When I started freelance writing a few years ago, getting a job was easy, even as a novice.
Not long afterward, the competition became tougher. Many more people offered the same services and applied for the same jobs.
According to Statista, 86.5 million people in the United States are projected to become freelancers by 2027. That is about 50.9 percent of the American workforce.
With that number of people, you must set yourself apart to remain indispensable to your clients and keep the bucks rolling in.
In this article, I will show you the steps you can take to become an authority and dominate your freelancing niche.
1. Choose a niche and focus on it
There are three key factors you must consider before you choose your niche.
They are your
Before I ventured into the freelance writing world, I worked as a marketing executive in a bank for one year. Shortly after that, I equally worked as a marketer in an insurance company.
With that experience, it was easy for me to write on marketing-related topics.
Your experiences, in this case, are not limited to official work experiences.
They could include:
- Helping your aunt take care of her garden
- Helping your brother prepare presentations at work
- traveling to 25 countries in one year and documenting the experience
- Planning your best friend’s wedding
- Babysitting your sister’s toddler.
As casual as these experiences are, the fact that you have handled them means you have hands-on knowledge on the subject, and you can freelance in a related niche.
This mainly refers to your academic qualification. You can choose to become a finance writer because you studied Accountancy in college.
I know a freelance writer who writes in the health niche. She studied medicine in college, and it was only natural.
Although your course of study can play a part in helping you choose a niche, don’t let it box you in.
For example, I studied Chemical Engineering but can’t write anything about Thermodynamics or Fluid Mechanics even if my life depended on it.
If you aren’t interested in the niche you are writing about, it will become a tedious chore for you.
What do you have interests in?
Football? That’s a valid niche. It means you write in and dominate that niche.
Travel and vacations?
If you can find an intersection between your experiences, qualification, and passion, like in the image below, you have hit a gold mine.
Before you make a final decision on a niche to go into, conduct a market survey to ensure there is a market demand for writers within that niche.
For example, let’s assume you have an interest in Tilapia fishes.
If you studied Fishery in college too, and have a couple of years of experience repairing fishing nets, that doesn’t mean you should choose Tilapia Fishing Net Repairs as your niche.
First of all, that niche is too microscopic.
And even if there is an existing market for it, the market may not have a budget for you.
In such cases, you need to look for another niche.
Once you make the decision on the niche you want to become an authority in, here are a few more steps you need to take.
1. Go deeper into your territory
Ever heard of a niche within a niche?
This doesn’t mean you should limit yourself to a very narrow spot where creating enough content to keep you going becomes challenging.
Instead, create a territory for yourself within the vast options of the niche you chose.
For example, copywriting is a niche in digital marketing, but different areas fall within the scope of copywriting for digital marketing.
These include SEO-optimized blog posts, email marketing, landing pages, B2B copywriting, etc.
Brian Clark, the founder of Copyblogger, once talked about how he could match the competition between Problogger and Performancing in the emerging field of commercial blogging at the time.
Knowing that the two leading players in the niche were focused on giving beginner-based information, the writing expert began Copyblogger as an in-depth source of blogging knowledge to audiences who needed information from someone with more profound knowledge.
By doing this, he soon became a sought-after expert in that niche.
The good thing about this strategy is that it gives you fresh insights into the overall niche more than most competitors who stick to the same old tricks.
2. Learn some more
Even if you choose a freelancing niche that you have some knowledge in, it is vital to keep an open mind about learning.
You can’t become an authority in your chosen niche if you are not habitually learning.
Learning is a continuous process.
There are a lot of options to choose from!
- Watch YouTube videos on the subject
- Read blog posts about it
- Or simply take up an online course
Check out some of the courses on Skillshare, Cousera, and Hubspot Academy.
Some of these courses are free or premium based. Either way, you will get something worthwhile.
To sweeten the offer, some of these courses come with certificates upon completion. What more screams professional than certification?
You can add these certificates to your freelancing profile to improve your appearance as an expert in the freelancing niche.
For example, I added the certification below to my Linkedin profile.
With proof like that, most clients will likely see you as an authority in that field.
Also, you can learn from industry experts in your desired freelancing niche without taking a course.
For instance, when I started, I learned a lot from Carol Tice of Make a Living Writing and Bamidele Onibalusi of Writers in Charge.
Apart from buying their courses, here are a few things you can start doing to learn from them
- Read their blogs
- Subscribe to their email newsletters
- Watch their YouTube videos
- Listen to their podcasts
- Join their social media community, etc.
While courses are necessary, reading and interacting with other freelancers in your niche will help you learn more.
A good example here is Kat Boogard. If you visit her website, as shown above, you will see where she talks about her Facebook community which you can click and join.
The community has 5,500 other freelance writers like you.
By joining such communities and interacting with freelancers, you begin to discover what works for others and how you can make it work for you.
Also, it can help you modify your methods to be more in tune with what’s obtainable in your freelancing niche.
Remember how Brian Clark established himself as an authority in his writing niche with CopyBlogger?
Yes! It’s the same thing.
Stay up to date
An effective way of announcing your authority in a freelancing niche is novelty.
You can only claim to be an authority if you give reliable information to your audience.
For example, the popular tech review Youtube channel, Unbox Therapy, enjoys views from over 18 million subscribers because of the simple fact of novelty. They allows viewers to have first-hand experienced reviews on new gadgets right out of the box.
Obviously, this made the channel dominate the tech youtube niche.
Your content can focus on a lot of important information in your freelancing niche, but it is the ability to keep up with what your desired audience needs that will make you a sought-after writer.
Interact with your audience, and interact with players that influence the trends of your freelancing niche.
That way, you know what is going on and how to meet the expectations of your clients as an authority in your freelancing niche.
2. Gain Authority
Authority is not given; it is earned.
While it is essential to know your niche, people are not just going to regard you as an authority if you haven’t earned it.
You have to prove yourself.
There are different ways to draw attention to yourself as an authority in your freelancing niche.
Here are a few tips.
1. Build your portfolio
Publish a lot of credible work in your name. It is that simple.
A professor with over 100 academic publications in Genetics is considered more of a reliable authority than a professor with just 10 publications on the same subject.
This means you have to create and publish more content and do a lot more marketing than you currently do.
The more you share, the more established you are seen as an authority who dominates the niche.
Your target clients and audience will have a glimpse of your abilities and a point of reference to your work.
There are four major things to consider here
The fastest way to prove that you are an expert in your field as a freelance writer is by blogging.
When you blog, your potential clients will quickly refer to what you have done in the past and see that you are well versed in your chosen niche.
2. Write a book
The first few letters in the word ‘authority’ come from the word ‘author.’
Do you want to prove your authority in your chosen niche?
Write a book on it and clear all doubts.
Writing a book takes a lot of work, including tons of research.
I know because I wrote the one below where I shared secrets on how new writers can become exceptional.
By committing long hours to a subject and producing a book, it makes it evident that you are an authority on that subject.
3. Guest Posting
Guest posting allows you to showcase your expertise to an audience that is not yours originally.
Instead of merely writing content on your blog, you get to write on other blogs and show others who don’t read your blog how well you know your subject.
For example, the tweet below was made by Shep Hyken, and he endorsed a guest post I wrote on customer service to his followers.
Through this tweet, thousands of his followers would automatically see Toby Nwazor as an authority in the customer service niche.
4. Social Media Marketing
This involves creating and sharing content on social media platforms.
It goes beyond writing Facebook posts.
It includes creating videos for TikTok and YouTube, posting reels on Instagram, sharing images on Pinterest, tweeting, and writing posts on Linkedin.
By talking about what you do and providing value through your content, more people will start to see you, follow you, and learn from you.
Not only that, you will start appearing in search appearances, as you can see above.
If you do this consistently, you won’t just build authority, you’d end up building a formidable brand for yourself.
By consistently taking these steps, you’d be showcasing your expertise and making it very easy for anyone to be convinced that you are an authority in your chosen freelance niche.
2. Solve a problem
The best way to become sought-after and dominate your freelancing niche is to showcase your ability to give solutions to problems arising within that niche.
Most clients will seek you out if you are great at meeting their desired goals. And the best way to do this is by understanding what the client wants from you.
Don’t be in a hurry to show off your knowledge. Do a little bit more of the research required to fully grasp the client’s expectations.
Interact with your clients and ask them where they are and where they want to get to. You can then use pointers given through your interaction with the client to proffer a solution.
Don’t be afraid to ask for clarity at any point in your interactions. You want to produce a satisfactory outcome rather than half-baked content at the end of the day.
Creating a proper representation of a client’s goal reinforces your claim as a trustworthy authority in the freelancing niche.
Moreover, solving a problem shows you are out to give value rather than sell yourself.
3. Be consistent and persistent
Ever heard of the saying, “Consistency is key”?
When I was writing on Huffington Post, I wrote over a hundred articles in about three years before they stopped their contributor platform.
You will not be regarded as an authority, and nor will you dominate your freelancing niche with just a handful of sparse content.
You have to constantly put yourself out there to get the attention of your target clients and audience.
This is the most challenging part of the process for most people.
It is hard to be consistent if the outcome is not encouraging, but it doesn’t mean you should stop.
As they say, “Rome was not built in a day.”
Imagine a freelancer who uses Upwork or any freelancing sites requiring bidding. Making at least ten good bids a day each month guarantees you will get at least half or one-third of your proposal replied.
Now imagine you only make three bids once every two weeks. What do you think your outcome will be?
In addition to that, you are going to improve when you are consistent.
This part of the process is beneficial in several ways.
- It allows you to practice. And remember that practice makes perfect.
- More so, you build your portfolio.
Other valuable tips
By networking, you leverage your peers’ knowledge and allow them to leverage yours. It helps keep you up to speed on the new trends in your freelancing niche.
Also, it makes it easier for your target clients to spot you through referrals which is an excellent way of proving credibility. I have seen this happen over and over again, especially on Linkedin and Twitter.
Relate with your fellow freelancers as colleagues and not competitors.
Look at the screenshot below; it is a chat with a fellow freelance writer and friend, Rosemary Egbo. These are the kind of things you miss out on when you don’t network.
Look for commendable people in a niche that is closely related to yours. Your content can be complementary to one another. In that case, you can get referrals to their audiences or clients who need your expertise.
Check out freelancers already dominating their niche that you believe you can work with.
Reach out to them.
Send an email or a comment to them, commending their work. Then tell them about your specialty and how you want to collaborate with them. Trust me, everyone likes encouraging feedback about their effort.
You can share backlinks with their sites, and they can do the same for you. It’s a good way to grow your credibility and automatically your authority in your freelancing niche.
The key here is to be mindful of your network’s reputation.
Also, connect with industry influencers in your niche. If you are a financial blogger, connect with finance CEOs or officials in that sector.
Share your work with them and establish that you know your game in the industry. This is a great way to get direct access to your target clients or amazingly effective referrals.
Be intentional about your visibility
No one does quite well in dominating a niche or anything for that matter without the proper visibility. You have to put yourself out there as an authority in your freelancing niche. That way, people know to look for you.
The best way to give yourself visibility is through publishing. Make your capabilities known by publishing what you can do to a larger audience.
Furthermore, celebrate your wins. And if you get a glowing testimonial, don’t be shy to share it as I did below on Linkedin.
Use platforms that give you the required traction.
Professional platforms like Linkedin are a good place to start. You can also use Quora, Medium, or other platforms that support your visibility to the right audience.
Nothing sets you apart as an authority better than when people rely on your opinion.
You may meet clients who have difficulty deciding what they want. You can help them decide by making suitable and efficient recommendations.
To sweeten it, you can start charging extra fees for consultation.
Keep in mind that it’s a steady journey. You will get there soon enough.
I hope the tips were helpful to you. If they were, don’t forget to leave a comment below and share this with your friends.
Now that you’ve done that start implementing right away!