A woman contacted me because she wanted to know how to become a freelance writer. She was caught off guard when I started quizzing her about her background and her passions. She was a trained dancer, steeped in the academic theater/dance world. So I told her to contact dance and theater schools, programs and camps, theaters, dance studios, dance and acting teachers, agents and coaches, costume shops, make-up artists…and on and on. When you look at it this way, a whole world of people that need marketing and copywriting opens up and there is an immediate bond, or trust, that is formed because of your common backgrounds, interest, skill, language.
In the big, wide world of copywriting and marketing, there is something to be said for finding a niche:
1. It will help you stand out from the crowd. And the crowd is big.
2. It will instantly endear you to an industry and/or community. People like people who understand them and share their passions. Birds of a feather…
3. It builds on your strengths and a language that you already know. You’re starting something new – why wouldn’t you want to start at the top of the content-familiar learning curve? When you do the job well, you’ve secured a reference, portfolio content and, hopefully, some word of mouth referrals.
4. It lends credibility when you’re self-promoting. They want to work with someone who they won’t have to teach or train 100%. So, if you don’t have a ton of professional writing experience (or a big portfolio), this can pretty much negate that handicap.
5. It instantly creates your first ‘audience’ for your marketing efforts. For instance, if you’re doing direct mail or cold calling, some of that blind date feel is removed.
6. When your focus is something you love and feel comfortable with, it will show in your work. If someone asked me to write a texbook about physics, I’d cry. It wouldn’t be fun and the work wouldn’t be as good as if you asked me to write an essay on, say, the delights of butter. I’ve managed to attract projects that are interesting to me and letter-worthy (in my mind, anyway) by showcasing who I am and my personality through my website, blog, other marketing materials and my interactions with clients who give referrals.
7. You may already have contacts who will be thrilled to hear from you. When you call your old dance teacher and tell her that you’ve started a business to help promote the importance of dance for kids, she’ll hire you in a second. Or, she may have some solid connections and be thrilled to make some calls and/or provide a testimonial.
What’s your niche???