Many of us have spent days and weeks (if not months) trying to discover the most lucrative freelance writing niches.
But when we find a suitable niche that matches our strengths and talents, we eventually give up due to strong competition or low demand for our services.
This is part of the process of becoming a successful freelance writer.
In fact, you should first test the waters to see which freelance writing niches bring you the best results.
Personally, I’ve written about business management, personal development, language learning, content marketing, and several other topics before I decided to (temporarily) stick to the language learning niche.
WriteWorldwide co-founders Richard Rowlands and Nick Darlington recently worked together to produce a 2-part series titled, “Choosing a Freelance Writing Niche: Does it Actually Matter?”
In the series, they discussed the distinction between generalist or specialist writers, and their views about niching. They also explained why Richard has chosen to niche from the very beginning, but Nick hasn’t.
In today’s post, I talk about the main criteria to choose a niche and why you should niche down after choosing a broad niche. At the end, I list five examples of profitable niches that pay writers well.
Main Criteria for Selecting Profitable Freelance Writing Niches
You can definitely make money writing for any niche, but by using certain criteria you can identify niches that are more profitable. Here are two key criteria.
1) Large Budgets
Unlike companies with small budgets, those with large budgets are more likely to invest significant amounts of money into marketing and hiring new employees.
Tools such as Owler and CrunchBase allow you to access data on the circulation of investments and money in a particular niche or company. Use these tools to help you find out whether an industry or business is financially successful.
Below is a demonstration of how to use Owler to check the revenue of several companies. I’ve used the language learning niche as an example.
First, go to Owler.com, click ‘sign up’ and enter your email address.then access Owler’s dashboard.
Next, access Owler’s dashboard and search for a random language teaching company. Let’s take Babbel as an example.
Choose the first result, Babbel |
The estimated yearly revenue (TTM) of Babbel is $15.4 million dollars. I can also see that Babbel employs approximately 434 people – which means they have the finances and ability to invest in content. To get a clearer view on this niche, let’s study the other companies that appear on the right sidebar.
Busuu, for example, has an estimated TTM of $80 million dollars a year. Memrise and Duolingo make $1M in yearly income. And EnglishCentral earns $55M a year from their online teaching platform.
Although the income of a few companies might be (relatively) low, you should also consider the total funding they receive – Duolingo is a great example in our case.
To view all the necessary data related to funding and investments, scroll down a company’s Owler profile.
2) Underserved by the Market
Although there are many billion dollar industries out there that employ huge numbers of marketers, supply is higher than demand in many of them.
To give you a clearer perspective of what I mean by choosing underserved niches, I’ll compare the travel niche to the health and food niche by looking at the number of Google results.
Let’s search the keyword “niche + blog” and see what we get.
Compared to food and health, travel is a very oversaturated freelance writing niche. If you’re still a beginner writer, you simply should not pursue travel writing unless you’re very confident in your abilities and have sufficient skill and talent to write unique travel content. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting tons of time with, little to, no ROI.
You can also google other keywords such as “niche + writer”, “niche + blogger” to get a glimpse of a specific niche.
As a freelance writer, your job is to find the gaps in certain niches and fill them. And niching down will facilitate this for you…
Understanding the Difference Between Micro and Macro Freelance Writing Niches
Generally, macro (broad) freelance writing niches are more competitive and saturated than micro niches (sub-niches).
For example, if a German language school is looking for a writer to produce content for their blog, they’ll most likely prefer to hire a writer specialising in German rather than a writer who specialises in all languages or European languages.
In other words, clients prefer working with micro-niched writers.
This is why it’s a good strategy to find a lucrative niche, then niche down.
NicheHacks, the #1 blog in the world for niche-related topics, published a sub-niching guide titled “8 Powerful Hacks To Find Profitable Sub-Niches In Any Market” earlier this year. The article will help you identify micro niches – this is especially helpful for writers who are not very knowledgeable on a particular macro niche. Check it out and follow some of the eight steps if you’re confused about niching.
Now, let’s have a look at 5 profitable niches you can write for. To make sure the list below is relevant, I’ve only included macro freelance writing niches that you can later extract sub-niches from:
Technology freelance writers are continuously in demand to by technology businesses and blogs, as most generalist writers lack the necessary expertise and understanding of this field.
If you’re a techie, writing for the technology industry will definitely make you a living.
Every year, technology businesses pay thousands of dollars to writers and job boards to fulfil their readers’ content needs.
You can type the keywords tech writer, technology writer, tech, or technology to see the available job announcements tech businesses post on ProBlogger’s job board.
ESL writer William Subhakar is a great example of someone who’s achieving success in this niche. He charges $30 per hour delivering blog posts and white papers for tech clients.
Content marketing is a very broad niche. It includes SEO, social media, blogging, and email marketing, among others.
Because it’s the engine that drives online businesses, most business owners seek content marketing advice and updates to improve their online presence and generate more leads.
Besides looking to content marketing as a niche, you can also provide content marketing as a service. Almost every business in any given niche is in need to content marketers who can write website copy, blog posts, e-newsletters, etc.
Who on planet earth doesn’t have illnesses or diseases throughout their lives?
That’s where your role comes in.
Of course, you needn’t have a PhD in medicine to write for the health niche – just as you needn’t be Cristiano Ronaldo to play football.
As the Moroccan saying goes, “Ask the experienced rather than the doctors”.
Business owners usually need writers to share their experiences or share content based on research. Depending on your health activities and expertise, you can choose which topics to write about.
Every successful family, business, or individual needs to have a strategic financial plan to succeed.
Consequently, many blogs, magazines, and companies offer financial services and share articles with tips and stories about financial management. They’re on constant look out for new writers.
The good news is that it doesn’t require a lot of expertise from you to write about most trending finance topics. You just need to conduct research to understand the subject.
Finance writer Zina Kumok makes up to $1k per article in the finance niche.
Just as you can niche by subject matter, you can niche by service.
Case studies, as writer Sharon Hurley Hall describes them, are “stories that sell”.
They’re usually used as a lead magnet to attract clients, build trust and close deals.
Sharon’s article, “How to Create a Case Study to Wow Your Visitors,” takes you through a step-by-step process of producing a quality case study for your client. In the first step, she talks about identifying the right customers to interview and studying your audience and product. Second, she put together a short questionnaire to ask the customer you’re featuring and mentions the importance of using data (i.e. charts and numbers). Finally, she shares a few bullet points with tips to promote a case study, and 5 case study examples she likes.
As a well-established case studies writer, Sharon charges $3,000 to $4,000 per case study. The fee includes “formulating questions, conducting multiple interviews, research, writing, editing, revisions and advice on graphics”.
Going back to niching. Test as many sub-niches as possible before you niche down. Who knows? Maybe selecting a macro niche will be more profitable for you.
What are the most lucrative freelance writing niches? And what’s the best strategy for breaking into a niche for the first time? Share your views in the comments below and I’ll be happy to join in the discussion.