As a writer and business owner, I believe in the power of the maxim: time is money.
It was coined by Benjamin Franklin in 1748, in an essay he wrote titled “Advice to a Young Tradesman,” where he reinforced the maxim with the example, if you skip half-a-days work, you throw away half-a-days wage.
Time is one of the most valuable resources we have. Which is why as a writer, it often makes sense to look for opportunities where you can speed things up, shorten a learning curve, or become more efficient.
And while there are loads of productivity tips in the archives of Barefoot Writer Magazine…
In my 20 years of working with writers, one of the best ways to save time as a writer I’ve ever come across is picking a writing niche (an industry where you’ll focus your writing and self-promotion efforts).
Why Picking a Niche Saves You a TON of Time as a Money-Making Writer
“Everything changed for me once I picked my niche!”
Read the dozens of success stories on Barefoot Writer and you’ll find that phrase again and again. It’s the piece of advice we most often give all new writers, and yet it’s the piece of advice that is most often ignored. At least early on…
The fear is that by picking a niche, you’ll limit yourself and miss out on potential writing gigs. But the reality is that by specializing, you’ll have a much easier time promoting your services, claiming higher fees, and doing actual assignments.
Think about it for a minute…
If I own a company that manufactures solar panels and I need copy for my website, newsletters, and emails to potential customers, I’m going to hope there’s a copywriter out there who “gets” my industry.
I’m going to hire that writer over any other writer, and I’m going to assume they’ll provide a ton more value, since again, they “get” what I do. They understand the industry, my prospects, the reason people want solar panels, and more. Even if the writer has little writing experience, I’m still going to assume they’ll do the best job. And I’ll happily pay more for their expertise.
And as a writer, by specializing, you know exactly who your “ideal clients” are. You can easily research and reach out to them directly. You can target the copy on your website and LinkedIn profile, and quickly be perceived as an expert writer in your industry. All of that saves you a ton of time as a writer.
Plus, by working on similar assignments for the same niche, you’ll be able to re-use your research, your understanding of the prospect, and your ideas time and time again. You’ll complete projects faster. And be able to take on more than if you were spread between multiple industries. Which means not only will you be saving time, but you’ll be making more money too.
So, how do you choose a niche?
Choosing the Niche that’s Right for You
You can choose a writing niche a number of ways…
The easiest option is often an industry where you already have work experience. Whether you’ve worked as a nurse, teacher, mechanic, solar panel installer, painter, textbook salesman, call center agent… no matter what your experience, there’s an industry you can choose.
The beauty of choosing a niche that way is you can leverage all of your previous professional experience into your writing business. Even if you’ve never written professionally a day in your life, the time you spent working in the industry is just as valuable.
Another way to choose a niche is by targeting something you’re interested in…
Martial arts, knitting, yoga, clean eating, investing… whatever your hobby, as long as you’re spending money on it, there’s likely an industry who needs writers. And you know the prospect they’re trying to reach intimately — because you ARE the prospect!
Which takes us to the third way to pick a niche: being the prospect.
Maybe you’re a new mom, or approaching retirement, or a college graduate with a ton of debt, or a new homeowner… whoever you are, there are businesses trying to connect with you. Simply “reverse engineer” who may be trying to sell to you, and you’ll find another potential niche.
Still stuck on picking a niche? You could also choose to write for what’s known as the “Big Four” in copywriting…
The Big Four Niches in Copywriting
There are literally hundreds of niches under the sun. But many writers are drawn to the Big Four since they are known to need a ton of copy and content, and often spend more than any other niche to acquire it. I’m talking about the:
- Financial Industry
- Healthcare Industry
- Nonprofit Industry
- Self-Help Industry
These four industries notoriously have loads of companies that employ writers. They value the skill of persuasive writing, and they have a lot of sub-niches…
For example, say you have an interest in writing for the healthcare niche… but your background is in engineering. In that case, you’d do well focusing on medical devices as your sub-niche, because you’re a natural at understanding how things work.
This merges your professional expertise with a topic you’re interested in, which makes for an ideal time-saving combination. That’s because you’ll already know a great deal about the basic elements surrounding most of the products you’ll write about. And what you don’t already know, you’ll enjoy researching. (It always saves time when the thing you’re learning about fascinates you… instead of something that bores you to tears!)
Alternately, say you want to write for the healthcare niche, but you really enjoy alternative medicine and natural treatments. Now, the world of alternative medicine is huge, so I’d encourage you to drill down further…
So let’s say you have a child or grandchild with autism, and you’ve helped research and administer natural treatments for that child. Right there, you’ve got your niche: natural treatments for autism.
See how it works?
When you start with one of the Big Four niche industries and sift through possibilities, you’ll undoubtedly find something that matches up with one of your passions.
Become a “Go-To” Expert
The final way to specialize is to focus your skills on a specific writing field.
So instead of picking a single industry niche, you’d pick an area of writing expertise where you could hone your skills on the type of writing project and then apply it to any subject you come across.
Expert copywriter Michael Katz does this with newsletters — he’s perfected the art of writing e-newsletters for clients, and can write them easily and capably for any type of business that approaches him.
And expert copywriter Casey Hibbard specializes in case studies, taking on a variety of industries and writing sound case studies for each. She’s refined her writing process to the point where it’s easy to move from company to company because the elements of a case study are always the same.
There are loads of other examples… like Jay White, who specializes in autoresponder email series, or Gordon Graham, known widely as “That White Paper Guy.”
If you examine all the Barefoot Writing Opportunities we’ve covered in the past, you may find one that appeals to you to the point of wanting to focus all your attention on training for it.
But, whether you settle on an industry niche or a specific writing field, your goal here is to streamline your process so every other step in launching your writing business is easier, more enjoyable, and ultimately, fast.
Ensuring Success in Your Writing Niche
I’m hoping by now you can see just how many opportunities there are to make a great living as a writer. And at the same time, that your wheels are turning on a few niches that might be perfect for you.
But before you dive in, let’s go over best practices for ensuring your success:
1. Quantify your niche.
The key is to find enough companies spending money to reach and sell to a particular market. A simple Google search will answer that for you…
For example, if you’ve chosen martial arts, you can quickly identify 100+ potential clients who have quality websites… whether they are martial arts studios trying to build their business, or companies who are selling products and services to martial arts studios.
Even if your niche is something more specific like “pet food manufacturing,” you can easily identify all the major players in the industry.
As long as you can find companies spending money on marketing, you’ve likely chosen a good niche.
2. Learn to write persuasively.
The truly fantastic thing about life in the Barefoot Writing World is that persuasive writing applies to everything — every level of business and every level of engagement between a company and its customers. From free reports and the website, to social media posts, articles, emails, and videos… if you understand persuasive writing (direct-response), you’ll be a more effective and in-demand writer.
No matter what your niche, I recommend first going through The AWAI Method for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter. It will give you the foundation you need in writing effective copy and content. From there, the sky is the limit as to which Barefoot Writing Opportunity you want to tackle, or what kind of passion you want to turn into a marketable business venture.
3. Make a plan.
It’s all well and good to pick a marketable passion and acquire solid copywriting skills… but then what? This is where too many writers feel paralyzed, but there’s no need to worry.
The clearer your plan is… your overall plan of where you’re going, as well as your daily plan of what you want to accomplish… the faster you’ll succeed.
I recently did a webinar on Creating a Personal Success Roadmap that you can access free here.
It will help you put together a roadmap you can follow daily, so you know you’re taking the “right” actions to move forward towards your goals.
Time Is Money…
Listen… the world of well-paid writing is huge.
Your goal is to hone in on a specific piece of that world, and build your writing business to target it directly.
Picking a niche or a writing specialty will save you time as a writer, and allow you to make more money, faster…
Which will leave you free to enjoy not only what you do to earn your living, but all the extra time you’ll have on your hands to get out there and live your life!
And isn’t that why you joined Barefoot Writer in the first place?
Editor’s Note: For additional guidance finding the niche market that’s perfect for you, check out Pam Foster’s program on How to Choose Your Writing Niche, which includes a list of the 67+ hottest industries in need of skilled writers and tips on how to get your professional niche-focused website set up.