Monday, December 28, 2009

3 Ways to Find Your Niche as a Freelance Writer

3 Ways to Find Your Niche as a Freelance Writer
by: Nick Usborne

To make a six-figure income as a freelance writer, to need to be an expert. You need your name to jump to people's lips when a particular job or challenge comes up.

"Direct mail for software? You should get in touch with Bob. That's what he does." Insert your own name and specialty where appropriate.

You can't get that kind of awareness or referral if you're someone who just writes about anything in any medium. Nobody is going to believe that you are a trusted expert in absolutely everything.

So how do you determine a viable 'niche'? You have three choices...

1. Niche by industry...

That is to say, work within a particular industry. For years I worked with pharmaceutical clients. All my clients were drug companies. I wrote direct mail, brochures, sales aids, video scripts. I wrote anything, so long as it was about pharmaceuticals. That was my niche. And my clients knew that I was knowledgeable in that area. So they came to me.

2. Niche by medium...

In this scenario, you make a particular medium your specialty. After my years with the pharmaceutical industry, I decided to specialize as a direct mail copywriter. And for that period, about 15 years, I ONLY write direct mail and associated inserts, fliers, postcards etc. I was a direct response specialist. And I wrote for all kinds of different industries - financial, cable TV, magazine publishers and more.

My specialty, my niche, was as a direct response copywriter. Other writers have built their careers around writing annual reports, radio scripts, white papers etc.

3. 'Double-Niche'

When you double-niche you are making a specialty of serving a single industry through a single medium. For instance, writing direct response for the financial industry. And ONLY writing direct response for the financial industry.

In conclusion...

As I said at the beginning, you can't be an expert at everything...not within every industry, not with every medium. So you need to take some steps to find your niche.

How do you choose? First, know yourself. Know what you are good at. Know what you like.

Also, be smart. Create your niche where the money is. Find your niche where there is a strong market.

And be smart about the size of your niche. Don't go so narrow that you're forever starved of work. Don't go so broad that people view you as a Jack or Jill of all trades, a generalist.

About The Author

Nick Usborne is a freelance writer, author, speaker and advocate of good writing. For more articles and resources on making money as a freelance writer, visit his site,


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Create Your Own Products

Create Your Own Products

If you have a popular blog, especially one that deals with topics that are important to others, you can earn money by selling your own products from your blog. People are always willing to buy merchandise that makes a statement, or support a cause they believe in. If your blog is popular you should consider making merchandise to sell on your blog.

You do not have to create merchandise that is branded to your blog, you can sell things that are relevant to your blogs topic and that relate to the content of your entries. Just make sure that your audience will be interested in the merchandise you create or you may find that you make few sales.

For example, if you blog about gaming, creating merchandise that relates to games and software will probably sell on your blog. You can also create merchandise that contains your blogs logo or other graphics, and get some free advertising every time a reader wears it as well.

Creating merchandise to sell on your blog is not as hard as it sounds. There are a few websites out there that allow you to create t-Shirts, mouse pads, mugs, hats, and other things that you can personalize any way you wish and sell for a profit.

Most websites handle orders, payments, and shipping, leaving you to do nothing but design your merchandise and profit. Here are some websites that you should consider if you want to create merchandise to sell on your blog:

Cafepress – This is a very popular website and allows you to create a variety of merchandise to sell on your blog, or anywhere else for that matter.

Basic membership is free and even includes a simple online store hosted on Cafepress. The merchandise you create has a base price and you mark it up to the price you wish and keep the profit. They handle orders, payments, and shipping.

Printfection – Printfection is relatively new and is similar to Cafepress. They have less merchandise you can create, limited mostly to different styles of shirts.

On the other hand, they offer a free online store that is comparable to the one you have to pay for on Cafepress. They also print with high quality and offer many color choices.

Zazzle – Another print on demand company, although they are more geared toward individuals rather than people trying to sell their products online.

The payment structure is different form Cafepress and Printfection where you set your markup. At Zazzle, you earn a fixed percentage. Prices are slightly higher at Zazzle than at Caf├ępress and Printfection as well.

Each of these websites allows you to create merchandise that you can sell on your blog, either with your blog logo, slogan, or something related to your blog’s topic.





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