Struggling to find a good freelance writing niche?
Well boy do I have a surprise for you…
It turns out, there’s a “new” niche in town that you’ve probably never heard of.
It’s growing fast, offers unlimited work, doesn’t require advanced copywriting skills, and best of all...is still relatively unknown with essentially zero competition.
I’m talking about software documentation writing.
I admit the name does sound a little boring, but hang with me here...
It could be EXACTLY what you’re looking for.
What is Software Documentation Writing?
Let’s say your goal for 2020 is to organize the chaos that is your life. Naturally, you download Evernote.
You have no idea how to use this majestic organizational tool, so you start Googling.
Chances are, you’ll wind up on this page…
There are a FRICK-TON of instructional articles on this page...191 to be exact.
And guess who wrote them all?
You got it….a software documentation writer.
These 191 articles are all written for the end-user (i.e. the person trying to get organized), and as you can see, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to write these things…
But end-user instructions aren’t all a software documentation writer creates. They also put together guides and manuals for internal use in the company.
So between end-user and internal projects….that’s A LOT of potential work!
And it doesn’t end there…
These projects aren’t one-time deals. Software is constantly being updated, and the instructional content needs to be regularly overhauled as well.
If you land the right client, see how this could quickly snowball into an unlimited work situation?
And the best part is, anyone can do it!
Let me show you how easy it is.
Why Documentation Writing is Perfect for Beginners
Now, your responsibilities may vary depending on the company, but most work will revolve around creating knowledge bases, user manuals, and “How To” articles.
No need for fancy copywriting skills.
No need for silky smooth prose.
No need for crazy creativity…
All you need to do is give clear, step-by-step instructions.
Honestly, the hardest part is actually learning how to use the software yourself.
After that, we’re talking BASIC writing and BASIC graphic design…
- Typing in Google Docs
- Taking screenshots and marking them up
- Making GIFs
Here’s an example I whipped together in 10 minutes using only Google Docs and Google Drawings:
Obviously this would look more professional if I would’ve used better tools to make images, but you get the idea.
And once you get the hang of the simple stuff, you can step up your game, find clients who need help writing instructional video scripts, and charge even more.
Speaking of finding clients...
Where Do You Find Software Documentation Writing Jobs?
Here’s the tricky part…
There’s no official name for this type of writing. Everyone calls it something different.
Through my research, I’ve seen it called…
- Documentation writer
- Computer software documentation writer
- Technical writer
- SaaS writer
- SaaS content writer
- SaaS technical writer
- SaaS Docs writer
- Software technical writer
- Instructional design writer
- Technical product documentation writer
- Technical education content writer
To make matters more complicated, sometimes the same title might have two completely different job descriptions depending on the company.
Company A might post a job for a “technical writer” who is only responsible for writing the end-user “How To” content we’ve been talking about.
But Company B might also post a job for a “technical writer” who is responsible for things that are way more....well, technical—things that require advanced training and aren’t suited for beginners.
Basically what I’m trying to say is…
To find these jobs, you need to hunt.
Type in all of the variations I listed above into different job boards, and read every job description.
Here are a few candidates I stumbled on:
#1.) Technical Education Content Writer
#2.) Software Documentation Writer
#3.) Technical Writer
I had to sort through a lot of crap to find these gems, but they’re out there.
That said, if all else fails, you could also try the “backdoor approach”.
Land ANY type of content writing position with an SaaS company, impress them, then offer to manage their knowledge database.
How Much $$$ Can You Make?
So we’ve determined that this job is perfect for beginners and has essentially zero competition, but how much can you actually earn?
Well, since this is an emerging field (and nobody even knows what to call it), it’s hard to give an EXACT number. But as you can see, the salary ranges don’t look too shabby.
Data from ZipRecruiter:
Data from Glassdoor:
Data from Salary.com:
Now, as a freelance copywriter, you’d normally justify your rates based on your client’s potential ROI.
Software documentation writing is pretty far from the sale, so this is tricky to do.
My advice would be to…
- Seek out SaaS companies that are well-funded
- Justify your prices based on how much they’ll save by hiring you vs. a regular salaried employee
- Remember that when you get the hang of the basics, you can take on more complicated projects and raise your rates
And there you have it. If you’re stuck on choosing a niche, consider give software documentation a try!
Happy job hunting!