UPDATED AUGUST 15, 2023
“You should have a niche,” they said
When I started freelancing full time, one of the first things I was told was that I should find myself a niche.
Other copywriters told me, having a niche was the best way to set myself apart from my competitors and maximise my earning potential.
At first, I struggled to see the logic. The idea of putting myself in a box seemed limiting.
But then I started noticing other copywriters on LinkedIn and how the ones with distinct niches stood out. Having a niche was making it easier for them to market themselves. And they were memorable as the go-to copywriter for whatever they’d decided their niche was.
How to choose a copywriting niche
Now I’m not saying you should have a niche as a copywriter. That’s entirely your decision. But if you wanted to explore the idea of having a niche, here are some things you should consider. And they might help you hone in on the ideal niche for you.
What do you have to offer?
Start by taking stock of where you are now. What are your main strengths? What skills do you have? What experience can you bring to the table? How can you best help other businesses?
What’s your USP: your unique selling proposition? That one thing you do that’s different to what every other copywriter is doing. Your USP is always something you can use to your advantage. It could be your specialism, your background or your particular writing style.
Are you a specialist or generalist copywriter?
What’s a specialist copywriter?
If you’re a specialist copywriter, you’ll specialise in writing on a specific subject, or for a specific industry, you know well. For example, it might be an industry you’ve previously worked in and where you’ve gained a lot of valuable experience.
Specialist copywriters tend to work in more specialised industries, where their knowledge and experience can really make a difference. For example, when writing copy or content for an audience that already knows the subject.
What’s a generalist copywriter?
If you’re a generalist copywriter, you’ll be a competent writer who can research and write on a wide range of different subjects, for a range of different industries.
Generalist copywriters really shine when writing for audiences with no prior knowledge of the subject. Because they start in the same place as their audience — needing the same information, asking the same questions and not assuming anything.
Do you want to niche by audience, client, subject or project?
You can niche in terms of the audience you write for, the clients you work with, the subject you write about or the materials you write.
What’s an audience niche?
With an audience niche, it’s about who’s going to read what you write.
You might want to write for a particular audience because you have things in common with them and, therefore, have a deeper understanding of their situation and pain points. Like having worked in the same sector, being from the same demographic or having been through a similar personal experience.
What’s a client niche?
With a client niche, it’s about the clients you write for.
You niche in terms of the kinds of clients you want to write for. For example, that could be sole traders, SMEs, female founders, corporates or multinationals.
Or you might decide you like working with marketing agencies or the marketing departments of larger businesses.
Having a client niche means you know exactly who you’re talking to and this will help you target your marketing efforts more effectively.
What’s a subject niche?
With a subject niche, it’s about what you write about.
A subject niche is for specialist copywriters with a specialist subject that becomes their niche. And their goal is to become the go-to copywriter for businesses in that niche.
What’s a project niche?
With a project niche, it’s about what you write.
For example you might specialise in writing marketing emails, website copy, case studies or white papers.
You would market yourself as the go-to copywriter for that particular kind of writing and you would do it for a range of clients in a range of industries.
What do you most enjoy?
It might seem sensible to choose something you’re good at as your niche. But just because you’re good at something, doesn’t necessarily mean you enjoy it.
Ideally, your niche should be something you’re good at and something you enjoy.
It could be related to a personal interest or passion — or something that makes you feel genuinely enthusiastic and motivated.
Where are the gaps in the market?
It can pay to do your market research and find out which markets are most likely to hire copywriters.
For example, tech and SaaS companies often work with copywriters, because a copywriter can help to bridge the gap between complex tech and the more average person.
You can also take note of the enquiries you’re getting and what you’re being asked for most often.
If there’s a market for it, there’ll be money in it.
If you’re new to copywriting, you shouldn’t feel pressured to find a niche straight away.
When I first started freelancing, I offered everything I’d learned in my copywriting training. This helped me understand what I enjoyed writing — and what I didn’t — so I could narrow down the number of services I offered.
In the long-term, offering a smaller number of services where you have significant experience and have achieved tangible results makes you more marketable than trying to do everything and trying to be all things to all people.
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About the author
I’m Jenny Lucas, a freelance copywriter and content writer, based in Leicester, UK.
I became a copywriter in 2005 after six years of working in design and marketing.
I set up Jenny Lucas Copywriting in 2011 and, in 2017, I decided to go freelance full time.
Today I’m a generalist copywriter who specialises in SEO copywriting for websites, content writing and conceptual copywriting for visual communications.