Writers are always looking for the perfect niche. A niche—an area of specialization, be it a topic or type of content—can help a writer to stand out from the pack, get more jobs, and earn more per job.
Think about it. If you’ve written dozens of articles on budgeting for twenty-somethings, for example, you have an edge over the person who writes about budgeting when they’re not researching digital marketing, higher education, and consumer technology. The goal is to find a niche that:
- matches your background and interest, and
- is also in high demand among clients.
In this article, you’ll find some of the best freelance writing niches out there. They’re in-demand and profitable, and they’re accessible to writers of all experience levels.
1. Long-Form Content
Long-form content is in high demand with writing clients for one very good reason—it gets results. According to search engine optimization (SEO) research, long-form content gets more backlinks than shorter content and is more likely to rank on the front page.
Specializing in long-form content can make you valuable to clients who want to keep up with today’s digital marketing.
You’ll earn more, too. According to the 2020 Writer Pay Survey from Make a Living Writing, the most commonly quoted rate for a long-form blog post is $400 and above, and the number of writers commanding those rates is going up.
2. B2B White Papers
If you enjoy writing for business-to-business (B2B) clients and you don’t shy away from longer-form content, consider specializing in writing white papers.
A white paper is an information-dense report that discusses a business problem and presents a specific solution. They’re usually persuasive in nature, but companies want them to come across as educational rather than sales focused. They’re also lead magnets. According to a DemandGen report, 76% of buyers are willing to share their information in exchange for a white paper.
This requires a fair amount of finesse on the writer’s part, so it’s no surprise that white papers command high pay. Make a Living Writing quotes a range of $3,000 to $10,000 for a six- to 14-page white paper. The more experience and skill you have, the more likely you’ll be to earn at the higher end of that range.
3. Email Marketing
Email is a big money-maker for clients, which means it has a lot of potential for writers. According to Campaign Monitor’s 2019 Year in Review, email generates $42 for every dollar spent. That investment return depends entirely on the writer’s ability to create copy that converts.
Because it’s easy for companies to connect good copy with rising revenues, email copywriting pays well. PayScale quotes the average salary for a copywriter with email marketing skills at $52,616, or around $21 per hour. The better your email campaigns do, the more you can make.
Ghostwriting is one of the most lucrative freelance writing niches out there. It’s also highly versatile—you can ghostwrite articles, blog posts, biographies, self-help books, and even novels. As for demand, the Professional Ghost estimates that more than 50% of best-selling non-fiction books are ghostwritten, and the market for fiction ghostwriters is growing fast.
When writers break into ghostwriting, they often find that it pays even better than bylined writing. Career Trend estimates that even a beginner ghostwriter can make around $5,000 per project, and that can go up to $20,000 once you’re experienced.
Short-form ghostwriting is lucrative, too. Pay usually ranges from 30 cents per word up to $5, or $12 to $65 per double-spaced page, depending on the writer and the project.
Cryptocurrency has hit the big time. It’s a fully digital kind of money that can cross international borders seamlessly, and it’s trending with businesses and consumers alike. Major retailers like Overstock, Home Depot, Whole Foods, and even Starbucks now accept payment using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
According to Entrepreneur, this level of growth means an upswing in demand for crypto-savvy writers. You don’t have to know everything about crypto to get in on the trend, but you do need a basic understanding and stellar research abilities. If you can make it work, says Entrepreneur, you can earn a minimum of $15 to $30 per hour.
If you’re looking for a trending niche that shows no signs of slowing down, consider writing for the cannabis industry. Marijuana Business Daily estimates that the industry’s revenue will hit $37 billion by 2024, having experienced an estimated increase of 40% in 2020 alone.
As Medium writer Jason McBride has pointed out, the popularity of cannabis and related products—hemp, CBD, edibles, and so on—carves out a profitable niche for freelancers of all kinds.
Cannabis companies are smart marketers and actively interested in content. McBride gets most of his cannabis jobs from companies. It’s a well-paying industry, too—ZipRecruiter recently listed one contract job at up to $77,292 per year:
Because it's a relatively accessible topic and in such high demand, cannabis is one of the best freelance writing niches for beginners.
7. Personal Finance
Personal finance is another topic with huge market demand. Young adults are graduating with high levels of student debt and little to no formal education in financial literacy. At the same time, people of all ages are grappling with the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. One study showed that 84% of adults believe that the crisis will impact their ability to achieve long-term security.
Writers who can create accessible and authoritative content are immensely valuable to clients at the moment. The biggest need is for budgeting content that’s trustworthy and accurate, yet readable by people without a financial background.
One of the best ways to make it as a niche writer in personal finance is to master SEO. Finance is considered a “Your Money or Your Life” (YMML) topic, so articles must be authoritative and trustworthy to rank highly. If you can offer real value to readers and cite only the best sources, your value to clients will also increase accordingly.
If you’re one of those elite writers who can make complex topics engaging, accessible, and clear to a broad range of readers, technology might be the niche for you. According to the DemandGen Report, 95% of tech marketers use content as part of their strategy, and 75% of those marketers have reported plans to increase their content production.
And yet, only 30% of tech marketers believe that their organizations do content marketing well. Their top priority—and greatest challenge—is to produce engaging content that performs well.
This is where the tech-savvy wordsmith can really shine.
Prove your mettle with blog posts and articles that speak to a particular audience. Track the results of your content and show your clients that it draws visitors. Build a portfolio, gather testimonials, and you could become the go-to resource for some well-paying clients.
Software-as-a-Service, more commonly known as SaaS, is a smaller niche within the broader IT and tech field. It demands many of the same skills as general tech content writing—specifically, the ability to take highly technical material and make it accessible. Here, though, it's more about matching the product to the customer.
Fortunately, as successful SaaS copywriter Victor Eduoh points out, you don’t need to have extensive product knowledge to succeed in this niche. What you do need is top-notch research abilities, since SaaS companies tend to provide extremely specific solutions to extremely specific problems.
The challenge is to take an esoteric product and show, using language a potential buyer can understand, how the product can efficiently and effectively solve their problems. If you can do that, you can command high rates. This writer starts at $1,000 for a 1,000- to 1,250-word post.
10. Real Estate
It’s not just about tech in the new “roaring 20s.” Experts predict high buyer demand and prices, creating a competitive market for agents and investors. More competition means more demand for writers that can create engaging content of all kinds, from general audience pieces for buyers and sellers to tips for real estate professionals.
You can be a generalist in the real estate niche or hone your skills in a specific sub-area like real estate law, first-time home buying, or property valuation. If you’re going for the finance or legal side of things, consider building your knowledge of a particularly lucrative market or type of real estate. As is always the case in content writing, the more you know, the more you’re worth.
Feeling inspired? We hope that this list includes or leads you to your next big money-making niche, and that niche you choose makes for a satisfying career.
If you’d like some more strategies to help you figure out how to find your niche in freelance writing, check out this list of tips. Like this article, it's full of actionable ideas that you can put to work right away. Happy writing!
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Ellie Diamond.