Let’s take a minute and put yourself in your potential client’s shoes. If you were going to spend your hard earned money to pay a freelance writer, would you prefer to hire a writer who was an expert on the subject, or would you want to hire someone who didn’t have a clue, but was going to research and then write? You would hire the expert.
Save Time and Make More Money
—Write What You Know
If you only write about topics that you know intimately, you will be able to write faster, more accurately, and with passion. Your writing will automatically be better than the average freelance writer who is researching, then writing.
This type of writing commands a premium price as well. You are not only offering your writing skills, but also your expertise in your niche. You will find, however, that you need to have credentials to back up your expertise.
For example, if you are claiming to be an expert on early childhood education, then you should ideally be a kindergarten or elementary school teacher. You could also use credentials like day care worker, teacher’s aide, or even homeschooling mother. Or if you have a portfolio of past work on the subject, you could show that.
Let’s look at another example. Let’s say that you want to write in the pet niche. You could be a vet tech, dog trainer, pet store worker, have taken a course, or even have a pet sitting service. The key is to have something that sets you apart from the average freelance writer who will just be doing Internet searches and rehashing the information that has already been written.
If you have personal experiences that you can weave into your writing, you will be worth the extra money that a niche expert commands. If you are a quilting expert, you would not just market yourself as a quilter, but rather, as an expert in crafts. Your experience with quilting will give you an excellent grasp of crafting lingo, and you will also know exactly where to look for more information on other crafts. There is good demand for craft writers, especially for paid blogging.
- If you have a lot of SEO experience, then market yourself as an Internet Marketing expert.
- If you know a lot about furniture, market yourself as an interior design expert.
- If you are a runner, then market yourself as a fitness writer.
- If you as a writer are writing what you know, it is going to be quick, fun, painless, and you will be able to add in life stories which always makes the writing more interesting to your readers.
Subject Matter Expert
In the freelance writing industry, if you are an expert in a niche, then you are considered a Subject Matter Expert. For the most part, unless you have credentials like we just discussed, you can’t just label yourself a subject matter expert.
For example, just because you read a book about how to teach five year olds to read, that does not make you an early education subject matter expert.
If, on the other hand, you are a homeschooling mother, and you have taught six five year olds how to read, then you could consider yourself a subject matter expert.
One word of caution: there are a few industries that are highly technical like information technology and investing, and unless you actively work in those industries, you really should not consider yourself an expert.
Just because you have been investing with your 401K for the past twenty years, that does not mean that you should be writing content on investing. This is a highly technical field that is best left to experts, and
I’m speaking from experience on this one.
Broadening Your Knowledge Base
Just because you are a subject matter expert in your niche that does not mean that you do not need continue to expand your knowledge. It is imperative that you continue to research, experiment, and continue your education in your chosen niche. You will be marketing your expertise. Your status as an expert will not become well known unless you truly are an expert. An expert consistently stays at the top of his or her chosen field, and never sits back and decides there is nothing more to learn.
If you are a subject matter expert on running, then you have an obligation to learn and try every single technique that is currently popular so that you can write persuasively and intelligently on the subject. A true loyal hobbyist in a niche will be able to tell who is a true expert and who is the imposter.
If you want your freelance writing business to stand the test of time then you must be able to write authoritatively on your subjects.
Some of the best ways to keep your skills and knowledge up to date will not occur online. Read books that are in print, as well as magazines. Take local classes, even consider attending trade shows.
While attending trade shows may be considered expensive, can you think of a better place to land new business? Write it off as an expense on your taxes, and enjoy the steady flow of new clients you will receive from properly introducing and marketing yourself to the vendors.
Finding Your Niche Specific Customers
So once you have decided on your niche, how do you go about finding the customers who are looking for a niche specific writer? You are going to use a lot of the same tactics that you would use for promoting any other business or website.
Go where your clients hang out. Frequent the blogs where your potential clients read, make long, thoughtful, helpful comments on blog posts. Make sure to have your writer’s website link in your profile.
Become a member of relevant forums and post often. Be helpful, don’t be spammy. One or two well-thoughtout helpful posts per day will go much further in promoting your writing skills than ten quick posts that say nothing more than the equivalent of ‘ditto.’
Seek out guest posting opportunities with the top blogs in your niche. Whenever you guest post, you will receive a link to your site. However, that link will not be the most important prize for your efforts.
When you write your guest posts, give your very best writing. Do NOT do this halfway. This will be an example of your work that thousands of potential clients will read. You need to make a great impression.
If you do this right, your guest post will lead interested potential clients directly to your ‘Hire Me’ page on your website, and each guest post will land you several new clients.
Not a Niche Expert?
So, what do you do if you are not an expert in anything, do you just give up? Nope!
You will market yourself as a generalist writer while steering clear of the highly technical projects that will take you 20 hours to research. I do not want you spending all of your time researching boring projects, because then your profits margins will go down and you will feel cheated.
So instead, accept the projects that will be easier to write and that you are interested in studying up on. If you have always wanted to learn more about gardening, then actively seek out those projects; your enthusiasm will help you to land the job, and you will learn while you work.