Freelance writer Amina Oke has an undergraduate degree in English Language from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, and a Masters’ degree in International Relations from the University of Birmingham, UK.
CN: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
No. However, I have written for leisure since secondary school. I wrote a whole poem book when I was in secondary school. So maybe the desire had always been there, but I only ever decided to write full time three years ago.
CN: You write about parenting, Islam, and the Islamic economy. How important do you think it is for a freelance writer to have a niche?
It is very important for a writer to have a niche, primarily because it sets you apart from the pool of writers who are also offering their services to your ideal client. Having a niche positions you as an expert or at least shows that you have some experience in the field that you are writing on, which is how you want clients to see you.
For example, every now and then, it is okay to see a general practitioner (GP doctor) at the hospital. But when you need to remove an ovarian cyst, you search for a gynecologist. That’s what having a niche does.
Another reason why niching is very important is that it saves you time and helps you focus your energy on one/few topics. For example, if you had to write multiple articles in a week and they all have different topics (say, food, technology, health, politics), there is a chance that you will burn out quicker because you must stay on top of so many industries at once. But imagine that you only write for software developers, all your energy and time will be focused on staying updated with news in the software industry, as well as honing your writing skills for that industry.
CN: Why did you decide to focus on writing for Muslim businesses and creating faith-based content for Muslims?
I decided on this niche for two reasons. Firstly, it is familiar territory, and that is very important when you are choosing a niche. I am a Muslim and there are few topics that I like to read more than Islam-related topics. I may not be an expert on Islamic affairs, but I know that I know enough to help my clients with their content marketing efforts. For the most part as a writer, you want to look for niches that you are familiar with, have an experience in, or that you are willing to learn about.
Secondly, faith-based content as a form of marketing is a new territory for start-ups who are targeting Muslim customers. And because I have seen how these types of content motivate people online, I was interested in helping Muslim businesses who choose to connect with Muslims on a faith level.
CN: What do you enjoy most about your work as a freelance writer?
Not having to commute in Lagos, the opportunity to work with people all over the world, and the flexible hours that come with freelancing.
CN: How do you get writing jobs, since you work for yourself?
I pitch prospective clients with my services. Usually, I scout them out on social media, connect with them, and send an email offering my services. Sometimes, I check freelance writing job boards. These days though, I get clients reaching out to me first because I’ve optimised my freelance writer website and social media profiles in a way that is possible for them to hear about me.
CN: Which writers inspire you?
Anyone that I’m reading at a particular time, really.
CN: What advice do you wish you had received as an undergraduate?
I wish someone told me that my English Language degree is worth so much more than Nigerian universities make it out to be.
CN: If there were any other career that you would choose, what would it be?
Being a diplomat. I would have loved to work with different countries to achieve a type of globalisation that is peaceful, respectful of our individuality while at the same time promoting an interconnected alliance.