Planning to learn a freelance skill this year? Is copywriting a good skill to learn? In this post we’ll explore the magical world of marketing copy and see if it’s really all its cracked up to be.
What is Copywriting?
Persuasion in print, they say. But what does that even mean? Copywriting is the art of influencing people toward some outcome. You put words on a page and try to move people to do something or think something or feel some way.
Copywriting is traditionally thought of as sales writing. It’s the words written on Facebook Ads, websites, landing pages. It’s in every piece of junk mail you get, and every commercial you see.
Anything written to influence a reader toward some outcome is copywriting in my opinion. That means even blog articles can be considered copywriting.
Who Needs Copywriting?
The short answer, every business on the planet. Whether they advertise online or offline, they all use marketing copy in different ways.
Some use copywriting for radio ads, others for television. Some use it for email, sales pages, product descriptions. It’s everywhere.
Is Freelance Copywriting in-demand?
A lot of freelancers say copywriting is saturated. I disagree. As mentioned above, every business, non-profit, and a million other organizations, individuals, and purposes use copy.
There’s plenty of demand for good copywriters who get results. But those results have to make sense for clients.
Some companies want to increase their sales. A good copywriter can help with that. They craft direct response copywriting that moves people to buy stuff. Good copywriters also measure their direct response copy so they can make adjustments and approve based on data.
Other clients want branded copy that fits a certain vibe. It’s less about direct sales and more about fitting the identity of their company. For these clients results mean a combination of good writing and capturing the right voice and style.
So the secret to become an in-demand copywriter is to offer the right service to the right people. In other words, give your prospects what they want and they’ll spend money on you and share you with friends.
How Much Can You Earn as a Freelance Copywriter?
A lot (potentially). But results matter. When you get clients the results they want, then they’ll pay more. When other prospects see proof that you get clients good results, they’ll pay more too.
Copywriters who are just starting out can expect to earn anywhere from $5 per gig (foot-in-the-door prices) to $100 per page or more.
Experienced copywriters who have a strong grasp of many aspects of copy and a variety of voices and styles can earn $1,000 per page or more. Of course, you don’t have to bill by the page. How you price is up to you.
How Long Does it Take to Learn Copywriting?
Depends on your goals. When I started freelance copywriting I jumped in as soon as I learned about the skill. I read Ca$hvertising to learn the fundamentals (while already making money as a copywriter).
That said, I had a foundation in ebook writing. I’d spent the previous year or so publishing romance stories so I brought some writing fundamentals to the table.
If you suck at writing and you don’t have a background in sales and psychology, then it’s gonna take a minute. I’d wager six months minimum before you’re good enough to get clients fair results.
That six months is dependent on you getting real-world experience though. If all you do is study writers like Gary Halbert, Eugene Schwartz, and Dan Kennedy…it’s probably gonna take you a lot longer (maybe never).
How Do You Get Started Without Experience or a Portfolio?
To get started without experience or a portfolio requires three things:
- Understand that most clients just want good writing
- Take Action
- Make an offer they can’t refuse
First, you gotta realize that most people don’t know wtf copywriting is. Seriously, they don’t have a clue. That includes clients. So when they ask for a copywriter, what they’re really asking for isn’t a direct response aficionado to increase conversions. What most freelance clients want is someone to make the words on their website look a little better. Right now their copy looks like a four year old wrote it.
The second one should be obvious. To become a copywriter you have to apply to gigs or reach out to clients in some way. Anyone who does that has a chance to get hired and make money. Ironically, that’s also where most copywriters fail.
Assuming you meet the first two, then all that’s left is making yourself valuable. You don’t have a portfolio or experience. Okay. So what? What else can you offer? Low prices? Money-back guarantee? Extra deliverables? A free sample?
Anyone who can write can be a copywriter. You just gotta get out of your head about it and get started. Then figure out how to make yourself valuable to other people.
What Sources Do You Recommend to Learn Copywriting?
I started with Drew Whitman’s Ca$hvertising and then read Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz.
If you’re more of a course kind of person, I have a free GOLD thread over on the Fastlane Forum that teaches the basics in 15 days or less.
You can spend money or not to learn copy. Whatever you do, make it your goal to take action and reach out to clients as soon as possible. You don’t want to get stuck in analysis paralysis for years and wind up wishing you just got started.
So is Freelance Copywriting a Good Skill to Learn in 2020?
Sure, it can be. It’s not the easiest skill to learn, and you’ve got to get good to make good pay. But that’s true for any skill. People who suck won’t make much money. People who don’t suck get paid.
The key to not sucking is field experience. Soldiers don’t become war heroes by reading books. Heroes are made under fire in the trenches.