This list was originally published on the 9th of September 2017. I have updated it to cover more information & details.
As a freelance writer, you probably struggle to narrow down the perfect niche for your business.
You want to find a suitable niche that matches your strengths and talents, but you eventually settle for easier, low-paying niches due to strong competition and/or low demand for your services.
This is an essential part of the process of becoming a successful freelance writer.
In fact, what worked for me was first testing the waters to see which freelance writing niches I am most comfortable with.
Personally, I’ve written about business management, personal development, e-commerce, language learning, content marketing, and several other topics before I decided to (temporarily) stick to the language learning niche. (Update 24/04/2018: I now specialize in creating and strategizing content for SaaS companies).
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. In the end, I list ten examples of profitable freelance writing niches.
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.
Unlike companies with small budgets, those with medium to large budgets are more likely to invest significant amounts of money into marketing and hiring new employees.
From my experience, companies making $1M to $20M in annual revenue tend to hire more freelancers and are open to discussing new opportunities and ideas for their business.
Tools such as Owler and CrunchBase allow you to access data on the circulation of investments and money in a particular niche or company. I recommend using 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.
Here, 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 marketing and could potentially hire freelancers.
Turns out I’m right!
Babbel continuously lists freelance jobs on Glassdoor for foreign language translators and copywriters, as well as English language editors – which is exactly what you’ll be looking for as a freelance writer.
To get a clearer view of this niche, let’s study the companies suggested by Owler.
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.
I reached out to Busuu several times, and they seemed totally uninterested in freelance work. I supposedly believe that they already have an in-house team handling content marketing.
Here is the response I received from Busuu’s Head of Marketing after pitching them using an InMail then following up four times on LinkedIn:
As for EnglishCentral, I received a (very) negative response after following up twice.
Memrise? No responses.
Besides, 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 this case.
To view all the necessary data related to funding and investments, scroll down a company’s Owler profile.
That’s it for budgets! Now on to the second and last tip on how to pick up a profitable niche.
2) Supply & Demand
Although there are many billion dollar industries out there that employ huge numbers of marketers, supply is higher than demand in many.
That’s where you need to root around underserved niches.
To give you a clearer perspective of what I mean by underserved niches, I’ll compare the travel niche to the health and food niche using Google Search results.
Here are the results I got from searching “niche + blog” in Google Search:
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.
I was accepted to write for the LA Times at a very early stage of my writing career, but I did not go for this opportunity, as I had to write content I am not fully confident of writing. They had high standards, and I had very low qualifications.
Back to niches, 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 fill the gaps in certain niches. 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 or language learning rather than a one-size-fits all, swiss-knife Upwork writer who does it all.
In other words, clients prefer working with micro-niched writers.
This is the most important reason why I assume it’s a good strategy to niche down.
NicheHacks, a great blog 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 – which is especially helpful for writers who are not very knowledgeable on a particular macro niche. Make sure you check it out and follow some of the eight steps if you feel the need to learn more about niching.
Now, let’s have a look at ten 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:
10 Examples of Profitable Freelance Writing Niches
A B2B White Paper is a document used by sales and marketing teams to generate interest in a specific trend, topic, or technology. – Klariti
Let’s be real, marketing plays a vital role in every single company alive. Not one company can say they’ve excelled without the help of different marketing strategies.
That’s where B2B whitepapers come in.
As a B2B whitepaper writer, you not only establish authority, but you build influence and drive direct results.
Your goal is to provide content and execute an approach or idea to make a profitable decision. Convince the reader(s) to invest and you’re guaranteed a nice sum of money.
A hot niche for B2B whitepapers copywriters is crypto currencies.
If you enjoy short-form, consistent writing about a variety of topics, blogging may be the right niche for you. Blogging is one of the most – if not the most – common niches in the writing industry.
There are many businesses who have thousands of different topics to write on, which means the work is plentiful in this field. A large amount of open assignments makes it an easy place to lurk and find jobs as a freelancer.
There is a wide array of topics in this area of writing, which can go from mommy blogs to pet blogs to language learning blogs, and anywhere in between. Some blogs even have the option of ‘guest writing’ so that you are given space to provide your own content and get social proof or payment in return.
If you enjoy ghostwriting, this could be very lucrative.
Many e-book authors are constantly on the lookout for editors, as well as ghostwriters. It can be a huge task to write a 50,000+ book on your own. It’s always nice to have another pair of eyes or have someone else do everything from start to finish from you.
That’s where your role begins.
You will be in charge of reviewing your clients’ e-books, and occasionally writing content for them to produce in the e-book.
Now, this niche isn’t for everyone. Freelancers in this niche often have to remain dedicated, motivated, and patient when reviewing an e-book due to the surplus of words involved. It isn’t your typical 1,000-words blog post.
With the large amounts of effort, a freelancer must put into this niche, the payout makes it well worth it. WriteWorldwide co-founder Nick Darlington has been recently charging thousands of dollars writing e-books for one of his clients.
If you’re looking to profit big time, look no further. Email marketing is proven as one of the top writing niches for freelance writers. Not only that, but it makes loads of money – for both you and your clients.
Now, imagine your client had thousands of well-targeted email subscribers. How much bank would that make if you only convinced 1% of them to purchase a $497 product you advertised?
All you have to do to start landing gigs is hone your craft and establish yourself as an email marketing expert.
Currently, e-commerce is a hot industry you can specialize in as an email marketing expert.
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 get sales.
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”.
Just as you can niche by service, you can niche by industry. Here are five subject matters you can pick up.
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 agencies to fulfill 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.
Indian writer William Subhakar is a great example of someone who’s achieving success in this niche. He charges $48 per hour delivering blog posts and white papers for tech clients.
Also, Serbian freelance writer Katarina Lukic makes a living writing for the tech industry. You can check out our interview with Katarina here.
Who on planet earth doesn’t have illnesses or diseases throughout their lives?
That’s where your role a health writer comes in.
Of course, you needn’t have a Ph.D. in medicine to write for the health niche – just as you needn’t be Cristiano Ronaldo to play football.
As a Moroccan proverb 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 sub-topics to write about.
Personally, I continuously read about gluten-free food, as well as fitness and acne. If health was something I loved, I would have specialized in one of these topics.
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. Many of them are 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, as opposed to niches such as technology and science.
Finance writer Zina Kumok makes up to $1k per article in the finance niche.
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.
The specialty of real estate writing can require a higher multitude of creativity and research.
Because of this, real estate businesses are always on the lookout for competent real estate writers. Since the expectations are high in real estate writing, most real estate companies and agencies pay freelance writers well.
This niche has a wide range of topics from land, housing, commercial, industrial and many more. If you’re a real estate guru, or you’re up for the research, take a leap in the deep end. You may find yourself afloat.
If you’re able to write compelling real estate descriptions, there’s definitely a spot for you, as real estate agencies need expert writers on the field in order to sell their products.
In this case, likely housing and large plots of land.
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 do you think are the most lucrative freelance writing niches? And what’s the best strategy for breaking into a niche for the first time? Share your ideas in the comments below and I’ll be happy to join in the discussion.