This is a post I keep seeing in copywriting groups throughout Facebook:
“Hi, my name is X. and I’m looking for clients. I can write landing pages, blogs, emails, website copy etc on any topic, just message me …”
You probably know what I’m talking about. And as a beginner copywriter, you may have considered writing these posts yourself. I know I did.
But there’s something terribly wrong about it.
It states, quite openly, that you don’t have a niche. You write every kind of copy for every kind of business. This means you’re either a copywriting genius who’s proficient in all topics and who’s an expert blog creator, content writer, email marketer etc at the same time… or you’re someone who’s trying to do everything at once, with less-than-stellar results.
So my first copywriting tip for beginners is to define your niche early on in your career and start building your personal brand as a niche copywriter, not as a Jack-of-all-trades-and-master-of-none.
Once you’ve started to specialize in a particular niche, you can easily double your rates.
And then double them when you’ve gained more experience and built a strong personal brand.
And then maybe double them once more.
BOOM! You’re rich!
What is a copywriting niche, anyway?
A niche is a specific market that you’re serving and specific content types you prefer to create.
For example, I write blog content for tech and health brands. A friend of mine writes content for the music niche. Another friend of mine writes landing pages and emails for business coaches.
Is it really important?
If you think it’s too early to decide on a niche when you’re just starting out, think again. Would you like to be known as “that guy who writes 5-figure email sequences for tech companies” or “some random freelancer who’s ready to do anything for money”?
High-paying clients don’t look for a copywriter.
They look for a SaaS email copywriter, a medical blog writer, a landing page copywriter for financial services, and so on. Yes, sometimes they literally type these things into the LinkedIn search field and contact the people they find.
You may think that choosing a niche too early in your career will reduce the number of potential clients who may need your services. But let’s be honest: would you like to have three clients who pay you $3k monthly or twenty clients who pay you one cent per 100 words?
Choosing a copywriting niche will also make your work easier by reducing the amount of research you need to do for each new piece. Let’s say you decide to venture into the weight loss niche. After a few months of writing about weight loss products and services, you’ll know your target customers better than you know yourself – so there’s no need to research their dreams and pain problems over and over again. This means you write faster – and better.
How to choose a copywriting niche when you’re just starting out
Your copywriting niche is somewhat like your ikigai. In case you’re even more confused now, here’s a little graphic explaining this Japanese concept:
Let’s start with me as an example. I’m passionate about mental health, fitness, and tech, I’m good at explaining weird science-y stuff, the world needs more easily accessible knowledge of these topics, and these niches are pretty well-paid if you ask me.
If you love finance-related topics and you’re naturally good at persuading other people, you may become an excellent direct response copywriter for the finance niche.
In short, follow your natural interests and talents. What topics are you passionate about? Are you good at building trust with people? Do you like helping people learn new things?
I have to admit I learned about ikigai at an employment center in Bielefeld, Germany. I had just failed at the career I’d studied for, and desperately needed to find new professional goals.
The advisor suggested I make a mind map of all the topics I love and skills I’m naturally good at. Then she helped me align these with actual niches and job offers… and suddenly, everything clicked into place. I knew what I was going to do.
I strongly recommend you follow this technique and brainstorm your passions and strengths before embarking on a freelance career that you hate.
How to find your first clients in a new niche
Well, here’s how.
Update your LinkedIn profile and your website
Make sure you mention your new niche right at the top of your LinkedIn profile. Mine says “I create content about mental health, productivity, and tech”. It doesn’t have to be a perfect one-sentence elevator pitch, but at least it shouldn’t say “Freelance copywriter” or some other generic phrase that doesn’t make you stand out in the search results.
If you have a website, make sure you update it as well. Website visitors should know immediately that you’re an expert on specific markets and/or types of copy/content.
Once you’ve done this, you can raise your rates dramatically. Seriously.
Start sending out cold emails
Cold emailing may feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s the most reliable way to get new clients in your chosen niche.
For a start, identify 20 businesses that you’d like to write for, and send out a simple pitch where you offer your services. You can use HubSpot to automate this process a bit while still sending out personalized emails.
Once you’ve overcome the discomfort of sending the first 20 emails, you’ll feel much more confident. So repeat this process over and over again – it’s quite normal to send up to 100 cold emails within a week. Cold pitching is a game of numbers: the more emails you send, the more clients you land.
Talk to people around you
If you’d like to break into social media marketing in the beauty niche, you can literally ask your hairdresser if she needs help with maintaining her Facebook page. Or you can ask your friends if they know someone who knows someone who might benefit from your services. The world is smaller than you think – this kind of casual networking can land you really big clients that you’d never imagine working with!
Learn how to say no
When you’re just starting to specialize, you may still get quite a few job proposals that have nothing to do with your chosen niche. It’s perfectly OK to decline.
Trust me, having to write lots of copy across wildly different niches is very time- and energy-consuming. Only accept work that aligns with your specialization – unless, of course, it’s an irresistible opportunity that could kickstart your career in an additional niche.
Once again: choosing to be a specialist, not a generalist, is the best decision you can make at the beginning of your copywriting career.
You can specialize in something different later on – for now, just pick a niche and start honing your skills to become the best writer in this niche.