Getting to know the freelance writing niches

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May 6, 2021
5 minute read

If you want to earn more in less time, find your niche. Finding your niche as a freelance writer is a powerful way to focus your efforts and accelerate your growth as a small business owner. Over time you’ll get better clients, make more money, and find greater satisfaction in your work.

This article outlines the 21 most profitable freelance writing niches as well as how to find, test, and develop yours. 

What is a freelance writing niche?

Your niche is your specialty. It’s the topic, industry, or type of content you focus on as a freelance writer. Your niche will be an area that you have experience in, domain knowledge on, or are simply passionate about.

Writing niches can be broad, such as finance or marketing, or narrow, such as investments or email marketing. It’s common to start with a broader niche that you eventually narrow as you gain experience.

Freelance writing niches can be focused by industry or content type. Examples of industry niches include health, education, travel, eCommerce, finance, and real estate. Examples of content type niches include ghostwriting, case studies, white papers, email marketing, and SEO writing.

Why is it important to have a niche?

Having a niche helps you build a profitable freelance writing business faster. Having a niche helps you focus, and focus leads to sustainable profit. With an established niche you’ll be able to market yourself with confidence, build domain authority, and get quality client referrals.

Market yourself clearly and confidently

It’s easier to pitch your services and attract leads when you can clearly articulate what you do and who you do it for. When you’re a newbie freelancer, it’s tempting to say that you do all types of writing for any type of client. While there’s a lot of value in experimenting and being open to opportunities, you’ll need to start niching down eventually. Remember that you can always change your writing niche as you gain more experience and your skills or interests evolve.

Having your specialty on your website and in your social media bios lets people quickly understand what you do and if you can help them. Companies usually want to hire freelancers who specialize in what they’re looking for. Specialization signals expertise, and expertise is what allows you to charge more for your services.

Build domain authority

When you write about the same topic or produce the same type of content repeatedly you develop your skills and expertise more quickly. You will also become known for a certain kind and quality of work. The goal of having a niche is to become the go-to for a specific type of writing. If an eCommerce company is looking for an email marketing specialist that’s known for their high conversion rates, and that’s your niche, you want to be one of the first names that come to mind.

Having a writing niche helps you work towards becoming a sought-after specialist in your chosen field.

Get quality client referrals

Referrals are a major source of business for most freelancers. But people can’t recommend you if they don’t know how to sum up what you do. By having a writing niche, your clients will be able to easily recommend you to other companies in their network who need similar services. High-quality clients—clients that are strong communicators, respectful of your boundaries, and pay on time—tend to associate with similar types of people.

How do I find my freelance writing niche?

Finding your niche can feel overwhelming. You don’t have to do this perfectly, especially at the beginning of your freelance writing career. Start with an educated guess and remember that everyone has to start somewhere. You can always adjust and pivot as you go—everyone does!

Consider these four things to find your freelance writing niche.

1. What are your areas of expertise?

Your personal and professional experience offers a wealth of knowledge and skills. Jobs, education, personal experience, and hobbies can all be turned into topics you write about. People want to learn about parenting from other parents, and get financial advice from financial experts. If you have professional certifications that can help you charge a premium for your expertise.

Your domain knowledge is valuable. Learning to write well will help you capitalize on that knowledge.

2. What are you passionate about?

What are you interested in? What do you find yourself naturally reading, learning, and talking about? The answers to these questions could point to your writing niche. Following a current interest helps ensure a niche is sustainable for you. While it’s tempting to follow the money, picking a writing niche solely because it’s profitable can lead to misalignment and burnout.

For some people more than others, writing about something they’re passionate about or that aligns with their values is incredibly important.

3. What industries are profitable?

You need to pick an industry with a healthy marketing budget. These are industries where brands and companies rely on written content to drive sales. Because it’s such an important part of their marketing strategy, they are willing and able to put money toward it. Not every industry or company has the budget or profit margins to pay freelance writers. Choose wisely.

The industries where it’s been proven that you can spend money this way to make money are the ones that will have healthy marketing budgets for freelance writers.

4. Where are there gaps in the market?

This is where you get to be creative and leverage your unique set of skills. If you’re a big-picture, strategic thinker, you might have a knack for identifying gaps in the market. You might be able to see how certain content marketing strategies that work in one industry could be leveraged in another. Or you might be able to bring a fresh, accessible approach to a traditional industry. For example, an accountant who’s able to create and write content that resonates with a younger, less financially literate audience.

Combining your unique set of skills to become a specialized generalist can be extremely lucrative. As they say, innovation happens at the intersections.

What makes a freelance writing niche profitable?

A writing niche is profitable if there is demand for your services, a sufficient marketing budget to pay you, and when that type of work is sustainable for you over the long term.

Sufficient demand and budget

There are lots of types of writing that unfortunately don’t pay well. For a niche to be profitable, you need to be writing for companies or organizations that have the budget to pay freelance writers well. This typically happens when the companies themselves have high profit margins and have proven that written content directly leads to sales.

You want to look for industries that rely on content to get customers, to lower their cost of customer acquisition, or to increase customer retention.

Sustainable for you long term

This is an often overlooked but important consideration when choosing a writing niche. Certain types of writing might pay well, but if you hate doing it or you find it incredibly draining it won’t actually be profitable for you long term. If your work is leading to burnout, it’s not sustainable.

Consider not only how much you can make per hour or per project, but how many hours you can reasonably work in a given month or year. By assessing this more holistically you are in the position to build a business as a writer that you can sustain and grow over time.

How can I test your freelance writing niche?

It’s impossible to have all the answers before you get started. A lot of choosing a niche is making an educated guess and then testing that guess out in the real world through experience.

Here’s how to start testing your niche to ensure that there’s demand for your services and that you enjoy it:

Read lots of content

If you think you might enjoy a specific topic or type of content, look for and read lots of examples. As you’re reading, notice if your interest continues to peak or if you’re bored. If you’re bored just reading about something, chances are you won’t enjoy having to write about it.

It’s tempting to simply follow the money, but it’s important to find something that fits your experience and interest.

Look at job boards

Look at job boards such as Contena and Upwork to see what jobs are available in your chosen niche. This will give you a sense of demand, what kinds of companies are hiring, and average pay. High demand or competition is often a sign of profitable freelance writing niches. LinkedIn is another great way to research your niche, network with other freelancers, and see who might be hiring.

Start a blog

If you’re a new freelance writer or new to your chosen niche, starting a blog is a great way to practice writing while getting your name out there. Many clients won’t hire you without either seeing previous writing samples or having a recommendation from someone they trust. A blog is a space where you can share your interests and expertise in a given field. It helps people see how you think and get a sense of what you’re like as a person. Don’t be afraid to show your personality, this will help attract clients that have similar values.

Establish a social media presence

Social media sites like Twitter and LinkedIn can be valuable tools for freelance writers. They’re great places to connect with other freelancers, who you’ll learn from and who could refer you to work, and to get your name out to potential clients.

The key is to use your social media profiles to create genuine connections with others. Be helpful and others will end up helping you. Share your knowledge openly and generously to both establish your expertise as a writer and attract like-minded clients.

Write a guest post

Writing guest posts can help you get practice writing, reach a new audience, and establish your authority in a space. Many blogs and companies look for guest authors to help them create content. These often won’t be paid opportunities, but if done strategically it can be a great way to attract clients.

Ensure that you’re only writing guests posts, especially unpaid ones, where it’s mutually beneficial. Will this post be read by people who could hire you? Will you be able to proudly add this to your portfolio? Will having written for this publication reflect favorably on your reputation in the industry?

21 profitable freelance writing niches to explore

1. Finance

The finance, banking, and insurance industries are some of the most lucrative ones to write for. From established corporations to new startups, these companies rely on written content to drive sales. They are constantly looking for writers to help them create content that educates, inspires, and converts their audience. You can also make great money as an independent blogger through sponsored posts and affiliate links.

Within financial writing, there are many topics and sub-niches to explore. Here are some of them:

  • Investing
  • Retirement planning
  • Insurance
  • Mortgage lending
  • Credit cards
  • Debt management
  • Budgeting and personal finance
  • Accounting
  • Financial technology (Fintech)
  • Small business finance

While there’s certainly room for creative writing and storytelling, this niche is dominated by straightforward, actionable content. Anyone with a background in finance or a strong personal interest the subject can find this niche rewarding and profitable.

2. Cryptocurrency and blockchain

While technically a sub-niche of finance, cryptocurrency and blockchain deserve their own section due to how specialized they are. These are emerging fields with a lot of room for growth for curious thinkers and analytical writers.

Because these are new fields that aren’t yet well understood by the public there’s a huge demand for writers who can teach people what’s going on and why it should matter to them.

Here are things you can write about:

  • Investing in cryptocurrency
  • Understanding blockchain
  • Non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
  • Decentralized finance (DeFi)
  • Cryptocurrency and the creator economy

Anyone with experience in or a passion for this niche who has the willingness to stay up to date on trends can do well in this space. You’ll need to be a clear communicator who loves to research.

3. Real estate

The real estate industry isn’t going anywhere and neither is its demand for content writers. Real estate is a wide ranging industry and there are many audiences that you can write for within it. You can write for home buyers, realtors and real estate websites, real estate startups, and other related professionals such as mortgage brokers and home stagers.

Here are examples of types of content you can write:

  • Blog, email, and long-form guide content
  • Landing page and website copy for realtors, real estate sites, and startups
  • Blogs and articles for home buyers
  • Email marketing for realtors
  • Content for home stagers, mortgage brokers, and other professionals
  • Content for real estate law
  • Home renovation and decor guides
  • Content for commercial real estate
  • Ghostwriting for the founders of real estate startups

If you have a background in this niche or are keen to make the process of buying and selling real estate easier for others, give this niche a try.

4. Travel

From new graduates to retirees, the travel industry targets people of all ages who are keen to explore the world. Companies in this industry use content to educate their audience and show them why their product or service is worth investing in. Tourism boards and governments around the world also employ writers to help them attract tourists. Because tourism is such a large part of so many local economies, they can have large marketing budgets and this can be a profitable niche for freelancers.

Examples of travel writing:

  • Travel guides for specific cities or locations
  • Reviews of tours, museums, hotels, etc.
  • Interviews with local business owners
  • Living and working as digital nomad
  • Budgeting for travel
  • Travelling with kids
  • Travelling as a senior

Freelance writers can make a living writing for other organizations or by creating their own blogs that make money through affiliate marketing and advertising. Travel writing can be a great way to turn a passion or hobby into a business. Some travel writers truly get paid to do what they love, explore the world!

5. Technical writing

Technical writing makes the complex simple by documenting processes. If you love explaining how things work and you have an analytical mind, this might be a great niche for you. Technical writers are thorough, objective, and detail-oriented. As our world relies more heavily on technology the demand for technical writers continues to rise.

Types of technical writing:

  • White papers and case studies
  • User manuals
  • Help guides
  • Software documentation
  • API documentation
  • Standard operating procedures

Industries that hire technical writers:

  • Science and medicine
  • Software
  • Manufacturing
  • Engineering
  • Construction
  • Biotech
  • Financial services
  • Academia
  • Government

The field of technical writing continues to expand. Anyone with a background in a technical field can leverage their domain expertise to become a well-paid technical writer.

6. Digital marketing

Digital marketing encompasses many forms of digital communication. It’s a broad niche including social media marketing, email marketing, and content marketing. Because so many businesses are moving online the demand for digital marketers continues to rise. If you can prove your writing helps business owners attract new customers, this can be a high-paying niche for you.

Examples of content you could write:

  • Newsletters
  • Lead magnet content
  • Video scripts
  • Tutorials and how-to guides
  • Ebooks
  • Blog posts

There’s also an entire industry built around creating software that businesses can use to help them with digital marketing. This includes email marketing software, social media schedulers, and customer relationship management tools. You can write the same types of content for these companies as well.

7. Education and e-learning

Online education is a growing industry for both adults and kids. Traditional academic institutions are putting more content online and there are a host of companies focused entirely on digital learning. Since content is the core offering of education, there’s a huge need for talented writers and communicators.

Here are examples of some clients you could write for:

  • Colleges, universities, and other post-secondary institutions
  • Online course providers
  • Education startups
  • Private student loan lenders

Many teachers are finding profitable side hustles as freelance writers. There’s also a huge need for talented digital marketers to write about the education platforms and online courses themselves.

8. Alternative health and wellness

People are always interested in improving their health and wellness. As a result, there’s no shortage of new companies and brands entering this space. Many of these companies have high profit margins and therefore higher marketing budgets. There’s a broad range of clients you could write for and types of content you could write.

Examples of areas you could write about:

  • Weight loss, weight gain, and weight management
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mental health
  • Mindfulness
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Supplements
  • Speciality diets like keto, paleo, vegan, etc.
  • Addiction and recovery
  • Fitness and bodybuilding
  • Senior living

Types of content you could write:

  • Blog content
  • Email marketing
  • Books and ebooks
  • Ghostwriting thought leadership pieces
  • Website copywriting
  • Interviews

If you have personal interest in or experience with this niche you can use that to become a well-paid writer in the space. This niche also has more room for storytelling and creative writing, so if that’s something that interests you, give this niche a try.

9. Food and beverage

Food and beverage is another niche where people are getting paid to write about something they love. The food and beverage industry continues to expand and contain many sub-niches. Most recently, non-alcoholic beverages are becoming popular. There are a host of startups and direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands in this space looking to hire talented freelance writers to help them grow.

There are many ways to make money as a freelancer writer in this niche. Here are some things you can write about:

  • Product reviews
  • Recipe development
  • Education and cooking techniques
  • Food events
  • Food travel guides
  • Industry news
  • Copywriting for food and beverage companies
  • Blog content for food, alcohol, and coffee brands
  • Content for non-alcoholic D2C brands

Be warned, the traditional side of this niche can be hard to break into for industry outsiders. If you want to write for other publications you’ll likely need to build up an online portfolio first. If you want to make money from your own blog or website, you’ll have to put in the time and effort to build an audience. If you want to write for startups in the space, it’ll help if you have a solid marketing or writing track record behind you.

10. Ecommerce

Businesses that sell online rely on clear and concise copy to sell their products. Data-driven copywriters excel in this niche. They understand the psychology behind selling and why people buy. They are able to connect consumers with the products they need through their writing.

Ecommerce writers work in many industries. Here are some of the types of content they write:

  • Landing pages
  • Email marketing funnels
  • Help center content
  • Advertisement copy for print and digital
  • Blog posts
  • Product descriptions
  • Social media posts
  • Guides for ecommerce business owners

You can write both for online stores and the companies who build the products and services to help these business owners. For example, you can write content that helps people who run ecommerce businesses set up and grow their brands online.

11. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)

Content marketing has been among the core marketing strategies of SaaS companies for over a decade. These companies rely on written content to attract and educate potential customers. Since SaaS companies often have high growth rates and funding, they have the budget to pay freelancers well. Some well known SaaS companies include HubSpot, Google, Asana, MailChimp, Bumble, Shopify, Slack, and Adobe.

Examples of content you can write for SaaS companies:

  • Blog posts
  • Long-form guides
  • Help center content
  • Video scripts
  • Podcast scripts
  • Website and landing page copy
  • Email funnels
  • Email newsletters
  • Customer onboarding content
  • UX writing

SaaS writing is focused on conversion. It’s highly strategic and purposeful. The more you understand how these companies operate and make money the better you’ll be able to write for them.

12. Parenting

Parenting is hard and full of unexpected challenges. As a result, there’s a huge market for advice, products, and services that help parents long the way. Writers in this niche talk about everything from birth plans, education, managing finances, to parenting after divorce. You can write for digital or print publications, brands, or even your own website.

Topics you can write about include:

  • Pregnancy and birth
  • Education and home schooling
  • Co-parenting after divorce
  • Raising a blended family
  • Family life
  • Kids and mental health
  • Bullying
  • Product reviews
  • Kids and money

If you’re a parent yourself passionate about helping others, give this niche a try. There’s room for every kind of writing style in this niche from actionable guides to narrative storytelling.

13. Ghostwriting

A ghostwriter is someone who writes content on behalf of someone else. They write speeches, books, or other pieces of content under someone else’s name and in their voice.

You’d be surprised how many public figures and executives don’t write their own content. For all their strengths expressing themselves clearly in writing may not be one of them. That’s where you come in.

Examples of ghostwritten content include:

  • Blog posts and articles
  • Thought leadership pieces
  • Columns in publications like Forbes, etc.
  • Speeches
  • Books and ebooks
  • Email newsletters
  • Client and shareholder letters

Because you won’t get a byline that will help you establish your domain authority online, you can charge a premium as a ghostwriter. If you’re comfortable remaining anonymous then this could be for you. You also need to be able and willing to embrace someone else’s voice and tone. Ghost writing is not about self-expression but rather about helping other people express themselves.

14. White papers

White papers are a common form of business-to-business (B2B) writing used to illustrate the success of a company’s product or service. They are a marketing tool that’s shared with potential customers to help educate them on the benefits of buying something. As a white paper writer, your job is to prove how something works and why it’s worth spending money on.

Since companies rely on white papers to drive sales they can pay extremely well. Here are some industries that commonly hire white paper writers:

  • Finance and banking
  • Blockchain
  • Software and technology
  • Science
  • Education

White papers are a type of long-form writing. They require a great deal of research, organization, and subject matter expertise to do well. If this sounds appealing to you, it could be a lucrative niche to explore.

15. Email marketing

Email marketing has been shown to be one of the best ways to nurture leads and turn them into paying customers. Companies use email sequences to show potential customers exactly how they can help them solve a specific problem. They can be used for email marketing funnels and launch campaigns. Newsletters are another popular form of email marketing.

Types of email marketing:

  • Email marketing funnels
  • Launch campaigns
  • Client onboarding
  • Product lifecycle emails
  • Email newsletters
  • Customer loyalty program emails

Writers that are strategic and data-driven can do well at email marketing. You’ll need to be a strong copywriter and willing to continuously test and improve your messaging.

16. Ebooks and long-form guides

Ebooks and long-form guides are pieces of writing that are upwards of 2,000 words in length. The goal of this type of writing is to be the best possible resource or authority on a topic. They are often used to establish domain authority and build a website's SEO ranking. This type of content is considered cornerstone content for a company and therefore tends to pay well.

Here are some examples of long-form guides:

  • Complete guide to investing in cryptocurrency
  • How to manage your finances as a small business owner
  • How to launch your online business
  • Everything you need to know about SEO in 2021

Typically, this type of writing is focused on educational and informative content. It’s focused on clear, actionable takeaways for the reader. If you’re a strong researcher, writer, and teacher, you might love this niche.

17. Case studies

Similar to white papers, case studies are often used to highlight why a product or service works. They can also be used to showcase research or highlight an industry trend. Unlike white papers, case studies often focus more on storytelling. They can feature the stories of real users or customers in order to illustrate the benefits someone experienced through a company's product or service. Case studies are used as social proof and help drive sales for a variety of businesses.

High-paying industries that use case studies include:

  • Finance and banking
  • Marketing and advertising
  • Manufacturing
  • Software

If you enjoy storytelling and have an inclination toward creative writing, this can be an enjoyable and profitable niche. Many software companies use case studies as part of their marketing strategy and as a result, the demand for freelance case study writers continues to grow.

18. Sales and landing pages

A sales page is a single page on a website devoted to selling one product. A landing page is a single page on a website that aims to turn leads into prospects. They’re both about convincing the visitor to take a desired action.

Online businesses in the ecommerce, software, and online education realms rely on landing and sales pages to nurture leads and convert them into customers. If you can show that you know how to write copy that converts leads into paying customers, this can be a very profitable niche.

Examples of sales and landing pages:

  • Lead-generation landing pages
  • Click-through landing pages
  • Long-form landing pages
  • Microsites
  • Sales pages for a new product launch

To do this kind of writing well you’ll need to have sharp copywriting skills and a thorough understanding of conversion tactics and best practices.

19. Video script writing

Video has become a popular form of content across social media platforms, blogs, and websites. It’s a medium that creates emotional intimacy with an audience quickly, and many brands are using video for both direct and brand advertising. This is great news for freelance writers because it creates an entire market for scriptwriting.

Examples of video scripts you could write for clients:

  • Scripts for marketing videos
  • Scripts for sales video
  • YouTube scripts
  • Product video scripts
  • Help video scripts
  • Ghostwriting scripts for messages from founders/CEOs

Video writing is an entirely different format than the long-form writing most freelance writers are accustomed to. It’s a nuanced blend of copywriting and storytelling. If you can excel at this and prove how your work leads to desired results, you can make a name for yourself in this niche.

You’ll also likely have to work with a team, including animators or editors, on these types of projects. Within this niche is a great opportunity to start a full-service agency that offers video development, writing, and production.

20. SEO writing

The goal of SEO writing is to help a company rank in search engines. When a company has one of the first websites to pop up in a search engine, like Google, that gives them a huge advantage in finding new paying customers. SEO writing is the art of combining great content with strong on-page SEO. If you can show a client you know how to do this, that’s a well-paid skill in today’s digital landscape.

Examples of SEO writing include:

  • How-to guides
  • Ultimate guides or resources on a topic
  • Round-up posts

SEO writers are strategic. They know how to leverage keywords and links, outline content that matches search intent, and write comprehensive content. To be a strong SEO writer you must be willing to stay up to date with the changing algorithms, trends, and best practices.

21. Copywriting

Copywriting can be long-form, like a sales page, or short-form, like an advertisement. The goal of any type of copywriting is to make the reader perform a desired action. Businesses of all descriptions rely on copywriters to help them convey their unique value and selling proposition to potential customers. It’s a crucial element of any company's marketing and advertising strategy.

Examples of copywriting include:

  • Social media ads
  • Print ads
  • Sales and landing page copy
  • Email marketing funnels
  • Brochures
  • Video script writing
  • Website copywriting

As a copywriter, you use words to get people to think, feel, or do something. If you’ve got an interest in human psychology and the willingness to experiment, copywriting is a lucrative niche to explore.

Tips to help you get ahead

Finally, here are a few things that will help you get ahead as a freelance writer so that you can make more money in your chosen niche.

1. Know how to get results for your clients

People pay for results. If you can prove that your writing leads to higher open rates, more email sign-ups, more sales, or some other desired key performance indicator (KPI), you’ll have an easier time attracting and closing clients. As a freelancer, it’s important to know exactly what result your client is looking for so that you can deliver it.

The more you understand the business model of your clients and their unique goals, the more valuable you’ll be to them.

2. Create systems for pitching and managing clients

As a freelancer, you’re responsible for marketing yourself. Develop systems and processes to help you pitch and market yourself. Have a template to follow on sales calls. Create a form on your website so that people can easily contact and hire you. Develop a system for following up with previous clients to ask about new work or for referrals.

Systemizing your processes will help you save time and make you look more professional.

3. Become a more efficient writer

Becoming a more efficient writer isn’t just about becoming a faster writer. It’s about creating processes that preserve your energy and reduce overwhelm. Develop a routine and daily structure that supports your creative energy. Create templates that make researching and outlining your writing easy.

By reducing time and energy spent on repetitive tasks you’ll be freed up to spend more energy on the writing itself and business development.

In summary

Freelance writing can be both lucrative and fulfilling once you find your niche. Consider it the key to building a profitable, sustainable writing business. Explore any of the freelance writing niches outlined here to see if one’s a fit for you.

And remember, the only way to find your niche is through experience. Resist the urge to overthink it, get out there, and start exploring.