Jack-of-all-trades…and master of noneBy Will Newman
Imagine you're standing on a road that branches in many directions. Even though you're not sure which direction to take, you certainly wouldn't choose to take all directions.
Doing that gets you nowhere.
But I see many beginning copywriters taking the same approach when it comes to picking a niche to work in.
A niche is a specialized area such as financial, alternative health, or the like. There are hundreds of niches in today's copywriting world. So beginning copywriters feel they can write for many of them and increase their chances of succeeding.
"More is better," their thinking goes. "If I want to be successful in copywriting, I should write for as many niches as possible."
It simply doesn't work that way …
This approach just isn't the most effective one for building true, lasting success. Here's why …
Let's say you seriously injured your ankle. Who would you call? Dr. Smith, General Practitioner? Or … Dr. Jones who specializes in injuries to the lower leg, knee, and ankle?
I know who I'd choose. The doctor who's spent time and effort specializing.
It's the same with copywriting. Clients aren't looking for good generalists. They want to hire someone who knows their business. If they sell educational products, they want someone who understands that market. They want someone who knows what motivates those prospects. What benefits are most compelling.
Makes sense, doesn't it?
Don't waste your precious time …
Specializing will build your career much faster than taking on all comers.
It's tempting to start out trying to write for as many different niches as you can. But learn from my personal experience.
I began my copywriting career by apprenticing myself to a well-known copywriter whose focus was financial. As a result, I wrote a lot of financial copy for him.
But, at the same time, I also wrote copy for a lot of other clients in other niches. I took the "more is better" approach. And my copy showed it. By trying to succeed in too many niches, I didn't do very well in any of them.
I did a great deal of introspection during this period in my career. Even to the point of thinking I should give up. But that soul searching had a very positive outcome. I realized I didn't have any passion for writing financial copy and decided to only write about things I truly cared about.
Figuring out what that was wasn't difficult. All my return clients were in the three niches I enjoyed writing the most: health, educational products, and fundraising. So that's where I ended up.
I wasted a lot of time by not taking the advice I began hearing early in my career.
What niche should you choose?
You've probably heard the advice to "write what you know." Take a similar approach in choosing a niche. But it's not so much 'what you know' that's important. We all have areas of experience and knowledge that don't excite us. Instead, when choosing a niche, write about what you enjoy doing.
You don't necessarily need to know a lot about the details of the area. You can learn along the way. But if your love and excitement isn't in that niche, you'll be writing mediocre copy.
Let's say you take natural supplements and feel they've made a difference in your life. But you don't know a whole lot about antioxidants or free radicals.
That's not a problem. Since you have belief and passion firmly planted in natural health, you'll learn the details. And you'll love doing it. When you write alternative health copy, you won't be selling something. You'll be educating a friend, helping to improve her life.
Finding Those Specialty Areas
How do I suggest you find your best-fit niches? Make a list of everything in your life you love to do, to hear about, to learn about. Do not censor the list in any way. Everything that meets the "excitement requirement" goes on the list.
Keep this list available for several days. Ideas may pop into your head at odd times. Just because something didn't come to mind immediately, doesn't mean you wouldn't love to write about it.
For example, alternative health might head the list. But two days after starting it, you're drinking coffee with friends and the reality strikes you. "I'd love to write about coffee!"
Once you have that list pretty well filled (10 or 15 items), pare it down. Pick three areas that excite you most. Don't worry about whether they're in the top moneymaking niches or not. Be honest with yourself. Would you have fun writing about these things? This is where you want to specialize.
So, should you stop at just one niche? Not necessarily. My feeling is "specializing" means finding three niches at most … three that you're really excited about writing for.
Find the excitement. And the paydays will follow.
I'd love to hear from you. Have you chosen a couple or three niches yet? How did you make the decision? Are you having trouble making the decision? Let me know. Write me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week, we'll chat about how to become a top copywriter in the hottest — and most exciting — niche in copywriting right now.
Until then, keep writing!
Yours for a successful copywriting career,
This article appears courtesy of American Writers & Artists Inc.’s (AWAI) The Golden Thread, a free newsletter that delivers original, no-nonsense advice on the best wealth careers, lifestyle careers and work-at-home careers available. For a complimentary subscription, visit http://www.awaionline.com/signup/</
Image above is copyrighted 2013 Karen Cioffi
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