Plenty of writers have a niche or two that they write in regularly. Your niche might be a personal interest, or it might have been an area you fell into by getting hands-on experience as a writer or by working with a ghostwriting service at some point in your career. While writing in a niche can be financially beneficial – you get to call yourself an expert and command higher rates for your work – it can also have its drawbacks. One day, you might wake up and find that you’ve grown bored with your chosen subject. Or, the work in that area might have dried up. When that happens, you need to find ways to expand your niche, and in turn, expand your market.
Expand from Within
Some writing niches are more suitable for growth from within than others. If you start with a relatively broad niche, such as personal finance, health, or home issues, you have a lot of places you can go. Perhaps your niche originally was writing about personal income tax. To spice up your writing life, you can expand into other personal finance areas, such as retirement planning or saving money. These topics in some ways connect to income tax and tax returns, so you can relate them to your original niche.
If your niche was narrow to begin with, such as writing about growing tomato plants in containers, you might need to backtrack a bit before you can expand your subject area. Starting out with a narrow niche and broadening can be useful for you, as it gives your writing a burst of energy and can attract a new audience for your work. But, there is some risk involved, especially if you have a dedicated following who stick around only to read about container grown tomatoes. If you start writing about other vegetables or gardening in ground, you risk losing some of your original readers.
Take the Time for Training
As a writer, it’s important that you never stop learning. If you’ve gotten into a rut in your freelance writing life, it might be time to learn a new skill or subject area. Pick an area you have a good amount of interest in, but not much experience. You want to end up as engaged by your new subject area as you were by your current niche. If a subject bores you to tears, taking a class to learn more about it will most likely be a waste of your time, even if that particular is in-demand and would lead to more work for you.
Education as a writer doesn’t mean you need to take a writing class. If you want to learn more about technology or the web, you can take a course in web design or Adobe. If you want to start writing about art or crafting, take an art history class or pottery class.
Whether you write for fun or profit, have your own blog or write for others, expanding your niche is always worth your time and effort. Once you’ve found a new subject to write in, let your clients know. They might not have work for you in that area, but they might be able to direct you to someone who does.
Amy F is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.