As every freelancer quickly realizes, the competition for online writing jobs is fierce, and it’s only going to get stronger. As more and more millennials develop an affinity for flexible, remote jobs, these positions will become increasingly hard to find. That means you either have to choose a new career or find a way to stand out.
Which will it be?
Writing Specialization: The Key to Differentiation
While some freelancers will throw in the towel when times get tough, don’t let this be you. Instead, do your best to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Many successful freelancers have discovered that specialization is the best way to stand out. By zoning in on a niche and developing a specific set of skills, you can position yourself as knowledgeable and proficient at servicing a particular industry. While this may limit the number of job opportunities available to you, it simultaneously boosts the amount you’re able to charge. The payoff can be tremendous.
Specialization Isn’t a New Trend
While it may be a new concept to some of you, specialization isn’t a new idea. If you think about it, virtually all businesses and professionals specialize at one point or another. For example, Green Residential, a Houston-based property management company, points out that real estate investors must focus on a niche or they’ll fail: “There are dozens of unique specializations including apartment complexes, flipping, luxury home rentals, multifamily housing, vacation properties, and many more.” You can’t invest in all of these and expect to be successful.
This is what the Harvard Business Review calls The Age of Hyperspecialization. Everyone from the neighborhood grocer to the stockbroker on Wall Street is specializing in something. Shouldn’t you?
How to Choose a Writing Niche
The question most people inevitably ask is: “How do I choose the correct specialty or niche?” Well, it depends on a number of important factors. For starters, consider the following:
- What are you knowledgeable about? This is the first question to think about. For example, if you’re a residential real estate agent or you have experience in this area, you’re obviously pretty knowledgeable about market trends, financing, sales techniques, and other processes involved in the sale and purchase of homes. Real estate would be a natural specialization for your writing career.
- What interests you? You also have to consider your personal interests. What’s the first thing you think about in the morning? What do you love to do when you have a free weekend? When a topic interests you, you’re much more likely to find your career satisfying and fulfilling. If you can find a niche that you’re knowledgeable about and interested in, this is the perfect combination.
- Where is the demand? You also have to think about the demand for your specialty. You may love underwater basket weaving, but does anyone else care about it? Is anyone willing to pay for content in this space? It’s critical that you pay attention to demand and choose a specialty with this in mind.
- How much competition is there? Finally, consider the competition. If there are already thousands of other writers in a niche, you’re going to face an uphill battle when it comes to making a name for yourself. On the other hand, if you can find a specialty that only has a handful of proven names, this can be a fantastic place to invest your time and money.
If you’re able to answer each of these questions, you’ll naturally stumble upon a niche that’s right for you. But don’t worry about committing to a specialty. Over time, you’ll find that your career will evolve. You’re not committing to a lifetime of writing the same content. You’re simply choosing an area of expertise in order to give yourself a solid footing and stable career.