So, you’ve chosen health as your freelance writing niche.
But what if I told you that health writing isn’t a niche?
Bear with me. Health writing and medical writing are broad topics. To non-health writers, health writing is a niche.
In our industry, though, ‘health writing’ could refer to anything from academic writing to holistic health writing.
Within health and medical communication, there are many options and focus areas.
Here are just some of them:
- Academic writing
- Consumer writing
- SEO copywriting for healthcare brands
- Website copywriting for healthcare brands
- Patient educational materials
- Health literacy
- Content strategy
- Health professional marketing
- Hospital marketing
- Product marketing
- Regulatory writing
- Journal editing
- Medical editing
- Technical writing
- Health and wellness copywriting
You can focus on a particular theme, like:
- Consumer health
- Digital health
You could also define your health writing niche by focusing on a specific type of client, such as:
- Non-profits and charities
- Lifestyle brands
- Health professionals
Importantly, clients need to know how you define ‘health writing’.
That means your website, LinkedIn profile and marketing materials need to explain:
- who you work for,
- which writing services you offer, and
- how you help your clients achieve their goals.
In other words, you need to choose a health writing niche!
Is there enough demand in your health writing niche?
To find your health writing niche, you’ll need to identify your skills and interests.
You’ll also need to assess industry demand and be realistic about your niche’s potential.
Finding a focus area is one thing – but finding a profitable niche is something else.
Of course, there’s no point choosing a theme or topic you love if there’s no work in that field.
So, how do you assess the demand in your niche and find a sustainable long-term market?
To find a health writing niche for your freelance business, consider these questions:
- Is there plenty of work in your niche?
- Will clients pay a decent rate for this work?
There may be people who want your services, but can they pay your rates? If not, that niche is not going to be profitable.
Here’s how to work out if your focus area has potential.
Define your ideal clients
Question: Who do you want to work for?
Think general clients (hospitals) as well as specific clients (Royal North Shore Hospital).
If you’re struggling to make a list of your target clients, consider what a dream client means to you. For example, your client could be a brand or business who:
- Pays industry rates
- Shares your values, morals and ethics
- Does community work you admire
- Produces content you love reading and want to work on
- Helps people improve their health
As you list your ideal clients, you may see common themes emerge.
If your list includes many non-profits, then non-profit clients could be your niche.
If you have listed lifestyle brands, then your niche may be health and wellness writing.
At the same time, consider the brands and businesses you don’t want to target.
As a freelance writing teacher, I tell my students to make a list of clients who aren’t a good fit.
This step helps you to target your ideal clients more effectively.
Keep in mind, health and medical clients you want to target might need content services that you don’t offer.
Determine the writing services your ideal clients need
Now that you know who your ideal clients are, the next step is working out which writing services they need.
You may need to do a little sleuthing at this stage.
Not sure how to work out which writing services your ideal clients need? Consider these questions:
- What outward-facing materials does the client produce? Do they have a health blog, articles, newsletter, journal, social media, annual reports? Do they produce marketing materials about their products? Does their website content need a revamp?
- Does the client advertise jobs online? What types of jobs do they list? Are the salaries in these jobs comparable?
- Who else has worked with the client? Does the client hire freelance writers or work with employees? Are there any agencies who have worked with the client?
Consider if you are the best person for the job
You’ve made a list of your ideal clients and defined the writing services they need. Now, you need to consider whether you’re the right person to provide those services.
Even though you’ve identified a demand, you may not have the skills (yet).
Be honest with yourself. Can you provide quality services within your health writing niche? Or, do you need to upskill and, say, take a health copywriting course?
Do you need a medical degree in the life sciences?
Some clients will only work with health writers who have a life sciences degree.
Other clients may prefer to hire a writer with specific writing qualifications.
Remember: your qualifications are one of your key selling points.
At the same time, you also need high-quality writing skills.
What if you don’t have the necessary skills? Consider your medium to long-term goals for your freelance business. Target your ideal clients in a few months or years, after you have had time to upskill.
And, if you’re confident you have the skills and experience to provide high-quality health writing services that meet your ideal clients’ needs?
The final piece of the puzzle is making sure those clients find you when they’re looking for a writer.
Develop your marketing plan
By now, you should have a clear picture of your health writing niche.
The next step is to target your ideal clients with precision.
Remember, you’re not promoting yourself as a ‘health writer’ in general. You’re explaining:
- who you work with,
- the services you provide (services your ideal clients need), and
- how you can help your clients achieve their goals.
To do all that, you need a marketing plan.
But don’t get stressed about the term ‘marketing plan’.
A marketing plan is a simple term for the strategies that will help you find your ideal clients.
These strategies could involve:
- Search engine optimisation – most clients don’t search for a ‘health writer’; they use other key phrases related to their unique needs
- LinkedIn marketing – use key phrases in your title!
- Networking – are you a member of medical writing associations?
- Referrals – do you know other health writers who can refer work if they get busy?
- Targeting the hidden job market – read how these experienced freelancers found their first clients
- Cold-calling or cold-emailing – you may wish to try pitching as part of your marketing plan
- Subcontracting – subcontracting to experienced writers is an excellent strategy for beginners.
For freelance writers, choosing a niche is a great way to stand out and find relevant clients. But to achieve success in the healthcare industry, you need a health writing niche – a point of difference. So, think beyond ‘health writing’ and you’ll go far.