Garden Writers: Out of Season?
Experts advise that you develop a niche, or expertise, in your content writing. It makes sense. If you’re an article writer, you’re facing increasing competition from thousands of other writers just like you. One terrific way to set yourself apart from others and shine for prospective clients is to show you know more than anyone else. If you’re the expert, and you’ve got the clips and links to prove it, you’re more likely to get the gig every time.
But what happens when your niche is only seasonally popular? Garden writing is more widespread every year, with the interest in frugal food, local cuisine, and family activities growing. Writers who have expertise in writing about plants have an easier time finding clients and writing gigs from spring until fall, when the interest in the topic dries up for the year. When this happens, it can feel like a rug has been pulled out from underneath you. Suddenly you’ve gone from as busy as possible to barely filling your day. How do you avoid this dry spell in the feast-or-famine world of freelance writing?
Find an Opposite Niche
If garden writing runs spring until fall, find something equivalent that runs fall through spring. It’s easier to transfer your talents and clips if you choose a niche in the same general category. If you’re big on family gardening articles, try some pieces on other family activities. Organic gardening writers are naturals for the green niche, writing pieces about local buying habits and reducing the carbon footprint. Even those who write about house plants can transfer their writing skills to interior decorating. If none of these appeal to you, consider that gardening can be a technical topic. Go for another niche that takes the same amount of concentrated effort such as cooking, handheld devices, or pet care.
Gardeners have been known to take advantage of every day of the season by planting a second crop of cool-weather vegetables that last until the frost. These smart planters keep the harvest going by planning ahead, dropping seeds in the ground in the middle of summer.
If you plan to avoid a work drought in the fall, you need to do the same thing. Start planting seeds for your career in the middle of summer, when you’re the busiest. It might seem foolish to look for more clients when you already have as many as you can handle, but that situation never continues in the gardening business. Start pitching magazines and websites in your new niche, using clips from gardening clients as proof of your writing talents. Prospective clients want to know you can write; they don’t necessarily need proof that you have great expertise in their subject matter. Line up new clients and work them as sparsely as possible during gardening season, gradually adding more work, if possible, as the season moves toward fall and the garden work drops off. Done right, this plan should result in little or no loss of work, no matter what the season.
Victoria B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.