
    Zac

    • Karen Martínez P.

      Reply Reply September 5, 2014

      I appreciate it, Zac! 🙂

      That sounds interesting. What would be your approach to that niche? Helping US citizens to inmigrate to Chile?

      I think the other niches are great too! Those topics are quite popular so you probably won’t have a hard time looking for writing opportunities 🙂

      I’m happy the post resonated with you.

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your comment!

  • Terence

    Reply Reply April 27, 2016

    Karen, would a niche necessarily have to be a topic? It can also be the medium a copywriter uses – call it his/her speciality – like case studies, emails, sales letters by which they help their clients reach/sell prospects?

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply April 27, 2016

      I can answer this on Karen’s behalf, Terence. The answer is: Yes, absolutely a particular medium can be your niche! My freelance writing Udemy course has an entire lecture dedicated to helping writers discover their most profitable (and fun) niche or niches, and this includes different mediums as well as topics. (You can get a half-price copy of the course by following this link if you wish: https://www.udemy.com/become-a-freelance-writer-online-and-quit-day-job/?couponCode=FWO47)

      Hope that helps!

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