When I first began as a freelance writer, I applied for every opportunity possible. As a newbie to the freelance content writing game, this strategy secured me work. However, it went against the advice that many experienced writers give. The overwhelming advice was to pick a couple of categories to focus on. This sounded nice but didn’t seem possible for someone who was just starting and trying to find clients. Looking back on my experience, I’m glad I didn’t follow the advice of freelance writers and bloggers who came before me. Instead of trying to force a chosen list of categories, I let my niche content writing naturally define itself. For me, trying to decide what niches I would focus my writing on would have been like defining the first five years of a startup before you even form the company.
Applying to Everything
Striking out on your own is scary, so you want to make the most of every opportunity. For new writers, this means applying to any opportunity that you find on job boards like UpWork and Fiver or signing up for all of the content mills. I would caution against this slightly. Don’t waste your time applying to writing gigs that you have no experience or knowledge of. The client won’t consider you, and you are just wasting your time.
If you can justify the application, then go ahead and apply for content writing opportunities that you are qualified for. You don’t know where your career will take you, so applying for an unexpected opportunity could be the open door you need to take the next step in your career.
Here is an example of the categories that I initially applied for:
Freelance Writing Niches
Don’t think you are stuck with the categories I mentioned above. Those are all types of content that made sense for me. New freelance writers will have their own unique list of niche topics that make sense for them. If you’re unsure of where to start when applying to freelance writing jobs, look inward. Make a list of personal experiences, hobbies, professional experiences, and topics that you feel comfortable writing about. These are all niches that you have at least a base level of knowledge about. This gives you a starting point for your writing. Here are some popular niches that you may want to consider as a content writer.
Narrowing Down the Niche Categories
Once I felt established and had clients that I worked with every month, I began to narrow my focus. I realized that no matter how many opportunities I applied for, there were some categories that I never seemed to gain any traction. I quickly cut those from my list of topics and stopped applying to those opportunities. Then there were categories that seemed to pay significantly lower than the others. Like anyone in business, I don’t want to work the same amount for less pay. I quickly cut the low-paying categories out. I also learned that while I loved doing some hobbies, I didn’t want to write about them. Any category that I found boring, I cut from the niche content writing list, leaving only these categories.
How to Focus Your Specialization
For me, choosing the areas that I wanted to write about and focus on was about choosing topics that interested me the most. I wanted to have plenty of know how so that I could right more detailed and informative content than just a generalist. I also wanted to be excited about what I do for a living. However, not everyone chooses their different niches this way. For some, it’s about focusing on the most profitable freelance writing niches. These are topics that you can charge higher rates for, and thusly, make more money.
You could also consider the number of potential clients a niche has. Lots of business owners means greater opportunity for writing career growth and new clients. Conversely, a great niche could be one that has few writers. Then your writing services would be in high demand. You could attract high-paying clients to your freelance writing business because their options for quality content marketing services are limited.
Finally, some freelance writers do not limit themselves to a topic. Instead, they focus on a particular type of writing. They may prefer to write a particular type of content and do not care so much about the subject matter. There are some writers who enjoy creating content that is a part of an entire marketing strategy. Others enjoy taking readers on a journey through email sequences. This is a version of marketing funnels that moves consumers through the buying process. This style of writing is good for people who enjoy writing ecommerce content.
Here are some example of this niche focusing strategy.
Niche Categories I Focus On
These days, there are four categories that I focus on for my niche content writing. As you can see, the massive list of categories that I started out with has been aggressively trimmed down. This can seem nerve-wracking but has actually served me better. Because I have trimmed down my focus, I am able to hone my writing skills while expanding my knowledge and experience. This means I can earn more in these categories by producing high quality content marketing. Focusing my efforts on these four categories means my efforts aren’t spread as thin, so I enjoy a greater return on my investment of time and energy.
I have narrowed my focus to these industries because I enjoy writing about them the most and present the best opportunities for work. I love writing about dogs, cooking, and beauty, but the competition is high. I had to work harder to see the same level of opportunities. In contrast, I enjoy writing about guns and boating, but the writing opportunities are few and far between. I didn’t want to work that hard to secure clients.
Choose Your Niche Content Writing Categories
What niche categories do you think you could focus on? Look at your professional and personal experience. Consider what you enjoy writing about and what niche categories have the best opportunities for work. For example, you may have a passion for pickling, but this isn’t a good niche to focus your writing on if you can’t find clients to hire you. There could be countless opportunities to write about accounting, and you have a professional background in it. However, if you find it boring to write about, then this isn’t a good niche to focus on. You will end up dreading every client order that you get for accounting.