As a freelance writer, would you rather be all things to all people or focus on one subject or genre? Let's say you want to find your special niche. Where would you start? Here are seven suggestions:
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Seven Ways to Carve Out Your Niche as a Freelance Writer

As a freelance writer, would you rather use a wide-angle-lens approach to clients and editors (all things to all people) or a telephoto (focus on one subject or genre)? Let's say you want to find your special niche. Where would you start? Here are seven suggestions:

1. Industry/Subject

There are many advantages to being known as a specialist in a particular subject or an industry, especially when that business segment is "hot." One is your marketability. While clients are often willing to invest in letting you learn on the job, they would much prefer to hire a writer who knows their business. The ideal, of course, is to keep building on what you have learned and eventually to be considered an extension of the client's staff.

2. Marketing Communications

Marketing communications are all of the ways in which an organization communicates the right message to the right audience through the right media. Successful marketing communications begin with a well-conceived plan that includes a number of areas. Ideally, these areas complement each other and work together to produce a cohesive program. The most common vehicles are public relations (PR), advertising, direct mail, special events, point-of-purchase displays, packaging, and premiums.

3. Financial Communications

Finance has its own language based on fundamental concepts. Financial communications and investor relations are two different sides of a coin. If you opt for investor relations, you must not only know the language; you must also be able to apply it to a specific industry or organization. While you can learn many aspects of financial communications by the book, communicating with Wall Street requires a command of the facts, scrupulous honesty, and an understanding of industry trends.

4. Direct Mail

Direct mail has a purpose, and that purpose is to sell something. High-quality, effective direct mail is a blend of art and science. What distinguishes effective direct mail from trash? Knowledge of the medium and the target market, a well-researched and coded list, good writing and design, and a method for assessing and evaluating the results. Direct mail has to grab the attention of the recipient immediately and sufficiently to prompt that person to open and read it. Part of the lure, of course, is the design of the piece. Your words may be spectacular, but if no one is moved to read them, they are meaningless.

5. Technical Writing

Technical writing requires the ability to grasp technical subject matter, apply the principles of research and writing to any subject, and write in clear, concise language. Understanding a subject is half the battle; being able to help someone else understand it is the other half. That someone else may be well versed in the subject and expect the material to be in technical language, or he or she may be a layperson who needs jargon translated into plain English. As a technical writer, you have to be able to both.

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