Home » Writing » Non-Fiction

Become a Specialist: Why Writers Must Niche Themselves

Aug 17, 2007
If you've been a freelance writer for a while, you are probably adept at two or three types of writing. If you are a good advertising copywriter, you can probably also write good catalog copy and good promotional copy. A good short story writer can often write good human-interest features. Some good technical writers can also write good how-to articles and instructional manuals.

However, like the old adage says, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. We've all seen writer Web sites where the person is attempting to be all things to all people. In nine cases out of ten, these writers over-promote their expertise. It's common to see the same person claim to be an expert at newsletters, autoresponder sequences, advertising copy, feature articles, technical reports, how-to books, sales letters, Web site copy, and motivational stories.

The reality is that too much information just confuses your potential customer. Claiming to be good at everything smacks of hype (or desperation). Both turn publishers off. Editors who control the most lucrative assignments want to hire experts. Do they want to hire a political columnist to write a manual about project management software? No.

Selling more than one skill set in the same portfolio, on the same Web site, with the same brochure and business cards only works if you have a strong, established client base and more work than you can handle. Otherwise, it's professional suicide.

Choosing one, two, or even three specialties can be an agonizing process for some writers. But remember that professional specialists always command higher fees than generalists. It's in your own best interest to sell only what you do best.

On the Internet it is remarkably easy to promote yourself to multiple markets. Just use multiple Web sites. For example, you might have a central company site that explains your business and lists your customers. Then you might set up a second site that just focuses on your newsletter writing services. There you can focus just on your newsletter experience. If you're saying, "but I don't have a Web site" that's a problem. At this point, every working writer today absolutely must have at least one Web site. It's not just nice to have -- it's expected.

When you are trying to decide on a writing specialty, always be sure to play to your strengths and interests. For example, a writer on technical subjects needs to be good at using computers. You have to be the type of person who is willing to read all those user guides. If you can't install (much less use) the software you are supposed to review, or if it bores you, you can't write about it. No editor wants to hear complaints about how your computer "won't work today and I don't know why." You need to be good at figuring out software and learning how it "thinks" reasonably quickly.

Similarly, if your specialty is writing about gardening, you had better have a garden. If you can't sell anything, don't become a marketing copywriter. If you think shopping is boring, don't write catalog copy. That old saw about writing what you know is true.

Your enthusiasm, or lack of it, shows through in your writing. Always. People can tell if you are faking it, and you won't get any assignments if your writing isn't authentic.

The bottom line reality is, if you want to get published, accept the fact that there's just too much competition out there. Then stop competing in a dozen markets and choose a few. Instead of trying to get every assignment, you can focus on winning the ones you can write absolutely brilliantly.
About the Author
Susan Daffron is the President of Logical Expressions, Inc. (http://www.logicalexpressions.com) and has written more than 300 newspaper and national magazine articles. She regularly publishes ezines on computers (http://www.LogicalTips.com), pet care (http://www.Pet-Tails.com), and other topics.
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 225
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Acne
    • Aerobics
    • Alternative Medicine
    • Beauty
    • Cancer
    • Cosmetics
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Diseases and Conditions
    • Fitness Equipment
    • Fitness
    • Hair Loss
    • Heart Disease
    • Medicine
    • Men's Health
    • Muscle Building
    • Nutrition
    • Skin Care
    • Supplements and Vitamins
    • Weight Loss
    • Women's Health
    • Yoga
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors