Are you wondering how to make money writing for any niche that interests you, even if it’s unusual?
If this sounds like you, I have some great tips to share.
Early in my career, I chose my own unique niche: I offered complete marketing for artists and musicians. At the time, I was strongly warned I’d never make any money writing for artists and musicians. I was told they’re too cheap!
I disagreed with that stereotype. I knew there were hundreds of artists and musicians who could use my services — they just needed to know what I could do for them.
Plus, I was a good fit for this niche. I had a BA in music, and I live in New Mexico – a popular hub for artists and creative types.
Since choosing my “lemon” of a niche, I focused on making my business profitable by following the advice of AWAI experts. Slowly but surely, I learned to make the most out of my niche.
Here’s what I’ve discovered along the way about how to make money writing for any niche…
Tip #1: Improve Your Offer
In 2011, I had a coaching session with B2B expert, Steve Slaunwhite.
During the session, he looked at my website and pointed out that one of the reasons I wasn’t making money is the language I was using on my freelance website. It made me look cheap.
Phrases like “I will work within your budget” jumped out and said I would work for next to nothing.
My website was also centered on small jobs, like writing articles, blog posts, and web content. The jobs I listed had little potential for making more money.
After the coaching session, I decided that rather than jump ship to a different niche, I would offer a more complete product to artists and musicians.
I assembled a team of web and graphic designers, photographers, and even illustrators who would make it possible to complete any project that came my way.
I then updated my website to reflect that I can offer a complete project and handle any marketing situation.
Tip #2: Volunteer Smarter
Another reason my niche was challenging is that people constantly volunteered their time, doing the same thing I did for a fee.
I’m not the only one who has experienced this. When you get started as a freelance writer, people may ask you to work on a volunteer basis.
Volunteering can help you get started. I played in a local band, called Community Winds. Because I enjoyed performing, it made sense to write press releases to attract people to the concerts.
I also wrote a grant proposal to fly in a guest conductor, and I wrote a fundraising letter that raised enough money to kick off the band’s new scholarship program.
The band’s finances were in better shape, thanks to my writing. Best of all, I gained extremely relevant samples I could show other bands.
If you decide to volunteer, focus on helping organizations in your niche through situations where they will notice a big difference.
And when you’re done, ask for a receipt that shows you made an in-kind donation of your services, which you can use on your taxes.
Tip #3: Turn Those Volunteer Jobs into Paid Jobs
On the flip side, volunteering drains you of time and energy. Sometimes the best thing you can do is state a fee, even in situations where people wish you would volunteer.
This conversation can be awkward, but you can learn to navigate it with practice.
Remind yourself that if the job is not important enough for them to spend money on, it isn’t worth your time. Be confident in your ability to bring results to your clients.
They may be able to get a volunteer to write for free, but as a professional writer, you will be the one to write something that brings a significant payoff. Be prepared to say no to people and organizations who don’t want to pay.
When I asked the Community Winds director for compensation, the director said he considered press releases and fundraising letters to be “volunteer” jobs. But he saw the value in paying for promotional ads and things that drive revenue.
That worked for me, because I preferred to focus my time writing things that translated into money for the band.
Tip #4: Find an Extra Stream of Income
Nick Usborne’s Money-Making Websites program made a lot of sense for me because it gave me a way to make money writing about local artists and musicians without having to worry about whether they were paying clients.
I started a website about artists in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Each article built up my website, brought me more traffic, and lead people to my copywriting website.
My money-making website led to my first three paid web-writing jobs.
I also started helping musicians more directly. Rather than trying to sell them web-writing services or a press release, I served as an agent to local bands.
The Los Alamos Big Band was my first client, agreeing to pay me a portion of their fee every time I got them a gig. Then, a local alternative rock band became my second client.
Tip #5: Publish a Newsletter
Publishing a newsletter was the biggest game changer for my business in 2011 because, for the first time, clients started to approach me.
The newsletter, Art on the Hill, appealed to my target market of artists and musicians because it gave them what they wanted: free exposure.
It was a four-page, full-color glossy newsletter that caught people’s eyes. Inside, I published feature articles about local artists, musicians, and events.
It was expensive, but it was worth it. After putting out the first issue, suddenly arts organizations in town started asking me to do projects, people sent me money for ad space, and I was asked to do bigger writing jobs than I had done previously.
Bonus Tip: The Trouble With “Proving Your Worth”
After attending AWAI’s FastTrack to Copywriting Success Bootcamp and Job Fair in 2011, I had a short coaching call with AWAI President, Rebecca Matter.
She gave me advice that saved me a great deal of agony.
I asked her, “Do you have any strategies to help me prove to potential clients that my services are worth more than they seem to want to pay…or are currently paying…or are willing to pay?”
As I struggled to form my question about getting the clients to see me as more valuable, Rebecca stopped me to say, “The amount of money you make has nothing to do with your ‘worth.’ It has everything to do with the clients.”
Meaning, if you’re trying to prove your worth to a client who doesn’t want to pay for anything, you’re in a bad situation and need to move on to the next client.
According to Rebecca, the secret to finding good clients in any niche is to look at the industry, and ask, “Where is the money being made? Where is money changing hands?”
That’s where you’ll find your clients, and your ability to make good money in any niche.