Pick a Niche in 10 Minutes or Less and Watch Your Writing Income Soar
Cindy Cyr here, looking back on my eight years as a well-paid copywriter, to share with you the things that had the biggest impact on my success, so you can hit your own goal of living the writer’s life faster.
Today’s reflection is about one thing that would have made my life simpler and allowed me to make a lot more money sooner, had I done it earlier.
Before I tell you what it is, I’d like to tell you a story that demonstrates why this is so important.
Recently a friend of mine had dental implant surgery for two teeth that needed to be replaced. (A dental implant is the closest thing to mimicking a natural tooth, and it’s not cheap.)
However, my friend chose to pay even more to go to a periodontist that specialized in implants, rather than use her general practitioner.
Because the success rate with a specialist is much higher. She wanted to avoid improper placement, which could mean having to pay for the procedure to be redone down the road.
It’s no different with writers. Marketers will seek out and pay more for a copywriter who specializes in their business niche. So, if you’re looking to boost your income, picking a niche is a no-brainer.
Myself? I took way too long to pick a niche. I subscribed to the “I just want to write, I don’t care who it’s for” mentality. I wrote copy for nuclear refrigeration, tech recruiters, fitness, personal development, cleaning services … basically my target was anyone willing to pay for copy.
Don’t get me wrong. The variety allowed me to get a feel for what I liked and didn’t like writing. And, it gave me a lot of samples for my portfolio.
However, I wasn’t making headway in my business.
I had mostly “one-off” assignments rather than long-term, ongoing ones. It was A LOT more work, too. I constantly had to research completely new fields that I knew nothing about.
If I had to do it all over again, I would pick a niche at the very start. This allows you to:
Save time. With only one area to research, your knowledge bank grows quickly, giving you lots to draw on without having to always start over.
Charge more – because you’re a specialist.
Always have the right samples – because all your work is done in your prospective client’s industry.
Increase your percentage of success. You’ll have a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t based on the results of past promotions you’ve done for other clients.
How to Pick a Niche in 10 Minutes:
Quickly answer the following questions to instantly narrow down your niche. Write down the first things that come to mind.
What subjects do you enjoy reading about most?
What topics do you already have a great deal of knowledge about?
What industries do you already have contacts in?
What do you enjoy writing about the most? (If you’re not sure about this, when writing copy for your mini peer reviews, pick different niches you’re considering to practice writing in.)
Which subjects do you find the most interesting to research?
Now that you’ve narrowed down your topics, look for places where you’ve given the same answer to more than one question.
For example, if you wrote down you have knowledge about fitness, enjoy reading about fitness, and have contacts in the fitness industry, this would be a good niche for you to consider. (Obviously, it’s not always as straightforward as this, but I’m sure you get the idea.)
Give it a shot and then share your niche with me below. And, if you already have a niche, I’d love to hear how picking one has helped strengthen your business.
Tomorrow, I’ll share my last piece of advice that will make your business rock solid, and ensure you have a long, profitable career as a successful, well-paid writer.
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I find my niche's are Christian faith and natural healing. I enjoy researching ancient Bible languages, health effects of plants and essential oils.
Guest (David N) –
Nuclear refrigeration? <blink> <blink>
Wow... that's out there! :-)
Love my primary niche of Survival & Preparedness. Like you said, selecting a niche to promote yourself in sets you apart as an expert, making it much easier to command higher fees... and deserve them as you grow more intimately familiar with the market through regular work in the niche.
Steve Coombes –
Hi, Ms. Cyr!
My name is Keith Wayne McCoy and I am the author of "The Travelers" published by Champagne Book Group. It received a very glowing from PUBLISHERS WEEKLY but it hasn't taken off as I anticipated. You invited questions in your "Niche" piece and I am taking you up on it! I write fiction and desperately want to be a copywriter until my books become best-sellers. Daydreaming perhaps but my answer to your questions are fiction writing, genres, and publishing. What niche could I apply these interests?
Real McCoy –
Hi Cynthia, your article makes a lot of sense, even though I was feeling like you did at first -- I wanted to be open to many different opportunities. However, in looking over my most recent interests -- travel and spas, I think this is the right direction in which to head. I just became licensed in massage therapy, I care about people's health and wellness, and want to travel -- especially to new and different places where they pamper you and encourage relaxation and rejuvenation. That's it!
Guest (Daria Walsh) –
I have decided on the Web Site Design and Constructing niche.
Guest (Amy) –
My niche is the Composites and Plastics industry. My specialty is corrosion. I am currently also targeting different industrial clients - hoping to land a big one (like Eastman Chemical, or BASF - which would be a great account - and still something I know about).
Louise Wolfshagen –
So far it is Holistic Healing including, Reiki, Aromatherapy, Herbology. Also animals, animal nutrition, pets, odd pets, etc.
Karin Halford –
The oil and gas industry is one that I've already done some writing for, I have many contacts there and I live in oil territory and I know a good bit about it. My only concern is the boom-and-bust nature of the business.
I think my niche's will be the Christian faith and spirituality are.
Thanks for the questions.
Guest (Mark) –
I enjoy reading about Personal Finance and Economics and enjoy researching this as well. As a result, I feel I have a good handle on these topics.
Guest (Sue) –
Travel, travel, more travel, geography, cultures and customs of other locales.
Guest (Julie DP) –
Cindy, I couldn't agree with you more! And I like your dentist example. I get nervous because the big ones that you usually hear about - finance, fitness, self-help, natural health - just don't appeal to me. My passions are cooking, makeup, knitting, and motorcycling. Is there really a niche for these as well?
Tracey Besemer –
Hi Cynthia, my niche appears to be women's personal development. I'm interested in learning how to build a writing career as an author, inspirational speaker and coach while using copywriting to bolster my income.
Hi, the first things that come to mind is health topics (I am a mom so I do alot of research on this topic already), gardening (rather have a beautiful garden than a folded laundry lol) and skin care (I'm an esthetician). This makes total sense. Thanks for your article. I am very interested in learning more about how to become a copywriter for one of these niches.
Guest (angelica) –
Hi-I've been a professional geologist/sr. environmental scientist for 27 years, so my natural inclination is toward science/technical writing. My first (and only, so far) freelance project was writing a water conservation assessment report for a school district in HI. However, I've also been selling successfully on eBay for 4 years, so I feel that I can write effective copy as well. Hoping for more environmental opportunities to come along.
Guest (GeoBarbara) –
Cyndy, Thank you for this. Two things: First I have deep experience in both video production and script writing for marketing purposes. So that may be a delivery niche in one way of thinking.
My topic niche would be Self Help with emphasis on Persuasion. Also possible would be Broadcast media and the Entertainment Industry. I’m listing these because I don’t know which is better.
I would value your thoughts.
Guest (Jeri Burgdorf) –
Hi Cindy, thanks for the thought provoking questions. My main niche area would be in the financial industry especially the precious metals and rare coin areas. Another niche would be in the ( Midwest) agricultural industry. I'm just getting a good start in my awai training.
Guest (David ) –
Hi, Cynthia. I have enjoyed your advice. My niche is Healthy Eating, specifically Organic and Non GMO foods.
I'm new to writing and I am having a hard time choosing a niche because I have many interests. But I can say I enjoy reading history and finance, good knowledge in both, I enjoy researching financial information. I am aiming for finance as my niche. Case closed. Thanks!
Hello Cyndy, I appreciate your article. I see myself in Catalog cos I love flipping and reading any catalogue that comes my way. I also like Lead Gen after reading about it on Rebecca's articles. I want to settle with the two niches. I'm I making sense at all? Pls let me know. Cheers
Guest (Bunmi) –
Hi Cindy. I have a website, but not my first client so this is a great article and very helpful. My passion is teaching and writing about the Christian faith and message. However, I'm not sure in that niche with all the people who write sermons and materials for churches how to find the opportunities or if they will pay well. I have 20+ years in the Woodworking industry, so I think I'll start there.
Guest (martymaltby) –
Thanks for your great and timely article about picking a Niche.
I'm very interested in; Health and Wellness,particularly, "Food"...I believe in the saying; "you are what you eat" making healthy choices when it comes to what we put-in-our mouth...GMO and pesticide free.
Hi Cindy, I really liked this article because I have been back-and-forth so many times while trying to narrow down a niche. My heart wants to write about the Christian living aspect but everyone I have spoken to about that being the topic of a blog/website has been so pessimistic about me making money with that I have always gone for the money. Writing this has settled my mind on Christian faith and living because I am broke - probably because I am not following my heart!
Guest (charlie) –
I wholeheartedly agree with the author and everyone I've mentored who has chosen a niche (it has to be a viable one) has been much more successful than those who can't bring themselves to focus.
Here's a podcast interview I did recently with a designer who chose the vegan and animal welfare markets: www dot marketing-mentor dot com/wp/2015/04/27/is-the-vegan-market-viable-for-designers/
Guest (Ilise Benun) –
I've chosen non-profits and Christian niches because of my background and experience. I represented a non-profit, Christian organization helping the hungry for 11 years. I also worked as a volunteer and board member for an organization helping the homeless.
I love Bible study and reading about people helping the less fortunate. I'm currently working on a mock-up letter for the non-profit I once represented.
I love reading, and I'm an author and editor.
Guest (Brenda Kay) –
Cynthia, thank you much for guiding me to my jump-off point. I was flipping through mental gymnastics trying to figure out where I should focus my writing. In the interim, I was delaying opportunities as a copywriter. Your simple test has revealed my obvious passion, writing for the Christian market through motivational speaking and teaching. Also as a Medical Billing Consultant, I have another avenue.
Angie McLean –
My niche is humor. I am currently writing a weekly column for my local paper. I would certainly like to expand my enjoyment of writing humor into other areas.
Guest (Crystal) –
Real McCoy. In addition to answering your question, I'd like to ask if you are creating any marketing pieces to market your book? If I were you & interested in writing for the fiction & publishing niche, then I would focus on publishing companies (all who need marketing).If you have been marketing your own work, you might also seek out fiction writers to help them with things such as websites, press releases, events. Check out evanovitch.com for some ideas on what you can do for fictional writers.
Cindy Cyr –
Thanks David & Steve for sharing your niches. I know you have done very well Steve--so good for you to jump in and share. And Bravo Daria for picking a niche--sounds like a great one and a great fit! Congrats!
Cindy Cyr –
Amy and Louise --Excellent! Karin--love yours as well. I'm curious do you have two separate websites and separate marketing for each industry since they are so different?
Cindy Cyr –
Paul W. This is definitely a unique niche--which is good. As far as your concerns, I might suggest looking to see if there is a related industry or an industry with a similar target audience that you could also start targeting to help give you a little more security. For example, could you broaden your niche a bit and target energy companies?
Cindy Cyr –
Mark--I think the Christian market is a good one. I know a guy who has built a million dollar business by creating marketing for and teaching pastors how to market their church to the community and grow their congregation. Drill down on this a bit and look at who you would target--maybe pick a couple of types of products and services within the market to get started. I think being less broad at least in the beginning will help you.
Cindy Cyr –
Yay Sue and Julie! If you haven't already, start researching companies in your niche and start reaching out to them to offer your services!
Cindy Cyr –
Tracey--Absolutely! Cooking--HUGE niche:target cooking products, publishing, events, etc. You could even create your own cooking info-products. Knitting:I know someone who created a million dollar+ info-business around knitting. She creates & sells ebooks about knitting. There are also manufacturers, publishers, stores, & more that need help with marketing. Make-up: HUGE industry. Motorcycling:target companies that make equipment, gifts, accessories, in addition to motorcycle manufacturers.
Cindy Cyr –
In2itivecass. Copywriting will help you learn to market and sell your business better, so definitely an excellent skill to develop. Personal development is a huge field--I like that you've narrowed it to Women's personal development. I think this is a hot and growing niche.
Cindy Cyr –
Angelica, those are all good niches. As you go forward, start researching companies in those niches. Health is a huge industry and very lucrative niche to write in--you might check out the Secrets of Writing for the Health Market program AWAI has for more specifics in that area.
Cindy Cyr –
GeoBarbara--I think you could do very well in this niche. I would recommend researching and creating a list of environmental companies you'd like to write for...then create some marketing for your business to market your services to these companies. In other words, don't wait for them to find you. For example, you might start writing a newsletter about how to market environmental products & services and start mailing it to your target audience.
Cindy Cyr –
Jeri, I couldn't say for sure which would be a better niche. However, I would say that I see a HUGE need for businesses to create scripts and then the videos to market their business--have you thought about marketing this specifically to small business owners? The Self Help industry is huge--and may be easier to break into than the entertainment industry unless you have contact to get you going in the entertainment arena.
Cindy Cyr –
David, DJackson, & EyeGar--Congrats on picking a niche! Those are some good ones. EyeGar-if you enjoy researching and writing about Finance--that is an excellent niche and can be very, very lucrative to write for.
Bunmi--yes, you are making sense. However, I would say that catalog and/or lead gen isn't really defining your niche. Think of it as what topics would you want the catalogs to be on...like gardening or clothing or home decor, for example.
Cindy Cyr –
MartyMultby, If you enjoy writing for the Christian market, I think there is good opportunity there. Yes, perhaps ministers are good at writing sermons, but I think a lot of churches need help with their marketing. (See my comment above about info-marketing business directed at Christian market.) There are also a ton of companies that sell Christian products who want to market these to Christians. Perhaps research Christian product companies for some ideas on who to target.
Cindy Cyr –
Charlie, I'm not sure what experiences the people have had who steered you away from the Christian market, but my guess is that they may be thinking of a very narrow part of the market. Wealthy Christians buy products from companies that make Christian products or declare Christian Beliefs in their marketing--perhaps target these companies such as In n Out Burgers, Forever 21, Alaska Airlines, Hobby Lobby. See also my other comments above on writing for this market.
Cindy Cyr –
Illise--thank you and thanks for your additional input for everyone.
Brenda Kay--Excellent! You might look at other non-profits who would have a similar target audience as the org you used to work for & send to those organizations as well. See also my comments above to Charlie, and several others about the Christian market.
Angie--I'm so glad I could help! Congrats--I think you are well on your way. See also my other comments posted above that may provide additional ideas for this market.
Cindy Cyr –
Crystal--my suggestion would be to research companies that use humor in their marketing & target them. Also, create & sell your own info-products to teach business owners how to use humor in their marketing. Create a newsletter to send to companies in niches that are typically boring so they can get ideas of how to turn humor into marketing gold. Not only can you sell products you develop, but you'll start attracting clients because they like your ideas but don't feel they can write themselves.
Cindy Cyr –
Cindy, My background is in Education. I am a state and national award winning educator and I have been writing articles on a variety of Education topics for the past four years. I don't have a clue how to make this my niche because I don't know where to start or who to contact.
Guest (James L Casale) –
I enjoyed your article and thank you for sharing. It really helped. Like you in the beginning I thought why not write in all areas. So now I am leaning towards health and wellness. Not just any health though, not through the medical field. but through the holistic natural eating field. Eating healthy, organic and non-gmo
Hi James, I would recommend looking at companies who sell to educational institutes, make educational products,or create e-learning products as a place to start. For example, Teach.com or Edmentum.com. I'm sure once you start researching, you'll find all sorts of companies that could use your services. The key is to match the target audience you have written for with the companies that target that same audience.
Cindy Cyr –
Readywriter--thanks for your feedback and great job on picking a great niche!
Cindy Cyr –
Hi Cindy Just new to this site. I've been a children's dance teacher for well over fifty years. As a side line I write children's picture books and hold children's birthday parties. I have hundreds of original ideas to keep children happy.I do have other interests. I have a web page and I guess my niche would be entertaining children.
Hi Cindy! Your timing on this article is perfect! I have been struggling with a niche decision since I started the program and, honestly, it has kind of bogged me down. Now, I think I am finally ready to say, I think I have it! I absolutely love reading about people who have downsized to tiny living! I am in the process of getting ready to live this style of life myself so I will have first-hand knowledge of it. I am getting ready to start a blog and hopefully will get some leads to write for others who want to promote this lifestyle.
Thank you for your help with this most stupefying, yet seemingly simple (now) subject!
(ps~ I work for a dentist and periodontist and I fully agree with your friend's decision~)
Guest (Tracey) –
So the niche I came up with (Fitness Industry) is the one I've worked in and out of for a while. The problem is that it isn't a very sophisticated audience or one that likes to spend. What should I do about that?
Guest (John ) –
My niche is definitely in education and personal development. I also love reading and sounding in on faith based topics. The majority of my career has been in educational leadership. I hope to find ways to use this experience to help others in the future.
Guest (Krista Scott) –
Greetings to you Cindy, I reviewed this and finally got a niche. Thank you soo much and it was easy to do. My niche is cleaning. Yup cleaning. Thanks much.
Aunti Vi –
I found that I lean towards energy healing and health supplements. Your method is simple and effective. Thank you.
Hi Cindy - I am interested in military but from the dependents standpoint. There are a few avenues I want to pursue (eBooks, Copy, novels)and while I know what the needs are, I'm still trying to figure out how to get it all connected. This may not be the best niche, but it's one I'm passionate about (being a retired Navy wife myself). Thank you for your insights above. Great ideas to think on.
After answering the 5 questions the common thread in them are: Audio/Video, Bowling, Cooking, Travel. So now to narrow that down to one niche I guess I should just combine all of them into audio/ video devices that can be used while you are bowling, cooking, and/or traveling!
Kevin Iggens –
Kevin Iggens--I might suggest that you do campaigns targeting customers in all of them. Make a list of top candidates for each category. Find out who the marketing contact is for each company. Then create a campaign with follow-up that can be easily tweaked with keywords for each category. When I was picking my niche I had it narrowed down and did this--it really helped me to see what I really liked and where the best customers were before totally committing to one area.
Cindy Cyr –
Hello. I'm drawn to entertainment, music, and history. I'm just not sure which direction to go with it. Any suggestions?
Guest (John) –
I find myself drawn to the entertainment field. I'm a movie and music buff and I also like reading about history. So I'm kind of at a loss for what niche this would apply to. Can you give me any suggestions? Thanks!
Guest (John T) –
Cindy, I've been teaching for more than 30 years and would like to use education for my niche to begin with. But I haven't seen a whole lot of need for education copywriters> Any ides?
2 niches... Definitely Business/Office and TIDBITS FOR Training NewlyGraduated Health Care Professionals...Spent over 3/4 my life 34+yrs in Medical Field as MA and CNA, as well as over 40 yrs Exec. Secretarial and Business Mgmt As a home business, Id prefer an internet/email based business Creating Custom Forms for Companies, thus maximizing their overhead by NOT having the need for on payroll staff person to be onhahd if needed to make/create amy custom design Documents/Forms/Templates...
I can CREAte any FORM DESIRED....
IDEAS OR SUGGESTIONS? THANK YOU
Susie M –