Choosing a writing niche

Photo by Andres Ayrton on

Welcome to the third Monday in April. It rained all day last week, just when my daughter had her Mar-pril school break. Of course it did. Having a 10-year-old inside all day makes me that much more productive. She did convince me to paint a couple of my nails, so we did get something done. No, I won’t show you a photo.

Random quote: Time is your most valuable asset. Do not let it be stolen and do not give it away.

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of The Editor’s Desk.

Choosing a writing niche

I’m probably not the ideal person to write about choosing a niche as a freelance writer. I don’t consider myself to be writer who specializes in a niche. However, over my career, I have worked within niches. I was a mathematics editor for many years (I edited math textbooks and wrote math questions and answers). For more than ten years, I’ve written for a magazine that caters to the rental housing industry. I focus more on content writing (e.g., articles, blog posts, case studies) than copywriting. However, I write on a lot of different topics for different industries.

That being said (written?), it makes sense (and dollars) to choose the right (profitable) niche or market as a freelance writer. There is an expression that sums it up: The riches are in the niches. Choosing a niche as a freelance writer enables you to focus your marketing efforts and helps to make you an expert in your field. You decide who to write for and clients come to you for your writing expertise.

So, how do you choose a niche? It’s difficult for some writers as there are so many markets, topics, and industries to write for. You can’t (and shouldn’t) be everything to everyone. The right niche for you won’t be right for someone else either.

Focus on three factors to choose the right niche for your writing business.

1. Knowledge

Think about topics and markets where you have specific knowledge or experience. You know more about that niche than the average person – your clients are average people. You have a head start as well, and can learn more about the niche than others are capable or willing to learn.

Think about where you’ve worked, topics you’ve read about, subjects you’ve been asked about, etc. Tie this information to businesses that need content on those topics. Use your knowledge to become an expert writer.

2. Interest

You might be interested in writing about specific topics, niches or markets. The weirder or odder the niche, the better it is. There are many high-paying niches that need good writers. Narrow fields offer less competition from other writers.

Select topics that you love to talk about, read about or want to write about. If you’re interested in that topic, you are likely to be motivated to learn more about it. That will make you a great writer for the related niche.

3. Profitability

Some markets and niches pay better than others (some pay poorly). The key is to choose the market with clients who have the budget and willingness to pay you well for your writing. Chase markets that pay – avoid markets that don’t pay.

You might have knowledge or experience in a market that simply does not pay. Don’t chase these clients who cannot pay or don’t value what you do. When deciding on whether a market or business is profitable, ask:

  • How does the business make money?
  • How will your content help them make money?

And that’s how you can choose a niche. You don’t have to settle on one niche. You can write for one based on your knowledge, one based on your interests, and one simply for the money. You’re not stuck in a niche just because you write for it. If you don’t like one niche, try another one.

PS. I wrote a little about niche markets in this blog post.

More from The Editor’s Desk

Here are a few articles and blog posts I found worth sharing.

  1. I prefer cold emailing to cold calling as a prospecting tool because it suits my personality. However, some people are great at cold calling – they are super chatty and friendly on the phone. Check out How freelance writers can get more clients from cold calling from Make a Living Writing for simple strategies on using cold calling as a prospecting tool for your freelance writing business.
  2. Punctuation can be challenging to use correctly. The semi-colon is often misused because many writers don’t really know when to use it. Check out When to use a semi-colon from The Write Life for tips on the right times to use the semi-colon.
  3. Writers like cool things and they like being organized. Check out The Writing Box from Galen Leather. I don’t need it personally, but I want it. So much. At last check it’s out of stock. (FYI, I am not an affiliate. It’s just cool.)
  4. Do you want to tighten up your writing? Get rid of words that don’t add value. Check out The weak word checklist from K.M. Allan for a list of words that you can delete from your content to make your writing stronger.
  5. Is your content a little monotonous? Do you have trouble writing content that sounds like you wrote it? Check out Write like you talk from Content Marketing Institute for tips on writing how you talk.
  6. Being understood by your reader should be one of the main goals of your writing. Being able to write clearly is an essential skill. Check out How I write clearly from Josh Spector on his five steps to writing clearly.
  7. Many creative people – and business people – try to be everything to everyone. They have different goals and purposes that can contradict and interfere with each other. Check out If you want to be successful, you need to pick a rule from Start it up on why you need to pick a rule when you are creating.
  8. Everyone has the ability to learn new things. It’s a matter of putting in the effort and finding an approach that works for you. Check out The secret to learn anything from Brain Pickings to learn what Albert Einstein told his son.
  9. Many writers (and people in general) are working at home for the first time and are probably not taking care of themselves as well as they can. Check out Working well at home from Helena Fairfax for wellbeing tips geared toward writers, creatives, and freelancers.
  10. Are you a Seinfeld fan? Check out the Tim Ferriss podcast with Jerry Seinfeld.

Thanks for reading. If you liked what I wrote or think someone else would enjoy it, then please share it. And if you want to reach out, my email is 


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