If you are considering a career in copywriting, you may be wondering if you should niche or start as a generalist. Which one leads to more clients, more revenue, and quicker success? The truth is, there are pros and cons to both paths. Let’s break them down so you are crystal clear in your decision to niche as a freelance copywriter, or not.
In this blog post, learn the benefits and downsides to niching as a copywriter, and why some writers choose to be generalists.
Niching as a copywriter or content marketer is a great way to establish yourself as an in-demand expert. You may already know the industry you want to write in because you are passionate about a certain topic or niche. Whether it’s home renovation, marketing, tech, science, health, or [insert your topic of interest here].
Pros of Niching
Having background knowledge in one industry means you already have an amazing foot in the door to connect with those brands and to differentiate yourself from other writers who might be vying for the same jobs. In addition, the more you start to write in one industry, the more samples you will collect in that niche. This collection of samples can be shown to other brands in that industry which allows you to continually build a larger body of work and a stronger foothold in that market. Not only are you establishing yourself as the in-demand expert, but this allows you to charge premium rates. If you are the one who knows everything about an industry, have a ton of work samples, and have the background experience in it, you will be the stand-out person that brands contact for copywriting.
You may be changing careers into copywriting, and feel like you aren’t a writer because you don’t have writing experience. The good news? Having experience in something that you enjoy doing, such as human resources, marketing, tech, finance, or whatever your previous career was, can be a great way to start getting those first clients. You may not have the writing expertise per se, but those skills can be learned. I teach those skills in my program Freelance to Freedom. You have the background knowledge and information that another writer may not, and would require them spending precious time on research. Ultimately, niching right away is a great starting point to carve out your place in a specific industry and begin getting work and samples there.
Cons of Niching
Alternatively, there are some downsides to niching as a copywriter or content marketer. It can be slightly more difficult to get started. Think of it like a snowball. When you start out, it’s so small and rolls slowly. As it gets bigger, there is more and more momentum. Your opportunities may be limited in the sense that not every job opportunity you see out there is going to be in your niche. However, the more you make yourself known in that field and after receiving a few referrals, your current client list will fill up and client outreach won’t be needed as much as it was in the beginning. I want you to be prepared for that!
You may choose to have flexibility in the beginning by setting your sights on one industry and spending time actively pursuing those opportunities every day, but to build your body of work, your expertise, and polish your writing skills in different styles, you stay open to other opportunities.
Just to keep it real with you, I also know people who happen to love a certain industry, but writing in it all day takes the joy out of it. With that being said, you may choose to add more variety in your career as a copywriter. Perhaps you write about your passion most of the time, but then you also incorporate side projects that stimulate your brain which lets it work in a different way.
Being a generalist is how I started in content marketing, unintentionally. The most important point to mention is that I was open to any and all opportunities that I saw. In doing so, I gained experience very quickly because it put me in touch with a variety of projects and brands, and those all grew into referrals, more work, and more hours.
Pros of Generalizing
Being open to different projects and brands served me well in the beginning because I didn’t have to wait to get experience in the one thing that I was most passionate. I got to be passionate about building my business and my craft, and over time I narrowed down the areas that I thought were most interesting or where the client relationships were the best. It was an important learning experience too, because it taught me what I like and don’t like about certain types of clients.
For example, with some of the larger companies, the work wasn’t my ultimate passion although my relationship with that company was so good that I really enjoyed the working experience. I learned more because I had access to bigger projects, more sophisticated teams, and I was given the opportunity to work on projects that were very seamless and not as closely managed. This allowed me to have freedom as a writer that I was looking for, and be the owner of my abilities and schedule.
Cons of Generalizing
Since you will be working with a variety of different industries and types of clients, you will likely find that you are not a match for everyone. What surprised me the most was the dynamic working with smaller clients. I loved the personal relationships, however there was increased intensity around the hours that were needed and the various types of requests.
Working with different types of clients and experimenting with so many aspects helped me to figure out what I liked best. It’s so funny to me that I have friends in this industry and the things I like are completely opposite to what they like. That’s the beauty of writing. There’s enough for everyone and we can all choose our own path so that each of the puzzle pieces fit together.
Choosing the Best Path
This blog is intended to give you new insights on niching as a copywriter, and please know that one choice is not better than the other. If you are already clear on your career goals and the industry you want to write for, that’s going to serve you well. If you are unsure, don’t panic. You don’t need to choose right away because you are going to gain so much value, and over time you may refine the area you want to work on specifically. Or, you may find that you love the variety of being able to work on different projects and with different clients, and that feels more stimulating than the same thing all day, every day.
By considering the pros and cons of niching versus choosing to be a generalist, you will be able to make the best decision starting your career as a copywriter. My advice is to choose whichever one speaks to you first. However, no matter what you choose, you will arrive at a fulfilling, profitable, and sustainable copywriting and content career.
To learn everything you need to start building your own dream business and career, download my FREE Copywriting Starter Kit!
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