The great niche debate

The question of having a niche as a writer sounds simple enough. You either have a niche or you don’t. But it’s not as black and white as that.

First, people have different interpretations of what a niche actually is. For some it’s a specific industry or a topic. For others, a niche is defined by the type of work they produce, like long-form content or technical copywriting.

When it comes to having a niche it seems there is no right or wrong. Or is there?

When in doubt, ask Twitter

To get to the bottom of the question I created a Twitter poll to find out what my fellow writers think. It turns out the majority don’t think it’s important to have a niche as a writer. Followed by, “It depends”.

After the poll ended, I thought that was the end of it. Case closed. Then people started commenting on the poll, which is where it got interesting.

Here are some of the comments.

As you can see, it’s a bit more complex than a simple yes or no answer. Maybe it actually depends on the writer and the situation.

The pros and cons of having a niche

Being an expert can be a great calling card and can help to justify charging higher rates as a result. In fact, many writers have become highly successful by being the go-to person for a particular market or topic.

However, the downside is that having a niche can be limiting, which is something to be aware of.

Let’s step back in time to spring 2020 when the global pandemic hit. The hospitality and travel industries were massively impacted by the restrictions with many businesses still struggling to survive.

The obvious people that were immediately affected were the chefs, travel agents and flight attendants that worked in those industries. But many copywriters had also made those markets their niche and the crisis wiped out their work overnight.

This is an extreme example but unfortunately it did actually happen. And not so long ago.

With hindsight, does it actually make more sense for writers to go down the non-niche route? Perhaps.

A niche can be nice

Despite the ongoing pandemic, there are clear advantages and disadvantages to having a niche as a writer.

If you want to become an expert in a field, then having a niche is a great way to achieve that. But it can be just as beneficial to work in different fields and bring a fresh perspective to projects.

Personally, I’m in the generalist camp and as a trained journalist I’m not afraid to get stuck into a new topic. Although, in recent years, I have worked with several ecommerce clients, which could become a niche.

So, the answer is no, you don’t need a niche as a writer. But it can be nice to have. Depending on the situation.

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