Freelance Writing Tips on How to Break Into a New Niche or Project Type

The following is a guest post by Laura Pennington.

As a freelance writer, you need to follow the market. Sometimes the market will give you a sign that you need to continue expanding into something else, or perhaps you’ve simply gotten bored working in the same niche that you’ve been writing for over the course of time.

The Most Common Challenges Experienced by Writers Who Need to Expand

It can be difficult to break into a new niche or a new type of project if you don’t have a lot of experience in this field. This can lead to analysis paralysis or a lack of belief in yourself.

As freelance writers, many of us tend to become extremely comfortable with the prospect of putting together materials for the same types of clients or the same types of projects. For example, if you’ve been ghost writing e-books for clients for five years, you might find the process of trying to become an SEO blog writer or a white paper writer a little bit overwhelming.

Freelance Writing Tips: How to Break into a New NicheHowever, one of the secrets to business success as a freelance writer is to diversify your options. This is because if the market changes significantly enough that you need to go another route, you have back up plans to rely on.

This can be extremely valuable if, for example, major changes happen in an industry that mean that individuals are creating more of their content in-house or simply not ordering it. The market for writing is changing all the time.

What?! Does This Mean Some Popularly-Ordered Content is On the Way Out?

Although it is extremely likely that the majority of content produced today will continue to be produced for many months and years to come, there are numerous reasons why you may want to consider breaking into a new niche. Getting over your fear and jumping in feet first, though, can be overwhelming. Here are a couple of tips that you can use in order to break into a different niche.

Over the past several years I’ve expanded my basic writing services from SEO blog posts for attorneys and lawyers to becoming an expert on editing, ghostwriting e-books, doing whitepapers and helping people with academic projects. Each time I entered into a new industry, even if it was only a small portion of my business then or now, it has been beneficial to follow these steps.

I don’t think SEO writing is going anywhere anytime soon, but it’s smart to make sure you’ve brushed up on some backup skills, too. You might even find that you like a different style better (or even that it pays better!)

Use the following three tips whenever you want to make the jump to a new industry or content type.

Tip #1: Look for What the Industry Needs

In order to speak confidently about a new niche or a new type of project, you need to become well versed in the trends in the industry at that point in time. For example, if this is your first time breaking into whitepaper writing, it would be a good idea to read five or six whitepapers and to see the general style, format and length. This will give you a good idea to quote more accurately as well when you submit for your first project in this area.

Tip #2: Create Amazing Writing Samples in Line with What You Learn

Once you have learned what the market is calling for, now is time for you to create an amazing writing sample. Don’t get overwhelmed with the prospect of needing to show that you’ve published products in this industry or of this type before. Rather you need one solid writing sample to begin submitting to clients.

You do not need to create a full length e-book if you are pitching yourself as a ghost writer, although this certainly could be beneficial. Instead you may wish to present three or four chapters so the client gets a good idea of how you work and your style of writing.

Make sure that you create this with the details gleaned from your research project identifying what the market is looking for and what is popular right now. Use any opportunity you have to add your own personal twist.

For example, when I complete projects like this, I use it as an opportunity to show off my research skills and make sure to cite all of my sources properly. This can help to give you an edge with a client who is choosing between a number of different possible providers.

Creating one amazing writing sample can speak volumes about your ability to work in this field even if you don’t have any credits to your name just yet. Using these custom samples can help to get your foot in the door and help you accumulate happier clients who will also send you more referrals.

It is well worth the time working on a project like this. I know as a freelance writer it’s tempting to push off any projects that you aren’t earning immediate revenue from. However, investing the time and plotting out a schedule to complete an amazing writing sample and having someone else edit it and provide you feedback before you begin using it to market to clients can pay off in spades over the long run.

Tip #3: Choose Your New Target Audience Carefully

In order to succeed with any kind of new project or writing niche, you need to be sure that there is a demand in the marketplace for that work. Have you selected ideal clients? Where are your clients spending time? For example, more professional clients are likely posting on LinkedIn rather than participating in Facebook groups.

Do the research to determine where your clients are spending their time. Is it at in-person networking meeting? Are they participating on tele summits where you could become a featured guest? All of these factors are important to consider when looking for your target audience. It will also help you illuminate your marketing plan goals to break into this new niche or new project type successfully.

As you gain more experience, pitching to clients in this industry on this new type of project, you will feel more confident speaking about your abilities and you’ll also accumulate more credits that will make it easier for you to quote and pitch to clients. Realign your past successes even if they are not in the same industry or of the same project type to succeed.


Even with writers who tend to be more adaptable, change is scary. Doing your research allows you to get your feet wet before jumping all the way in the deep end, though!

Next Post: I’ll be sharing why instructions can make or break your relationship with a freelance client and how to make sure you kick off on the same page.

About the Author: Laura Pennington is a former inner city teacher and corporate employee who fled the grind in 2012 to work at home. Since then, she’s focused on SEO content for law firms and insurance agencies, writing everything from ebooks to blogs to video scripts. She now blogs at www.sixfigurewritingsecrets.com.

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Thanks to your help and inspiration, I have more work than I know what to do with and have successfully landed a number of clients that give me recurring work. Thanks again for your advice!

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