Copywriting 101: Finding your niche
You’ve probably heard it before, those three little words, “Find your niche.” Well, it’s a commonly heard phrase for a reason. Finding your niche as a copywriter is necessary to finding success. With loads of copywriting jobs available on the market today, many from places like Upwork.com and Bark, the search for copywriting jobs can seem daunting. My advice is to find a niche that you work in specifically and target those leads for 80% of the jobs you apply for.
Why is finding your niche so important?
Finding your niche allows you to charge more for your copy. When you are not only familiar with, but highly skilled in a specific area, you can charge more for your work. Someone in the financial services sector is likely to pay more for copy created by someone knowledgeable about the industry. Once I found my niche, which is finance, I soon was able to charge more than when I was submitting my proposals to any copywriting job I could find. People pay for expertise, and because I had relevant work experience I had the leg up over others who did not.
How to find your niche
I found my niche haphazardly, actually. One client who hired me as a referral from a web designer I frequently work with needed copy for a financial services site. His company was a mortgage broker and he needed copy for his financial services site. I wrote the copy, he was pleased with it and that’s how it all started. It wasn’t long after I noticed a job on Upwork which wanted a copywriter who had recent experience in writing for the UK investment finance sector, and so, my niche was born.
I noticed immediately that this job was offering much more than typical based solely on the fact I was skilled and knowledgable in a specific area that they worked within. I began applying to other jobs in this specific industry soon after, boasting about my understanding of marketing regulations for the industry. Before I knew it I was pulling jobs for copywriting services within the investment finance industry because I not only had experience, but relevant work samples to add to my proposals. The people who hired me didn’t have to worry about briefing me on the basics of investment finance. Instead they knew that I was up to the job since I was up to date on trending topics and well as ever changing regulations.
My advice is to take a look at all the copywriting work you have completed over the past two months. Find one topic that you have written about more than two times and start focusing on writing for that subject. Use searches on job boards to specifically target jobs within that industry, and not only will you find that you can typically charge more because of your experience in that sector, but that people are more likely to hire you because you can provide exactly what they need.
The super niche
Along with the niche comes what I like to call the super niche. This is an area of expertise within a specific niche. For me, it is UK mortgage finance. Again, I fell into my super niche almost by accident. Now, however, anytime I see a mortgage advice firm or mortgage broker needing copy for their site I almost always apply for and end up booking the gig. Finding your super niche is easy once you’ve discovered what your niche is. It is a small, very defined area within your niche. For example, if you are a travel writer focus on a niche such as luxury travel, or budget travel. Finding a super niche will allow you to easily book jobs that deal with a topic you are highly skilled at writing about.
Writing outside of your niche
Now, I am not saying not to ever apply for jobs outside your niche. I am just saying that it is more beneficial to focus on those jobs first. You want about 80% of the jobs you apply to be relevant to your niche.
By all means apply for any job that peaks your interest. Just be aware that you are likely to be paid less for writing about a topic you don’t already have specific knowledge about. Sure, you can research any topic thoroughly and produce quality work as a result of that, but remember that in copywriting time is money. The less time you have to spend researching something is time you can put towards creating copy, getting paid and then finding more jobs.
A niche works almost like a funnel in that you will be able to effectively market yourself as copywriter for specific jobs, book those jobs, provide copy and then let the cycle repeat. By streamlining the entire process and cutting out the hours of research you would typically need to do, you become more productive as a copywriter and more attractive to those looking for work on a particular topic.
Honing your skills
One thing that is important to finding your niche and working within it is that you should regularly stay on top of industry news and changes within your niche. Spending just 30 minutes each day reading relevant news articles or listening to podcasts that are about your niche will ensure that you are the best person for any copywriting job on that specific topic. Hone your knowledge of the industry you want to create copy for and stay on top of trends and changing ideas within the industry.
Networking within you niche
Once you have found your niche and began booking jobs within it, use your skills to network and promote yourself within your niche’s industry, If your niche is something like finance, find finance networking events to attend and promote your services by mingling with people who might be able to use your writing services.
Another way to network is to comment on Facebook posts, articles and blog posts that are relevant to your niche on social media or news sites. Often, by putting yourself out there as someone knowledgable on a specific topic, you can engage with others who work in the industry and will pay for your advice. The sky is the limit when it comes to networking and you are much more likely to find success and get higher paying jobs by promoting your brand within a specific industry that you are not only knowledgable on, but have experience in.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and find that niche of your’s and start booking higher paying jobs today!