Finding Your Niche – Laura Pennington

Getting started in the writing business can sometimes be overwhelming, especially as you come to realize how many other writers there are out there. The good news is that the old saying is true: there is only one you. Why does this matter? There are topics and industries you might be clued into that can help separate you from the crowd.

Let me give you a direct example. I’m not a lawyer (I’ve never even been to law school), but 70% of my clients are lawyers. Since I’m not a direct competitor in any way, like another lawyer trying to make extra money through writing, lawyers love that I have over 5 years of experience in the legal industry. My experience in legal research, prosecution, and the fields of personal injury and family law make me stand out from the crowd.

Before I got started in the legal writing industry, I created some “fake samples” to introduce me to clients. This is a critical step for getting your niche writing business off the ground. I didn’t have published articles, but I knew that my writing was strong and my ability to break down complex legal ideas would be unique.

I wrote five sample articles on estate planning, personal injury, planning for divorce, escaping an abusive marriage, and a guide to medical malpractice. Even though none of these had ever been published, they showed my variety, knowledge, and writing ability. Those five samples resulted in nearly a dozen regular clients.
Your clients are busy people, and they want to see what you can do. Pitching to a new client, but not really familiar with the topics they’re interested in? Do some background research and write a sample in a related field. Positioning yourself as a niche writer is about aligning your writing style and background to your clients’ needs.

Never underestimate the power of the fake sample and evaluating your own background to match yourself to client.

Laura Pennington is a PhD student in public policy at Virginia Tech, working full time in the insurance industry while managing her freelance writing and editing business. A longtime opponent of domestic violence and public speaker on the issue, Laura’s research on battered women has been published and presented internationally. She can be reached at


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