Have you ever had a case of mistaken identity?
Your title says one thing, but your clients or coworkers think you do something entirely different.
I had this happen to me recently at work, and it made me think about developing my niche as a writer.
My full-time job has me working in an emergency department as a physician assistant.
As a physician assistant, I do a lot of the same things as a physician, but I have a physician there as back up if I need them or if a problem arises.
Let me be clear:
I am not a nurse.
I have a great appreciation for the jobs nurses do, but I have never had any kind of nurse training.
Recently at work, I had a patient who required some X-rays.
Once the pictures were complete, I received a frantic call from the radiologist regarding the impressive findings.
In her report, the radiologist documented she spoke to me and said, “I called the report to the patient’s nurse, Dr. Snodgrass.”
Her dictation didn’t make any sense to me. I’m not a nurse, and I’m not a doctor. So, what exactly did she think my role was?
When I first started writing, I didn’t want to narrow down my choices, because I liked a lot of them.
However, in order to build a successful platform to advertise to potential clients, I quickly realized I had to land the plane and determine my area of focus. What was my role as a writer going to look like?
Whether you’re a freelance writer or starting your own blog, it can be difficult to choose an area to identify yourself with, however, focusing on one or two topics can quickly help you to become authoritative on those subjects.
By honing your niche, you can communicate your expertise to future clients, attract new contracts, and keep readers coming back to your blog.
What exactly is a niche?
It’s an area of focus to meet a specific need in the marketplace. In science, we say a niche is a specialized area within a society or environment. Either way, the keywords are focus and specialized.
Like me, it can be difficult to decide what it is you want to write about. Here are 5 questions to ask yourself when trying to hone in on your writing niche.
1. What are you known for?
Make a list of 5-10 things that would be obvious to you, but not to someone else.
When someone mentions your name in a crowd, what is the first thing that comes to mind? On the other hand, if you had to use one word to describe yourself, what would that word be?
2. What are you passionate about?
Do you have some wicked guitar skills that only come out on the weekends? Are you passionate about human rights or animal welfare? Where do you volunteer or spend your time outside of work and obligations?
3. What do you dream about?
If money and time weren’t an issue, what would you do? Where would you go? What would you buy? What does your retirement look like? Think about your lifestyle and what you want it to look like.
4. What do you enjoy reading?
Do you enjoy reading fiction or non fiction? When you first walk into a bookstore, where is the first section you gravitate toward?
Would you rather read books about fitness and nutrition or history?
Do you prefer shorter magazine articles, or do you prefer your newsfeed over a cup of coffee in the morning?
5. What are some things you don’t do well?
Realizing which topics aren’t your forte can be just as important as discovering which topics you excel at.
Which topics make you cringe? For me, just mention the words SEO, tech, or gadgets, and I get a visceral reaction.
Trying to write about something you’re not crazy about can give you a major case of the writing block and be a huge waste of time in many instances.
Now that you’ve answered these questions, look at your list.
Do you see any recurring themes or patterns?
Narrow your list down to your top 3 items, and write about those topics with focus and enthusiasm.
Identifying your niche doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.
By answering these few simple questions and analyzing where you enjoy spending your time, you can become an authoritative voice in the areas you are passionate and excited about, attract new clients and blog readers, and discourage any mistaken writer identity.
Amanda is a freelance writer for hire and loves to help people who are totally ready to begin freelance writing. You can find her blogging at Amandasnodgrass.com as your freelance writing guinea pig. She also works full time in the emergency room as a physician assistant. When she’s not writing or saving lives, you’ll find Amanda planning her next travel adventure. She’s a Kentucky girl at heart and lives in the Cincinnati area with her husband, Jonathan, and 3 children.
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