by Brian S. Konradt of BSK Communications
The best types of specialties are the ones that currently don't exist in
the marketplace. If you can develop a new type of specialty and find a
market for it, you can easily position yourself as a hot trend writer
— i.e. a writer with a specialized skill or service that is not
offered by any other writer — and easily increase your clientele and
expand your income and literally have no competition at all.
To create a specialty, follow these easy steps:
Define the type of writing you want to specialize in.
example, I'm a direct mail writer, so my specialized writing is direct
mail writing, that's it. When I send prospects my promotional material,
I don't send them material on my skills as an ad copywriter, or PR
writer, or a high-tech writer. My promotional material focuses only on
my specialty: direct mail writing.
But also note: you can choose more than one writing to specialize in;
you don't just have to stick to one — but don't send prospects
promotional material that showcases all of your writing specialties at
once, only focus on one specialty at a time.
Define the industry you want to specialize in. The commercial
industry can be categorized into many different types of industries,
such as medical, pharmaceutical, advertising, publishing, non-profit,
biochemical, technological, private-sector, travel, and so on. Although
you don't have to choose a specific type of industry to specialize in,
it does help define who your clients are and position yourself better.
For me, I do direct mail writing for the publishing industry.
Create a positioning statement.
This is a one or two line
statement that clearly and specifically explains your specialty: i.e.
what type of writer you are and what type of writing you do. My position
statement is: I'm a direct mail writer who writes direct mail packages
for the publishing industry.
Create/add a modifier or multiple modifiers. A modifier will
help turn your writing skill into a specialty; and more modifiers will
help turn your specialty into a specialty with a specialized skill that
currently does not exist in the marketplace; or in other words, adding
more modifiers to your specialty will help you "niche" or
pigeonhole yourself in your type of specialty so there's no competition.
For example: I'm a direct mail writer who specializes in subscription
packages to help Fortune 100 companies promote their newsletters and
magazines and increase paid-circulation. The words in italics are all
modifiers; take them away and you no longer have a writer who
specializes in a specific type of writing to write a specific type of
direct mail package in a specific type of industry for a specific type
of client to produce specific types of results.
What's left then is a statement that generalists often use: I'm a writer
(who can write direct mail packages and everything else for anyone). The
more modifiers you add, the more specialized, focused, and positioned
you become. I could also niche myself in my type of specialty by adding
additional modifiers and subtracting others:
I'm a high-tech direct mail writer who specializes in creating response
devices to help Fortune 100 companies in the computer industry increase
the response rates of their subscription packages of their
Another niche I could go along with is: I'm a direct mail writer (type
of writer modifier) who specializes in developing electronic-response
subscription packages (type of specialized skill modifier) for web sites
(type of medium modifier) to help small companies (type of market
modifier) in the publishing industry (type of industry modifier)
increase paid-subscription (type of result or outcome modifier) of their
mail-order magazines and newsletters (type of product/service modifier)
via the Internet.
Here are some additional tips to create an effective specialty:
Make sure the specialized skill is profitable. You do not want
to hone a specialized skill that clients don't have a demand for or are
unwilling to pay you a substantial pay rate. You want a specialized
skill that no other writer offers (or very few writers offer) and
there's a demand for it or you can create a demand for it.
Is your specialty flexible?
In other words, can you branch out
into other areas of writing as a result of your specialty to increase
your profit? Although I may specialize as a direct mail writer who
specializes in creating response devices for subscription packages, I'm
also capable of writing lift-letters, cue cards, sales letters, etc.,
all which are components of a direct mail package. If a client asked me
if I'd be interested in writing the complete direct mail package, in
addition to using my specialized skills in creating response devices, I
could competently say Yes and charge more for the project.
Does your specialized skill eliminate competition?
reason to specialize is to eliminate or decrease competition. If you
create a specialty that thrusts you into competition with other writers,
you need to re-define and sharpen your specialty.
Is your specialized skill too narrow?
You must find out if
there is a market for your specialty; if there is no need or you cannot
create the need, you may have to subtract some modifiers which define
your specialty to attract a broader audience.