Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Getting into Copywriting as a Career
Interested in copywriting as a career? Here are answers to the 50 biggest questions from aspiring copywriters.
What is Copywriting?
Copywriting is the act of writing prose that is meant to collect leads, drive conversions, and position a business as an authority in an industry. Copywriters are responsible for creating text for advertising campaigns, marketing materials, informational packets, social media posts, email marketing, landing pages, and any other public-facing prose for a business.
Copywriting is sales-driven, meaning that good copy pushes a consumer further down the sales funnel towards a purchase.
What Skills do You Need to Be a Copywriter?
A good copywriter should have a strong grasp on sales and marketing psychology, the language in which they are writing, an ability to understand nuance, and of course, a natural way with words.
Copywriters need to have an exemplary vocabulary, knowledge of spelling and grammar, and how to properly use punctuation. Copywriting is a career that is based on connection: a good copywriting knows how to make their words resonate with their audience.
What Does a Copywriter Do All Day?
Depending on if a copywriter works as a freelancer or as part of an agency will dictate how a copywriter spends a chunk of their time, but there are a few universal truths when it comes to what a copywriter does all day.
A copywriter spends a good deal of time researching, analyzing, writing, editing, rewriting, rediting, and proofreading every assignment. Depending on the scope of a project, this process can take hours, days, or even weeks.
How Does a Copywriter Get Paid?
This is largely dependent on the individual. Freelance copywriters get paid as contractors, while copywriters who work as employees of a company typically get paid hourly or on salary.
If you are thinking about learning to be a copywriter, it’s important to consider whether you want the freedom of being able to pick and choose your clients and when you work, or the stability or consistency of working as an employee.
Where Do Copywriters Work?
Any business that needs copy on a regular basis might hire a copywriter, but the most common places for copywriters to find full-time employment are within marketing or advertising agencies, SEO firms, or other creative agencies.
What Industries Need Copywriters?
Every single industry needs good copy. Whether a company works in the B2B space or sells directly to the consumer, compelling copy is absolutely necessary if a business wants to remain competitive.
Every imaginable industry uses some form of copywriting. Even simple business descriptions, business cards, or bi-monthly company newsletters are all forms of copywriting.
Is Copywriting in Demand?
Copywriting is one of those careers that will always be in demand, as long as there are businesses that need to market their products and services.
As technology advances and a company’s web presence becomes increasingly important, copywriting will only grow in demand. Every new app, every search engine algorithm change, every new ad platform, and every website update requires someone to create the associated copy.
Do You Need to Go to School to Be a Copywriter?
Some copywriters have chosen to pursue degrees while others have not. You do not necessarily need to go to a traditional school to be a copywriter, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t invest in sharpening your skills.
Copywriters that take the time to hone their craft earn more clients and make more money. Whether you study other copywriters, endlessly practice, or take an online copywriting course, the more skilled you are, the better off you’ll be.
Can I Start Copywriting With No Experience?
Copywriting is one of the few careers where you can make a decent living without having years of experience in the field. If you’re a good writer, you can start copywriting with no experience. This doesn’t mean that you can just land any copywriting job that you apply for, but it means that if you have a way with words, know the fundamentals of copywriting, and have a great portfolio, you can get your foot in the door.
How Do I Develop a Copywriting Portfolio?
You don’t need to have had actual clients to create a copywriting portfolio. The great thing about copywriting is that you can create writing samples based entirely on theoretical clients. You can choose whichever topics and formats you’d like to create your copywriting portfolio.
The best way to develop a copywriting portfolio with no experience is to write copy in several different niches for a multitude of purposes. For example, write examples of ad copy, blog posts, landing pages, and other marketing materials for different industries to showcase your flexibility as a copywriter.
If you’ve had copywriting clients and want to include the work you’ve completed for them in your portfolio, you should always, always, always get express permission before doing so.
How Do You Find Copywriting Jobs?
If you’re looking to work as an employee of an agency or other company, landing a job as a copywriter isn’t much different from any other career. Copywriting jobs are routinely posted on major job boards as well as on platforms like LinkedIn.
If you’re more interested in one-off writing gigs or long term freelance clients, freelancing sites are popular places to search for clients looking to fill temporary or contract positions quickly.
Many copywriters send cold emails out to business or agencies they are interested in working with; an email pitching yourself can be a great way to prove your copywriting skills.
Can a Copywriter Work From Anywhere?
A staggering number of copywriters work from home, on the road, or wherever there is a stable internet connection. One of the biggest perks of being a copywriter is that there are many positions that don’t require you to report to an office five days a week, which is a great option for those who like to travel or find the 9-5 environment mundane or draining.
There are, of course, some copywriting jobs that require employees to be on site and report to a supervisor. It’s up to you to decide what is best for you when looking for a copywriting job.
Is a Copywriter a Creative Job?
Copywriting involves crafting compelling, unique messaging that connects a reader with a brand or business. Many creative writers turn to copywriting as a way to forge a career path in the writing field.
Copywriting involves more than just creativity; it requires a degree of analytical thinking and psychology. If you’re someone who likes to put both sides of your brain to work, copywriting might be a great career path for you.
How Many Hours Do Copywriters Work?
Many copywriting jobs require a typical 40 hour work week, while options like freelancing provide a writer more freedom in working hours.
Some copywriters only work with a few clients, and others pack their schedules full of as many clients as they can find. How many hours a copywriter works depends on what you want your schedule to look like and how much money you want to make.
Is Copywriting a Good Career?
Copywriting is a great career, but it’s not right for everyone. Copywriting can be a lucrative, fulfilling career for someone who wants to work in a creative industry with measurable results, but copywriting comes with its own brand of stress.
If you’re not a person who can routinely meet deadlines, has trouble focusing on the same task for extended periods of time, or can’t pull yourself out of writers’ block quickly, you might not want to explore a career as a copywriter.
How Much Money Can You Make as a Copywriter?
An extremely scalable career, copywriters can make anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month to over six-figures in a single year.
The average salary of a copywriter in the US is $51, 895, according to Salary.com. How much you can make, however, is heavily dependent on several factors, such as how much education, experience level, and skill. Furthering your skills with a copywriting course and continually practicing to refine your skills will result in better earnings.
Is Copywriting the Same as Content Writing?
Although some people use the term interchangeably, content writing and copywriting are two different things. Copywriting is a more sales-driven form of writing, while content writing is meant to offer informational or entertainment value to an audience. While both copywriting and content writing typically have the same end goal of furthering brand initiatives, the main focus of copywriting is to result in a quicker conversion.
Can I Get Rich as a Copywriter?
It is absolutely possible to “get rich” as a copywriter. There are many copywriters around the world that make hundreds of thousands of dollars (and sometimes more) per year. How much money you can make as a copywriter depends on your skills, education, portfolio, and the clients or jobs you land.
Even if you don’t make a million dollars as a copywriter, you can still make enough money to sustain yourself and your family if you’re dedicated to the craft.
Where Can I Learn Copywriting?
There are several avenues when it comes to learning copywriting. You can go to a four-year college and major in English, literature, advertising or media and gain essential copywriting skills.
If you don’t have the time (or simply don’t want to) take the traditional education route, learning copywriting online is a viable option. An online copywriting course that offers training in a wide variety of copywriting skills is a great way to learn copywriting skills and begin building your portfolio. Online copywriting courses are more laser-focused on the actual craft of writing copy than a four year media or advertising degree, and can start you on a career path much more quickly.
Do I Need a Website as a Copywriter?
It’s always a good idea to have a website to showcase yourself, your work, and your skills as a copywriter, especially if you work as a freelancer. A website can act as your portfolio and show potential clients or employers that not only can you write, you know how to market yourself, and copywriting involves a great deal of marketing know-how.
Making a website for yourself as a copywriter can be as simple as creating a drag-and-drop site on popular website-making platforms, and doesn’t need to involve coding or technical skills.
If you create a portfolio website, remember that your calls to action are very important (calls to action are always important in copywriting!). Giving potential clients a straightforward way to contact you not only makes your website look more professional, it keeps employers and clients from exiting your website in favor of someone who’s easier to get in touch with.
What Kinds of Jobs Can I Get as a Copywriter?
If you don’t want to work strictly as a copywriter but you love writing copy, you have numerous options. Copywriters work as ad executives, bloggers, marketing professionals, social media managers, publicists, reporters, and more.
Copywriting is a priceless skill to have. Knowing how to connect with consumers and influence sales and build relationships through words opens the door to countless opportunities in every industry,
What Makes a Good Copywriter?
In most cases, “good” is subjective, but there are measurable ways that qualify you as a “good” copywriter.
A good copywriter is one that creates messaging that resonates with a reader. This means writing copy in the appropriate voice, tone, and format, catered to the intended audience. A good copywriter is an equally good researcher, collecting information, analyzing how an audience interacts with a brand’s competition, what they want, when they want it, and how they want it delivered.
The best copywriters write copy that both result in conversions and brand loyalty.
Is Copywriting Hard?
Writing copy, in and of itself, is not difficult. Writing quality copy that gets results, however, takes skills and finesse.
To write copy, a writer has to familiarize themselves with the business, the product, and the audience. A copywriter must immerse themselves in every aspect of the user experience to know what about a product will elicit action. Copywriters must become experts on the businesses for which they write, and the audiences for which the business serves, and then craft copy that synergizes the two.
Should I Be a Freelance Copywriter or Work with a Company?
Whether you should choose a career as a freelancer or opt to work as an employee depends on what you want from a career.
Copywriting is a career that offers a great deal of freedom and flexibility. It’s not a career that necessarily requires you to report to an employer every day, although, you do have that option.
Consider the following questions when deciding whether to work as a freelancer or as a full-time copywriter for a company:
- Do you value stability or flexibility?
- How important is it to have a regular paycheck?
- Are you a person who likes to travel?
- Do you need routine in order to thrive?
- Do you work better in a team setting or independently?
- Are you business savvy?
- Are you good at putting money away to pay taxes at the end of the year, or do you prefer to have taxes automatically deducted from your paycheck?
- Do you know how to market yourself?
- Do you operate better on a regular work schedule or at varying times throughout the day or week?
Answering these questions honestly will help you figure out whether or not freelancing or employee work is better for you. If you need stability, routine, and a team setting, working with a company might be a better fit, whereas if you’re a self-starter, work well independently, and want a more flexible schedule, freelancing could the right choice for you,
How Do I Know if Copywriting is a Good Career for Me?
Copywriting, on a surface level, looks like a fun, creative, carefree career that allows you the opportunity to be a professional writer (which for many people, is the ultimate dream!). Keep in mind, however, that copywriting is a career choice that requires as much work as any other career path. If you can remain dedicated to advancing your skills, staying current with industry trends and technologies, and constantly working to fine-tune your skills as a writer, copywriting can be a satisfying, lucrative career choice.
Is Copywriting a Soft Skill or a Hard Skill?
Soft skills are a combination of non-technical skills that influence how you work. Interpersonal communication skills, social and emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and creativity are all classified as soft skills — and each of these skills is imperative to copywriting.
Copywriting can also be considered a hard skill. Hard skills are achieved through practice and education. Proper sentence structure, grammatical and punctuation usage, and language skills all count as hard skills.
What Should I Charge My Clients for Copywriting?
What you charge your clients for copywriting is entirely up to you, but should depend on several factors.
If you’re brand-new to the copywriting field and trying to land your first clients, you will typically charge clients less than if you were a ten-year veteran of the industry. As a new copywriter, you will be refining your skills with your first few clients, and may not provide them the same level of work as someone who has extensive experience. If you are an expert in a specific niche, however, and you’re sure of your copywriting skills, you can charge more than another newer copywriter.
Your prices, of course, can increase with the level of experience, education, and expertise you possess.
How Do You Market Yourself as a Copywriter?
Knowing how to effectively market yourself as a copywriter will directly impact your success. To market yourself as a copywriter, having a professional online presence is key. Create a website to showcase your skills, have a polished portfolio ready to submit to potential clients, and creating profiles on business networking sites can help you establish your credibility as a professional copywriter.
When Can I Actually Call Myself a Copywriter?
Technically, as soon as you write copy, you can refer to yourself as a copywriter, but once you receive your first payment, you can officially say you’re a professional.
If you’re just beginning your copywriting career, it’s common to feel like you’re battling imposter syndrome and have trouble actually referring to yourself as a copywriter. Remain confident; every copywriter was new to the field, once. You’re a copywriter, and you’re allowed to own it.
Is Copywriting a Competitive Industry?
Although a lucrative and in-demand field, copywriting is notoriously competitive. As the popularity of gig economy skyrockets, especially among millennials and Gen Z, and technology advances, many people are turning to copywriting as a career.
When you begin your copywriting career, understand that you will be competing with writers who have been in the industry for years, if not decades longer than you. You will be up against copywriters who have honed their skills through experience that you don’t yet have, but this doesn’t mean you can’t compete.
Learning as many skills as you can, taking online copywriting classes, and consistent practice will help you build the portfolio you need to break into the copywriting field.
Can You Learn to Be a Copywriter?
Not everyone who wants to be a writer is suited to writing professionally, but if you have inherent writing ability, you can learn to be a copywriter.
Learning copywriting is an art and a science. If you have a way with words, you can learn how to tailor messaging for an audience, be consistent with branding, create powerful calls to action, create engaging content, and write conversion-driven copy.
Just because you’re a good writer, however, doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be a great copywriter. Copywriting is a learned skill; an online copywriting course or studying the work or notable copywriters can help you develop marketable copywriting skills.
How Do I Know if I’ll be a Good Copywriter?
If you’re able to write persuasively, engagingly, and know how to connect with other people, there’s a great chance that you’ll be an excellent copywriter.
If you’re a creative thinker with a background in sales, marketing, or other forms of writing, you’re already a step ahead of many aspiring copywriters. It is a good idea to study up on the technical aspects of copywriting so that you have a well-rounded, more comprehensive resume and portfolio.
Should a Copywriter Charge by the Word, by the Assignment, or by the Hour?
How a copywriter charges their clients is subjective. For assignments that require an extensive amount of research, many copywriters opt to charge by the hour. If a piece is lengthy and in-depth but is less research-heavy, a writer may charge a flat fee for the assignment. Many writers choose to charge per word for more general content such as web copy or blogs, depending on assignment length and subject matter.
How does a Freelance Copywriter Pay Taxes?
For some people craving the freedom and flexibility of freelance copywriting, budgeting for your taxes at the end of the year is worth the stress and tedium of doing so. Freelance copywriters are considered by the IRS to be self-employed, and must pay self-employment tax, which at the time of this writing, is 15.3% in the US.
Putting together a savings plan, keeping track of receipts for write offs, and working with a tax professional are all ways to avoid the shock of a hefty tax bill at the end of the year.
What Tools Do I Need to Be a Copywriter?
It requires a minimal amount of tools and overhead to launch your copywriting career. The most common tools copywriters use are:
- Computer for writing and reseaching
- High-speed internet
- Phone for communicating with clients
- Pens and paper for taking notes
- Calendar to keep track of due dates
- High-powered grammar-checking and plagiarism checking softwares
Depending on where you are in your career, you may require additional tools or softwares to maintain your career, but if you’re just starting out, this list provides a good baseline.
When Does a Copywriter Work?
While employed copywriters might write throughout the standard 9-5 workday, freelance copywriters often work sporadically or on alternative schedules. Some copywriters prefer to work in the early morning hours while some writers do their best writing in the middle of the night when they’re the only ones awake.
Typically, as long as you hit your deadlines and are responsive to clients in a timely manner, freelance copywriting offers more freedom than other careers.
How Long Does it Take to Be a Good Copywriter?
Writers that are just getting their careers started often want to take the fastest route possible. While there is no set amount of time it takes to achieve ‘good’ copywriter status, copywriting is the sort of skill that takes a great deal of practice. The more you write, and the more analytical you’re willing to be regarding your own writing, the faster you will improve your skills.
If you’re naturally good at writing, with regular practice and studying, you should be able to earn the ‘good’ copywriter status in a few months to a year.
Should I Quit My Job and Become a Freelance Copywriter?
Virtually every writer’s dream is to quit their mundane, directionless day job and become a professional writer. Is it possible? Yes. Is it feasible? That depends.
If you want to quit your job and become a freelance copywriter, you need to have a plan in place. Freelancing is entrepreneurship. You need to be business savvy, good with a budget, and have a solid strategy for building your client base.
Some experts say that it’s considered ‘safe’ to quit your job if your projected income from a side hustle is ⅔ your regular income. It is crucial, however, to have money put away for emergencies or to supplement your income in the early stages of your freelancing career.
Ask yourself these questions before you quit your dayjob to take on freelance copywriting full time:
- Could you make more money freelancing if you had the time to put into it?
- Are you skilled enough and experienced enough in business to immediately begin building a career as a freelancer?
- Do you live frugally enough, or have enough in savings, to be able to handle a fluctuating income?
- Are you a motivated self-starter?
- If you failed, would you be able to pick yourself back up and try again?
- Do you handle rejection well?
- Are you able to put in countless hours into building your career from the ground up?
If you answered yes to all or most of these questions, you’re in a good position to leave your 9-5 and set out on your own as a freelance copywriter.
Can a Copywriter Own a Business?
Copywriting is a very versatile skill, and many copywriters go on to open their own businesses. Numerous copywriters start content agencies, marketing or advertising firms, or media companies. All of these creative industries are very content heavy, and experienced copywriters often gain experience in these fields during their time freelancing or working as a full-time employed copywriter.
How Can I Get My First Copywriting Client?
If you’re a new copywriter, landing your first client can seem like an insurmountable feat. If you lack experience or an expansive portfolio, it can be disheartening when you receive your first few rejections. Remember that the best copywriters in the world face rejection, and at one point, were fresh in the industry.
To get your first copywriting client, it is essential that you pitch yourself with confidence. Whether you try your hand on freelancer sites or reach out to agencies or businesses, confidence is paramount. You don’t necessarily have to let all prospective clients know that you are a brand new copywriter; this can quickly turn off potential clients, even if your portfolio is impeccable.
The best thing you can do is make your pitch direct, concise, and provide a diverse, polished portfolio of your best work. Maintain confidence — how you sell yourself shows a client how your words might sell their product.
Can I Learn Copywriting Fast?
It is possible to learn copywriting skills quicker than it would take to learn skills in other industries. If you already have a strong foundation in language, grammar, spelling, and writing in general, you will likely pick up the technical aspects of copywriting quickly.
The fastest way to learn copywriting is by enrolling in an online copywriting course that offers comprehensive information about various aspects of copywriting. The more you study and the more education you can get, the more quickly you will be able to apply your new learned skills.
Is Copywriting a Form of Marketing?
Copywriting is absolutely a form of marketing, which is why copywriters are an essential part of marketing and advertising agencies worldwide. Copywriting is text that is designed to sell, whether as overt advertisements or using creatively subtle techniques such as powerful product descriptions or company mission statements.
Do I Need to Understand Sales to Write Good Copy?
If you want to be effective and successful as a copywriter, you should have a good understanding of sales. To write copy that converts, knowing what makes an advertisement engaging, what language entices customers to learn more, and the role verbiage plays in closing a sale is essential.
In order to be the best copywriter you can be, spend as much time as possible studying marketing psychology, sales techniques, and the tactics used by successful sales campaigns.
How Many Hours Does a Copywriter Work?
The hours a copywriter works depends on where a copywriter works. If a copywriter is employed by a company, the average work week can range from 24-40 hours. If a copywriter works as a freelancer, the hours worked are up to the individual.
Some copywriters land a few higher paying clients that are able to sustain them throughout the month only working a few hours per day, and other copywriters pick up larger quantities of, working as much as they can to scale their income.
Where Can I Learn Copywriting Online?
The internet offers multitudinous options for learning copywriting online. How you choose to go about obtaining these skills depends on how quickly you want to learn, much time you have, and what skills you want to learn.
YouTube and various marketing blogs offer copywriting tips and tricks that can be of use to a writer that already understands the core concepts of copywriting, but if you’re just starting out or are looking for a fast-track to launch your copywriting career, an online copywriting course is your best bet.
Can I Learn Copywriting For Free?
You can definitely learn copywriting for free, but to learn the necessary skills it takes to be a good copywriter will take considerably more time than paying for a laser-focused copywriting course.
Copywriting podcasts, social media groups, and online forums are great places to pick up free copywriting tips.
How Can I Practice Copywriting?
Continually refining your skills is one of the best ways to improve your copywriting skills.
Ways to practice copywriting include:
- Studying great copy, and rewriting it in your own words
- Writing from a variety of writing prompts
- Crafting copy on one subject in two different ways, comparing the two, and analyzing how one has improved from the other
- Reading – a lot
- Brushing up on your vocabulary, spelling, and grammar.
- Practicing writing copy in various formats, such as landing pages, email marketing campaigns, and ad copy
- Joining a writers group or online writers forum and ask for honest critiques
- Critiquing the work of others, evaluating what you think was effective and considering what you would have done differently
- Running A/B testing on different content and measure the results, if you have the means or the platform to do so
- Expanding your skill set by furthering your education on different areas of copywriting
Perhaps the best advice for improving your copywriting skills is to write, and write consistently. You will be surprised with how much your writing improves when you dedicate time to perfecting your craft.
Can a Copywriter Work as an Editor?
Editing is a great way for copywriters to earn extra money beyond writing copy. Copywriters understand what it takes to create cohesive, brand-appropriate, compelling copy, and can assist other writers in refining their work.
Many copywriters work as line editors, substantive editors, and even proofreaders in addition to writing their own copy.
Can a Creative Writer Work as a Copywriter?
Copywriting and creative writing are two very different sects of writing, but many creative writers make excellent copywriters. Copywriting requires creative thinking, engaging use of language, and often, storytelling. A creative writer that wants to break into copywriting, however, needs to learn the mechanics of writing for sales, as writing for entertainment is almost like writing in an entirely different language.
Should I Write Copy for a Specific Niche?
There is a lot of debate on whether or not it’s more lucrative to choose a specific niche in which to place your focus as a writer, or if writing in a variety of areas is a better option.
There are several things to consider when deciding whether or not to specialize in one specific niche:
- Do you have extensive experience in a specific industry already?
- Do you have exceptional research skills, and are you able to source and retain information on topics you know nothing about?
- Is there a high demand in the niche you’re considering?
- If there isn’t high demand, are you qualified enough to stand apart from competition vying for the same jobs?
- Does your portfolio contain enough high quality samples on a singular topic to establish your credibility within your intended niche?
No matter if you decide to focus on one specialty or write on a vast number of topics, knowing how to write for different purposes is essential. Understanding the mechanics of writing for social media, landing pages, blogs, SMS marketing, newsletters, advertisements, voice overs, and print copy positions, and any other platforms you as a qualified candidate for any copywriting position.
Launch Your Copywriting Career
There has never been a better time in the history of marketing to start a career in copywriting. With today’s content-driven market, businesses of all types are hiring copywriters to enhance their brand, increase sales, and build customer relationships.
Take the first step in launching your career! Learn copywriting from a course designed to equip you with the skills needed to excel in the field.