Copywriting is more of a skill than a profession, so you have unlimited earning potential depending on how you apply the skill.
Whether you want to make a few extra hundred dollars per month or create a multi-million dollar company, copywriting can help you achieve that mission.
Most copywriters also have complete autonomy over their lifestyles by setting their own work hours and choosing where to work from.
In this post, we’ll discuss various ways you can make money as a copywriter and how you can choose a path that allows you to maximize your earning potential and create the lifestyle you want.
How Much Money Do Copywriters Make?
According to Glassdoor, here are the average salaries for freelance and in-house copywriters by years of experience:
Average Salary of An Freelance Copywriter in The United States:
- $51,144 for 0-1 years of experience
- $59,225 for 4-6 years of experience
- $75,202 for 10-14 years of experience
Average Salary of An In-House Copywriter in The United States:
- $55,635 for 0-1 years of experience
- $65,452 for 4-6 years of experience
- $84,349 for 10-14 years of experience
However, these averages are very generic, and the reality is that a copywriter’s salary can range from a few thousand dollars per year to several million dollars per year.
So instead of just giving you some basic averages, let’s break down the two variables that have the greatest impact on your earning potential as a copywriter:
- Your skill as a copywriter
- The opportunity you choose
While copywriting skills take years to perfect, the good news is that you can significantly increase your earning potential by applying your skills to a more profitable opportunity.
When I say “opportunity,” I’m referring to the type of work you choose to pursue and how you monetize your work.
An example of an opportunity might be writing LinkedIn posts (the type of work) for clients you charge on a monthly basis (how you monetize).
These two variables cause a wide range of earning potential for copywriters.
In this post, we’ll focus on the different opportunities you can pursue in copywriting to build wealth and then discuss how to climb the wealth ladder to become a top-earning copywriter.
How to Make Money Copywriting
Below we’ll discuss some of the most common opportunities you can explore to make money as a copywriter and provide resources to help you get started in each opportunity.
Blog Post Writing
It’s incredibly valuable for a business to appear at the top of Google for a keyword that potential customers might search for. However, search engines only rank content that answers the searcher’s question. Therefore, most companies are happy to pay thousands of dollars to hire freelance writers to create quality content that ranks for relevant keywords.
For example, if you sell small business accounting software, you’d probably be more than happy to pay a freelance writer to create content that ranks first for “small business accounting software” because this would likely drive plenty of potential customers to the website.
Therefore, most blog post writers also need a basic understanding of SEO (search engine optimization) and keyword research.
While SEO is the most common use case for blog writing, many companies are also happy to pay freelance writers to create blog posts about new product launches, thought leadership content, and other general content they want to communicate to customers.
Many companies pay roughly $300-$500 per post for high-quality blog posts. Some larger companies that deeply believe in content are willing to pay over $1,000 per post.
You can also build your own affiliate website and send traffic to various products and services sold by other companies. When people from your website buy their products or services, you can make a commission on the sale. These websites can be worth millions of dollars, but they may take a long time to build.
How to Get Started:
Do you want to write for our clients? We’re currently hiring freelance writers over at Digital Commerce Partners. We’re picky, but you may be a good fit. Go here to learn more and apply.
Entrepreneurs selling online courses, coaching programs, other digital products, and even physical products (like supplements) usually run ads to a sales page designed to convert visitors.
These sales pages are usually anywhere from 500 to several thousand words long, and they typically follow this basic structure:
- Pain point: State the audience’s problems to build rapport.
- Pain point agitation: Build on the problems associated with the pain points and explain why they’re painful to strengthen your relationship with the reader.
- Solution: Introduce the product or service as a solution and show how it solves those pain points.
- Benefits: Paint a picture of what life looks like after using the product. This should match the audience’s “ideal scenario.”
- Social proof: Provide proof that the product can help them achieve their ideal scenario with case studies and testimonials.
- CTA: Ask them to make the purchase and provide a money-back guarantee.
This is just a basic template that most sales pages follow, but the sales page’s success depends largely on how well the copywriter can build rapport with the target audience, resonate with their pain points, and present the product as the solution.
Therefore, you’ll probably have to interview the client, their customers, and even use the product to create a compelling argument that convinces the reader to convert.
Most clients are willing to pay a few thousand dollars for a sales page, but it’s not uncommon for more established clients with a proven offer to pay $25,000 to $50,000 for a sales letter.
How to Get Started:
The homepage, about page, and product/service pages are critical to driving conversions, so most businesses are happy to hand over thousands of dollars to skilled copywriters to craft compelling copy for these pages.
While website copywriting is typically much shorter than long-form sales copywriting (typically 500-1,000 words), it also requires a thorough understanding of the customer’s pain points and how the product works to convince readers that this product is the best solution for their problem.
However, unlike sales copywriting, website copywriters must also thoroughly understand SEO (search engine optimization) to ensure each page ranks for the appropriate keywords. For example, you should understand how to do keyword research and help the keyword rank for those terms.
The earning potential for a website copywriter depends largely on the client. Some copywriting clients are happy to pay just a few hundred dollars for basic website copy from someone on Upwork or Fiverr, but larger companies are more than happy to shell out thousands of dollars for outstanding website copy.
If you have A/B testing skills and experience, you can charge significantly more for your website copywriting services.
How to Get Started:
Social Media Ghostwriting
B2B leaders are beginning to realize the value of building an audience on Twitter and LinkedIn, and many of them are willing to pay ghostwriters thousands of dollars to create content for them on social media.
For example, Morning Brew’s co-founder, Alex Lieberman, recently launched a new ghostwriting marketing agency that charges approximately $8,000 per month to produce social media content for executives.
To become a good social media ghostwriter, you’ll need to be able to extract the best ideas from your clients, organize them into concise frameworks, and adapt your writing style to their tone of voice. You’ll also need to stay up-to-date on the latest events to tie them into your clients’ content.
This kind of content also requires a high volume of content output to be successful, so it might feel like a grind for some writers.
Social media ghostwriting is still a relatively new copywriting opportunity, but a reasonable rate is about $2,000 per client for several posts/threads per week. Nevertheless, some agencies like Alex Lieberman’s Storyarb charge up to $8,000 per month for several threads/posts per week.
Alternatively, you can build your own audience and then monetize it as you wish.
How to Get Started:
Email copywriters help businesses generate sales through email.
Most email copywriting job assignments require writers to create an email sequence (multiple emails scheduled to send out over a week to ten days) that builds a relationship with the prospect by providing value (usually free content designed to solve their pain points) that then lead up to the sale.
Great email copywriters know how to architect a relationship with the reader and provide value upfront, and they can also craft intriguing subject lines and A/B test different variables throughout the copy, like CTAs and hooks.
Email copywriting prices vary dramatically. If you’re working with a new startup that just needs a basic email autoresponder to get people to sign up for a free course, you might make a few hundred dollars for writing the email sequence.
However, companies with a proven product and high-quality email list are usually happy to pay north of $10,000 or even $25,000 for a high-quality email sequence if they know it will boost conversions.
How to Get Started:
Video Script Writing
Another great way to make a full-time income as a copywriter is by creating video scripts for YouTubers or companies who need video content.
A great video script writer is excellent at crafting an intriguing hook, building a story, and writing in a manner that a person would speak. If the content writing sounds too formulaic and academic, it won’t sound organic on camera, and you’ll have difficulty retaining clients.
Video scriptwriters typically have about the same earning potential as blog post writers. The average falls around $300-$500 for about 1,000 to 2,000 words, but you could earn much more than this if you work with a client whose primary source of income is video content.
How to Get Started:
Newsletters are an increasingly popular business model as companies like The Hustle and Morning Brew recently sold for tens of millions of dollars.
As a result, plenty of businesses are willing to pay top dollar for good copywriters to research current trends and events, extract the most valuable insights, and then tie the story back to how it impacts the reader.
This job typically requires you to incorporate a mix of humor and storytelling into the writing while still communicating a clear point.
Newsletter writing is still a new type of copywriting gig, but if you can prove that you’re a highly effective writer, you can make thousands of dollars monthly as a newsletter copywriter.
There are also plenty of people that have their own newsletters and make thousands of dollars per month selling subscriptions or ads. In fact, the 27 highest-earning Substack newsletters generate over $22M a year. So it’s not unreasonable to make north of $10,000 or $20,000 per month writing your own newsletter.
How to Get Started:
Another common copywriting career path is ghostwriting novels for authors. This requires a unique skill set as most people writing a book have a message to share but need some help putting the ideas into organized thoughts.
So you’ll need to first understand the ideas the client wants to communicate and then extract the stories and key points that illustrate and crystalize that idea to make it easy for the reader to understand and buy into the message. This also requires excellent storytelling capabilities to captivate and hold the reader’s attention across hundreds of pages.
Therefore, you’ll probably need to interview that person extensively and submit various revisions to nail down their voice and message.
Most novel ghostwriters make between $10,000 and $50,000 for writing a book or memoir.
How to Get Started:
How to Climb The Wealth Ladder as a Copywriter
You probably noticed that the fees clients are willing to pay for a specific service (e.g., email copywriting, website copywriting, etc.) vary drastically. For example, one website copywriter might charge $100 for a product page, while another might charge over $10,000 for the same service.
In addition, some copywriters don’t offer their skills for hire. Instead, they own their businesses and use their copywriting skills to sell their services.
Below, we’ll discuss the copywriting wealth ladder and how you can climb it to maximize your earning potential.
Write For Free
We already discussed that choosing an opportunity with a high income potential is critical, so go back through the eight opportunities listed above and choose the one that you think you would enjoy the most and has high earning potential.
Once you’ve chosen an opportunity, begin writing for potential clients for free.
Writing for free allows you to gain experience as a copywriter and learn how to collaborate with clients in a low-street environment.
However, carefully select who you choose to work for free for.
Ideally, select a micro-influencer or someone in your target audience with a large network because they’ll be able to send you more high-quality referrals than a lesser-known individual with fewer contacts.
You can start your search for potential clients on LinkedIn or Twitter and reach out to them directly on that platform or send them a personalized email.
The key to a great pitch is to deliver a sample piece of work without prompting. For example, if your offer is to write a newsletter for that micro-influencer for free, actually write a newsletter and send it to them, and then offer to keep doing it for the next several weeks if they like it.
Sending the finished product rather than asking for permission to do something will set you apart from the rest of the crowd, and it makes that person’s life easier because they don’t have to give you any instructions.
Contrary to popular belief, offering to do anything for free is actually more work for the other person because the burden is on them to figure out what you’re good at and what they need to assign to you.
Once they agree to let you work for them for free, set a start and end date and tell the “client” up front that you’d like to receive a few referrals if it’s high-quality work and they’re satisfied by the end of that time period.
Close Your First Clients
After working for free for a micro-influencer for a few months, you’ll probably have a few paying clients from the referrals they send.
If the free clients don’t hold up their end of the bargain and fail to send you referrals, you can always reach out to your dream clients via cold email or cold social media message. This time, offer to create free content for them for a set period of time if they agree to hire you following the free agreement. You can also show them the sample work you did for free to help boost your credibility.
If you’re really struggling to get clients, you can also use a platform like Acadium to get your first clients. It allows you to apprentice for a company for a limited period of time, and many of those companies then hire the apprentices they train.
The only drawback with this platform is that you’re limited to the companies that list themselves on it, so you might not find your ideal clients. For this reason, I typically recommend that you simply find your ideal clients on LinkedIn or Twitter and reach out to them with a cold yet personalized pitch.
Establish Yourself as a Premium Expert
Once you have some experience as a copywriter, becoming an expensive copywriter comes down to consistently delivering a strong ROI for a particular service.
For example, if you can prove that you can reliably write emails that generate $2 for every $1 invested, clients will be more than happy to give you thousands or even millions of dollars.
The key to proving you can reliably generate a strong ROI is to develop a step-by-step execution process for your services (e.g., email marketing) and then create case studies of how you used it to generate excellent results repeatedly.
Selling a process that consistently generates a strong ROI increases the perceived likelihood of success, which makes potential clients feel comfortable shelling out large sums of money for copywriting services.
In fact, you’ll likely find it easier to sell a service with a proven process for $10,000 than it is to sell a service without any proven results for $1,000.
The only catch is that you have to actually produce outstanding client results.
Becoming an excellent copywriter doesn’t happen overnight, so consider participating in copywriting courses or membership communities like Copyblogger Academy to accelerate your learning rate.
Your initial copywriting work probably won’t be outstanding, and that’s okay. The key is to consistently practice, seek feedback, and track the ROI of your work. On a long enough time horizon, you’ll eventually find success.
Create Your Own Content Or Hire
If you consider the copywriters that charge $25,000 or $50,000 for a sales page, imagine how much money the company generates from that sales page. So the next level in the wealth ladder is to own the offer.
At this stage, instead of charging clients for your copywriting services, you would actually sell the product or service using the copywriting skills you’ve honed.
For example, you could build your own SEO affiliate website or start your own newsletter and use your copywriting skills to build the business.
You could also build and sell your own digital products. For example, Brett at Design Joy has a course that does over $122,000 per month.
While building an audience can take a long time, owning a product or service is typically the most profitable method to monetize your copywriting skills in the long run.
Build a Copywriting Business That Gives You Financial Freedom
Copywriting is a valuable skill that you can apply to various opportunities to build substantial wealth.
However, honing the skill and turning your words into revenue is no easy task.
While you can always use Google to learn different tips and tricks about copywriting, we wanted to create an academy that makes it easy for copywriters to collaborate and receive feedback from peers and mentors.
So we built the Copyblogger Academy. It’s a membership site where you can learn about the mechanics of copywriting through video and written materials, attend workshops with successful copywriters, and consult with your peers.
You can learn more about the Copyblogger Academy and join today if you’re serious about leveling up your copywriting skills.