Niche or No?

There is one big question freelance writers must tackle regardless of their experience or career length: niche or no?

Newbie writers will read article upon article and blog upon blog touting the importance of finding a niche, picking a niche, taking a niche out on a date…Veterans will find themselves bombarded with articles and posts on when it’s time to leave a niche, switch, combine, create a Frankenstein and give a manic laugh…

The truth is – you have a choice.

Pro Niche:

1. Building a good reputation as a writer is important. Getting steady work is important as well. Niche writing can set a writer up as a knowledgeable, working expert in the subject matter, that writer can then leverage their experience for more work.

2. Depending on the niche, not only can you establish yourself as a leader, you can do it fairly quickly. It’s hard to believe given the abundance of writers out there, but there are some niches that are so specialized there aren’t a lot of people writing  for them.

3. A writer who can establish themselves in areas that have a denser concentration of writers earn the distinction of being a pack leader – that translates to dollars and work (and tons of Twitter followers).

4. Passionate pursuits are another reason why people head toward specific subjects. I’m a “write what you live” kindof girl and my body of work reflect my current passions – writing, business/finance and parenting. It is often the passion of a subject that drives a writer to write so staying within their passion is a perfectly natural course.

5. It’s an easy road map, but a challenging road. Say you are passionate about WordPress themes. You review the site daily, keep up on the coolest developers and plug-ins, etc. You decide to to plant a flag in the WordPress blogger game. Everyday you know what you’ll be writing about – in general. You’ll know the types of publications and web sites you want to write for, etc. The challenge? Finding those sites  and publications, breaking in, keeping subjects and angles fresh and continuing to learn more after exhaustive study.

Nah Niche:

1. A writer can build up a steady work and a reputation just by being a good writer, it doesn’t have to be within a niche.

2. Niche burnout. It sucks and without properly identifying it, it can extinguish the passion for writing. Many writers cannot fathom writing about one or two subjects for an extended period of time.

3. This last one is a secret: You can do both. It is perfectly fine to have a core subject or group of subjects while dating other types of articles and writing in general. Freelance writing is the ultimate open relationship. Success comes from great writing, a solid work ethic, and a viable set of goals. How you reach them is completely up to you.

Are you having trouble picking a niche? Thinking about changing or leaving niche writing all together? Tell us below!

Comments

  1. I decided long ago that I wouldn’t pick and stick with a niche. Why, well I love variety. Sure there are some things I prefer to write about, but I also want to expand my knowledge base.

    Now maybe one day when I am more established, I’ll stick to one thing. But for now I’ll take whatever comes my way.

  2. I’d like any generalists earning six figures as a freelance writer to weigh in on your comments below.
    Because I don’t know any.
    Everyone who earns well that I’ve ever encountered has at least one specialized niche they work. Of course, nothing wrong with having more than one. But I’ve never seen the “I write a bit about a lot of things” strategy pay off well.
    Being a generalist can be more fun if you need a lot of variety…and as long as earning big isn’t something you need.
    Interesting post –
    Carol´s last blog post ..15 Small Changes to Turbocharge Your Blog

    • Hi Carol!

      That’s the thing about FWJ I love, we have such a variety of opinions, we always have great conversations and debates and the topic of niche writing is no different.

      I used to believe there wasn’t a way for writers to make headway if they didn’t follow the prescribed, well-worn tips on picking a niche and dominating it. However, as I’ve witnessed writing and blogging’s evolution, I’ve seen, met and hang out with some ‘money-earnin’ writers that have the fun habit of defying expectations and standard writing routes to success. I’ll let them talk about it on here if they choose.

      I’m glad you found the post interesting though, that’s way better than dull or worse – typical!

  3. @ Carol- I don’t earn six figures by any means, but I do know some who come pretty close that don’t really have a niche. Unless you consider “copywriting” a niche.
    Chris´s last blog post ..8 Lessons Mad Men Teaches the Freelance Writer

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