What to Write About For Your First Sample as a Freelance Writer

So, you decided you want to be a freelance writer, and now the next hurdle is figuring out what to write about.

How to figure out what you want to write about all boils down to your writing niche and that first writing sample you share online so prospects can view your writing skills.

But Elna, I don’t know what things to write about. I work in customer service and I hate my job. All I know is that I love writing, and I’ve been writing since I was five years old, and I want to be a writer.

What to Write About For Your First Sample as a Freelance Writer

I get these types of messages or emails ALL. THE. TIME.

People who discover freelance writing gigs know they want to write, but they don’t know what to write about, which stops them from finding a writing niche and writing that first sample.

It’s a never-ending cycle, and that’s enough to stop over 80% of potential online writers.

I don’t want you to fail or give up and say this is too hard! I’ve been a freelance writer since 2014, and I am still LEARNING to improve my writing or learning new things about my freelance writing niche.

So, even if you don’t know what you want to write about or your niche as a new freelance writer, you can still write a few samples of topics you enjoy or freelance services you want to break into.  Let’s go over six things you can write about to help you gain confidence in your ability to be a legit freelance writer that gets paid for your writing.

What to Write About

Okay, so this post isn’t going to dive into your actual writing niche. For now, I just want you to pick three topics you are interested in, know something about, or want to learn more about.

When I first started, I chose natural health, parenting, and education. Did I land freelance writing jobs in all those topics? No. I landed two health writing jobs, and then I veered into the digital marketing niche.

So you see, it wasn’t set in stone that I had to find parenting writing jobs or educational writing jobs. I picked up some writing gigs, and over time I learned about a new topic – digital marketing – and ended up writing some samples on that topic and landed gigs in digital marketing.

For now, find three topics to start researching. Try to find topics where there are products and services. For example, it might be hard to find a lot of products and services for books or politics.

But, there are lots of products for the art/painting industry: courses about painting, painting TV shows, or books about painting. So is painting a viable niche? Yes, it can be.

The next layer is to look at the industry. What types of businesses are in those topics? For art, is it only artists that are struggling to become famous?

Or, are there companies that make the paint, the brushes, the canvas and magazines, craft stores or paint stores that sell this product?

Right there, you can see the different types of clients: solopreneur —>magazines —> distribution companies —-> brands.

Which type of client do you think will pay the most for content? I’m betting brands and distribution companies.

After you find your topics do this exercise to see if it’s a viable writing niche. Okay, let’s go into the six different things you can write about in any niche topic.

To learn more about what to write about, check my Youtube video (& please subscribe!)

1. Write About Trends

One way to look current in your industry or chosen niche is to write about trends. Are there new tools or processes in the garden niche? How about vertical gardening?  Or sustainable gardening?

Find a trend in a topic and write about it. Better yet – compile all the trends in that writing niche and write about them.

Writing about trends as a freelance writer

What if you don’t know trends in your niche?

You can Google it (like I did for the gardening example), or you can go to Google Trends and see if a topic is trending. For example, in the health niche, is Keto still popular?

Google trends to see what to write about

From Google Trends, Keto doesn’t look popular at this time of the year.  But if you look at something like cold brew or other types of food, you might find some emerging trends.

Cold brew trend

As a health writer, can you not write about cold brew or a coffee related article for your writing sample?

Another way to look for trends is with Pinterest. If your clients cater to women mostly, then maybe Pinterest might be the place to find what to write about for your niche topic. For example, Pinterest visually shows you trending topics for their platform.

Pinterest trends to figure what to write about

You can also use Pinterest Trends to search a specific topic of interest and see if it is trending on their platform. For example, while Google Trends sees the Paleo diet on a downward trend, it’s still very popular with women and pinners.

Using Pinterest trends to figure out what to write about

From this result, I can write about paleo soup recipes to attract freelance health clients.

Writing about trends is an easy way to look up-to-date in your industry, and it can show highly valuable writing since you might pull in stats and facts and other credible sources into your writing.

This also shows well in your portfolio. David Hartshorne is a freelance writer, and he writes a lot about trends to show potential clients his highly valuable and long-form writing service.

2. Write About Beginner Tips

One of the things to write about is beginner tips. Tons of businesses market beginner tips to their audience. This type of audience just learned about a topic or product and want to learn more about it. Most of the blogs I own are geared for beginners (like this one you are reading 🙂 ), and it’s easy for me to write for this audience because I’ve been there before.

If you are a mother to older children, why not specifically write in the pregnancy niche for maternity businesses?

Or, if you are a real estate agent and want to do some freelance writing on the side, you can write about the first steps to buying a house or basics in home care for mold remediation companies or home decor businesses.

So, how do you structure your blog post or article for beginners? Here are some content ideas to help you out:

  • The First Step In (X)
  • Step-by-Step Tutorial On (X)
  • X Ways to Start (X)
  • How to Get Started With (X)
  • A Simple Way to Begin (X)
  • X Beginner Tips for (X)
  • What Is X?

How do you write about beginner tips?

The best way to figure out what you want your post to is to break down the steps in your topic and create an outline that gives an overview and then dives deep into each step (depending on the length of your post).

So, if you want to write a blog post on how to get started with the Keto diet, you’re going to have to list out all the steps, and if there are a lot, you might have to consolidate them to fit your word count.

For more help on this process and writing long-form content like this post you are reading, check out Freelance Blogging in a Weekend.

3. Write Listicle Posts

Listicle posts are numbered blog posts, and they convert higher than many other types of blog posts like a how-to, for example. Also, odd-numbered list posts convert 20% higher than even-numbered posts.

So, what does that mean for the aspiring freelance writer that has no portfolio to their name, or a writing niche and no writing sample?

Write some list posts on popular topics! 73 Tasty Paleo Soup Recipes for Winter

The higher the number, the better impact it will have on the value you present to a prospect. Here are a few of my high list posts on my blogs that get tons of shares and comments.

How amazing would a blog post like one of these list posts look on a portfolio? All you need is a couple of high list posts, and an industry trend article, and you are ready to find some freelance writing jobs.

So, how do you write lists posts? For me, once I find the perfect blog topic, I then sit down with a my freelance writing planner and write as many tips/strategies/steps/advice I can.

If I plan for a post with 35 items and only come up with 23, then I might just write a list post with 23 items instead of 35. If this is a client piece and they want 35 items, then I will sit on the piece and do more research. I might ask about this topic in a Facebook group or see if it’s been discussed on Twitter or LinkedIn.

This can help me add a few more to my list post.

From there, you set out and write it. The process is similar to writing a 1,000 word article.

4. Write About Case Studies

A case study is a real-life example of a before and after process, usually having to do with a product or service. Many businesses use case studies as a way to convert potential customers.

These potential customers read a case study and see that the product they are interested in really does work. This can sway them to buy the product. As a freelance writer, you can write case studies for business.

Case studies are a lucrative type of writing service you can offer. Typically, case study writing goes between $500 to $1500+. Why not have a writing sample case study?

It can be a mock case study, or if you recently used a product – mud mask, mascara, automation tool, kitchen gadget, etc. – you can write about what life was before the product and how the product helped you with a problem.

For more help, check out my step-by-step process on how to write a case study.

5. Write About Products

Product descriptions for eCommerce sites is a great freelance writing niche that makes money. But, for me, I’m not a huge fan of product descriptions. For me, they are tedious and boring.

But, for you, if you find it thrilling or fun to come up with some copywriting to snazz up a description, then why not write up a few product descriptions in a blog post?

Many bloggers do this for affiliate marketing. For example, a blogger might round up the top baby bottles or the best Shark vacuums and use affiliate links to help them make money.

As freelance writers, clients may ask you to write about products and use their special affiliate links to help them make money. This means that product descriptions are highly valuable to businesses as they can easily market and profit from your writing.

For example, here’s a blog post I wrote for Blogging Wizard on Tools to Run Social Media Contests, and in that post, the owner placed his affiliate links.

To help you write these descriptions, go ahead and look at Amazon reviews of each product and read other blog posts that feature these products.

6. Write About Your Freelance Writing Service

If you are struggling to figure out your freelance writing niche, why not focus on your service instead?

There are many different services you can offer as a writer like:

  • Press releases
  • Landing pages
  • Emails
  • Facebook ads
  • Course lessons
  • eBooks
  • Ghostwriting

You can either create mockup writing samples in these services – mockup Facebook ad – or you can write a blog post about your service – How to Write an eBook in 30 Days.

This might be easier to write about when you are new to freelance writing. For example, if you decide that writing emails and funnels is your jam, why not write a few blog posts about that service:

  • A Quick Way to Generate Emails for a Year
  • The Best Email Sales Template for Small Businesses
  • The Worst Cold Emails I’ve Seen from Marketers

What Should You Write About?

Look –

What you write about doesn’t have to be what you end up writing about a year from now. For now, pick a few topics you enjoy or have some knowledge around and use trends or lists or even products to write about those topics.

Create up to three writing samples, and you are good to go for pitching and landing writing gigs.

I hope this helped you gain some confidence in your ability to write some amazing good samples!

Over to you – what do you write about? Tell me in the comments, and please share this!

For More Help, Check out My Masterclass on Writing Sample Starter Kit

Click here to learn more about it.

Hi I'm Elna and I'm a freelance writer and mom blogger. I help people just like you become a profitable freelance writer. Within 6 months of starting my freelance writing business from scratch I was able to earn a full-time living as a part-time freelance writer while taking care of my twin toddlers. Check out my free email course Get Paid to Write Online and learn the steps you need to take to be a freelance writer.

Leave a Reply


Hello Elna! Since I decided to be a freelance writer, I use your blog for learning. This is the first place where I go if I have a new question (again). And I always get the answer I need! Thank you very much for that! And btw, I’ve just posted my first sample on Medium about being eco-friendly on the lext level!😁Reply to Veronika
Hi Veronika, That’s great to hear! Have fun writing on Medium!Reply to Elna
This is awesome information. It filled me with ideas, I could barely let myself finish reading! I will definitely come back and read this same blog several times I’m sure. It helped me think outside of the very tiny box I made for myself.Reply to Leslie
Hi Leslie, So happy you found this post helpful and inspirational! Good luck writing your writing sample!Reply to Elna
Thank you so much, Elna! You’re a savior, your every blog is so insightful.Reply to Rahnuma
Thank you so much, Elna! I was thinking about writing a sample post for the past few weeks but the main resistance was that I was unsure what you write about. Your post made me realize that it does not have to be this hard and there’s so much to learn so it’s better to get started with any topic that I am interested in. It can always get better.Reply to Ash
Hi Ash, So happy to hear this! This is the exact reason why I wanted to write this blog post. I wanted to show writers that were stuck in this phase, that there is an easy way out! So glad you saw that! Have fun on what to write about for your first sample!Reply to Elna