As a freelance blogger, you probably already have a niche: a certain subject or specific industry clientele that you know and write about well.
It’s important to establish your niche so that you gain trust from potential clients, can command higher fees, and your business runs along much smoother and easier than if you wrote about any and everything, for any and everyone.
But sometimes after you’ve chosen or established yourself in a certain niche, you’ll find as time goes on that… you honestly don’t want to write about this stuff anymore.
There are plenty of reasons why you might want to start writing in a new niche or industry. Maybe you’re running into too many not-so dream clients in this niche. Maybe you find it difficult to command higher rates for the niche industry you write for. Maybe it’s just plain boring now.
You decide that it’s time for a change, but you run into a little problem: you have no idea how to go about it.
For lots of freelance writers and bloggers in this situation, the big question is “How do I transition from one niche to another without looking like a fool or an amateur?”
Well the answer is easy, my friend! I’ve got five practical tips for you to use to transition into a new niche smoothly.
1: Touch on personal experience with the subject
Some writers feel that if they don’t have a fancy degree or prestigious certification in a topic, then they’re not a fit to write about it. This is definitely NOT true!
Sometimes personal experience with a topic is enough to score a new gig. The way you can pitch yourself to a new client in a new niche is by briefly touching on how you’ve got some kind of personal connection to their industry.
For example, if you want to break into the fashion niche, and you previously worked as an office administrator at a personal styling company, you can include that in your letter of introduction or job ad pitch. You can talk about how much fashion has an impact on your personal life. Talk about some of your favorite fashion magazines or media outlets. You don’t need a degree or prestigious award in fashion to show the prospective client that you have some knowledge and genuine interest in the field.
If you want even more brownie points, mention something you and your prospective client or editor have in common in regards to your new niche topic. You’d be surprised how much that alone can influence an editor or business owner’s consideration for you.
2: Knock out 2 or 3 relevant samples
It’s important to have a few relevant samples on hand for your new niche. After all, it makes no sense to pitch someone looking for a personal finance writer an article about “The Top 3 Seinfeld Episodes That Made Us All Laugh Hysterically.”
Your new samples can be published on your own site or blog, on a public platform like LinkedIn or Medium, or as a guest post for another blogger whose site is in your new niche.
Not only will you have fresh portfolio pieces related to your new niche, but you’ll also be able to get in front of potential clients who may have some great paid opportunities for you. An industry expert or potential client will get a chance to reach out to you from your author byline to learn more about your services.
If you can score a quick piece for a client in your new niche’s industry, whether paid or pro bono, that’s even better.
(Don’t get used to writing for free just because you’re new to a niche. One or two pro bono pieces will do fine.)
Just make sure that you grab yourself a testimonial for your work. That glowing review will give you the social proof you need to convince new clients to hire you sooner.
3. Get a feature on a reputable publication in the niche
To really impress potential clients, grabbing a guest article and byline with a top publication is a great way to establish authority and expertise and get noticed by clients in your new niche.
Do some research on what the most popular websites and blogs in your new niche are. Let’s say your new niche is personal finance. Then it’d be a great idea to get a guest post on a blog like “The Penny Hoarder” or “Income Diary”.
After you’ve done this research, you’ll view their submission guidelines, come up with your topic ideas, and pitch your outline or draft. When your article is published, you’ll get your name in front of hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people and get a big helping of that awesome “social proof” I mentioned earlier.
If you can’t think of any popular sites in your niche off the top of your head, a quick search on Google will do the trick. Just look up “most popular (insert new niche) blogs” or “(insert new niche) + write for us”.
Be prepared to get rejected a few times; you may not win the editors over on the first try. It’s not because you lack writing experience in your niche, but because they get literally thousands of pitches from hopeful writers looking to get published on their site.
Make sure your idea has an original, unique and creative spin on it so you stand out from the rest. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here; just make sure your pitch or draft doesn’t read too similar to a post they’ve already published.
You can also ask around in online groups for writers and bloggers, and see where the big ballers are getting their bylines. Networking with others in your industry is one of the best ways to seek out new opportunities. Sometimes you might even get lucky and score a gig just by befriending the right connections.
4. Update your website
Having a website specifically for your writing business is monumental for your long term marketing strategy, so hopefully you’ve got one. Make sure you overhaul your site to establish your new niche.
Be very clear in explaining the kind of clients you serve and why you’re the best fit for their needs. Show potential clients that you get their audience and why you’re the person they should choose to create content for their brand.
Definitely include your new samples in your portfolio, and maybe add small snippets or highlights of your most recent articles on your site’s homepage. Make sure you get a few testimonials from your new clients and show them off there as well.
5. Spread the Word
The best and fastest way to break into a new niche without hassle is by getting the word out. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and network with your ideal clients, and other freelancers who may have connections with people in your new niche.
- Connect with the people who work in the marketing department of companies you want to work for on LinkedIn.
- Share in Facebook groups or any masterminds you may be in that are related to freelance writing, and let them know of your transition.
- Go to in-person networking events in your area and introduce yourself.
- Strike up conversations and pass out business cards.
If you’re serious about landing client work, then you have to show those clients that you exist and you’re available.
In the past few years as a freelance blogger, I struggled a bit with finding the right niche for me. I wrote in a variety of niches, but once I decided on the two (yes, two) niches I knew I could commit to, I had to prove to prospects that I was a specialist, not a generalist.
I used these tips to establish my credibility in my niches, and they all work like a charm. This advice is practical for any writers who want to switch their current writing niche to a new one, and even those who are just getting started with freelance writing and haven’t established their expertise yet.
Now, it’s time to stop reading, and start taking some action. So get your planner out, schedule when you’ll tackle each of these steps, and get to work on scoring some new clients!
And if you have other niche-switching tips to add to the 5 above, we’d love to hear them — scroll down and leave us a comment. 🙂