Whether you’ve already done some paid writing or you’re starting from scratch, copywriting jobs are worth investigating.
Within the field of freelance writing, copywriting is lucrative work that is often overlooked as a choice for starting a small business or as a writing career.
So, what exactly is copywriting?
And how do so many people make good money writing copy?
Follow along to learn what copywriting jobs are all about and how you can earn a living with them.
Let’s get started!
What Is Copywriting?
Copywriting is creating persuasive words that bring the desired purchaser closer to buying.
But don’t think business and sales are the only applications for copywriting.
What Do People Want to Buy?
Normally we think of buying a product or service. But being “sold” can also mean someone decides to join, volunteer for, or advocate for something.
Copywriters are needed to persuade others to “buy” into:
- Brands: Apple, Nike, Disney
- Aspirations: A better life, community, world; achievement; popularity or fame
- Ideas: Community, leadership, power, change, democracy
- Beliefs or Worldview: Politics, religion
- Places: Where to live, work, vacation, eat, have fun
If It Can Be Bought, Writing Is Needed to Sell It
Copywriting has been around for centuries, ever since humans realized they needed to persuade customers to buy their wares.
Think of something you recently bought and how you:
- Heard or watched an ad for the product online or offline, and then looked up its website.
- Saw a new-to-you product in a store, took it off the shelf to read the packaging.
- Read a billboard as you drove or rode by, made a mental note to check the website.
- Saved a postcard from a remodeling company offering a deal to replace your house’s windows.
- Read a sales email from a company you subscribe to for the latest updates on their products.
- Watched a free webinar online with an offer at the end.
In all of those instances, someone with a copywriting job wrote the words that moved you toward buying.
Marketing Versus Copywriting: Is There a Difference?
Copywriters must understand the differences between marketing and copywriting because clients will expect it.
Marketing focuses on the big picture of what to sell and how to market to prospects.
Copywriting focuses on those prospects, using words that invoke their emotions, grab their interest, and inspire them to take the next step.
Is Copywriting a Good Career?
You may be wondering what types of companies need copywriters.
All of them.
All organizations (even one-person enterprises) need customers and stakeholders so they can prosper.
- For-profit companies need sales and sometimes investors.
- Not-for-profit organizations need donors as well as people to use their services.
- Colleges need students and parents willing to pay tuition. Some also need donors.
Remote Copywriting Jobs: How Many Are There?
Most professional writing jobs transitioned years ago from in-house, full-time staff to freelancers working remotely from home or another location.
The work still needs to be done, so that trend continues to create an endless supply of freelance opportunities.
Potential Income as a Freelance Copywriter
There are three ways to earn income through copywriting:
- As an employee of a company. If the company is large enough, you will likely work in a marketing team. In a small company, you may be the marketing department.
- As an employee of a digital marketing or advertising agency. The ad agency pursues clients who need excellent written content and don’t have the expertise in-house.
- As the owner of your own freelance writing business. Being free to choose the work or client, manage your time, and work anywhere make this an attractive path.
We’ll focus on the freelance copywriting career option.
Can You Actually Make Money Copywriting?
Yes. A top freelance copywriter can make a six-figure annual income. There are many who have.
However, despite what you might read elsewhere, it will take a while to build the portfolio, reputation, and client base needed to make a significant income from this work.
3 Secrets to Making Serious Money from Freelance Copywriting Jobs
- Do top-notch copywriting.
- Run freelancing as a business, whether it’s a side-hustle or the full focus of your efforts.
- Pick a writing path that makes money.
Types of Copywriting Jobs
The scope of today’s copywriter job goes far beyond writing newspaper and magazine ads.
- Offline: Your words could appear on a highway or arena billboard, a book jacket, product label, the annual calendar sent out as a holiday card by a firm of attorneys, or direct mail sales letters delivered via snail mail.
- Online: Your work may be featured in a website, blog post, on a landing page; in e-commerce sites; in email marketing; and on social media posts (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter), podcasts, and video sharing platforms (YouTube).
Design Your Copywriting Business
The important question to answer is, which industries and companies are willing to pay you good money for copywriting and allow you to enjoy what you write about?
Consider these questions:
- What is your background? Experience and credentials you already have boost your chances of being hired by clients for related topics.
- Do you like to learn? No one expects you to know everything, but they do expect you to take the initiative to get the information.
- What topics interest you? Writing about something that bores you (or worse, that you hate) can be painful and lead to procrastination. Writing about what you love is thrilling.
- Are there lots of open copywriting jobs in the industries you’re considering? If not, find other industries where there are plenty of them. You’ll unlikely convince a company that doesn’t already value copywriters that they need one.
- What companies are in that market? Are they companies you’d like to write for? It’s difficult to write for a company that operates in conflict with your own beliefs and values.
- Who in your contact list needs copywriting services? People often overlook the contacts they already have who are or know potential clients.
How to Work with Clients as a Freelance Copywriter
Whether created by you or the client, it’s best to have some sort of written agreement describing the work and how you’ll be paid.
How Do You Get Paid for Copywriting Jobs?
The payment amount and method will be determined by you and your prospect (and possibly by the job board, if that’s where you got the writing job) before finalizing each project.
Some examples are:
By the Word
The client sets the maximum number (or range) of words desired, and you agree to be paid per word for the delivered copy.
By the Project
You and the client agree to a price for the output. You must carefully manage the project’s scope to make sure it stays within what was agreed. A project fee can work if you are also providing related services such as SEO.
By the Hour/Retainer
You and the client agree on your hourly rate and a firm estimate for the number of hours. For ongoing work, a retainer guarantees the client your availability for a certain number of hours over a specified period.
Clients generally do not favor this option unless they have a need and a solid, trusting relationship with you.
How Do I Become a Copywriter?
Although many successful copywriters come from a wide variety of backgrounds and career paths, they took the time and put in the effort to learn what the field is about.
Convince the Prospect You Can Do the Job
There are two primary ways to show you’re qualified for this work:
- Have education credentials (e.g., bachelor’s degree) or certification from a relevant and reputable organization.
- Have solid experience with results to show for it.
Prospects frequently prefer method 2 and often ignore a lack of formal training. If you produce evidence of past work with great results, that tells them all they need to know.
Start Getting Copywriter Jobs as a Beginner
One good way to start is by specializing in a field you already know.
For example, if you’ve been a bookkeeper, your experience and results from previous work will help convince a prospect in the accounting industry that you can do their copywriting job, even as a beginner.
While you pursue that path, these preparations will also help:
- Learn all you can about copywriting through books and (carefully selected) websites. Optionally, take a reputable copywriting course.
- Write as often as possible for practice. Preferably write topics in the field where you are starting. Do pro bono work for others to get experience and feedback. Build your online portfolio and presence.
- Set up a comfortable, functional workspace with the right technology and a pleasant Zoom background.
Skills You Need to Be a Successful Copywriter
- Excellent writing, editing, spelling, proofreading skills. Persuasive writing comes from the right mix of description, benefits, and storytelling flavored with emotion.
- Technology. Clients expect you to know how to use tools such as Word and Google Docs to submit your work. Zoom is the current standard for video meetings.
- Research. There’s almost always something a copywriter needs to research for a project.
- Time and workload management. Deliver high-quality work on time and on budget.
- Search engine optimization (SEO). Effectively use keywords in your online copy. Check out Moz.com’s excellent SEO 101 section to get started.
A Day in the Life: A Professional Copywriter’s Job Description
Here’s how to be a sought-after freelance copywriter:
- Work with the potential client to be sure you both have the same understanding of the desired output. Ask questions and listen closely. Understand the true outcome they are aiming for and how your assignment fits in.
- Translate the creative brief into persuasive copy that your client loves.
- Ensure the writing reflects the client’s brand, voice, and style.
- Collaborate and communicate well with others involved in the project, both one-on-one and in meetings. Be easy to work with.
- Deliver well-written, error-free copy that meets or exceeds the client’s expectations.
The 6 Best Sites to Find Remote Copywriter Jobs
Job sites offer freelance copywriter listings based on whether or not you have to pay a fee to access a job listing, to apply for the job, or both.
Some also offer articles and other resources to help you with the job search process.
Be sure to do your homework to avoid online job scams.
Problogger.com is popular with writers and those who need them.
It’s free to apply for a job and to set up a Candidate account to manage your job applications.
A free profile on the respected professional networking site, LinkedIn.com, can connect you to a wide range of contacts who may help find you work.
Better still, “How to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job” tells you all you need to know about making good use of the Jobs section.
Contena.co focuses on writing jobs. It requires the freelancer to apply to be accepted and charges a membership fee, which includes a training program.
Each job listing is reviewed before posting to prevent scams.
Writers Work focuses on writing, offers a $47 one-time, life membership fee, and provides a portfolio platform to showcase your work.
Jobs on the site come from a variety of sources.
FlexJobs.com offers a wide range of jobs, including writing.
Every job on the site is individually pre-screened to prevent scams.
Job seeker fees range from one week to annually.
Upwork.com offers a wide range of jobs, including writing.
“Basic” membership is free, but “Connects” are required to submit proposals.
Two Bonus Places to Find Copywriting Jobs
Local businesses. It may sound “old-school,” but connecting with other businesses through local chambers of commerce and trade associations still works.
For example, digital marketing agencies that maintain a roster of independent copywriters are often members.
Other freelancers. Copywriters who aren’t in competition with you may be willing to pass leads on to you if they come across any matching your interests.
Follow good networking techniques such as first getting to know them and their business. Refer work to them if you can, and they’ll be more willing to return the favor.
Pitching to Prospects
Are there companies you would love to work with that don’t have an online job listed?
Cold-calling works even today.
That said, this technique requires research, experimentation, and practice. Also needed is the ability to accept “no” gracefully and move on.
The Most Powerful Source of Copywriting Work
Nothing is more powerful in your marketing toolkit than satisfied and loyal customers.
Be sure to ask for a testimonial right after the successful completion of a project. If they spontaneously compliment you, make note of what they said and ask permission to quote them in your marketing material.
Also, ask for referrals to their business contacts who may need an excellent copywriter.
Ready to Find Some Copywriting Jobs?
You’ve learned that a part-time hustle or a full-time copywriting business is there for the taking.
It’s not easy or simple, but landing those first freelance jobs will feel great and lead you to many more.
Do your homework and hone your skills.
Somewhere out there is a client who needs what you bring to the table.