Find a Void in the Marketplace and Fill It

We've been talking all week about getting inspired by big ideas, taking advantage of the new model of working, and adopting a "youthful" outlook on your future.

I've given you evidence for why this is a good time to embrace the freelance lifestyle.

The fact is, there's a ton of work out there for freelance copywriters.

You don't have to be an expert to grab your share. And you don't need years of experience to get started.

The challenge for new writers is that it's wide open.

When I first started, I knew without doubt that I wanted to become a copywriter.

I was completely indecisive, however, about what direction I wanted to go in.

B2C (business-to-consumer) or B2B (business-to-business)? Get a staff position with a publisher, like some copywriters I knew, or go freelance? Specialize in long-form sales letters or short web copy? Within B2B or B2C … what area?

Too many decisions. I was overwhelmed because everyone was telling me I had to pick a niche right away.

If you're feeling the same concerns, let me offer you a few suggestions:

  1. You don't have to settle on a niche immediately. If you can, great, but it's not imperative to start getting work. As you get more established and discover what area you like most, then pick your niche.

  2. Look for voids in the marketplace. Don't follow the crowds. There's a lot of demand in niches like financial, alternative health, and self-help, but they also tend to be very competitive.

    What I did instead was look at the world I knew from past experiences, business and personal acquaintances, and subjects I was familiar with.

    As a result, I got projects early on with a sales training business, a fundraising company, an executive life coach, and a real estate broker. I didn't have writing experience in those areas, and they didn't care. They just wanted someone to help them grow their business.

  3. Help those businesses find a "slight edge." You don't have to create a complete new idea or strategy from scratch. That can be a daunting task when you're new.

    An easier approach is to improve upon what your client is already doing. For example, I worked with a company that sold Pilates videos online. They were having some success with online video marketing. Instead of trying a new approach, I simply rewrote their video script using direct-response techniques, and their response went up by almost 50%.

    Another example is a life coach who had a decent website but wasn't getting any organic search engine traffic. Easy solution. Through a one-hour consultation, I discovered that she had a unique specialty within the vast area of "life coaching." I rewrote her website content using targeted keywords, and she started getting traffic and leads.

The bottom line? You don't have to know everything to get started. Just slightly more than your potential clients.

Read my article "Light a Fire, Take Action, and Chart Your Own Course" to find out three ways to take advantage of this new economy now. I'll also tell you about the single key factor that helped me transition into the writer's life.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


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Published: November 1, 2012

14 Responses to “Find a Void in the Marketplace and Fill It”

  1. Steve, slight differences DO matter. In the Majors, a .250 hitter makes $1 million a year. But the .300 hitter makes $10 million a year. A few more hits create 10 times the income.

    I don't have to know everything that my prospects know about their business. I just have to write copy well enough to enhance their business and grow sales. What's exciting is that the idea behind the copy can come from a new writer or a seasoned writer. The clients don't care, and it's all about results...

    RNin2013November 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

  2. One thing I keep seeing from all of you is the comment, "There is tons of work out there". In order for you to make that a true statement, you have seen it. Soooo....why can't anyone tell us with who and where? Or is this just a general statement with no spefics?

    Dale BuckeridgeNovember 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

  3. Great article Steve. You have confirmed something that has been swirling in my mind over the last day or so.

    Guest (Tasia)November 1, 2012 at 3:23 pm

  4. Hi Steve, My passionate niche is helping humans learn to live peacefully among other species, from brutalized pets/lab victims to wildlife at risk. I know more can be accomplished with words reaching more eyes and wallets than one person collecting dimes outside a store. Do you know anything about this field and fundraising/grant-writing, etc?

    Any info re your real estate gig welcome, as I have 30 yrs in that field. Might put bread on the table while I establish lifework above. Thanks

    ChristieNovember 1, 2012 at 5:18 pm

  5. I've got a different issue. I have been a copywriter in the corporate world for over 20 years and I am over that dynamic. Now I want to jump out to freelance world and shift gears, but I must replace my income (at least)and have yet to choose a niche. It all seems overwhelming exactly where to get some traction to actually start...

    Steve99November 1, 2012 at 5:55 pm

  6. Hey Steve and thanks for the helpful article. I've bought every Course -(there all so good!) and so far have mastered none! Finally got down to Cause writing which I'm determined to complete! Then see which others can supplement it best.

    Guest (Bill)November 2, 2012 at 8:58 am

  7. Steve - always enjoy your articles & comments Book you recommended awhile back still valued.

    Thought I'd found my niche, only to run into possible conflict of interest issues with current full-time employer. Can't quit yet either. Depressed & demotivated? Oh, yeah. Floundering? You bet. Couldn't make Bootcamp (but bought Homestudy). CoC - can't do. Back to being indecisive - what do I do next? But in this article you've given me more hope. Thanks!!

    JudyB-RaleighNovember 2, 2012 at 10:33 am


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