How to learn your freelance writing niche well.
You’ve probably heard just how critical it is to pick a niche as a freelance writer if you want to be successful. Hell, I’ve even covered just how to choose a profitable niche as a beginner freelance writer and blogger.
The freelance writers who make the most money and are the most successful all have one thing in common-the picked a freelance writing niche.
If you don’t believe me look at a writer like Elna Cain. She focuses on digital marketing and has become a name well known to other writers of levels of experience.
Elna has written for Blogging Wizard, Optinmonster, and more. Niching downplayed a part in her success.
Then there’s Jorden Makelle of Creative Revolt. She illustrates how even a beginner can earn a lot of money freelance blogging. The company she worked for fired her on the same day her husband’s contract ended – bother were with the same company.
Within four months of getting fired, she was making $5,000 a month. She’ll tell you that she was broke and clueless, and she succeeded.
Jorden said, and I quote, “Picking a high-paying niche is one of the most important things I did – if not THE most important thing I did – to grow my freelance writing income fast.” Jorden Makelle Creative Revolt
Why You Need to Pick a Freelance Writing Niche
Many new freelance writers don’t understand why picking a niche is so important. They think the key to getting more money is getting more customers and that niching down eliminates those clients.
Less work equals less money, right? WRONG.
But many experienced freelance writers agree with me and say that instead of losing income, it increased.
That’s because you position yourself as an expert in that niche and industry, and therefore you can charge more for your projects.
When you pick a niche, you can go from earning $10 a blog post to $200, $300, and even more. Businesses want to hire a writer that talks the talk and walks the walk – meaning someone who speaks the language of that niche.
Good writers really are hard to come by. And if you want to become a good writer, you must pick a niche.
A Brief Lesson on How to Pick a Niche
I’m not going to lie and tell you that picking a niche is easy. No, it was traumatizing. I spent months trying to figure out what to do.
I put off starting my business AND my blog for months. So, I feel your pain.
So, here are some quick tips on picking a profitable niche.
- What is your educational background or job experience? Is there a topic you want to write about that you have some experience in?
- What are you passionate about? What do you like to learn about? What hobbies do you have?
- What can you write about endlessly?
- Cross-reference these choices with profitability. Is the topic popular? Are other people making money from it?
- Is there longevity in your topic? Will it be relevant two years from now? Can you expand on it?
For more help on picking a profitable niche, check out my niche challenge here.
Convinced yet? If so, read on to find the best ways to become a freakin’ genius in your niche. If not, well read on because I think you’ll be a believer and love these tips!
1. Follow the Influencers in Your Niche and Learn from Them
You may already be following the influencers in your niche, but if you’re not, find them and follow them. Influencers are experts on your topic and can provide invaluable information. It’s essential to learn from those who are already successful in doing what you want to.
If you want to be the next Elna Cain or Jorden Makelle, then follow them and learn from them. Sign up for their email lists so you can study what works and what doesn’t as well as how to be successful as a freelance writer. Follow the influencers in your niche as well.
That doesn’t mean copy them. Copying another writer’s work is dishonest and will earn you a terrible reputation.
But you can learn the tricks of the trade and what you need to do to be successful and keep up with what’s trending. It’s also the easiest way to research your niche.
You can also create a swipe file, which is simply a “file,” where you keep emails, blog posts, links, and other helpful information. You can use reference later to get you started, whether that’s growing your email list or starting a blog.
It can be a folder on your computer or even a hard copy folder you keep on your desk if you’re old school.
Sometimes you’ll see people with swipe files for sale, and these often include templates and other things that create a short cut for you so you can get things done faster.
Follow popular blogs in your niche as well. If you’re a crafter, Jennifer Maker is a blogger and a crafter and makes insane amounts of money with her blog. Follow the Savvy Couple Brittany and Kelan if you want to write about personal finances and family.
Good old fashion research is one of the best ways to learn a new subject and become an expert. I write blog posts for businesses in the security and law enforcement industries, and I have to write a lot about home and business security and technology.
I’m was definitely not an expert in security technology. But I had to learn it. Start with a simple Google search, and you’ll learn a lot just from that.
Take access control, for instance. When I type it in Google, a wealth of information comes up. You even get the other questions people ask, such as:
- What is access control?
- Why is access control important?
- What are the three types of access control?
- What are the six main categories of access control?
It’s essential to really understand what you’re talking about. With scientific and technology topics, you can have one word off, and it changes the whole meaning of a sentence.
Difficult topics make it super important to really know your freelance writing niche. So, writing and research go hand in hand.
There are more resources than just articles found on Google. Amazon product pages are a wealth of information, as are the reviews. You can also search through reviews to find your clients’ pain points so you can create a solution to their problem.
There are also forums like Quora that are gold mines of information. Check out YouTube too. Even the most obscure topics show up on YouTube somewhere.
3. Guest Posting
Guest posting is useful in so many ways and can help you increase your knowledge of your freelance writing niche. If you can guest post on similar blogs and niches, then you’ll slowly increase your expertise and position yourself as an authority in your niche and industry.
While you don’t usually get paid from guest posting, you’ll get a byline to use in your portfolio. Probably the best thing about guest posting is that you get to network with other people in your niche and similar ones.
Plus, you’ll get in front of their audience and draw people back to your blog. It’s a win-win situation. You get more exposure, and they get a great post.
I highly recommend it. I love the lasting relationships that I forge with other bloggers and writers and the new things that I learn.
If you’re just starting as a writer, then guest posts fill in the gaps in your portfolio if you try to guest post at least once a month then you’ll have more samples to pitch to your clients.
Here are a few of the guest posts that I’ve written for other bloggers and businesses.
4. Enroll in a Course to Increase Your Knowledge in Your Freelance Writing Niche
You’re never too old to learn, seriously! If you want to write about gardening but have never planted a garden, your local community class likely offers a variety of hobby classes that you can take and level up your expertise fast.
You can take a general English class or something similar too. Even with my college education, when I wrote a lot of lesson plans to teach other police officers,
I knew grammar was not my strong suit, and I didn’t even know about Grammarly yet. (Grammarly is seriously a fantastic editor for your writing.)
Today most colleges and universities have online classes. Coursera and Udemy are also great places to find courses on everything from hobbies to how to run a business to digital marketing.
Their prices are very economical, and they have a lot of quality courses. Just don’t’ be a serial class hoarder where you pay for a bunch of courses that you never take. Taking a course is an excellent way to learn your freelance writing niche.
You can also take free courses like these 8 free freelance writing courses to become a better writer overall.
5. Check Out Your Client’s Blog and Their Competitors
If you’ve landed your first client, then great! So, if you’re unfamiliar with a topic that they asked you to write about, their website is the best place to look for answers.
If they want you to write about access control and you’re clueless, look on their product and service pages. There should be at least a description of the product or service that they want you to write about, and that will help you understand it.
Then you can do additional Google searches and look for articles or competitors.
Usually, their competitors have a blog and have likely written an article on the subject already. Depending on what you’re writing on, you’ll be able to increase your knowledge quickly.
This solution works if you can identify your dream client, too, if you haven’t found any yet. That way, you can get more information on your freelance writing niche.
PRO TIP-Keep a resource folder on your computer or your project management because you’ll likely write about the same topics repeatedly. I can’t tell you how many times that I would think to myself, I know I just wrote about this, where is that article I found?
I keep a notebook in Evernote of general resources, and each article I write has its own separate notebook as well.
6. Learn How to Say No to Writing Projects Not in Your Freelance Writing Niche
Learning how to say no to possible clients is challenging, whether you’re a novice or not. But if it doesn’t build up your expertise in your niche, then saying no is the best thing you can do.
Because with your luck, you say yes to an article on plumbing when your niche is chiropractic care, and the next day a chiropractor calls and wants you to write for them, and you don’t have enough time.
So, you’re probably wondering why you can’t just contact the plumbing people and tell them something came up, right? Well, I wouldn’t do that.
Honoring your promises and keeping your word is critical. Plus, it’s not fair or ethical to leave someone high and dry, and if you do it enough times, you’ll get the reputation of not being reliable.
On the flip side, you don’t want to say yes to too many projects because then you can’t ensure high-quality work. Producing sub-par writing will give you a bad reputation also. So, try to stick to projects in your chosen niche.
7. Take a Day Trip or Vacation
One of the best ways to learn about your freelance writing niche is to travel, whether it’s a day trip or a more extended vacation. Maybe you want to write for a business in the wine industry.
Take a trip to a winery close to you or plan a vacation around your niche. Go to Napa Valley or even another country like France or Italy.
You can also plan a yearly vacation and choose a different place to visit each year. What better way to learn than sight-seeing? If you can’t afford a vacation, there are likely vineyards in your own backyard or close to the area you live in.
Final Thoughts on Freelance Writing Niche
Hopefully, these tips for becoming an expert in your industry help get your creative juices flowing. You’re only limited by your imagination.
Whether you choose one way or all of them, learning about your freelance writing niche is vital to establish yourself as the go-to person on your topic. Over time you’ll see that you gain more experience and learn more so that you’ll rely on less research to write your articles.
In case you want even more freelance writing tips and resources, check out these helpful books that can help you create the writing business you’ve always dreamed of.
So, what niche interests you, and why?