You probably heard it over and over again in school and at the beginning of your career, but it bears mentioning yet again: writing is one of the most important skills you can learn. Every single industry uses writing in some way. Have you heard how important freelance writing niches are?
Technical manuals, website content, research papers, grant applications, customer service responses, video scripts, social media posts, speeches, patent descriptions, contracts, financial reports, formal letters, brochures, ad copy, and an almost endless list of other written collateral are passed back and forth every minute of the day by every business in the world.
You get the picture. Writing matters. And good writing is extremely valuable.
That’s why freelance writing is a great way to make money.
Like any side gig, the best way to get quality clients and start to grow as a freelancer is to narrow your focus from the endless list of freelance writing niches and find the one that really fits you.
A niche is just a fancy way of saying what you do, who you do it for, and how you do it. It’s being intentional about how you define your skills and getting really, really good at something very, very specific.
The problem will not be having too few freelance writing niches to choose from.
There are hundreds––maybe thousands––of different types of writing, like the ones listed above. Multiply those types by an infinite array of writing styles, which allow you to really put your personal stamp on what you do, and you come up with a dizzying list of freelance writing niches.
The problem is figuring out where you fit, and then putting all of your efforts towards the top freelance writing niches you can really shine at.
Knowing what your freelance writing niche options are and how to narrow that down can jumpstart your career, work with top brands, hone your skills, allow you to charge more and just make your job as a freelance writer more enjoyable.
In this article, we will break down the most common freelance writing niches and guide you on finding what works for you.
24 Freelance writing niches to explore
The sheer number of freelance writing niches available makes it tough to know how to begin a career as a freelance writer and find your focus. Breaking them into categories can help you think about job opportunities in a new way. Let’s dive in.
Most common freelance writing niches
1. Content writing
Every business needs a massive volume of written content for the web. Content writers churn out product and service descriptions, brand stories, blog posts and more. Content writing is one of the most broad and one of the most common freelance writing niches, and a great way to get your feet wet as a freelancer, since the demand is almost endless.
2. Article writing
Article writing is a bit more specific than simply content writing. Articles can include profiles on company members, finding interesting company news to write about and thought-leadership pieces within an industry. Articles are typically written for an outside source, instead of an internal company website.
Social media writing is about so much more than just reposting funny memes and announcing company news. Social media writing takes careful thought and planning, and the ability to condense big ideas into a few short sentences.
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Most social media writers also provide graphics and content calendars. A quick wit and a sense of world events and how ideas will be received by a massive audience are also needed.
Marketing freelance writing niches
4. Content marketing
Didn’t we already cover content, you’re saying? Yes, but content writing and content marketing are subtly different. As a content marketer, you can charge a higher rate, but you’re expected to do more than just write.
You’ll create interesting stories through blog posts, articles and social posts, and then creatively spread them across the internet. You’ll need strong relationship building skills and a basic understanding of marketing and online community building.
Traditionally, copywriters work for ad agencies to create the persuasive words found in advertising materials like brochures, taglines, newspaper ads, sales scripts, newsletters and even business cards. In recent years, copywriting has been on the rise as one of the freelance writing niches, instead of being limited to full time employees.
Of course copywriters create web content, but it’s important to realize the differences between online and print material to be a strong copywriter, and know that most established brands still use both effectively. If you can work into this niche, you’ll be treated to some very creative writing opportunities.
6. Public relations writing
Public relations (PR) is essentially half strategy, half writing, so there are plenty of opportunities for writers to work into PR freelance writing niches. PR writing can include press releases, articles, messaging, scripts, briefing documents, Q&As and more. Probably the most important skill for this category is knowing how to tell a strong brand story.
7. Lead magnets
A lead magnet is a form of free content that consumers get in exchange for their personal information, usually an email address. Lead magnet writing is one of the freelance writing niches that is still somewhat new and has room for a lot of growth.
Lead magnets can be very lucrative for businesses, so they are always looking for strong, creative writers to create valuable and interesting materials that customers will be drawn to.
8. Description writing
This targeted freelance writing niche is just what it sounds like–writing short descriptions for products or services. This can be for online content, like t-shirt designs, jewelry, specialized products, etc. or for physical content like catalogues or weekly ads.
You might be surprised at how much work is available in such a specific space. Think about online video streaming services alone–someone has to create the descriptions for the millions of TV episodes and movies listed in their catalogues.
Business freelance writing niches
9. Business plan writing
If you have a background in business, a degree in finance or something similar, considering business-style freelance writing niches, like putting together business plans, is a great way to differentiate yourself.
While bootstrapped startup groups may write their own business plans, many more established entrepreneurs or companies with a little bit of capital will hire a consultant to help put together a polished and strong business plan.
10. Proposal writing
While a business plan is submitted to investors, a business proposal is generally submitted to clients for singular projects. They are shorter and more focused, and if you can establish yourself as an expert, you may very well be able to build a strong clientele with a steady stream of proposal writing work keeping you busy.
High-paying freelance writing niches
Celebrities aren’t the only people who hire ghostwriters. Many busy executives, influencers, and everyday people with a story to tell hire someone else to write that story, even though they put their own name on it. Because people who approach ghostwriters don’t necessarily have the skills (or the time) to write their own content, this is one of the freelance writing niches that earns a high pay rate.
Don’t assume that ghostwriting is only about books–many high-profile columnists hire ghostwriters to keep up with the demand of writing monthly or weekly articles.
12. Technical writing
Technical writing is not easy. It is the process of taking complex information and breaking it down into manageable steps and easy-to-understand documents.
It takes a lot of patience, meticulous attention to detail and a solid understanding of the background material you’re working with. That said, freelance technical writers can charge up to $125/hour, so this is not one of the freelance writing niches you should dismiss lightly.
13. Industry-specific writing
One tried-and-true method of finding freelance writing niches that will get a steady stream of clients is to shine in a defined industry. Everything from healthcare companies and engineering firms to government entities and sports agencies need written content.
Think about your passions, hobbies, college degree or previous work experience. Draw on those connections and that expertise and then build on it to establish a reputation for knowing the ins and outs and jargon of the industry, and your work will become invaluable to a whole series of brands.
Just be careful about non-compete clauses and working with direct competitors.
14. Legal writing
If you have a background in the law, you’re in luck, because legal writing is one of the most in-demand freelance writing niches on the market. Many firms hire out contractors to keep up with the steady stream of legal briefs, contracts and agreements they need to produce for clients.
Most competitive freelance writing niches
Lots of people dream of being a freelance journalist and traveling the world, but you should know that this is one of the most competitive freelance writing niches out there.
You may wind up investing a lot of your own money and time coming up with articles that may or may not ever be published. If you have strong contacts in the industry it may make sense for you, otherwise, it’s probably best to look elsewhere.
16. Fiction writing
Many writers start out dreaming of writing novels and seeing their name atop the New York Times best-seller lists. While this is a great end goal to have, it may not be the most lucrative freelance writing gig, since the odds of becoming a household name in writing are about 1 in 100,000.
Most in-demand freelance writing niches
17. Blog writing
Talk to any small business owner, and you’ll find someone unable to keep up with a full time blog. While large corporations often hire a full-time content manager, small and mid-sized companies turn to freelancers. If you’re great at short-form, timely content and can write quickly, blog writing is probably a great niche for you.
For grammar nerds and talented writers, proofreading and editing can be a great source of income. Within the editing niche, you can specialize in technical, industry, fiction, or almost any kind of writing, or keep things broad.
Specialized freelance writing niches
The above list contains some of the most well-known and sought after freelance writing niches, but it is far from exhaustive. You can add to this list a whole group of specialized freelance writing niches, including things like:
19-24. Speech writing, Script writing, Poetry, Grant writing, Instructional design, & e-Book writing
Finding the freelance writing niches that fit you
With so many options, how do you know which freelance writing niches might work for you? If you already have a talent for writing, finding your niche is really about your personality more than anything else.
Think about what you have experience with, interest in and knowledge about. You can build a business and reputation for yourself using your existing skills.
Starting with what you know is also smart, because you’re likely to already have connections in that field, which is a great way to get clients.
Start by looking at your current portfolio and finding the pattern of what you are good at. Use that insight and your great writing skills to put together a strong website that shows prospective clients what you are all about and how you can contribute to their brand.
Remember, the freelance writing niches you zero in on can evolve with your business and personal growth, so don’t stress too much about the direction you take at first.
Freelance writing niches are all about how you present yourself as a writer to the world. Finding a handful that work with your style and then pursuing opportunities that fit those parameters will help kickstart your career.
The more you work in a particular field, the better your skills will get, the more high-quality your clients will become, and, as a result, you can charge a higher rate.
If none of the freelance writing niches on this list appeal to you, get out there, hone your skills, and create your own.
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