Want to be a successful freelance writer?
By Alexandra Romanov, Freelance Writer
If you want to be a successful freelance writer, there is one thing that you must do. You must choose a niche. This is absolutely important. Why? Everything becomes easier. It is easier to find assignments. It is easier to build a reputation. Even the writing is easier. You get to learn a topic thoroughly, which means less time researching, and more time productively writing.
Finding your niche is as easy as looking at your hobbies: The books you like to read and the television shows you like to watch. There is generally an overall theme to the things that you enjoy and this is usually where you find your first niche.
The other place to look for your niche is in your career. When looking over your career, you will often find areas that stand out as being similar to each other. This is normally another great place to find your niche.
Have you ever worked in a bank? Are you interested in economic theories? Have you figured out really great ways to save or make money? All of these will easily fall into the “Finance” category and that is the niche I’m going to start with. If you want to specialize in this niche, this article will give you a head start. Even if you’re not interested in this niche, read the article closely. Why? Many of the tips and strategies are effective in across many markets. The bottom line: If you want to be a successful freelance writer, this article is for yu.
Finance writing covers everything from the high finances of stocks and bonds to the low finance of personal budgeting and coupon clipping. Essentially, anything having to do with money is considered part of the finance platform.
Getting started in finance is fairly easy: Look for highly popular blogs that target your specific financial area of expertise. Sites such as Yahoo Voices have beat assignments in various finance areas that can earn you a lot of cash as well. Scripted has an entire specialty devoted to finance and those articles are priced very well.
Where to Find Clients
If you want to go it alone, clients can easily be found through FlexJobs and various other sites. It’s also possible to hunt clients from the phonebook, direct email marketing and cold calling.
You want to target those who need your specific financial knowledge and do so in a way that will appeal to readers.
If your finance specialty is in information that appeals to industry professionals, look for trade publications, companies and individuals that need this information. If your specialty is in breaking down financial information to make it accessible to the general public then you can target everyone in the financial sector.
Here are a few places to target when looking for clients:
On tax issues, look at the tax preparation services and their websites. Many of these are independently owned and the blogs need to be written by someone. Tax attorney websites are another good source. Consider newsletters, blogs and magazines that focus on the financial matters of the 18-25 year old crowd as well as those that target those over 65.
For investing articles, the age tends to shift to the 30 to 45 year old crowd. General finance and budgeting issues appeal to those across the spectrum, though you can tweak the information based on the particular demographic of the intended audience.
Mistakes to Avoid
You need to be careful that the advice you offer is not going to run afoul of the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) as in insider trading information or by promoting specific stocks and bonds. This is easily avoided by simply speaking of these things as opposed to outright promotion. Mentioning them is fine; telling people to rush out and buy them is not.
Don’t rant on Taxes. Everyone hates taxes and everyone wants to minimize what they have to pay. Going on a rant will alienate both clients and readers. Focus on the facts and avoid the rants. If you are writing tax articles to explain why corporations are moving offshore, fine. Still, don’t rant. Just explain that with the highest corporate tax rate in the world, United States corporations are doing it to save money. You don’t have to agree with a business practice to discuss it fairly. If you can’t discuss it fairly, don’t cover it. You will be called out on the issue and your credibility will be shot.
Tax articles are especially hot in Early December through April 15th in the United States. After that people would prefer to not think about them whenever possible. Unless you have a unique article (such as a business tax article) or your client is a tax professional, save the tax articles for the December to April time period.
Tips for Success
Remember that with finance writing when the economy is bad you are going to be in high demand. Interestingly enough, you will also be in demand when the economy is great. During both of these economic periods you will find that your readership is the general public as well as industry insiders. During a good economy where people have enough money that they aren’t suffering but not so much that they are wondering what to do with it, the general public tends to ignore finance articles.
In a poor economy, focus on saving money. Budgeting, coupon clipping, saving money on various items (such as buying computers in August for the best deals) are the articles favored by readers. Watch the trends and use them to your advantage. Is there are mortgage crisis? Focus on getting out from under an underwater mortgage or how to get a mortgage with the best interest rate, things of that nature. Look at what is going on with the economy and what the hot button issues are at the time and write about those.
In a great economy, focus on investing articles and articles regarding things like retirement, buying vacation homes and such.
Keep the majority of your tax articles for the December to April hot season. The exception to this is business taxes. Because business taxes are quarterly, target companies, trade journals and industry newsletters for those.
Understand that you are going to make people angry. The three traditional things never to discuss in polite company are politics, religion and money. As long as your financial information is accurate and your presentation fair, ignore the critics. Let those who agree with you argue with them instead. It’s always best to stay out of the fray whenever possible. As a writer, your job is to present accurate information in a fair manner so that others can make their own decisions.