Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
How would you like to make money copywriting? Ever wondered who writes the ‘blurbs’ in brochures, websites and direct mail shots that come through the door? Well someone does and they get paid well for it. It could be you. Welcome to the world of copywriting…
Copywriting is a great way to make money from your writing if you have a commercial sense. It is a writing discipline that is needed for anything that needs to be sold. From food to fashion, every marketing campaign needs someone to make it sound appealing.
It’s a skilled form of writing and will require you to turn around lots copy – sometimes in a short space of time. This could include writing a dozen articles in a matter of days.
Most companies will pay per article on a set rate. However, rates are negotiable – depending on the agency.
Nowadays people who are very good at copywriting can command very high payments for their work. However, this will only occur when that writing turns into clicks.
Copywriting organisations all work in different ways, and in most cases the writers are at the bottom of the chain.
Some companies are a collection of freelancers working remotely under one name. Other companies will have a combination of in-house staff and freelancers.
If you work as a freelance copywriter, you’ll get a brief from the company. It will usually include the word length, and any keywords or phrases needed to promote the product. Likewise you’ll also receive details about the style and tone of the article as well as any direction on different sections. However, each company does work differently, so guidance may not always be forthcoming.
Other people get work directly from companies online. They have taught themselves how to write enticing copy and have set up their own websites to sell themselves and then people come to them.
If you put ‘learn copywriting’ into Google, you will find loads of courses on how to do it. Start with the free ones, join some forums and ask which paid-for courses are the best.
There are loads of advertising agencies, content agencies and marketing agencies which take on copywriters all the time, not just in-house but as freelancers too. One of the most obvious routes is to gain work experience with an organisation.
The major UK ones are: Stratton Craig, Mediacom, Fountain Partnership, Sticky Content and ContentAmp. Once you’ve gained some experience you’ll be able to pitch yourself to copywriting organisations.
However, you could always take it upon yourself to learn a bit about the industry before jumping into it. You could do this by reading about copywriting, doing courses and talking to other copywriters.
Freelance Copywriting by Diana Wimbs is a great handbook for learning the ropes. The book provides lots of examples from various campaigns.
Whilst there are often lots of copywriting jobs about, getting hold of one is not as simple as it seems. Consequently, the competition is fierce and freelancers will often take all the work they can.
These companies will often have a large pool of freelancers to pick and choose from. Each writer will also have their own expertise and writing style. If you’re not the right person for the job, you could be shelved.
Just like with any job, you’ll need to have some knowledge or transferable skills in that field. If you don’t, you might not meet the requirements for the role, you may need to get trained.
The Institute of Copywriting runs a distance-learning course. They give loads of tips and hints on what you can expect from the course and copywriting as a career.
Consider building your own website to advertise yourself to prospective clients. The internet is great for researching potential clients and networking with companies, such as PR and marketing agencies.
To start off with, contact digital and direct marketing agencies as they are more likely to have work for people who are new to the game.
Make sure your profile is on Linkedin and that you’re promoting yourself through Facebook and Twitter as well.
It really does vary. Some copywriters charge by the word. Where as others charge by the hour, day or job. There will be freelancers who estimate, while others give flat prices.
Day rates should start at around £250 a day but well-established writers can charge from £500 a day. Whilst this sounds fantastic, you have to remember it’s down to the speed and ability of your writing. If you’re paid per article (which in some cases can be around £5 for 600–700 words) and it takes you over an hour to write each one, it might not be financially viable for you.
But if you feel you can bash out copy that you’re happy with and don’t have spend too much time researching, you could make some good cash.
You’ll need to consider how much copy – which your client will be happy with – you can produce in a certain time frame for it to be worthwhile and benefit you financially. There’s no point you slaving away on a beautifully-crafted article worthy of a literary award for a measly £5, but at the same time you’re only as good as your last article so you’ll need to maintain a high standard in order to keep the work coming in.
Also remember that you have the benefit of working from home, reducing your travel costs and giving you more flexibility and freedom so rates can be lower.
No specific training or qualification is needed to become a copywriter. However, it would really help you to have a qualification to get some work. However, the biggest plus for you is to have experience. A specific qualification in copywriting isn’t necessary to secure a job, all you need is to be able to write coherently and with flair. For example, if you have an English or creative writing degree, that could work to your advantage.
Companies need copywriters who can write in a range of languages, so use any language skills you have too.
If you do decide to take up some training or a course, it will cost you but you can also learn a lot by having someone else reading and reacting to your copy.
This can be a straightforward way of making good money from writing – if you have a way with words and you know what can tempt people.
You can write on a whole range of topics and different media. You could become a copywriting cupid by writing for dating websites such as e-Cyrano.com. Or you could write for holiday brochures.
You can earn some serious cash if this is a full-time job for you and you work efficiently. However, in the beginning you might not be up to scratch and it could be a hard slog to see any real returns.
You should have another source of income, while keeping this is a part-time role.If you do a good job, companies will keep coming back so you could turn this into a full-time career. In the beginning it will take an enormous effort to start up and establish a client base. Furthermore, you should also beware of fake or US-based ‘freelance networks’. They will either bombard you with spam or request subscription fees for useless, oversubscribed jobs.
Like most industries, this will have quiet periods and you might find there’s not a lot floating around at one time whilst some months you could take on too much. It’s important to find the right balance.
If you’re still reading this and you think copywriting is the career for you, why not take a look at some of these contacts for more information. First and foremost, the Institute of Copywriting is the most well-known. The Advertising Association runs copywriting courses. While Freelance UK provides lots of information on becoming a copywriter and getting work. Finally, creativepool lists various jobs and has a range of temporary and permanent roles (they list their rates too).