Freelance writing is an exceptional career to undertake while you work toward monetizing your blogs – which doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s very possible the monetization process can take between two and four years, on average – unless one dives into a profitable niche and/or has taken time to build a following. The same can be said for both self-published and traditional authors looking to find an audience for their books. Therefore, finding your freelance writing niche, or niches, can be a fast track out of Corporate America in the short-term.
This really isn’t hard – as I recently became a paid contributor in a field I have some expertise in (NFL) and I did so on my first try. However, this isn’t to say that every pitch is going to come back a winner. So, how do you go about discovering this seemingly elusive niche?
Well, what are you interested in?
What can you see yourself researching and writing about every day?
Answer these questions, and you’ll be well on your way to discovering a niche that makes you click. However, this often isn’t enough – you need to convince an editor that you’re the right freelancer for the job and this can include hundreds of potential candidates.
How do you do this?
Let’s find out.
Create Self-Hosted Blogs
While editors might prefer previously published blogs on someone else’s site or publication, everyone has to start somewhere and a blog is a great place to begin. Aim to create a different blog per niche – the Wealthy Affiliate platform will provide you a fast-track on this approach – click here to learn how it can work for all writers.
With Wealthy Affiliate, you’ll get a built-in site host called SiteRubix, video training so even the pure beginner has a place to start, live events and training from profitable members, plus you’ll be able to drive traffic to your site by uncovering keywords via the Jaaxy Research Tool. All of this can be yours for $50/month or $359/year – the latter being less than $1 a day.
These blogs will show that you’re legitimate about your area of expertise, so write each blog post as if it’s an article going to an editor. With that, you need a few grammar tools – Wealthy Affiliate has a built-in grammar checker, but it doesn’t catch everything.
So, platforms like Pro Writing Aid and Grammarly are perfect to use. These will tighten your writing, give you an active voice, and stop you from making a few grammar mistakes you may have missed during the proofreading process. They literally do the editing for you.
Expand Niche Horizons
This is where freelance writing can really come into play. Take my niches for example. We have MMO for authors (Ditch Corporate America), NFL uniforms (The Helmet and Jersey Stop), fitness for beginners (Get Fit Get Lit), and of course, creative writing (Lord of Columbia).
What’s cool here is that while my blogs cover just one niche, I have expertise in niches outside what I talk about on my blogs. For example, I follow the Cleveland Browns’ every move to a T. I read about the Browns every day, so writing for a blog or online publication analyzing the team’s free agency and draft moves is easy. Player analysis and general team coverage is something that doesn’t fit on my own blogs, but it will fit on someone else’s.
Therefore, you can definitely write beyond your blog’s niche – which is generally just one single avenue on your blog.
The same goes for fitness publications. I worked as a personal trainer for six years and on top of which I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in the field. I have experience working with both athletes and senior citizens, both of which fall out of Get Fit Get Lit’s scope.
Related: How to Find a Niche Market
But they’ll fit into someone else’s. And again, I can offer my services.
The same can be said for MMO, or Make Money Online. Sure, Ditch Corporate America is geared toward authors trying to make a living writing – but at the same time, I can make the information here pertinent to any field. Take an affiliate marketing blog, for example.
Affiliate marketing sort of fits DCA’s scope – but there are blogs out there whose scope revolves around affiliate marketing.
What I’m getting to is that you have different niches to undertake even if they’re in the same field. However, you need to stick with just one niche for your own site while broadening your spectrum to other sites. Just as I said the Browns wouldn’t fit in The Helmet and Jersey Stop unless it had something to do with their uniforms.
Think of it along those lines. If you have an idea that doesn’t fit in your niche, outsource it and earn money as a freelancer to another blog.
Identify Yourself as a Niche Writer
Doing so shows that you’re an expert in the field – not just passing by. This is how I landed my first freelance gig – I talked about niche writing at The Helmet and Jersey Stop. While the editors wanted a sample on actual Browns news – which I simply wrote and submitted – it showed that I indeed have vast knowledge in the NFL niche – particularly, the Cleveland Browns’ niche.
Any time you pitch an editor, let them know this. That way when you do provide a writing sample, even on your own blog, they can experience your expertise first-hand. And it’ll help you obtain writing gigs. When an editor sees that you’re already a niche writer, you just separated yourself from the 100+ other prospects looking to write for that same publication.
Think in the editor’s shoes – are you going to open every single query?
Of course not – you’re going to open those that catch your eye. The best queries have the prospective article title in the subject line (unless stated otherwise in the submission guidelines), and the first line introducing yourself includes the ‘niche writer’ statement.
Oh, and one more thing – use the editor’s name. If you can’t find it, don’t send a query until you have. You can even contact one of the publication’s writers asking for the name. Just make sure you found it before continuing. Personalization means everything to these people and again – are you more likely to open a query that addresses you by name or one that sounds generic?
Subject: Sales Tanking? Five Ways Indie Authors Will Quadruple Their Reader Base.
Hello (Editor Name),
My name is Todd Matthews and I’m a niche blogger who owns and operates ‘Ditch Corporate America,’ a blog dedicated to teaching authors how to earn money online while they build their own platform. I have an article that [Insert publication’s name] readers will love.
My 1,200-word article ‘Sales Tanking? Five Ways Indie Authors Will Quadruple Their Reader Base’ will discuss five techniques I’ve undergone to bring my own mailing list from 700 to 2,800 over the past summer. My article will discuss the power of utilizing cross-promotions with other authors, joint-promotions, giveaways, joint-giveaways, and SEO that will drive new readers to a struggling author’s website and ultimately onto their mailing list.
Would this by a good fit for [insert publication]?
I can have this article completed and submitted by August 31st, 2020.
Thank you and I appreciate your consideration.
That’s literally all you need to do.
Some of these places can pay quite a haul per article. It’s not uncommon to see a publication pay $200-$300 per article. Others pay on page views, while still others will assume a set number of hours per week – 25-30 – that it takes to complete assignments and will pay a fixed rate.
Either way, you’re working from home and doing something that you enjoy. Meaning you’re not waking up at a certain time, fighting traffic to get to work, fighting traffic to get home from work, and barely having enough time to write and focus on your own work.
But, don’t lose sight as to why you’re freelancing your services. I can generally sacrifice 25-30 hours a week – as it takes me about three hours to complete my blog work and another two hours to complete my own editing – so if I focused on freelance work for 25 hours a week, I’m looking at a 50-hour work-week, Monday through Friday.
And since the subject is writing, it comes naturally and doesn’t feel like work. It’s routine, and that’s a huge difference.