Freelance writing niches are types of writing specializations, whether it be a specific industry you’re targeting or a unique type of content you’ve mastered.
As a new freelance writer, you may often hear that you should “find your niche” or “niche down” as a freelance writer or blogger… But what does that mean?
Aside from focusing on industries where your writing chops will earn you higher pay, you need to understand the process behind actually choosing a freelance writing niche.
Choosing Freelance Writing Niches
Choosing which niche (or niches) to write for can feel scary, especially when you’re starting out in your freelance writing journey. You may be feeling a lot of pressure to niche down from the beginning and think your decision will dictate your writing career forever.
I’m here to tell you that’s definitely not the case.
In fact, arguably, you don’t have to ever niche down. Is it wise to choose a niche? Yes – and it will often (though not always) result in you commanding higher pay rates. But is it necessary? Certainly not. You can still make great money writing as a “non-niched” writer.
When you’re starting out, it’s best to gravitate toward industries and topics that you have a personal interest in first. You have more authority to write about these simply because you actually know something about them.
Writing about topics you know makes your work more enjoyable because you’re writing about something you’re personally interested in. This is a great way to get your feet wet if you’re new to freelance writing and build up your portfolio: If some of your interest areas aren’t as well-paying, you may be more willing to take them on as “starter” assignments.
5 Profitable Freelance Writing Niches
It’s easier to find high-paying writing jobs if you pick a niche and demonstrate your mastery of it through your portfolio.
However, it can be hard to know what niches are profitable when you’re first starting out in your freelance career. In general, the highest-paying niches will involve clients who are looking for specific content that may need to fit a certain format or obey certain rules.
If you’re not sure which niche you’d like to target in order to maximize your profits, here are 5 profitable freelance writing niches to consider.
You might be thinking I’m nuts to even suggest this one, but hear me out.
Yes, travel writing can be difficult to break into and yes, there’s a lot of competition. But if you look, there are lots of opportunities to write for the travel industry.
This is especially true now that things are starting to pick up after Covid lockdowns. People were cooped up in 2020 and were forced to save their travel dollars. Now they’re ready to spend them and they’re not holding back.
Many luxury travel agencies and hotels are willing to pay a premium price for content that highlights their services. This is a great niche for writers with a creative flair, as it’s important to paint a compelling picture with your words when writing about a new location.
Sometimes travel writing jobs will pay you to actually travel to the place you’re reviewing, and other times you might just be doing research from the comfort of your own home. Either way, if you enjoy writing travel guides, hotel and restaurant reviews, or articles about travel deals, this is the market for you.
Keep in mind, though, that to be considered for many of these jobs, you’ll need to have actual experience traveling. If you’ve never left your hometown, this might not be a great place for you to start your freelance writing job search.
All that said, travel isn’t just a fun industry to write about. It’s a profitable one, too.
As medical and recreational marijuana become legalized in regions around the globe, cannabis clients are looking for writers capable of producing quality educational content. You could end up writing sales copy for a dispensary, cannabis law blogs for an attorney, or articles about marijuana for a health and wellness website.
This industry is tricky because you need to be acutely aware of the legal implications of the language you use, so publications are usually willing to pay top dollar for experts in this area. If you know your stuff, this could be a great outlet.
Finance is a very broad niche that contains a number of very profitable topics you can master. Think cryptocurrency, budgeting, credit cards and scores, personal finance, accounting, the stock market, other investments, and more.
I’d argue that finance is one of the most evergreen, forever-of-interest industries you can write for as a freelancer. (And I’m not speaking from experience here… I don’t write for this industry!)
Why? Because everyone, at some stage in their life, is interested in some facet of finance. After all, money makes the world go round. There will always be opportunities to write about finance.
There are a number of outlets where you can either get published with your own byline or ghostwrite about finance. Of course, getting your name published with your work is harder when you’re just starting out, but if you prove your abilities, you can really make a name for yourself.
Finance writing tends to be very specific and actionable, so you need to really know the right terminology in order to succeed in this industry. It definitely helps if you’re interested in the topic. Still, if you know a decent amount about finance and can write about it in a way that appeals to industry experts, you’re set.
This is another broad field. But if you’re a tech geek who’s passionate about the latest trends or devices, there are lots of possibilities for you in the technology industry.
Technology is ever-advancing. And like the finance industry, there’s always going to be a need for informed, well-spoken writers to explain the ins and outs of the “new cool stuff” to the laypeople. (And to the experts, for that matter.) If you’re able to turn jargon-heavy information into understandable content for non-technical people, you’ll have a fairly easy time finding freelance writing gigs in the tech industry.
Likewise, tech experts need to inform other experts and outlets of what they’re doing. If you can write in a way to help everyday people understand, you can most likely write for the professional audience, too. There are two sides to this industry and both need clear, concise voices.
You might end up writing about the latest Apple releases, advancements in virtual reality, tutorials on building or repairing computers – the possibilities are endless.
5. SaaS – Software as a Service
This is kind of connected to the technology industry but given its prevalence these days, SaaS bears getting its own mention in our lineup.
“SaaS” is a term you’ll often see on job boards, and you might assume you’re unqualified for the job if you’re unfamiliar with what it means.
But SaaS isn’t anything scary – it’s an abbreviation for “software as a service.” SaaS refers to software that’s hosted online rather than downloaded as a program on your computer, like Google Drive or Canva.
This industry is growing constantly as we continue to develop better technology. As such, there are so many writing opportunities available for this niche. SaaS startups are often looking for writers to help them craft their forward-facing image and, if they’ve got the funding, can be a great place to target for these gigs.
If you love highly technical language and know a lot of software jargon, this might just be the industry for you. SaaS clients want writers that understand the industry inside and out, so you’re not likely to get away with writing fluff pieces. If you’re experienced with software marketing, there’s money to be made in SaaS writing.
Bonus: Content-Type Niches
There’s more than one way to “niche down” as a freelance writer.
If you’re overwhelmed with trying to narrow your focus, don’t worry. Niches don’t have to be industry-specific. You can also choose to specialize in writing a particular type of content, and that can be your claim to fame no matter what industries you decide to write for.
For example, well-researched long-form blog posts, white papers, video scripts, and case studies are all content types that clients are willing to pay higher prices for, as not just anyone can write them well. They’ll take longer to write than a typical blog post, but with that extra time comes a higher price tag.
Personally, this is where I consider my niche to be. I love writing long-form blog content and researching the topics I’m writing about. This is where most of my freelance writing income comes from, though I’ve also written email newsletter content, website copy, social media blurbs, and more.
I’ve written content for all kinds of industries and while I technically could choose to specialize in any one (or a few) of them, my personal preference is to keep my industry options open and instead, focus on writing great copy for businesses that don’t necessarily need an expert. There are plenty of those out there, too, just as there are industries that need well-informed writers.
While it takes time to master your chosen niche – whether it be an industry or a content type – once you’ve got a few high-quality portfolio pieces under your belt, you should have an easier time finding clients. If you’re curious about a specific industry or copy format, it’s worth your time to dive in and learn more about it. You never know when a high-paying gig will come your way!
Copywriting vs. blogging: What's the difference? When it comes to freelance writing, it’s important to be specific about what types of work you’re looking for. One of the main pitfalls writers face is understanding the difference between copywriting and blogging. Both fall under the larger umbrella of “content marketing,” but that doesn’t mean they’re the same. These terms are often used interchangeably by clients and in job postings, but they both require very different skill sets. You might be suited to one and not the other. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of freelance writing so you can find work that fits your skills.
Blogging is a type of long-form content marketing. While you might find some clients who request short blog posts, a typical blog will usually range from 500-2,000 words. Blog posts can serve several purposes for a business. For one, if you optimize a blog post for search engines, it can help boost a website’s Google ranking and attract new potential customers to the business. For another, providing helpful information in a blog post puts your client in a position of authority. This builds loyalty with their readers and can encourage conversions in the future. At the very least, an informative blog post can demonstrate that a business can keep up with, if not surpass, many competitors in their industry that might not have a blog at all. In order to be a successful blog post writer, you should be able to conduct your own keyword research. Some clients will do that part for you, but it’s good to be prepared just in case you’re on your own. Use tools like Ubersuggest or Keywords Everywhere (both of which you can use for free, by the way) to determine your target keywords so you can incorporate them in your posts. You should also be up-to-date on all of the latest search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. Your clients will appreciate a basic knowledge of how to make their blog posts successful. While blog posts are an essential asset to any business with an online presence, they’re not typically the main source of conversions on a business’s website. That’s where copywriting comes in.
The word “copy” refers to writing with an advertising focus – that is, writing that encourages the reader to take an action. While blog posts mainly aim to educate, copy aims to sell. Copywriters use marketing techniques in order to infuse their writing with a sense of urgency, persuading the reader to, for example, sign up for a newsletter or click “add to cart” on an ecommerce website. Copy can be seen all over the internet, from product descriptions to landing pages to ad text. That makes copywriting a lucrative industry with plenty of opportunities. Almost every business will have a need for copy at some point in their sales funnel and if you can provide it, you’ll always have a diverse pool of clients to choose from. In order to be a successful copywriter, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, copy is persuasive. If your writing is too salesy or too forceful, it will drive customers away from your client’s business instead of encouraging them. You need to have a solid understanding of marketing and sales tactics in order to create compelling copy. Much like blogging, it’s also a good idea to have a grasp of SEO best practices if you’re going to be a copywriter. While many copywriters aren’t responsible for optimizing the text they write, it helps to keep search engines in mind as you put your text together (although don’t forget, you’re primarily writing for human readers!). While blog posts have some flexibility to be a little verbose, copy is concise and to the point. With every extraneous word, you risk losing your reader. Good copywriters can use every sentence to its maximum potential without getting too wordy.
Other Types of Freelance Writing
There are plenty of other types of freelance writing that don’t quite fall under the umbrellas of blogging or copywriting, so if neither of those seem like your style, don’t worry! Here are just a few of the other options you might want to consider:
- Technical writing
- Press releases
- Bio writing for authors or musicians
- Email newsletters
- Social media posts and ad campaigns
- How-to guides and tutorials
- Case studies
- Scripts for videos or podcasts
At the end of the day, the type of writing you do doesn’t matter as much as how well you do it. If you know where your skills are strongest, you can carve out a niche for yourself and attract clients who want what you have to offer.
This article contains several affiliate links to brands I know, use, and trust. I receive a small commission when you purchase services through these links.
If you’ve spent any time reading blog articles for either entertainment or research, you’ve probably seen plenty of examples of affiliate marketing at work (though you may not even realize it!).
What is affiliate marketing?
“Affiliate marketing” is the process of linking out to certain products or services in exchange for a small commission. This happens when someone uses your special tracking link to make a purchase. The buyer doesn’t pay more for the product, but you do get a small kickback from the seller for “referring” a new customer to them through your link.
Although the commissions aren’t usually very sizable on their own, they can add up over time, especially as new readers click through your blog posts. It’s a great way to make passive income, or money that you keep earning without having to continue to work for it.
All you need to do is use an affiliate link when you mention a product or service (and disclose when affiliate links are used). When someone clicks on your link and buys the product or service, you earn a percentage of the price. Even smaller blogs can see a little additional income each month from affiliate links when done correctly. Here’s what you need to know.
Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers and Freelance Writers
To get the most out of your affiliate marketing, be sure not to overwhelm your readers. Even if it’s not your product you’re advertising, no one likes reading a “salesy” blog post. You should work to incorporate affiliate links naturally within your content when appropriate. Don’t force them in just for the sake of it – your readers will be able to tell!
That said, the best affiliate programs are ones that relate to your niche and work effortlessly within your content. Here are some examples:
- Your website hosting service or domain provider. If you have your own website, you have a great opportunity to plug an affiliate link whenever you mention the service providers you use. SiteGround, WordPress (those are two of my affiliate links!), GoDaddy, DreamHost, and many of the big-name domain and hosting services offer affiliate programs that are easy to plug on your site or in a blog post.
- Your website elements. Did you have a graphic designer create your logo, or buy a custom theme to use for your website? Many of these businesses have their own affiliate programs! Even if you purchased from a smaller company, it’s worth asking to see if that’s something they offer. I create all of my website graphics and images myself with Canva and built my websites with the Divi Theme from Elegant Themes. (As you probably guessed, those are both affiliate links.)
- Amazon. One of the most common affiliate programs to join is Amazon Associates. It’s easy to sign up for and super flexible: Not only do you make a commission when someone buys a product you linked to, but you also make a commission when a user purchases anything from Amazon after clicking to the site with your link, even if they don’t buy the original product.
- Any websites whose products or services you use regularly. This will depend on your industry, but if there are any tools or products that are necessary in your niche, it’s worth checking to see if the store or platform you bought yours from offers an affiliate program. You can make money just by recommending products and services you already use and love!
- Online classes or courses that you recommend. Many online learning platforms like Skillshare also have affiliate programs, which is great because you can appeal to a wide variety of audiences when you recommend online classes.
Words to the Wise
Affiliate marketing programs often have strict rules about how and where you can use their links. If you break those rules, you risk being banned from the affiliate program altogether. Make sure you understand the rules of any affiliate program you join and keep track of the regulations to stay in the green.
In addition, as I mentioned at the beginning, you need to disclose when you’re using affiliate links in order to abide by FTC regulations. Check out the FTC website to make sure you’re doing it correctly.
Although it can feel salesy to announce when an affiliate link is being used, a simple explanation of what those links are and why you’re using them can go a long way. After all, your readers don’t pay anything extra to use your affiliate link.
The key is to use affiliate links only for products or services you really, truly stand behind. The last thing you want to do is recommend things you’re not sold on in the name of making an extra buck. Your readers will appreciate your integrity, and they’ll be more likely to click when they see an affiliate link on your blog.
While it takes some time to make serious money from affiliate programs, it’s a low-effort, no-cost way to give yourself additional streams of passive income each month. Even if you don’t have a sizable following, affiliate programs are worth pursuing. After all, you never know how quickly your business will grow, and one day you’ll be grateful those links are there!
When you’re designing your website and writing blog posts to promote your business, there’s a term you need to keep in mind: search engine optimization, also known as SEO. Not sure where to start? Don't fret: Let's take a quick look at SEO for beginners.
There are entire books dedicated to mastering SEO, but the good news is you don’t need to be an expert to get started. Search engine optimization determines what page of Google or another search engine your website can be found on. A good SEO strategy can help your website get found by your ideal clients and customers. Here are 5 steps to set you on the right track.
1. Think like a client.
While optimizing your website and blog posts, it’s important to think like a client or whomever you’re trying to attract to your site. You might be familiar with some of the jargon of your industry (if you’re a freelance writer, for example, it’s common to see acronyms like SEO, B2B, CTR, etc.). However, your ideal customer might not be as familiar with the lingo that insiders use.
Let’s look at an example for a freelance writer: Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client. Would the average person know to search for those terms when looking to hire you? Chances are, while a small business owner might be familiar with those phrases, they would probably search for something much more simple when trying to find you, like “freelance ecommerce writers.”
If you’re a blogger, the same idea rings true. Think about how your ideal audience or followers might search for things related to your niche or blogging topic on Google. Whatever you come up with, see how much you can simplify it. That’s probably what people are most likely to search for.
Once you have a few terms in mind that your clients or readers might search for in order to find your site, we’re going to take them to the next level.
2. Do some keyword research.
When you have a good idea of what your clients are looking for, it’s time to get specific. Using tools like Ubersuggest, Google Analytics, Ahrefs, or Moz, you can see exactly what search terms you can use to maximize your optimization.
The exact process varies depending on which keyword tool you use, but essentially you’ll want to type a good, generic keyword into the tool to start. Any of the phrases you came up with in step 1 will work. If you make and sell crochet hats as a side hustle, it can be as simple as typing “crochet hats” into the search box.
Once you’ve done that, there should be a list of suggested keywords for you to view. The first thing you’ll notice is that the term “crochet hats” isn’t very specific, and a lot of people are using that term on their websites. It will be pretty difficult for a new business to swoop in and appear on the first page of Google for a term that broad.
However, you may also notice that it helps to be specific. A lot of the related search terms have to do with patterns for crochet hats and not hats for sale, so if you tweak your keyword to be “crochet hats for sale,” you won’t have to worry about the wrong people stumbling on your website.
The more specific you can get, the more likely you are to attract the right people to your website. Of course, it’s a good idea to sprinkle in some of the broader terms when they’re relevant, too. Make a good list of keywords to keep in mind as you write your web content, but don’t get started until you consider the next step…
3. Write with “user experience” in mind.
Throughout the years, companies have been using different strategies and techniques to improve their search engine ranking. But ultimately, Google’s algorithm boils down to this: What pages are going to be most relevant to a client’s search and what pages out of those are easiest to read, navigate, and use?
This means that although you have a list of keywords you want to target, you don’t want to force them into your text where they won’t make sense. The algorithm has gotten a lot smarter in recent years and it can tell when you’re trying underhanded tactics, also known as “black hat SEO” or “keyword stuffing.”
Use your keywords where they naturally fit but don’t overdo it. You want your content to be accessible and make sense to the humans that are reading it. Keep in mind that you’re writing for a person, not a robot.
Take this article for example. The keywords I'm hoping to rank for in Google search results are “SEO for beginners.” You might notice that if you do a page search for this (go ahead and try it if you're reading from a computer – click “ctrl + f” on a Windows computer or “command + f” on an Apple computer), you won't find that specific phrase more than once in the body of this text. That's because it doesn't really fit naturally.
The point here is to not force things, even if you're tempted to. Stick with a conversational tone and easy content. The Google algorithm will see right through any “old school” tactics.
4. Format correctly.
There’s more to SEO than just what you write. It turns out that your formatting matters, too. Using proper headings, breaking up big chunks of text with paragraph breaks and bullet points, including images and videos, and adding images and graphics where relevant can all make the page more visually interesting and appealing to readers.
In addition to the formatting of the page itself, you’ll need to make sure any images you use are optimized as well. Each image needs an alt tag, which should be a brief description of the image that helps search engine crawlers know what the image is. While this won’t be seen by your readers, it’s an important step to remember.
5. Update old content.
The best part about SEO is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you want to boost your site traffic. Search engines like to see that content is timely and relevant, so if you’re stuck for new ideas, why not give some of your older content a refresh?
Adding new links, updating outdated information, including more images, and sprucing up the text are all things that show search engines your website is up-to-date. It’s a good idea to go back through your old content at least once per year to keep it fresh, but you can update it more frequently if your analytics show your page views dropping.
Although there’s always more to learn about SEO, the basics are more than enough to help you build your website and write killer blog posts that will help your business or website get noticed. With a little research and some strategy, you can put yourself lightyears ahead of your competition.
Whether you realize it or not, having a blog content strategy is the key to being found online.
And by now, you likely know how important it is to start a blog or website for your side hustle or small business – but setting one up is the easiest part. The hard part is what comes next: What do you write about?
If you don’t make a plan for your blog, you’ll just be sending your posts out into the ether with no way of knowing whether they’re worth the time you spend writing them.
Here’s how you can build a blog content strategy that will help you achieve your business goals and maximize the value of every blog post.
1. Clarify your intent.
Before you write a single post, you need to think about your “why.”
What are you hoping your blog will accomplish for you? Do you want it to educate your customers on how to use your product or service? Sell your products or services? Show your clients the behind-the-scenes of running your business?
The big thing here is to give value. While it’s okay to use your blog for whatever you want to share, you should think about how your readers and clients can get the most value out of your blog content.
Here’s what I mean by this: Focus on writing about topics that will help your audience – answer frequently asked questions, explain important topics or ideas within your industry, teach what or how to do things, and share how your industry is changing.
If you want your posts to help grow your business (as you should!), you need to do a little research into what your ideal customer is looking for. What are businesses similar to yours blogging about? How can you take those ideas and make them better, customizing them to suit your audience?
Make a list of the types of posts you think your ideal client would want to see. It helps to have a variety, so the more the merrier, especially when you’re first starting out.
All in all, your blog should be an information hub and a way to connect with your potential clients and customers. Don’t write about yourself all the time – it’s okay to do occasionally but be careful about doing it too often.
2. Create an editorial calendar.
Once you’re clear on the types of posts you want to write, it’s time to get planning. First of all, you’ll need to decide how often you want to post. When you’re first starting out, you can play around with posting on different days of the week and at different times to see when your audience is most likely to interact with them.
For the most part, though, it won’t matter when you post, as most people will be finding each post some time after the fact (more on that in step 4!). Once you know how often and when you plan to post to your blog, the next step is to establish an editorial calendar.
Your editorial calendar can take many forms: You can use a spreadsheet, a Google doc, an actual calendar, or a program like Trello or Asana to help create your process. The idea is that you want to keep track of post titles and when each one will go live. If it helps, you can set other deadlines for yourself as well, such as when you want to have the first draft done, when edits will be complete, etc.
I use my Google calendar to keep track of my content.
This “calendar” will help you see what topics you’re posting about so you can make sure you’re not publishing too many similar blogs in a row. It can also help you keep track of ideas for the future, such as seasonal posts around the holidays or yearly events you want to cover.
3. Optimize your posts.
While you’re writing your blog posts, you want to make sure that you’re using search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
Even if you’re in a competitive industry and don’t have much of a chance to rank on the first page of Google, SEO will help search engines determine that your website is credible and can put your posts in front of fresh eyes.
4. Schedule and promote.
In order to stay on top of your blog and make sure you post consistently, it’s a good idea to work a little ways ahead so you’re never scrambling to throw a post together at the last minute. Most blogging platforms will let you schedule your posts ahead of time, so once you’re done, you can set a publish date and then forget it.
But you don’t want to let publication be the last step of your blogging process. When a new post goes live, you have an opportunity to promote it across your social media channels! Programs like Buffer, Sprout, and Hootsuite allow you to schedule social media posts in advance, so the minute your post goes live, you can send out a post about it to all of your followers.
If you’re promoting your content on Facebook, your Facebook page (a business or organization page, not your personal page) and Facebook groups you manage will allow you to schedule posts for free, too. This is a great way to save some money and post to Facebook “natively” if you want to save a “paid” slot on your scheduling software for a different platform.
5. Track your analytics.
The blog content strategy that works when you’re first starting out won’t necessarily serve you in the long term. Trends change, customer attitudes shift, and algorithms for search engines demand different approaches to your content year to year, and even sometimes month to month.
It’s vital that you tweak your strategy as you see what works, or doesn’t work, for your business. The best way to do this is to check your analytics with tools like Ubersuggest, Google Analytics, or Moz, depending on your price point.
Again, if you’re just starting out and don’t want to spend money, you can do your own tracking by using a spreadsheet system. The key is to consistently check your own analytics and update your spreadsheet.
All of these tools can give you insight as to which blog posts get the most views and, in some cases, where your clients click once they get to your posts. Paid tools can also help answer questions like these:
- Do your readers prefer long posts or short ones?
- If you include videos in your posts, do people watch them?
- What topics do they like to read about, and which ones do they avoid?
All of this information can help you optimize your blog content strategy over time.
A blog content strategy is the missing piece that will transform your blog into a powerful tool to help you build your business. With a little planning, your blog can boost your sales, increase your web presence, and win you customer loyalty in the long-term.