Finding my niche

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JonnyTheDean

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Hi all,

For the past few months I've been (unsuccessfully) trying to get into freelance writing as an income stream while I work on my fiction.

The issue I'm having is, much of the advice seems to be centred around finding a particular niche that you are expert in, but I'm not entirely sure what my niche is.

Or rather, since I am a Ph.D. Politics candidate (on hold for the moment), my niche pushes me further away from freelance writing in a sense that makes money, and more toward the side of journalism, where even those working full-time for national newspapers don't get paid half of the time.

Beyond that, I'm afraid "jack of all trades" pretty much sums me up - I'm vaguely-alright-and-vaguely-knowledgeable about a lot of things, from hiking/outdoors, to beer and brewing, to cookery, to green tech and environmentalism... but I'm not convinced that I'm enough of an authority in any of these things to carve a niche out in them.

Any advice here would be useful. Is finding a niche as important as the advice makes it sound? And how might I go about decoding my vague interests into something saleable?
 

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Pick a niche to learn more about. Start blogging regularly about that niche. At least twice a week, three times would be better.

Have a variety of short posts (300 words or less) and longer posts (500 words or more).

Link to good resources. Comment on the blogs and websites of others where you have something to say.

Don't just link drop. Participate in the conversation.
 

JonnyTheDean

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Thanks for the advice. Naturally these things take a lot of time and effort to get established in whatever niche I pick, and the way you mention seems like a great way to gradually build up a reputation in a niche.

I think the issue I'm having is that I can't choose one. Of the various interests I have, I can't imagine just choosing a single one. I think I'm a bits-and-pieces type of person by nature, in that I'd much rather cultivate a broad range than a narrow focus... which is probably the opposite of helpful here.
 

Tsu Dho Nimh

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I think the issue I'm having is that I can't choose one. Of the various interests I have, I can't imagine just choosing a single one. I think I'm a bits-and-pieces type of person by nature, in that I'd much rather cultivate a broad range than a narrow focus... which is probably the opposite of helpful here.

You don't have to. You can have multiple blogs, even under different names, each focused on one area. When I was writing for Yahoo I had three pseudonyms, including this one, and each had a specific focus. There was the home and garden one, the tech and politics and pop culture one, and the health and medical one.

The reason for the focus is that it helps the reader, and helps the search engines. Also helps the advertisers if you are doing ads, because they know it's a "gardening" blog, or a DIY blog.

The main issue with multiple blogs is that it's like that Chinese spinning plate act - keeping them all going can be hard.
 

JonnyTheDean

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Hmm, that is a cracking idea - but yes, I think you're right in that plate-spinning would be an issue! I guess practice and building it up slowly is the way to go here?
 

_lvbl

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Yup! You just have to put in the time and be diligent.
 

StephanieFox

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In the last couple of months, I have written for small community papers and mags about a local hardware store closing after 45 years, an 18-year old who owns his own skateboard shop, the history of a local (colorful) neighborhood, shopping and eating Mexican food,science and tech kids who were operating a garden and selling the produce, how to be 'green' for the holidays. You don't need a niche but you sure have to know how to research and interview. And know the AP Stylebook.
 

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