So you want to be a freelance writer, but you’re sort of stumped on how to go about picking freelance writing niches that actually make money.
When I started out in my freelance writing career, I didn’t really pick a niche.
I thought I could write about anything and everything, so I did.
I spent more time than I should have spent taking casual blog post gigs on the most basic of topics in the broadest of freelance writing niches.
You know, easy and general stuff like “How to Be Awesome on Social Media” and “10 Things You Can Do to Be Happier Today” where I could write almost anything and make it sound good.
I enjoyed working on these gigs, but it didn’t take very long for me to realize that I wasn’t going to get rich off this kind of work.
And I was bummed out about it, because I really wanted to write about what I liked writing about.
Should You Pick Your Freelance Niche Based on Your Passion?
Here’s the thing: Writing about your passion doesn’t guarantee you that you’ll make a great living from it.
That’s just reality.
While you definitely can focus on a more obscure niche and find a way to make it profitable, it’s definitely a lot harder to do and it can take a longer time compared to focusing on a more profitable niche.
I’m going to be dead honest with you.
The highest paying and highest in demand writing jobs are also typically the most boring and advanced.
Because they require specialized skills, qualifications, experience, attention to detail, and overall very specific know-how that not many people have.
You can bet that a freelance writer with 20 years of accounting experience is going to get paid a lot more for their writing on a corporate earnings report than a lifestyle writer who wrote a listicle on natural remedies for dry skin.
But don’t let the truth discourage you.
I’m not saying that you can’t make a good living as a lifestyle writer, because you definitely can if you work hard enough and stick with it.
What I’m saying is that freelance writing niches like the very general lifestyle niche aren’t typically considered to be among the most profitable.
There are more profitable freelance writing niches out there.
And I’m talking hundreds-of-dollars-per-hour profitable.
You might as well have a look at what they are before you decide to pursue your freelance writing career in something less profitable, because why not?
You can always go back to another niche if you don’t find anything here that you like.
Ideally, you want to strike a nice balance between writing about something you like and writing in a profitable niche.
That’s the freelance writing dream.
What Exactly Is a Freelance Writing Niche, Anyway?
When you hear the term “niche” do you think of categories you might see in the newspaper like business, politics, entertainment, sports, health, and so on?
Yeah, me too.
With freelance writing, it’s a little different.
You’re not just a business writer, or a health writer, or a tech writer.
You’re a business writer who writes instructional content for employee packages that large corporations hand out to their new hires.
Or you’re a health writer who writes patient treatment case studies for doctors. Or you’re a tech writer who writes tutorials for software companies.
Think that’s getting a little too specific?
Well, that’s what a real freelance writing niche is!
I like to think that a freelance writing niche is comprised of three things:
Industry + Content Format + Client Type = Freelance Writing Niche
The reason why I believe that a freelance writing niche needs to be defined by these three components is because the type of writing project can vary drastically if you change just one of them.
Let’s say that you specialize in business/accounting (an industry) writing for big corporations (a client type).
A writing project involving an earnings report is going to be a lot different than a project involving writing web copy for the company website.
Those are two completely different content formats.
Now let’s say that you specialize in health (an industry) writing patient information (a content format).
If you’re writing for a doctor of naturopathic medicine, your patient information project isn’t going to be anywhere near the same as a patient information project for a national drugstore franchise.
See what I mean now about freelance writing niches?
Switch out just one part of the equation and the niche totally changes.
Now it’s time to dive right into the three components of a profitable freelance writing niche.
The Most Profitable Freelance Writing Niche Industries
I like to use the term “industry” here because it’s pretty self-explanatory.
In general, I think there are three broad industries that are most profitable for freelance writers: Business/Money, Health, and Technology.
These are the industries that also really drive the world economy, and as long as there is a world economy, businesses and individuals in these industries will never not need written content.
If you want to make a great hourly rate, I’d encourage you to focus on targeting clients and projects in these industries.
I’ve included a few of the most profitable specializations in these three main industries below for your convenience.
There are lots more of course, and you can niche down even further if you want to, but for the sake of keeping things simple, I thought I’d just provide you with a short list to give you sone ideas and get you thinking about your own niche.
If you have any business skills, you’re in a great position to be a freelance writer.
Everyone wants to find out how to launch businesses, make more money, figure out what kind of legal requirements they need to meet, or just start saving some extra cash for a rainy day.
I have a bachelor’s degree in commerce plus a diploma in entrepreneurship and small business management, so I definitely used that to my advantage when kickstarting my freelance writing career.
But if you have real-world business experience — like a management position you held or an online business you built — then you might be just as knowledgeable and skilled than someone with an educational background in business (if not more).
Profitable Business Specializations
- Personal Finance
- Real Estate
There has never been a better time to be a freelance writer who specializes in a health-related niche.
As modern society continues to grown and evolve, so too does the complexity of all the health-related conditions and issues we face.
When I started specializing in health as a freelance writer, I worried I wouldn’t be able to make it work for me because I didn’t have a health sciences degree or any other health-related qualifications.
I only had a deep interest in it.
While I definitely know that a freelance writer can and will make a much higher hourly rate if they have some sort of health or medical background along with corresponding qualifications (especially a master’s degree and doctorate) than a writer without them, I also know it’s not absolutely essential.
What really matters is that you can be an incredibly good researcher and transcriber with a fine attention to detail.
Profitable Health Specializations
- Mental Wellness
- Gut Health
- Alternative Medicine
As our lives become more intertwined with technology, our need to better understand it grows stronger.
To better understand the technologies we use and develop the skills we need to work with them, we need well-written content.
Think about that for a moment.
Regular people are learning coding skills.
They’re learning Photoshop.
They’re even building their own apps.
If you don’t think there’s an opportunity there to use your own coding/Photoshop/app development skills to write for that type of audience, then you’d be wrong!
And if you’ve got advanced tech skills — like a professional background in data science or cybersecurity or even artificial intelligence — then you can make even more by tapping into those freelance writing niches.
Remember, there are skilled people in these fields, but not many are willing to write about them and can write about them well.
If you’re willing, then you’re a rare breed, and you’ll be compensated very nicely for it.
Profitable Technology Specializations
- Web Design
- IT Security
- Collaboration Tools
- Software As a Service (SaaS)
Runner-Up Industries: Science, Education
I hesitated to include Science and Education in this broad list of profitable industries for freelance writers because they’re a little harder to define, so I thought I’d include them as runners up to the big three.
Both can be highly profitable.
Science often overlaps with Health or Technology, but there are other categories that fall within the realm of science that can be profitable as well.
For instance, if you have a mechanical engineering degree and experience in the field, you can get paid very well for doing technical writing to produce end-user manuals and support materials.
Or let’s say you have an environmental science background.
You might be able to find your niche in creating reports and materials on news and research related to climate change, renewable energy, conservation, and other environmental topics.
Just think of all the science journals and research reports that need to be written up and/or broken down into layman’s terms.
If you have a background in virtually any scientific field, chances are you can use it to find a lucrative freelance writing niche.
Education is kind of an arbitrary term and even though I think it can be considered an industry, I tend to think about it more in terms of a content format (like course materials and guides) or a client type (like universities and colleges).
The Education “industry” however encompasses almost anything or anyone that teaches something.
These include any public, non-profit, or for-profit businesses/organizations/individuals.
We’re living in an information age where people are increasingly turning to the internet to learn new skills and acquire qualifications.
This means that there’s a growing demand for well-written educational content.
Public sector schools are having to keep up with the times by providing more of their content to be available to students online.
And more privately run businesses that specialize in educating people are popping up.
Everything from course platforms like Udemy and Cousera to solopreneurs who want to teach their craft to others need great written content.
The Most Profitable Freelance Writing Niche Content Formats
When thinking about your freelance writing niche, you absolutely must consider the content formats you want the majority of your projects to revolve around.
Because then you’ll get really, really good at writing in that specific content format, and your skills as a writer will be much more marketable.
I’ve always focused on blogging/article writing and web copywriting.
Those were and still are my two best and favourite content formats.
Are there more profitable content formats? Definitely!
Here are just 12 content formats that I’d say are the most profitable for freelance writers.
Have a look and see if any intrigue you…
Landing Page Copy
Copywriting encompasses anything that revolves around sales and advertising, but online landing page copy is a special kind of copywriting niche that has the potential to earn you thousands of dollars per project.
Whether it’s for an online course offered by an internet marketer or the latest new supplement from a health food company, if you can write copy that sells it, you can make a great living from doing this type of work over and over again.
Email Campaigns and Sales Funnels
The most effective way to sell to customers online is by email.
Even the biggest corporations rely heavily on email campaigns and sales funnels to build relationships with leads and turn them into customers that will buy from them over and over and over again.
Businesses need email copy for their launches, contests, savings/deals, seasonal campaigns, and more.
There’s no shortage of this kind of work, that’s for sure.
Organizations of all sizes in a variety of industries are looking to apply for grants from the government, which are monetary amounts that don’t need to be paid back.
Of course, a grant application is only accepted when an organization can prove it’s doing something beneficial to the community or local economy.
Grant writing, however, is a very technical form of writing that requires a lot of research and attention to detail.
It’s not for every writer, but it can be a very lucrative niche if you have or can develop the skills for it.
A white paper can be described as an authoritative guide or report that informs the customer or reader about a problem and helps them solve it. It’s a very popular content format nowadays thanks to the internet where businesses provide white papers as lead magnets.
They get people to provide their email addresses in exchange for it.
You can think of a white paper as a long-form document or even an ebook.
Since they typically require a lot of research and often technical writing, any writer who specializes in the white paper niche can earn thousands of dollars per project.
Cover Letters and Resumes
Cover letters and resumes are designed to sell people rather than products and services.
A lot of people don’t have the writing skills to properly sell themselves when applying to jobs, and many look toward outsourcing that kind of work if it means that it will increase their chances of getting an interview.
Freelance writers who specialize in writing cover letters and resumes can find clients both locally and online.
The more advanced the position that the client is applying for, the more you can charge for the work.
eLearning is huge nowadays, and it’s why I included Education as a runner up to the main industries that freelance writers can really profit from.
eLearning materials include everything from course curriculum and instructional content, to scenario-based storytelling and case studies.
As a freelance writer who specializes in the eLearning niche, you’ll certainly have to have knack for understanding what’s being taught and stepping into the perspective of the student.
The more advanced or complex the scope and subject you’re writing about, the more you can earn.
So many businesses need both company-specific and customer-specific documents written up, but lack the in-house skills and time to produce them.
These are the types of companies that need updated employee training booklets for their new hires, or user-friendly instructional guides for customers that purchase the latest version of their software.
Businesses will happily outsource this kind of work to freelance writers who can create high-quality, detailed content for them that they can print in manuals, guides, handbooks, pamphlets, and even downloadable PDF files.
All businesses — small, medium, and large — need a range of reports written up for them from time to time.
These include activity reports, project status reports, sales reports, digital marketing reports, competitor analysis reports, content strategy reports, growth strategy reports, budget reports, earnings reports, annual reports, and all sorts of other reports.
If you’re a skilled and specialized business writer, you can do very well for yourself just by focusing just on report writing for businesses.
If you’re bilingual or multilingual, then you may be able to profit off that as a freelance writer.
After all, translation doesn’t just occur at a word-for-word level. Content needs to make sense and flow properly once it’s been translated.
A case study is really just a true story told in a way that informs/educates the reader or sells a solution to them (in the form of a product or service).
They’re used in everything from educational content to help teach students, to patient testimonials from health practitioners.
Video is a leading form of content nowadays (especially online), which means that there are all sorts of opportunities to write scripts for videos.
You can sell your writing skills to create scripts for tutorials, product demonstrations, marketing campaigns, and more.
The Most Profitable Freelance Writing Niche Client Types
We’re onto the third and final component of identifying a freelance writing niche: client type.
This is important, because your client type can mean the difference between earning pennies versus hitting the jackpot.
In general, the bigger the size of the client (in terms of both number of employees and revenue), the higher your chances of earning more.
Bigger clients just have bigger budgets, so naturally, they can just pay you more.
I remember getting my first real copywriting job with a small local business and having to settle for a very low rate — not because the owner didn’t want to pay me what I wanted, but because she simply didn’t have the budget to spend very much on my services.
I happily took the job to get the experience, but I learned that if I wanted to earn more as a copywriter, I couldn’t go after the small, mom-and-pop shops with two or three employees.
With all that said, not all small businesses have tiny budgets. Some can pay very well — especially for specialized or very technical content, which is why I separated traditional local businesses and entrepreneurs from white-collar professionals below.
You might find that you can earn more by writing for white-collar professionals than traditional small businesses simply because it requires more specialized expertise.
Local Businesses & Entrepreneurs
Examples include jewellers, bakeries, convenience stores, restaurants, print shops, clothing stores, plumbers, electricians, general contractors, photographers, event planners, personal trainers, etc.
Examples include real estate agents, insurance agents, lawyers, financial advisors, accountants, consultants, etc.
Examples include retailers, technology companies, restaurant chains, service providers, and practically any company that has been legally incorporated.
Government Agencies & Public Services
Examples include municipal services, state departments, elementary schools, colleges/universities, public transportation, courthouses, postal services, utility providers, etc.
Examples include charities, conservation authorities, health and safety providers, churches, emergency services, museums, animal shelters, etc.
Examples include medical doctors, dentists, hospitals, chiropractors, physiotherapists, psychologists, optometrists, podiatrists, dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, etc.
Examples include major online news outlets, newspapers, offline/online magazines, and long-form online content hubs.
What’s Your Freelance Writing Niche?
I’d love to hear which industry, content format, and client type you’re targeting or are interested in trying to target. Let me know by leaving a comment!