The pros and cons of choosing a writing niche29 Aug 2016 | by Scott Nesbitt
To choose a niche or not to? That’s a question many a freelance writers asks themselves. And it’s a tough question to answer.
There are any number of niches in the writing world, and even niches within those niches. No matter what you’re interested in writing about, there’s a niche or three for you.
It can be hard to choose between a freelance writing niche and staying a generalist. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of choosing a niche.
Reasons to choose a niche
If you decide to go with a niche, you have the opportunity to be recognized as an expert in that niche. Not only that, you could become the go-to person in that niche. That’s not just good for your ego and professional profile, either. Being that expert or go-to person can also drive more work your way.
By choosing the right niche, and being good at it, means you can charge higher (not to mention be paid) higher rates. There’s nothing wrong with padding your bottom line, especially if you can consistently deliver quality work. I know freelancers who specialize in technical writing and corporate communications who charge, and get, $100 or more an hour for their services.
With the expertise you gain in your niche, you have the opportunity to branch out beyond writing. You can, for example, teach or consult, do paid webinars, and market your own books and materials. That opens the door to additional streams of revenue.
Reasons not to choose a niche
There’s a chance you could be entering a popular and crowded niche. In that case, there will be more competition for gigs, and that competition can get cutthroat. Also, that can result in lower pay overall. Think of the market for web content writing. It’s saturated, with both good and bad writers. Clients can, and do, get away with offering low wages and fees.
If the market that your niche services takes a tumble, work can dry up quickly. That happened during the dot com crash of the early 2000s. I specialized in tech and technology writing in those days and many of my markets vanishe overnight. I had scramble to find work.
Working in a niche can pigeonhole you in that niche, much to your professional detriment. People associate you with that niche and their perception is that you don’t have the skills or flexibility to shift to another type of writing. For years, I was known as a corporate technical writing guy. I was good at it, but I could (and can) do other types of writing. It took me years to shake off that label.
So, to choose a niche or not to choose a niche?
Before you make that decision, take the time to thoroughly research the niche you’re interested in. Learn as much about it as you can. When you have that knowledge, you’ll be able to determine whether or not choosing a freelance writing niche is right for you.Thoughts? Let's start a conversation on Twitter.