I’ve seen a lot of bad advice given to beginner copywriters and content writers and decided to write this case study on the subject of what to write when getting started as an internet-based copywriter.
Some of the advice on the web isn’t that good, and I aim to show in this article how I decided to approach the task of content generation.
Copywriter, Content Writer, Beginner, Content Assets
This is my personal opinion only. I think the choice of content is dependent on the pre-startup customer research and business model choice one decides for.
The advice given to beginners I’ve seen was rather cheap. I’ll make a shortlist below to see how many I can remember off the top of my head
- You should pick only one niche
- You should pick a niche based on what you love
- You should write about what you know about
I don’t agree with any of these three statements, and I think they are bottom of the barrel advice for budding content dispensers.
One Niche Doesn’t Solve Anything
The worst I’ve read somewhere (you’ll have to take my word on these statements, that I swear I read somewhere) is the mono-niche approach.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and I can barely imagine why some persons would tell others to pick just one niche.
If one wants to hoodwink one’s audience, at least could do it in a less obvious way. But I understand that maybe those that propose a single niche may have a laser-focused approach to things, and that’s not so bad after all.
I think it’s advantageous to concentrate all our efforts on a single thing. That doing it that way, the thing (whatever it may be) has a larger chance of succeeding.
But without at least basic market research, this advice of picking one niche one loves and writing for it is not that good, if what one wants or needs is to make a living.
To me, it feels more like a sentimental decision instead of an informed business decision, and that makes me dislike the mono-niche approach.
Still, there’s always the possibility that the niche one loves and has dedicated one’s life to might be in high demand, too!
You’ll Write What the Market Says You’ll Write
Otherwise, content writing may not work for you.
Picking a niche of one’s love is okay only if you’re writing content as a hobby. Otherwise, I see it as something amateurish and crass, if it’s not precluded by market researches.
One should pick a niche based on the market’s demands, picking those one thinks one will be a good fit for.
The ideal would be to find, after doing proper market research, that one of the niches one loves is also a niche that’s in high demand.
One shouldn’t discount hunches. If one has an idea for something, by all means, during the business model drafting phase, one must go to as many keyword and social listening applications as possible and get the bare facts to know if there’s a potential market for said idea.
I used all these keyword research tools and a few from the ones that aren’t free or freemium.
In more than a year searching how to break in into the freelancing copywriter and content writer industry, the greatest advice I can give is: go to the market as soon as possible, because it’s going to teach you a lot, and in a way that’s different to what you can learn from reading loose things here and there, courses, influencers, online mentors or anything like that.
Successful copywriter-publishers can teach you a lot, but relying only on that can’t give you the scoop on the here and now of your personal (and customized, when you start to search the work market) fields of specialization.
Even in the case of not planning to use previous skills and knowledge, searching job boards and platforms is a great way of coming by new, cutting-edge things that could be cool to learn, and that may have a high demand potential, and thus, a high chance of becoming profitable.
Different Approaches To Content
Some articles I read about copywriter content talked about building a portfolio. But it isn’t that easy. Maybe what all those articles that missed the point, what they essentially did wrong was disregarding the importance of previous planning work.
Unless you plan to supply a generalized offering of content, the general advice of building a portfolio isn’t enough.
Why would one want to skip forward to building a portfolio if one isn’t already sure what are the niches one wants to write for?
How to find a profitable niche should be pretty obvious for those that want to reach their would-be customers through the internet. I specified this because this is an internet-based business case study only.
With an internet-based occupation like copywriter, one doesn’t have excuses not to find work. Even if one is venturing into content writing to be hired, as opposed to working independently as a freelance copywriter.
One can use free web apps to find prospective employers, not just markets to sell to. Especially sites hosting classified advertisements.
To be in direct contact with the demands of the work market for content writers and copywriters had a beneficial effect on me, it made me pick new niches that I already liked, but didn’t know were in demand, or downright booming.
Once We Chose Our Target Market
Now yes, now that we know there’s a segment of people searching for something we’d like to sell, then we can begin catering our content efforts to them. There are diverse ways to segment it and we can pick any method we like. For instance, B2C or B2B.
It’s not enough to be in the know of what’s in demand in the market. I think the best balance can be achieved by picking a healthy quantity of niches and then researching the markets for them all.
Then only working for the ones that might be profitable for us.
Even the niches we pick from the market when searching for gigs or jobs must be researched, to have at least a superficial knowledge of their value.
That they’re in demand in the job market isn’t a positive long-term potential indicator in any way, thus, the more we research them by ourselves, the better.
Two Possibilities: Narrow and Broad Niches Choice
Now is when things get tricky. If we chose very narrow niches, hopefully, they’re profitable, this is the easy scenario.
But if we chose to develop for a broad range of niches, and write in a large number of different content forms, then we’ll have to work a lot more.
If we chose a narrow set of niches/markets/keywords, which might even be interrelated, we should plan a content strategy using a content calendar, and project a goal, like for instance would be “In six months from today, I will have 90 technical whitepapers written”.
The content strategy can be more than just content assets generation tasks. It can also contain customer journey, funnel and customer acquisition tasks built into it to give just several examples.
Using this content at the same time you’re creating it to build an audience that you may be able to convert into a customer base is nice, but in my case, it wasn’t a priority.
If we chose to write in a lot of different content formats, and want to experiment with copy and content writing, then we must be generating a fixed quantity of content daily but is not as easy as focusing on less quantity of niches and content forms.
Content forms aren’t difficult to learn, but learning dozens of content forms surely takes time. To become accustomed to the constant difference of form, might tempt us to write too many unrelated articles, and this, in my view, is not as effective as the other approach.
One way to make this unfocused approach work would be to be as much versatile and prolific as possible. To be as much exhaustive as possible, but never neglecting the quality and the need for value.
Yet, with quantity for the sake of quantity, we might encounter undesirable effects. One could be that after three or six months of creating content non-stop we have a shapeless mass of fluff that pretends to cater to everyone, but in fact can’t relate to anybody.