Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.
Early in my writing journey I learned that I could transfer my article writing skills to the content writing niche. So I took the AWAI 6-Figure Copywriting Course to learn how to write persuasively. The course was fantastic.
Yet as I completed the lessons and read the forums and participated in discussions, I realized that I really didn’t fit in. Other students and instructors repeatedly talked about working in well-paying niches like the financial market, health market, and tech market. Companies in those niches have bigger budgets. Therefore they hire more freelancers and pay larger fees.
However, I was a classical musician. And my secret love was writing for ministries. When it comes to writing about finances, I can balance my checkbook. When it comes to writing about health, I know how to tell a reader to take a break, get up, and walk around in every 30 minutes. When it comes to writing about tech, I know how to tell a reader how to use spellcheck on her word processing program. But writing about UNIX programs or short sales or superfoods? Not so much. (Or at all.)
Everyone emphasized, “You’ll make more money if you work in a lucrative content writing niche like finance, health, or tech.” I didn’t doubt it then and I don’t doubt it now. But I’ve learned something else along the way.
Tech, finance, and health intimidated me. Instead, I listened to the gurus who say, “Write about what you know.” Since I’d been immersed in classical music as a performer for twenty-five years, that’s where I started. I pitched to instrument repair providers, music dealers, and record companies and landed my first jobs, writing a brochure for one client and an email series for another.
Then I followed more expert instructions and pitched to any and every opportunity that came my way. I attended a tech event and handed out business cards. I wrote resumes for federal employees and real estate job hunters. I even answered an ad for FOREX copywriting. (Never mind that I had no idea that FOREX stood for Foreign Exchange.)
I wrote for whomever and about whatever I could. Yes, those projects were uncomfortable to write. But I’m glad I did them. I made money and I gathered clips.
Meanwhile, on the sly, I put together a prospecting letter to send to ministries. Yet I avoided telling other writers that I was considering working in the faith-based market. “No money there,” was the refrain when the topic came up.
But I just wanted to make some money. Not a fortune. Why shouldn’t ministries benefit from strong, persuasive writing?
Writing for ministries was my passion. And to be fair, I knew a good bit about it. I was familiar with the “big players” in the niche and had read its literature widely. I had discovered I had a bent for teaching the Bible using non-traditional methods, leading classes that impacted learners in powerful and lasting ways. Naturally, I was jazzed about communicating biblical causes to a broader audience.
But everyone knows there is very little money to be made in nonprofits, let alone in faith-based ones. Right?
I mailed my prospecting package to about 80 ministries a week for about ten weeks. To my surprise, the responses trickled into by mailbox and my inbox in twice the numbers of the responses I received from musical prospects. Excited, I followed up with those ministries right away. Evidently, my excitement seeped through my phone calls and emails and messages. Soon, 90% or more of my freelance work was for ministries and nonprofit organizations. That was years ago. And I have had steady work in this content writing niche ever since.
Here’s what I learned: every business needs web content, social media strategies, blog posts, email campaigns, and more. Even ministries!
And while a business can hire any writer with skills, one thing they can’t pay for is your passion. Readers hear your passion in your writing and when you speak to them. So let’s say your passion is growing miniature cactus … painting horse-shaped gifts … vegan toddler diets …
Yes, there’s a content writing niche for that.
Go ahead and pursue what you love. Communicate your interest as you approach these businesses. They will be excited that you found them and reached out to them.
Leaders in those industries need content. They need your passion.
They need you.
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