Like writing? Here are 3 ways to make a good living as a copywriter
Do you like to write? If so, have you ever thought of trying to make money doing it?
You might think that you have to become a best-selling author to make a good living as a writer, but that’s not true.
One of the best ways to make good money writing is to become a copywriter—something you can do with relatively little experience and (often) no degree.
What does a copywriter do?
If you’ve ever bought something or subscribed to something, because of a blog post, web page, email, or social post you read—you were reading copy.
“Copy” is writing that is designed to get you to take action. Copywriters write content designed to persuade you—to buy something, subscribe to something, follow someone, or try something.
Here’s an example:
That caption is copy, written by a copywriter, to get you to call this Farmer’s Insurance agent.
It doesn’t necessarily have to be focused on selling something. I’m a copywriter, and this article is written to persuade you that there are a lot of ways to make good money if you can write good copy (we’ll see if I succeed).
The important thing is that the writing is designed to influence someone to do something they haven’t done before—even if that “something” is just considering a new idea for the first time.
Here are three ways to make a good living as a copywriter.
1. Become a copywriter at a marketing agency or in a marketing department
What in-house and agency copywriters do
Agency copywriters work for a marketing agency. Other companies hire agencies to help with big projects, like a launch campaign for a new product or a business rebrand.
Part of any project will be writing persuasive copy for the ads, the videos, the web pages, and the emails. That will be your job.
You’ll work with the other members of your team—the creative directors, designers, web developers, and photographers—to create a messaging strategy and then bring it to life with words.
One of the benefits of working at a marketing agency is that you’ll likely get the chance to work with a lot of different brands.
In-house copywriters do much of the same type of work as agency copywriters, but just for one company.
As your marketing team builds campaigns and helps launch products, you’ll create the written words that go along with it.
If you’re working as an in-house copywriter, chances are it will be at a large company or corporation, since they are the ones with the budget for dedicated in-house copywriters.
How much they make
It really depends on your location, experience level, title, and the company you work for. Currently, however, the salary range for a junior copywriter is $46,000 to $57,000 per year, with a national average of $51,000.
Copywriting can also serve as a starting point for progressing to more senior marketing roles like creative director, which pays an average of $122,000 per year.
2. Build a niche blog and get paid through affiliate marketing
What bloggers do
Bloggers blog, obviously. And it seems like everyone is a blogger these days. You might know a few. You might be one already.
So maybe a better question is: what do smart bloggers do? The bloggers who get paid good money to blog.
Successful bloggers are good copywriters. They don’t just write to write. They write content that is engaging and gets people to take action.
At the beginning, that action may just be sharing the article or subscribing to a newsletter. Later on, that action could be buying something.
Take a look at this blog post from createandgo.com. At first glance it looks like a blog post—and it is a very good one, with lots of useful information—but it’s also brilliantly designed to get you to take a few actions:
- Read other posts on their website
- Sign up for their free 5-day blogging bootcamp
Generally, bloggers who are making good money are doing it two different ways:
- Affiliate marketing
- Selling their own products or services
Affiliate marketing is where you promote products or services for other companies to your audience.
Most content creators today do some form of affiliate marketing. Any time you see a link or reference to another company, website, or product on a blog or social media page, that creator is likely getting paid to put it there.
Depending on your blog, you might also want to sell products or services to your audience yourself.
Say you’re a musician with a blog about music production techniques. You might have ads on your blog for music equipment sold by other brands (affiliate marketing).
You might also offer song mastering services, where amateur musicians can pay you to studio master their songs for them (direct sales).
Whether it’s through direct sales or affiliate marketing, before you can make money you first have to build an audience.
If a company is going to pay you to promote their product or service, they’re going to do it based on the fact that a large number of people follow your content and care about what you have to say.
Smart bloggers figure out a niche—a specific area—where they can create content that people read and care about.
The more specific the focus of your blog, the easier it will be to build and keep an audience.
For example, if your blog is about “food,” readers will have a hard time finding you, or know why they should care about your specific blog. There are thousands of food blogs.
But what if your blog is about “Vegetarian recipes you can make in a microwave”?
Much more specific—and much more likely to stand out.
How much they make
Once you have a large enough audience, you can get paid a few different ways.
If you’re doing affiliate marketing, you might:
- Write sponsored posts discussing a certain product, service, or brand.
- Put links to a company’s website on your blog, then get paid based on the amount of traffic you drive to their page.
- Share a coupon code and get paid a percentage of all sales.
- Put up banner ads (those ads you see in the sidebar or at the bottom of a page).
If you’re doing direct sales, you could:
- Create a course that you sell to readers interested in diving deeper than your blog goes.
- Sell a product you make. For example: You blog about woodworking and use it to promote your online store where you sell your creations.
- Sell some type of service (coaching, copywriting, lessons, music mastering, etc.)
Those are just a few of the ways you make money blogging.
Like any creative work, how much people make varies dramatically. A lot of bloggers make $0. But you’re not going to be one of those bloggers.
Very successful bloggers can make between $50,000 and $100,000 per month (yes, you read that correctly).
If there are bloggers making that much, then so could you—and even if you didn’t, 1/10th of that would be $5,000 per month, which is still $60,000 per year.
3. Do freelance copywriting
What freelance copywriters do
If you like the idea of working as a copywriter, but aren’t crazy about having a boss or sitting in an office all day, then you could work as a freelancer.
Freelance copywriters are independent contractors companies hire to do specific writing jobs.
As a freelancer, you can set your own hours, take time off whenever you want, and conduct business meetings in your pajamas.
But freedom comes with certain challenges. You’re essentially running your own business, so there is no guaranteed paycheck every two weeks. You have to hustle for every dollar you earn.
You also have to pay for your own benefits, like health insurance. And you’re (usually) working from home, which can be both lonely and distracting.
How much they make
As a freelance copywriter, you can get paid in a variety of ways—by the hour, by the word, by project, or even by month.
Typically, you’ll be hired for a specific project—for example, write a blog post, or write 10 emails.
Sometimes, a company will hire you on an ongoing basis to do a certain amount of work each month—for example, write four blog posts per month.
If you’re going to make freelance copywriting your job, you’ll probably need 5–20 paying clients per month, depending on the size of the projects you’re doing.
There you have it—three ways you can make good money as a copywriter, two of which don’t require a college degree:
- Become in-house or agency copywriter
- Build a successful niche blog
- Do freelance copywriting
Interested? Let this article be your guide.