DailyWritingTips

Section One: Deciding to Go Niche or Generalist

This might just be the most important decision you make before launching your freelance writing career. Why, you ask? Because choosing what you want to write will determine the value you get from this career. Don’t let yourself get stuck in a niche you hate or one you can’t seem to get a grasp on.

In the same vein, going the generalist route also has pros and cons. I was a generalist writer for so many years, and while it gave me a wide range of training and skills, I found myself overworked and underpaid.

It’s all a balancing act. But before I go on, let’s break down the difference between niche and generalist writing so that you can decide for yourself.

Niche Writing

This focuses on a specific topic or industry, allowing writers to become experts in their field. Specialization like this can lead to higher rates and a stronger portfolio but might limit the number of potential clients.

Being a niche writer means you get to passionately create content about a topic or industry you already know so much about. This produces quality content that readers can relate to and trust.

And guess what? You don’t have to narrow yourself to a single niche! Are you a former real estate agent who maybe studied business in school? You could write copy for real estate sites and property listings, create guides for small businesses, write for a finance blog, etc. The sky is honestly the limit when you have multiple skills like that.

I’m a former custom cake decorator, certified interior designer, novelist, mother of two, and a very passionate gardener. My life experience and formal training have opened up so many areas for me to be an expert niche writer. And it has! I’ve been creating quality content in those niches for years and can demand higher rates because of it.

Pros

Cons

  • Can demand higher rates
  • Get to write about what you love
  • Write from experience and create amazing content
  • A niche immediately limits your job choices
  • It can be hard to break out into other niches once you’re established

Generalist Writing

This route offers the flexibility to write about a broad range of topics. It can provide a steady stream of diverse work but might result in lower pay rates due to the broader competition.

I recommend this path for writers who are just starting out, and I say that for several reasons. First, as a generalist, the world’s your oyster. Pick and choose whatever jobs appeal to you, cast a wide net, and see which niches are attracted by your resume/portfolio.

It’s also great for beginners because it allows you to put some feelers out. Try your hand at different niches, spend some time ghostwriting for multiple platforms, etc. Being a generalist writer can help train and whip you into shape, preparing you for that next level in your career.

The downside to generalist writing is that rates tend to be lower because clients know that pretty much any writer can produce the content they need. Most clients are looking for subject matter experts who can share their expert opinions, experience, and advice. 

Pros

Cons

  • Exercise your new skills
  • Spend time learning the freelance game
  • Always something new to learn
  • Might result in lower rates

Regardless of which route you choose to go, it’s important to feed into Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines. This is important for SEO, engagement, and the overall success of the written work. Here are my quick tips for making the content your own. 

Tips for Adding Your Own Unique Voice

  • Write from a first-person perspective using I, me, mine, etc.
  • Use an active voice instead of a passive voice. 
  • Directly quote experts on the topic (if it makes sense).
  • Add at least one personal anecdote that relates to the topic or a specific fact.
  • Express your opinion when it fits.
  • Ask the reader a question, especially in the intro, if you can. This qualifies the reader and helps them relate to you immediately.
  • Sprinkle in some humor every now and then.