To niche, or not to niche?

Yellow PagesIt’s a truism in copywriting circles: if you really want to be successful, you’ve gotta have a niche. “Copywriter” is too general. But “holistic health direct-mail copywriter?” Son, that may be territory you can truly own. Get out there and niche-ify yourself, and watch the business roll in.

But since founding this business in 2007, I’ve resisted this idea. After all, one of the things I truly loved (and still love) about self-employment is that you can do a little bit of everything, as long as you have the skills and experience. For me, this means that as a freelancer I’ve managed and assembled publications while writing everything from executive speeches to taglines, from fundraising materials to radio ads, for organizations ranging from professional societies to local catering companies.

But since anything you do well leads to more of that thing, over time I’ve found myself carving a few parallel niches just by default — nonprofit/fundraising, consumer product copy/ads, and website/identity/marketing copy for small and mid-size businesses.

I do recognize the wisdom in “niche-ifying” and in carving out unique territory. It narrows down what kinds of clients you need to chase, while establishing yourself as an expert. So while I love the variety of my work, I’m taking my first steps in this direction and acknowledging what my three main businesses and client types truly are.

What do you think? Is picking a “niche” limiting, or freeing? And for those who have defined niches, how have you selected them, and what have been the results?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *