How to Pick a Niche in B2B Copywriting
Want to break into high-fee B2B copywriting work? I don't blame you. I've been active in this space for more than 22 years. The clients are great. The money is good. The projects are often fascinating.
What's not to like?!
However, writing for Business-to-Business companies is like any other freelance specialty in that it takes hard work and determination to succeed. If you want to increase your chances of success — by an order of magnitude — one of the best ways is to focus on a specific industry or niche.
B2B companies place a high value on writers who have experience, or at least a good general knowledge, of their industry. That's not surprising. If you were the marketing director of a transportation company, wouldn't you prefer to hire a copywriter who specializes in transportation?
So how do you decide which of the hundreds of niche markets in B2B to focus on? Here are some suggestions:
1. Build on Your Background
If you think your professional background has little to do with your copywriting aspirations, think again. Chances are, you can leverage your work experience to break into the B2B market.
Let's look at a couple of examples …
Say you've worked for an industrial equipment manufacturer for the past 11 years. That opens the doors to several niches for you. The obvious one is industrial equipment! After all, that's your industry. You can position yourself as an insider. But you can also pivot to other niches, such as shipping materials.
By the way, you don't necessarily have to have direct experience in an industry. Consider this example …
Say you've worked at a dentist's office for the past seven years. On the surface, you might think that experience has no connection to any Business-to-Business industry or niche. But if you think a little broader, you'll realize there's a huge medical equipment and supply industry that sells to medical practices, comprised of hundreds of decent-sized companies. There are also marketing companies, coaching firms, software companies, and more that target dental clinics. To the owners and marketing directors of those companies, your background working at a dental office will be valued.
2. Who's Knocking On Your Door?
Several years ago, I got a call from a company that provides sales training to real estate agents. At the time, I had no experience whatsoever in real estate, other than buying a home! Before I knew it, I was writing e-newsletters and sales copy for that client on a regular basis.
But it didn't stop there.
My client recommended me to others and soon I was receiving enquiries from software companies, coaching firms, and other businesses active the real estate industry. It became a new and lucrative niche for me. I didn't pick that niche. It picked me!
I was chatting with a copywriter last week who said, "I'm trying to focus on my niche, SaaS, but I keep getting all this work from business consultants. What should I do?"
I said, "Well, if consultants are knocking on your door eager to hire you, you might want to let them in!"
In other words, if you're getting work from a particular niche, even if it's not your desired focus right now, consider jumping in. It might end up being a gold mine for you in terms of clients and work.
3. Start with an Industry You Like (Or Think You'll Like)
Do you have an affinity for a certain type of product or service? Maybe you love building materials and hanging out at Home Depot? Or you're fascinated by e-commerce, especially the marketing? Or you're a bit of a geek and enjoy new technology and innovations?
Any of these interests can point you to a B2B niche that could potentially be a winner for you. Even if you have no background in that industry.
I worked with a copywriter many years ago who was a major fan of solar energy technology. She decided to focus on that industry and, within weeks of launching her freelance business, landed a $5,000 white paper project. I suspect her enthusiasm for the industry played a role.
So there you have it. Three paths to the ideal B2B niche. Of course, if you're just breaking into this lucrative writer's market, you also need to:
- Master writing copy that engages and persuades a business audience.
- Learn all the different project types (sell sheets, email campaigns, white papers, etc.).
- Reach out and connect with B2B companies likely to hire you.
But picking your industry or niche is vital. I hope these tips helped!
Do you have any questions about choosing a niche in the B2B market? Post them in the comments so we can get you the answers you need.
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