You know what you’re passionate about and have a clear vision of your future career. You’ve chosen a subject-based niche (as opposed to a writing-specialty niche) that you want to dedicate your professional life to.
You’ll write books, give advice, publish blog posts, host webinars, speak at professional conferences, sell courses, maybe even teach locally, create a membership community, star in your own videos, and become a best-selling author.
Your actual life experience is completely off-topic from your niche.
You’ve probably done a lot of reading and research on your subject but you have no credentials or experience.
Do you have to build an entire new career or earn a degree in your niche before pursuing your writing dreams?
Of course not!
But some outside experience in your chosen field won’t hurt—and can help you land your first on-topic assignments, if you haven’t already.
If you’re trying to enter a niche in which you have little to no experience, you’re going to want to reverse-engineer some credibility.
Build Your Niche Authority
Of course freelance writers take assignments on topics they have no background in all the time. For writers who excel at research, it’s even less uncommon. Granted, the I-need-to-read-and-study-this-before-I-can-start-writing period can cut down your possible earnings by eating into your productivity, but not all topics are rocket science.
Still, taking a one-off assignment or even accepting a part-time side-gig is not the same thing as developing your niche.
If you’re developing and building yourself, your platform, and your brand in a niche, you’re expected to be an authority and expert.
And if you have no experience in something you’re passionate about enough to want to build it into a career, you should be excited to participate and learn!
So, what can you do to gain authority?
I suggest you being by pitching your articles to publications and blogs appropriate to your level of writing experience while building a niche or professional website of your own. New writers typically don’t land Forbes or Shape magazine right off the bat so if you have no clips to show, start with either low-paying, unpaid or on-spec assignments—where you write the entire piece and submit it in lieu of a query.
If you plan to have your own blog, start building now and publish posts to use as writing samples in your pitch efforts.
Of course, as you gain experience and writing clips you’ll start pitching bigger and high-paying markets.
If you’re sending emails and getting nothing but crickets and no-thank-yous, stay tuned to Paid Write for my next post, which will help you identify pitch problems and fix them so you start getting happy emails in your inbox.
And while you’re publishing your niche-related work all around the web, there are other steps you can take to gain experience and authority.
Depending on your area of expertise, you can:
- Take a workshop or course, either digitally or at a local college or learning facility
- Join trade organizations
- Read everything you can on your subject
- Build a professional or niche blog or resource website
- Set up a professional email account for your domain [firstname.lastname@example.org]
- Follow and interact with influencers and the big names in your niche
- Host a free seminar or webinar on your topic that helps participants
- Hire someone with experience to teach you
- Volunteer or intern at a niche-related business
- Write and publish a niche eBook—and promote it on multiple platforms
- Gather professional accreditations on LinkedIn w/ a well-written profile
- Create professional social media accounts
- Sign up to be an expert on HARO or ProfNet, services that connect experts to journalists and reporters
- Document your success as a case study
- Guest post on increasingly popular blogs in your niche
- Publish articles in related trade magazines
- Offer to be interviewed for articles, vlogs, and podcasts
Obviously your authority, social media reach, author platform, professional network, and list of blog subscribers won’t be built overnight. It will take a lot of work and consistent effort over time but it is possible to break into a new niche without experience.
It’s also possible to build a niche empire once you’ve gotten that proverbial foot in the door. 🙂