To make a six-figure income as a freelance writer, to need to be an expert. You need your name to jump to people's lips when a particular job or challenge comes up.
"Direct mail for software? You should get in touch with Bob. That's what he does." Insert your own name and specialty where appropriate.
You can't get that kind of awareness or referral if you're someone who just writes about anything in any medium. Nobody is going to believe that you are a trusted expert in absolutely everything.
So how do you determine a viable 'niche'? You have three choices...
1. Niche by industry...
That is to say, work within a particular industry. For years I worked with pharmaceutical clients. All my clients were drug companies. I wrote direct mail, brochures, sales aids, video scripts. I wrote anything, so long as it was about pharmaceuticals. That was my niche. And my clients knew that I was knowledgeable in that area. So they came to me.
2. Niche by medium...
In this scenario, you make a particular medium your specialty. After my years with the pharmaceutical industry, I decided to specialize as a direct mail copywriter. And for that period, about 15 years, I ONLY write direct mail and associated media...like inserts, fliers, postcards etc. I was a direct response specialist. And I wrote for all kinds of different industries - financial, cable TV, magazine publishers and more.
My specialty, my niche, was as a direct response copywriter. Other writers have built their careers around writing annual reports, radio scripts, white papers etc.
When you double-niche you are making a specialty of serving a single industry through a single medium. For instance, writing direct response for the financial industry. And ONLY writing direct response for the financial industry.
As I said at the beginning, you can't be an expert at everything...not within every industry, not with every medium. So you need to take some steps to find your niche.
How do you choose? First, know yourself. Know what you are good at. Know what you like.
Also, be smart. Create your niche where the money is. Find your niche where there is a strong market.
And be smart about the size of your niche. Don't go so narrow that you're forever starved of work. Don't go so broad that people view you as a Jack or Jill of all trades, a generalist.
This article was posted on January 16, 2005