Ever played Russian Roulette?
Probably not, but chances are, you’ve watched it in a movie or streamed it on a show.
Your heart’s pounding a mile a minute. Your palms are sweaty. Adrenaline courses through your veins. The tension, the high stakes, the thrill of the moment; they’re keeping you at the edge of your seat.
And you’re feeling this way because you know that this is the ultimate risk — it’s a do or die situation.
Deciding to pick a niche, or an area of specialty can feel weirdly similar to that. Sans the scary guns.
Mostly because, by choosing a niche, you might feel like you’re limiting yourself to a pretty big extent. I mean, what if there are a hundred different things you’re passionate about? You wouldn’t really want to just ignore them and laser focus on only one of them.
Thing is, you don’t have to. All you gotta do is be strategic about what you’re choosing to specialize in so that you can build up your skillset and cement yourself not as a Jack or Jill of all trades, but a master of one (or two).
Lemme sketch that out a bit more: for example, say you’re a photographer.
Technically, you could just title yourself that and call it a day, but that’s not very specific, is it? There’s probably a boatload and then some of other photographers out there vying for your potential clients and customers.
So what’s a girl (or guy) to do?
That’s an easy one.
You pick a niche and go all in.
So what exactly does zeroing in on a niche do?
First off, it makes things so much easier for you because when you have a specific niche and a targeted clientele, you’ll be pitching and working with only those select customers, which further lets you work on and hone your craft, instead of scrambling around and having to learn a new topic and target audience every single time you work with a different client.
For example, if you decide that you’re niching down as a photographer who exclusively shoots wedding pictures, you’d know exactly what you do and who you do it for.
You wouldn’t need to worry about constantly re-learning 101 different topics and techniques, unlike a generalist photographer who might find herself shooting graduation photos one day, bachelorette the next, and something completely different after that.
Secondly, finding and securing a niche does something super important, especially if you’re relatively new to the playing field and don’t have an overflowing portfolio, glowing testimonials, and a long list of connections: it builds trust.
How so? Because when you select a subject and go all in, you establish your influence in that particular area and add to your credibility.
By clearly demonstrating your knowledge, insight, and talent in a specific area, you position yourself as an expert and that helps you be seen as an authority in the niche of your choice.
Let’s break that down a bit more:
Imagine that you’re a baker, and you’re just about to open a new cafe. You’re looking for a photographer to shoot your confectionary products and have found two that seem like a good fit:
Photographer A is a generalist. His portfolio includes imagery from everything to a fashion show to an equestrian race. He’s got years of experience, sure, but not in the field that you need.
Meanwhile, you’ve got Photographer B. She’s a specialist, and works exclusively as a food photographer. She’s shot dozens of culinary campaigns and has relevant samples in her portfolio to back it up. She doesn’t have as much experience as the other one, but what she does have is exactly what you need: expertise in food photography.
Which one would you pick?
Photographer B is pretty much a no-brainer, yeah?
Even though she isn’t as experienced, you can clearly see her talent and expertise and you trust her to get the job done. At the end of the day, that’s what it all comes down to — trust. Picking a niche and developing a stellar skillset in it goes a long way in building trust with clients.
Alright, now that you’re hopefully sold on the importance of having a niche, the next step is to actually pick one.
The simplest way to do that is to draw up a little list of three things, which includes topics that
- You’re passionate about or interested in
- You know quite well or could keep learning about and further improve
- Are profitable and something that your target clients actually need
A topic that checks off all those boxes would be the ideal niche for you.
Here’s an example of that in action:
Let’s suppose that you’re a copywriter (like me!).
Maybe you write for a wide variety of clients across all types of industries, but what you’re really interested in, what you could happily write about for hours on end, is wellness.
You’d have a rough list of topics and sub-topics within that realm that you know a lot about, or could learn more about, such as mental health, self-help, self-care, and the like.
Now if you decided to niche down as a copywriter, here’s how you would go about it:
Decide if you’re going to niche down horizontally, vertically, or both.
Niching down horizontally means picking an industry type you’d like to write in, which could be anything from fitness to beauty to something as unique as aromatherapy. Let’s say you’ve chosen to niche down horizontally in wellness.
Fantastic! We’re getting there.
The second kind of niching is vertical, which means the content type. As in, you’d be open to writing for any type of industry but only a specific type of content, such as blog posts, case studies, or social media copy.
If you’re more into light, friendly, and personable writing, you might want to write blog posts. On the flip side, if you prefer technical, informative articles, you’d rock at crafting case studies and whitepapers.
If you’re having a little trouble niching down vertically, a terrific resource you should check out is this in-depth blog post that’ll help you really cement your content type.
Lastly, the third way you can choose a niche is by a combination of both, i.e: zeroing in horizontally and vertically, wherein you’d write something like social media copy for fitness brands, or blog posts for software service providers.
In those cases, you’ve niched down by both industry and content type, which can be a seriously lucrative strategy.
Let’s bring all this together to draw up this profile:
You’re a wellness copywriter who specializes in writing tailored, engaging social media copy.
Now that you’ve locked down on your niche, you’d know to target clients, customers, and companies specifically in the health, fitness, self-care and wellness industries. You aren’t stumbling around in the dark looking for clients; you know exactly who they are and where to find them! That’s an incredibly valuable piece of information to have.
Whichever way you choose to niche down, whether that’s horizontally or vertically, you’d have a lot more clarity on your mission, your message, and your services, which makes it so much easier to find clients who can’t wait to work with you.
Now that you’ve zeroed in on your niche, you’re well on your way to running a profitable, freedom-filled business. Go you!
About the Author
Rosh is a copywriter and the founder of Rhosyn Avenue, a digital content creation studio where she helps eclectic, women-led brands with killer copy that captures, connects and ultimately, converts. Need a writing facelift? Hop on over to Rhosyn Avenue to swap out bland, cookie-cutter writing for powerful, personality-driven copy that skyrockets your biz on autopilot. Connect with Rosh: Website + LinkedIn + Pinterest
Katie Jenison is a freelance writer offering copywriting, blogging, and ghostwriting services. She works closely with home builders, remodelers, interior designers, real estate and property management professionals to help them create content marketing strategies, improve their digital presence, generate leads, and engage with their target audience. Katie also helps freelance writers and creative entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of working from home by providing tips and advice, business strategies, and writing tips on her blog, The Quiet Type. Download her free workbook, A Freelancer’s Guide to Setting Rates, here.