Freelance Writing Niches: Do You Have to Niche Down?

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 10/25/21 •  5 min read

Around these parts, we talk a lot about having a freelance writing niche.

Read any of the big guides we have on becoming a freelance writer or how to be a B2B writer and you’ll see a big section in each of them about finding a niche.

So we get a lot of questions from members inside the LR forums who get really worried when they are stuck on finding a niche. It can slow them down or even completely derail them off course.

Frankly, that is the last thing we want to happen.

This post is here to help ease a few minds.

Let’s get into it.

You can watch the video below or keep reading.

What’s the deal with freelance writing niches?

When we talk about niches all we mean is finding a specific topic or area to focus on in your writing.

Breaking Eighty is a site that has a specific niche: golf travel.

Slightly Pretentious also has a specific niche: craft cocktails.

Many writers have niches in specific industries: personal finance, car insurance, and healthcare. And then within each of those niches, you can niche even further (how many times can we use niche in one sentence): personal finance for women, car insurance for travel companies, B2B healthcare for doctor’s offices.

You can also niche within a type of work too. A copywriter might niche down to only write email marketing campaigns. A B2B writer might only write case studies for their clients. Or a writer might only write video sales scripts.

Ideally, the goal of a niche is to help you get focused and become an expert on your industry or type of work. Digging into these areas can help you stand out from the crowd and be seen as a go-to person in that industry.

Got it?

Now, let’s answer the main question.

Do I need to choose a niche for my freelance writing business?

The short answer is no. You don’t need to have a niche, especially when you are starting out as a writer.

There are tons of freelancers out there who are generalists.

That means they are happy to leave what they write about pretty open. They can cover all sorts of topics and even write different types of content from blog posts to emails to landing pages.

For a lot of people who are generalists, the thing they really like about it is they don’t need to focus on any type of industry. They can write about modern cat furniture one week (yea that’s a thing) and retirement the next.

Most generalists also have one killer skill set: they are awesome at research. So if you’re someone who loves learning tons of new information quickly, being a generalist might fit in with your interests.

Is it helpful to have a niche?

Here, the answer tends to be yes.

The reason why a lot of freelance writers like niches is because it helps them focus, develop skills, and start building expertise.

You will see people who are very specific about the niches they write in and then it becomes easier to become the ‘go-to’ writer for that niche among editors and brands. And it makes getting more work a lot easier because you already have the area of expertise.

That’s more difficult if you don’t have any niche at all.

That said, if you’re just starting out as a freelance writer, it can often be easier to get your very first jobs when you’re casting a wide net, and aren’t as picky about what jobs you’re going after.

But keep in mind, it might not be as hard to pick a niche as you might think it is.

People tend to really overthink this part and worry because they aren’t the foremost expert at something they shouldn’t be in that niche.

The reality is a little bit different. We talk about the idea of being a relative expert, knowing something about a niche is often enough to get your foot in the door.

If you’re still getting stuck you can focus on a type of writing. Long-form blog posts, case studies, emails, and guides are all places to niche too.

Just start

At the end of the day, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach.

There are plenty of writers out there in thousands of niches who make a good living. There are just as many out there making great livings as generalists.

But here’s the one thing you don’t want to do:

Don’t let the fact you don’t have a niche keep you from taking action.

If you’ve got a niche in mind jump in and go for it.

If you don’t, it’s ok. Start out as a generalist. Get your freelance website up, send out a ton of letters of introduction, and go for it.

You can do it, with a niche or not.

Want help building your freelance writing business? Grab our free 6 day course, and our Freelance Writing Guide we created specifically to give you a jump start on your new business.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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