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Slaunwhite's 5 underserved niches
  1. B2B Professional Services

    When most writers think of B2B, they think of products. (Widgets, anyone?) But the fact is, more than half of business-to-business sales are for services, not hard goods.

    There are hundreds of thousands of B2B professional service companies in North America, comprised of such industries as consulting, law, financial services, corporate training, event planning, executive coaching, commercial real estate, and creative services. (Yep. As a freelance copywriter, you're a member of this club, too.)

    If you're a bit intimidated by such B2B products as "fluid processing measuring devices," you'll love this niche. B2B professional services are typically easier to understand. You can get your head around a time management seminar for executives, can't you?

    And because professional service companies want to build relationships with prospects and clients — rather than going for the quick sale — the copywriting style tends to be more informational and journalistic, rather than "salesy."

  2. Online Video.

    Online video has been around a long time. Remember those jerky images in little screens that were small and difficult to see? Well, those days are over. With the advent of higher internet speeds and new video rendering technology, online video is (almost) as clear and smooth as a DVD.

    B2B companies are increasingly using online video on their websites for greeting visitors, product demonstrations, making special offers and more.

    If you can "write for the ear," this could be a very lucrative niche market for you. And no other copywriter that I know of is currently dominating this space.

    Jump in and make this niche your own!

  3. B2B Financial Services.

    Financial services is one of those industries that have such a large and loud consumer marketing side that most people don't realize that it has an even bigger B2B segment.

    Have you ever purchased insurance from a broker? Well, that broker was marketed to by the insurance companies — using brochures, websites, case studies and other marketing materials designed to convince that professional to represent their products.

    Insurance companies, investment firms, banks and other financial service companies also market products and services directly to businesses. Company health insurance plans and payroll services are just two examples of B2B products they push.

    The consumer side of financial services is crowded with copywriters. So, if you have a financial background, consider jumping over the fence to the land of B2B. The grass is a lot greener over here!

  4. Membership Associations.

    There are thousands of membership associations in North America representing every conceivable industry, profession and interest.

    For example, the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) caters to the professional interests of real estate agents.

    What makes an organization like that a hot niche for B2B copywriters?

    NAR – and organizations like it – produce dozens of seminars, courses, webinars, conferences and other professional education events each year, along with books, how-to guides and other resources. All these programs and products need to be promoted effectively using websites, emails, ads, brochures and more.

    Someone has to write all those marketing materials! Which is why so many association event planners and marketing managers use freelance copywriters.

    And here's the thing. Most B2B copywriters don't even know this niche exists, let alone how lucrative it can be. Step in!

  5. Social media.

    This niche shouldn't be a surprise to many writers. After all, social media is the hottest topic in the internet these days.

    But what might surprise you is how eager B2B companies are to leverage social media to build demand for their products and services, generate more leads, and create a better brand awareness.

    The problem is, many B2B companies don't have the in-house resources to keep up with all the profiles, posts and "tweets" that need to be written on a regular basis.

    I met a copywriter last year who had recently decided to focus on social media for B2B companies. Soon afterwards, her business blasted off. Today she has more client projects than she can handle. And she's even started a second career as a corporate trainer and conference speaker on the topic!

    This type of writing is a steady gig. B2B companies need to blog, tweet and "be social" on these networks on a regular basis. Be the social media copywriter for a few B2B companies and you too may have all the freelance work you can handle.

Pete on Case Studies

1) Say something like this to your client, when you begin discussing the case study project. 

"The best case studies are the ones where the customer talks openly about their experience and the results. So in order to get the most out of the interview, it would be helpful if you mentioned to your customer that we'd like them to talk openly, freely and in detail about all aspects of the relationship.  Specifically, we'd like to hear about quantitative results and outcomes wherever possible." 

So you want to ask for your client's help; you're asking your client to reach out to the customer and "set expectations" for the interview. Your clients won't always do this, but some will. 

2) Deliver more or less the same speech to the actual customer you're interviewing at the start of the interview.

3) Force yourself to ask follow up questions throughout the interview, even if you think your interviewee might have "covered" the answer.

Questions like. "Was that surprising to you?" "How did that impact other people on your team?" etc... The biggest gems of information are often uncovered 2, 3 or 4 questions deep. 

4) Send your questions to the customer in advance, to give them a chance to dig up some quality answers. Then, during the phone interview, you can pursue follow up questions like in #3 above.

Elance Preparation (good example Elizabeth Crider)