The niches you didn’t even know you had

The easiest way to be a profitable writer in the content world is to have a niche or two (or three, or four, etc.) in which you are qualified to write. This is a commonly-known fact about writing on the web. Niche markets pay better than non-niche markets, not only because they require little/no research on your part, but because you are an expert in those particular niches and can thus demand higher fees when writing about those specific topics.

However, having a niche is more than just picking something and trying to carve out your own little corner of the Internet. In order to really make the niche work for you, you have to have some relevant experience in the field in said niche. For example, I could pick brain surgery as my niche, but the problem is that I really don’t know the first thing about brain surgery. If I were to write anything about the topic I would have to do a lot of research prior to writing the article. That means my productivity goes down.

The key to making money writing website content through niches is to establish niches where your skills are at at their peak level. The reason for this is simple: productivity. Every time you write something in a niche you are familiar with, you have zero time spent on research. You already know the topic at hand, so you don’t need to research it.

Niches are hobbies. These are things you enjoy. You talk about them all the time with your friends. Maybe your niches are things like sports, cars, sailing, nail clippings, red fingernail polish, train sets, or the price of bamboo in New Zealand. A niche is something which you are passionate about. You enjoy talking about it, and you enjoy reading and writing about it. In fact, if you had enough spare time, you would spend most of it on your hobbies…your niches.

Many people aren’t even aware of the niches they have available to them. They think that niches are somehow linked to the professional working environment. The reality couldn’t be further from that misguided notion. Your entire life is full of niches, because your experiences living in this world have provided you with expertise that only you are qualified to write about, because no one else but you has experienced them.

I started with video games, personally. My first writing gig was six months working on a kids-to-teens fantasy RPG writing quests and dialogue. That led to writing game guides for Killer Guides, which led to work for various video game publications around the world. I also took my knowledge of running a small business, my family background in the ceramic and natural stone contracting industry, my passion for traveling around the world, my love of wine and food, and my personal knowledge on health and fitness…and suddenly I realized I had dozens niches I was qualified to write in.

I used to run a small business. As the president of said business, I was in charge of the hiring and the firing. I was in charge of generating the jobs we worked on. As a small business owner there were a variety of positions that I covered all at the same time. I was the PR guy, the HR guy, the bookkeeper, the boss, an employee, an installer, a designer, a consultant and so on and so forth. The tasks required of me as a business owner gave me even more niches above and beyond my life experiences.

Beyond that, I had traveled frequently throughout Europe, often for months at a time. That gave me in-depth knowledge on the ins and outs of international travel, different cultures, different cuisines, wines, and a variety of other travel-related aspects that gave me niches within that industry. I had always been a gamer, so I had over 20 years of playing console games and computer games, and in today’s market where gaming is a global phenomenon with literally billions of dollars at stake and millions of players all over the world, suddenly the hobby my parents always swore was going to rot my brain was making me cash. Doctors are advocating video games as a means for improving eye/hand coordination, and are using them for therapeutic recovery methods.

Regardless if you are writing for traditional clients or choosing to write for the current trend of content mills, the easiest way to be profitable is through niches. Not only does it remove the research aspect from the equation and allow you to simply write for cash, but your niche topics are hobbies you are already passionate about, which means they won’t feel like work when you are writing about them. Imagine getting paid to ramble about the latest sports game, or rant about your favorite/least favorite politician. Wouldn’t you like to make money simply talking about knitting, or showing people how to make a pair of socks? How about teaching people how to trim their dog’s toenails or braid a leather whip?

There are literally millions of niches out there to choose from. Your life experiences, regardless of where you live in the world, have provided you with dozens of niches to choose from, all of them specifically relevant to you. All you have to do is pick the ones you are most passionate about and start writing about them online. There are 6 billion people out there in the world, and some of them have similar hobbies as yourself, and they want to hear what you have to say.

Take a look at your life. What are you most passionate about? What niches do you have available to you?

T.W. Anderson is the founder of Complete Writing Solutions, and is a freelance writer specializing in travel writing, website content, interior design and home improvement, green-related topics, as well as anything else potential clients need him to be.

Posted in Freelance Writing 101 Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
7 comments on “The niches you didn’t even know you had
  1. Anne Wayman says:

    I’ve been tempted to start a blog about pottery – I’m pretty good at hand building, but when I actually tried to list say a month’s worth of titles I found I didn’t have that much to say.

    So for me a niche I can write in isn’t always based in a hobby – that is the hobby may not fuel writing ideas.

    Listing a month or more of titles gives me a window into my possible productivity in a new area.

  2. Hola, Anne.

    I’m fairly lucky in that I have close to two dozen keywords related to niches that I plug in when I do content work. Now, I don’t always find articles to write on every single one of them, but at DS, for example, I always pull at least 20 pages (that’s over 600 articles) worth of things I could write on without ever even researching. A couple of times earlier in the year there were actually 70+ pages of articles to claim.

    Depends on what you know and what you can write about. One thing I plan on doing in 2010 is making a second blog linked to an e-book on a very specific, very niche product…but I can’t say more on it just yet =P

    Best part is…the more people in the world who get on the ‘net, the more people want to read about niche topics, the more money you can make writing about random things that a year ago wouldn’t have even made a blip on the radar. It’s awesome.

  3. On a side note, I’m trying to get my wife to make money blogging about her passions, but she doesn’t want to. Her blog over the summer was getting crazy hits per day and lots of comments, but she ran out of time to post, and she’s so busy with school + her part time job and other things that she hasn’t had time to make any blog posts these days, just translations here and there. She loves her pottery classes, though!

  4. T.W.
    Your post got me thinking. I’m a cosmetologist and have used that to write articles on DS. I also have a sideways background in health since my mother is a retired RN and I used to read her nursing magazines as a kid, my husband was a CNA for about 10 years and my daughter just completed her CNA training. That said, I find myself gravitating to the health titles on DS. I have 17 years retail experience that I just realized could help me in marketing and sales copy.

    Thanks for the ideas. You’ve just opened up some new niches for me.

  5. Heck yeah, Kathryn :) That’s exactly what I’m talking about! A lot of people just don’t really understand or realize the sheer scope of the niches they have available to them, because the common understanding is that niches are only related to the professional world. But when you break it down, niches are really nothing more than areas of your life where you have a reasonably high level of skill, and if you analyze all the different aspects of your life, suddenly there are (potentially) dozens of niches available to write in.

    I’m really glad you found this information useful :) I hope to see you comment again, and keep us posted on how things are going!

  6. katie says:

    You’ve probably already thought about this, but could you ghost blog your wife’s blog for her? You could pick her brain over lunch or dinner, and probably come up with a week’s worth of blog topics pretty easily. I imagine that it would also be pretty easy for you to retain the “flavor” of her blog since you know her so well.

  7. It’s a possibility I hadn’t thought of before, Katie, but the problem is…I don’t have time.

    2010 is shaping up to be a massive year for me. I haven’t said much about it yet, but I’ll be making a New Year’s post sometime in the next week or so to showcase just how progressive things have been around here lately, and just how crazy it’s going to be in 2010. We still may end up doing something for my wife’s crafting, but at present…she’s just too swamped with other stuff, and I don’t have enough hours in the day to blog for her as well. Too many irons in the fire :)

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