Automotive Writing: What You Need to Know
So you like cars and want to segue your love of such into a writing career in the automotive industry? You’ve already met one of the intangibles that companies often weigh when deciding whether or not to hire auto bloggers or automotive writers. But the automotive industry is very broad, very competitive and somewhat difficult to break into, meaning that there’s more than just a metaphorical “love of the game” that you’ll need to launch a successful automotive writing career.
For starters, you should choose a niche of the industry to focus on (more on this coming up). After you’ve selected an aspect of the industry to pursue as your “specialty,” your next step is making yourself credible. Think about it – when companies hire auto bloggers or automotive writers, they want someone who can grow their readership and add value to their publication. Yes, you can learn on the fly, but here’s a look at some of the niche categories, as well as some advice and tips to help you spearhead an automotive writing career:
- Vehicle reviews/analysis: Consists primarily of driving and reviewing cars, much of what you’d see in the likes of Car and Driver and Autoblog. Can you do more than just cite the features and technical specifications of the car, but comment on the handling, feel and driving of it in various conditions? These are as much about your opinion as they are about facts, so you need to be able to analytically and authoritatively discuss such vehicles.
- Industry reporting: This consists of automotive news reporting, which you’d see in Automotive News and Ward’s Auto World. Do you have a journalism degree or previous writing experience? Can you analyze automotive trends and make connections? Ask yourself these questions before pursuing this niche.
- Automotive development: You’ll be covering software programs, engineering techniques, prototyping and manufacturing equipment and much more (see: Automotive Design & Production and Automotive Engineering). How well do you know such technology? Have you taken engineering classes or used the design software? Have you read books on the Toyota Product Development Systems? Do you belong to an industry organization such as SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers)? Can you take content that might not be all that interesting and make it relevant, informative and engaging? You’re of no use to your readers if you’re not familiar with the technology and practices.
- Automotive repair: Do you have experience working as a mechanic? If you don’t have direct experience working in automotive repair, you shouldn’t bother with this topic. But if you do – and you can write – you can be a highly valued resource for your readers in terms of repair and maintenance.
Scott C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.