Do skilled Copywriters really make good money?

50 replies
Hello my friends:

I have been considering a career in copywriting. I have found many people who write that the best money around almost always goes to skilled copywriters.

The only problem is that all the people who say that to me are also the ones trying to sell a course or book on copywriting.

So does anyone really know?

Do skilled and experienced copywriters really make top dollar.

Thanks

Jim
#copywriters #good #make #money #skilled
  • Profile picture of the author @tjr
    Some will make great money, most won't.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10113939].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Tyler Pratt
    If your a good copywriter why not sell a course on how to become good at it?

    If you are good at video marketing why not sell a course on video marketing.

    Read the Gary Halbert letters and you will become a good copywriter, they are free online, do a search.
    Signature

    Get the Top 11 Millionaire Tools and 7 Of them are FREE
    >> Yes Get Instant Access <<

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10113963].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Lance K
      Originally Posted by Tyler Pratt View Post

      Read the Gary Halbert letters and you will become a good copywriter, they are free online, do a search.
      While I agree that The Gary Halbert Letter archives is an amazing resource, saying that someone will become a good copywriter by simply reading them is preposterous.
      Signature
      "You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
      ~ Zig Ziglar
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10114266].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        Yeah!

        And double yeah!

        Originally Posted by Lance K View Post

        While I agree that The Gary Halbert Letter archives is an amazing resource, saying that someone will become a good copywriter by simply reading them is preposterous.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10149611].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Originally Posted by vastcosmos View Post

    Hello my friends:

    I have been considering a career in copywriting. I have found many people who write that the best money around almost always goes to skilled copywriters.

    The only problem is that all the people who say that to me are also the ones trying to sell a course or book on copywriting.

    So does anyone really know?

    Do skilled and experienced copywriters really make top dollar.

    Thanks

    Jim
    Depends on WHO YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE.

    Cheap customers = cheap rates.

    What size of problem are you solving for your client? Solve a dinky problem, get paid a dinky rate.

    Solve a $500K problem, get paid 5 figures or even more.

    But as in all things, you must have a certain level of marketing collateral and infrastructure to demonstrate to serious people that you have the "oomph" necessary to handle these bigger projects.

    You have probably known IM copywriters.

    The voice here is hyper to the point of hysteria. That will not work in B2B. I had to learn, after a decade and a half of B2B voice, the IM style...and then re-learn B2B once I stopped working for IM clients.

    Essentially, you are not hearing from working copywriters who are making good money because they don't come near IM forums. They're busy working for offline clients.

    When I hear someone brag, "I made $5300 from my WSO," I know they're paying hundreds of dollars for copywriting help, and they are immediately qualified Out of my market.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10113982].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author The Niche Man
      I think the best people to ask that question is "working copywriters" in the Warrior Forum Copywriting Section
      Be careful though, some have sharp teeth.
      Signature
      Download "Free 80 Page E-Book"
      "201 Ways To Live Better On Less Money".
      "Because The Easiest Way To Make Money is ... ... By Saving Some First!"
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10114255].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author oscarb
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Depends on WHO YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE.

      Cheap customers = cheap rates.

      What size of problem are you solving for your client? Solve a dinky problem, get paid a dinky rate.

      Solve a $500K problem, get paid 5 figures or even more.

      But as in all things, you must have a certain level of marketing collateral and infrastructure to demonstrate to serious people that you have the "oomph" necessary to handle these bigger projects.

      You have probably known IM copywriters.

      The voice here is hyper to the point of hysteria. That will not work in B2B. I had to learn, after a decade and a half of B2B voice, the IM style...and then re-learn B2B once I stopped working for IM clients.

      Essentially, you are not hearing from working copywriters who are making good money because they don't come near IM forums. They're busy working for offline clients.

      When I hear someone brag, "I made $5300 from my WSO," I know they're paying hundreds of dollars for copywriting help, and they are immediately qualified Out of my market.
      Jason's right. If IM was your entry point into the world of copywriting, just keep in mind that with very few exceptions it is considered the bottom rung. I write that as a working copywriter in B2B. Ive met some great people in IM-started,in fact, as someone who dreamed of one day making it big in this niche. What I discovered was a better, easier, often more lucrative place. Can you make a lot of money? Like everything, the answer is "yes" and "no." There are copywriters making a lot of money in IM. Others are pinching pennies. The field is vast and expanding. Twenty years ago no one was doing video sales letters.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10151564].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Big Al
    Have a listen to this interview with Dan Meredith who went from 0 to six figures in 6 months.

    Granted, he's not the norm. The dude is something of a machine but it's very inspirational and it shows what you CAN do if you close your ears, switch off the negative thoughts and just go full-throttle into something with faith and self-belief.

    https://copyhour.com/how-dan-meredit...s-in-6-months/
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10114509].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Since I consistently make 5 to 10 times more money when an existing client offers to buy copywriting services from me, I would agree that there IS money to be made in copywriting.

    The problem is VOLUME

    If you want it to become a full time income replacement, you have to learn how to promote your copywriting services so you can get a consistent flow of clients.

    You can't live off a 5K job that appears every few quarters.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10134375].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MeniStronk
    Step 1. Be a good copywriter

    Step 2. Get your name and reputation out there

    Step 3. ????

    People are learning that paying $5 for 500 words of crap isn't getting them anywhere. Take advantage of that.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10134385].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Originally Posted by vastcosmos View Post

    Do skilled and experienced copywriters really make top dollar.
    Absolutely. You should research the following copywriters, and learn from them... instead of shelling out $5 on a crappy fiverr "internet marketing" copywriter who can't write a simple sales letter about a "grow red roses" ebook:

    1) Gary Halbert
    2) John Carlton
    3) Dan Kennedy
    4) Jeff Paul
    5) Michael Fortin
    6) God
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10134526].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Deos
    Skilled copywriters do good money indeed but those who are skilled don't get their hands involved in products that are considered "baby level" I know a friend of mine who gets paid 5K$ for it, Its not something simple as it sounds though. If its not your passion then don't go for it. Internet Marketers fail cause they choose to do something for the sake that it has big money and eventually they fail, cause if you love what you do, you will be creative.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10134614].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author jeremysteam
    I write copy for a lot of IM Info products and launches, I get paid well.

    It's honestly the same as building any other business.

    Market yourself and skills, get clients, get referrals.

    The great thing about being a high paid copywriter though is you get paid royalties for your projects which can make you a lot of passive income especially if its converting well and they keep using it.
    Signature
    Need Help In Your Business?

    Grab amazing tips, tricks, techniques and systems from my blog
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10135116].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author John Moore
    Depends on where you get your clients and traffic from. Some people tend to charge 10 times more but still get work!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10135289].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author gjabiz
    Thanks, I'm going to use this as a chance to give some food for thought...

    beginning with the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 rule) and it plays out in almost every career. 20% or less are the top earners.

    Copywriting has the elite million dollar a year guys, there are only a handful who reach this purely with their copy writing service. Several have courses and offer training, and they use their copy writing skills to sell their own products or services.

    The other 95% are just like starving artists, writers, actors, musicians, business owners and 99.9% of Internet Marketers who are "starving".

    And a good copywriter knows how to appeal to a starving crowd...look no further than the WSO section to see this in action.

    Selling the dream to artists of any kind has been around a long time. Aspiring writers see Stephen King and J.K. Rowling and consume books and courses on how to write, Writer's Digest has been selling to this market for decades.

    Donald Trump sells the dream of getting rich via his books and courses.
    Tony Robbins sells the dream of a life of fulfillment.
    WF sells the Internet Marketing dream, and if Pareto holds up here, it would mean approx. 180,000 (at 20%) of their members are "living the dream" and at 1% it would be about 9,000 Warriors have achieved their dreams, yea, yea, I know the 900 thousand figure could be greatly inflated by double and triple registrations, but

    the point is, you have the all-stars in any profession.

    Let me give you an example and this from recently at the copywriter's sub forum, (the 24th)

    A critique was asked for, one was given and in the response he wrote:
    **********
    Thank you for the feedback - this is fantastic and loaded with useful advice. You've already gotten the wheels in my head turning. A few points:

    1. English is my native language. I'm guessing what you're trying to say is that I need to clean up the grammar, which makes sense because I wrote this copy off the top of my head.

    *********,

    So, this seems to be the perception of those who have bought the dream of copy writing being a quick and easy way to get to 100 thousand bux a year, some of the biggest courses tout this very thing.

    Like all career choices, it is up to you to make it what you want, just keep in mind, MOST will never reach their dream and MANY will quit along the way.

    My opinion is copywriting as a career choice lasts about 90-120 days when the dream meets the reality of the market.

    gjabiz

    Originally Posted by vastcosmos View Post

    Hello my friends:

    I have been considering a career in copywriting. I have found many people who write that the best money around almost always goes to skilled copywriters.

    The only problem is that all the people who say that to me are also the ones trying to sell a course or book on copywriting.

    So does anyone really know?

    Do skilled and experienced copywriters really make top dollar.

    Thanks

    Jim
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10135381].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    I explained this above but an issue this forum seems to be having is "Who do I take seriously?"

    If you are making $500 a letter, that's YOUR FAULT. You have your blinders on (and we all do, at whatever level we're at, so don't take it personally.) My point is that bigger projects are all around, you. But you have to change your mind so you can see them. (Uh oh there goes Kanigan with the "mumbo jumbo" again...too bad that stuff is what the pros know really works. It's even on the cover image below! Check out "reticular activating system" for a scientific explanation...we filter millions of bits of data down to about 2000. So how much are you missing?)

    I think y'all need an example. So here's one. I won't make you go to my site, or opt in, or do a somersault to get it. Listen and learn, because here's how you do it:



    Ask for $500, you get $500 clients. Let that be your warning. (And I am not exempt to this rule...I have made this mistake time and time again because I forget how things really work.)

    If a $5000 job comes around only "every few quarters," your positioning needs improvement.

    Here's something I, with my college education, 15 years corporate executive experience, and over 3 years experience running this business, don't yet fully understand. I want to share it with you, too, because it's so baffling. What is it about the positioning of McKinsey, one of the biggest and most expensive consulting companies in the world, that attracts their high-paying clients?

    It sure ain't their website.

    Dry as dirt, for those who couldn't be bothered to click through.

    I chirp "Corporatespeak" and this copy is still bland, banal and boring.

    And so it is for PriceWaterhouseCoopers (what an outdated-looking site, filled with eye-watering lists) and Ernst & Young (at least they get you to niche down so they can address you specifically...if you care to figure out how; but it's still copy filled with platitudes) and every other big consulting firm.

    Why?

    Surely this is not what they are relying on for marketing. Where is the "In Your Face/Can't Look Away" marketing we're all used to?

    Is the relentless but expensive appearance within trade publications and direct mail, even with a dull message, all that is required?

    I suspect we could graph the tone of an organization's marketing language by its fee size: the bigger the fee, the lower the volume. "We're safe"? Is that what they're trying to say?

    I went to McKinsey's site to see if I could model it for my own. And I just can't. Whatever they're doing to attract customers, this can't be a big part of it. And that's an important indicator right there, for those who are alert.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10135388].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author skylang
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      I went to McKinsey's site to see if I could model it for my own. And I just can't. Whatever they're doing to attract customers, this can't be a big part of it. And that's an important indicator right there, for those who are alert.
      Actually, the question is asked here: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/i...6163851AAa6syx

      I think the answer is "capability" and "capacity". The large companies have a huge appetite for every service they buy and only those large service providers can do it. There's a definite limit to what one person can do in providing any service. I think that large companies tend to hire other large companies, because they're unsure about the ability of an individual service provider being able to meet their volume needs.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10146479].message }}
  • {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10140847].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author winnermarketing
    In my opinion few copywriter can offer real earning for sure.
    If you have a good writing skills and good products you could obain great results!
    Signature

    Free Guide to Make Money Online [Now!]
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10141021].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author qaiser
      Skilled Copywriters and Skilled Writers in general do make money. But the amount of money you make is totally dependent on the clients you get. There will be clients who would want to pay pennies and there would be those who are ready to pay the right price for your skills. Basically, it all comes down to one thing, your clients.

      So, to generate high quality leads for your copywriting business, you need to follow a few rules:
      • Read a lot: Find Blogs and eBooks that cover writing niche. Read their stories, advises, how to's and things related. Believe, me even if you are already good at writing, you still need to read to learn how to hit the cord. And besides, in my opinion, the better writers are the one's who are good readers.
      • Define a niche: It is better to be master of one trade than jack of all trades, at least in writing career. So, decide a niche that you are passionate about and stick to it.
      • Start a blog: The next step in your writing career shall be starting a blog. Write on topics related to your niche. Promote your blog, connect with your readers. Establish yourself as an expert in that particular niche. In the long run the blog will be really helpful in attracting high paying clients.
      • Network: Networking is the key. You will find that many of your clients who came to you were referenced by someone in your network. Connect with people related to your topic of interest through Social Media Platforms, Forums, Blogs and if possible attend related conferences, it helps.
      • Guest Posting: If you are good at writing, guest posting can be really helpful. Guest posting is a very effective strategy as it helps you reach an audience that someone has spend years of hard work to build. Find blogs in your niche, follow the blogs, post comments etc. Once you have a good idea of their blog and audience, reach out to them and introduce yourself and let them know you would like to do a guest post. If they have some guideline up, read it carefully and adhere to it.
      • And in general: Be Nice but Smart!

      Basically, the type of clients you get is, in a salesman's words, depends upon how hard are you selling.

      There is a lot more to it than what is listed, but these are basic one's to get you started.

      My $0.02

      Cheers!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10141158].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Trujillo
    I am sure for every skilled copywriter who get paid well their are thousands who don't get paid well. Copywriting shouldn't be your primary job unless that's what you're are absolutely into. Nothing wrong with learning it for IM.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10148257].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author speedcatalyst
      I think the best brains are still not part of the cognitive surplus available on the internet. Recently, I was approached by one of the leading global agencies, to write for an automotive major because I was recommended to them by a friend who knows I have a penchant for automotives, a little expertise and a flair for expression.

      During early days, I've managed a few automotive groups, but then the traffic on the internet shifted in different directions, and I got engrossed with a "salaried job" which didn't allow me time to pursue my passions.

      Anyway, I sent them a sample. It took me about an hour to cull out an article, they didn't have to edit. They asked me a price, and I didn't know what to say. I asked them instead, what would you like to pay? And they came back with an offer price of $0.04 (4 cents) to a word.

      I couldn't believe it! They didn't even let me any room to bargain. For 400 words, they would pay me $16. For expertise about automobiles that cost $150,000 on Indian roads?

      WT*
      Signature

      ------
      The internet be used so expression becomes common. And the common becomes expressed.
      connect via http://r7un.com
      work via http://blowtrumpet.com

      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10149261].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author DABK
        You did not position yourself at all. They went with what they knew. And, sadly, there's a lot of that all over the place.

        Don't sell writing, sell them the results of your writing. Cliche and obvious but, oh-me-oh-my so true!

        If I were a betting man, I'd bet they went on the net and found someone to write them the $16 article and are going to conclude that it doesn't work, and by it they will not mean hiring lousy writers, being cheap with your writers, they'll mean copywriting doesn't work, or marketing doesn't work.

        Originally Posted by speedcatalyst View Post

        I think the best brains are still not part of the cognitive surplus available on the internet. Recently, I was approached by one of the leading global agencies, to write for an automotive major because I was recommended to them by a friend who knows I have a penchant for automotives, a little expertise and a flair for expression.

        During early days, I've managed a few automotive groups, but then the traffic on the internet shifted in different directions, and I got engrossed with a "salaried job" which didn't allow me time to pursue my passions.

        Anyway, I sent them a sample. It took me about an hour to cull out an article, they didn't have to edit. They asked me a price, and I didn't know what to say. I asked them instead, what would you like to pay? And they came back with an offer price of $0.04 (4 cents) to a word.

        I couldn't believe it! They didn't even let me any room to bargain. For 400 words, they would pay me $16. For expertise about automobiles that cost $150,000 on Indian roads?

        WT*
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10149616].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Being a skilled copywriter and running a good copywriting business
    do not necessarily go hand in hand. There are many copywriters
    who do not know how to make money with their skills. I've heard
    Dan Kennedy say that Gary Halbert was a poor business man. He
    would often make a lot of money from a promotion and then don't
    work for a long time until that money ran out. He was making the
    point that Halbert was better at copywriting than him, but Dan made more
    money.

    -Ray Edwards
    Signature
    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10149292].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author coryc
    Anything is possible. The internet always needs unique content.
    You never know.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10149339].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author rpatsmith
      I think you can make decent money. I think it would tend to be where you market your services and what you offer. The other issue would be quality of work that you do. I've run into characters that provided crappy work and then wanted me to spend more money on them. I would suggest, that if you provide good quality work you may find it easier to get repeat business and be able to offer higher priced packages. The demand for quality, especially in content writing, is there.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10149566].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Time2Shine
    If a copywriter is charging less that $10.00 for a 500 word article then the writer is either unskilled/unqualified/non English as a first language, or he is outsourcing the work to someone else.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10149671].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author @tjr
      Originally Posted by Time2Shine View Post

      If a copywriter is charging less that $10.00 for a 500 word article then the writer is either unskilled/unqualified/non English as a first language, or he is outsourcing the work to someone else.

      $10? Oh, sweetie.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10150691].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Silvestru
    The biggest money goes to the top of the top copywriters (<%2).

    Unless you're willing to put the time and effort to become the absolute friggin' best out there, I wouldn't get your hopes up. It's the same like any service industry. There's the mass who make pennies and then there's the celebrities who make millions.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10149801].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author emmaejc23
    You certainly can make decent money copywriting, but it's not gonna happen overnight!

    The reason that writing sales copy pays so well compared to other forms of writing, is that it generates results that are measurable and directly linked to generating money. If you write an article for a site, it may attract visitors to the site, but it's not gonna persuade them to part with their money. A well-crafted sales letter, on the other hand, will compel the reader to buy something, and businesses can easily see a return on their investment.

    The trouble is that no-one is going to pay thousands of dollars to a copywriter who cannot demonstrate that he/she has generated a good ROI for previous clients, no matter how much potential they might show.

    I'm still relatively new to copywriting (about 2 years), and i'm just now starting to get clients who are willing to pay a bit more for my services.

    I started out by studying John Carlton's copywriting course, and then spent months copying out sales letters that were written by copywriting legends like Gary Halbert, Joseph Sugarman, Drayton Bird, Claude Hopkins etc. It was slow and laborious, but gradually I began to internalize the kind of language and phrases that they used, and I was able to identify the structure of their letters so that when I started creating my own practice letters, the ideas flowed quite easily.

    When I felt ready to start writing for clients, I deliberately targeted clients with small budgets on sites like Elance and Freelancer because I knew that I hadn't got a cat in hells chance of landing a big client. My only goal at this point was to gain experience with paying clients who could provide me with testimonials to show future clients. I think that this is the point where many aspiring copywriters become despondent and either try to skip this step, or give up, believing that they can't earn good money by writing copy.

    I've now moved away from the freelance sites and started approaching businesses directly, armed with a portfolio of past work and client testimonials to back up my sales pitch. So far i've gained a few clients who are willing to pay five times what I was charging on the freelance sites, but i'm aware that this is still only the beginning of my career and as my experience grows, i'll look for bigger clients with larger budgets.

    The point of this essay is to demonstrate that in copywriting, like any career, you have to be willing to start at the bottom and work your way up, developing your skills and experience as you go. Simply taking a course and calling yourself a copywriter isn't going to earn you the big money that the people at the top of their game are making. You have to do your due diligence!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10150546].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ThomasLloyd
    It's all about positioning and attracting right clients, I have seen these guys charging high 5 figures for one single copy while others would get it done for scrapes! Go figure
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10150701].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author DonDraper
    If you can write good quality content then you deserved more $$$
    Signature
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10151335].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Jennifer Hutson
      Originally Posted by DonDraper View Post

      If you can write good quality content then you deserved more $$$
      Content is not copy. You can be an amazing content writer, but suck ass at copywriting. I would only suggest getting into copywriting if you are dedicated to spending countless hours learning, reading and failing hard.

      You're going to suck when you first start out - that's just a fact. You need to be able to listen to criticism and be willing to improve without giving up. If you don't have the stomach for criticism, don't even bother jumping into it.

      Read as much as you can and practice by creating your own products and writing copy for those or offering to do pro bono work until you feel like you can take on real clients.

      Only the best of the best make the big bucks, so if you aren't good enough to be one of the top copywriters, you aren't going to be making hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      It's not one of those things you can just "try your hand at" and expect to strike it rich. You have to be amazing at it.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10151383].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Zodiax
        Originally Posted by Jennifer Hutson View Post

        Content is not copy. You can be an amazing content writer, but suck ass at copywriting. I would only suggest getting into copywriting if you are dedicated to spending countless hours learning, reading and failing hard.

        You're going to suck when you first start out - that's just a fact. You need to be able to listen to criticism and be willing to improve without giving up. If you don't have the stomach for criticism, don't even bother jumping into it.

        Read as much as you can and practice by creating your own products and writing copy for those or offering to do pro bono work until you feel like you can take on real clients.

        Only the best of the best make the big bucks, so if you aren't good enough to be one of the top copywriters, you aren't going to be making hundreds of thousands of dollars.

        It's not one of those things you can just "try your hand at" and expect to strike it rich. You have to be amazing at it.
        I wish I could hug you!
        Signature

        'I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion'
        -Muhammad Ali

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10151479].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author RobinJennings
    Some of them do, most of them don't, but if you are really skilled and willing to work for free for first handful of clients to prove your worth, then climbing the ladder of success is much easier..
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10151592].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author EelKat
    Originally Posted by vastcosmos View Post

    Hello my friends:

    I have been considering a career in copywriting. I have found many people who write that the best money around almost always goes to skilled copywriters.

    The only problem is that all the people who say that to me are also the ones trying to sell a course or book on copywriting.

    So does anyone really know?

    Do skilled and experienced copywriters really make top dollar.

    Thanks

    Jim
    It depends a lot on how much you write, how often, on what topics, and for who.

    I did copywriting for several years (2007 - 2013) and was making about $200 to $600 a month depending on how many articles I wrote and for who. I was writing about 5 articles a week from 750 to 5,000 words each (most were around 2,000 words long). It was pretty good pay, when you consider how much I made and how few articles it took to make that much. Because I'm writing full-time, it wasn't hard for me to sit down and write all 5 articles in one day and then not have to work the rest of the week, so the amount of time put in on it was good for me as well. I could easily have doubled or tripled my income by writing more articles each week. The reason I didn't write more articles is because I was also writing fiction and I was focusing more on that. The problem was fiction writing didn't pay half as much as the non-fiction copywriting did.

    One thing to consider is that I am a door-to-door salesman and have been since 1996. So I also had prior experience in knowing how to "get my foot in the door" and sell an item. That really matters in copywriting, because the goal is to snag the readers' attention, so that by the time they get done reading, they click on that "buy" button.

    Think of copywriting as writing reviews and then find things you can write a good hype sales pitch for. There is a product out there for every topic. I was only doing the copywriting a short time before sort of naturally flowing over to more content writing, with less ad copy. Over the years, it just kept evolving into less ad copy, and more how-to info and over time I just ended up cutting out the ad copy entirely and switching to writing how-to guides, but I don't think I would have gotten into how-to guides it I hadn't started out with ad copy first..

    I was doing various topics that I had personal experience in (sewing, gardening, pets, RV living, homeless survival skills, Autism, homesteading, boondocking, camp cooking, RPG/D&D gaming, etc). I think the reason I was so successful is because I was writing about topics that I was living in my every day life. I'm a CosPlayer and sew elaborate costumes, I live full time in a motorhome, and I boondock in the wilds of Maine, so I was making the most income off of my sewing/costuming, RV living, and survival skills articles, because I knew these topics inside out. It only took me a few months to gain a reputation for being "an expert in my field" ad once I was seen as an expert, suddenly I was in demand and people were requesting articles from me. (People are still requesting articles from me, actually, and I've not been doing copywriting for 2 whole years.)

    For example in costuming, I wrote an article on embroidery. It was a how-to article and it was detailing, I use blah, blah, blah's embroidery thread, look at how great the results are. Basically it's writing an advertisement for the company at the same time I was sharing knowledge of how I used their product.

    To succeed in it, you have to figure out what you do really well, and then just start writing everything you know about it. For me it was costume sewing and RV living. I was able to rite endless articles on each topic, because I was doing these things every day. You got to look at your life and ask yourself: "What am I doing, that I can write about and teach others how to do?" Once you find the topic that answers that question, just start writing everything you can about it and get yourself known as an expert in it.

    (The best copywriters are those who ACTUALLY USE the product they are writing ad copy for, because the company will cling to you once they know you are a screaming fangirl of their product and use it and are willing to yap happily about how great it is. Find products you use every day and start pitching to those companies, telling them how great their product is and how much you want to write for their ads.)

    I was basically doing it very part time, just working one day a week at it and making fairly good money for the limited amount of work I put in. It was definitely something I could have turned into a full-time income if I'd devoted more time to it.

    Unfortunately the 4 companies that paid me the most all went out of business and so I changed my writing career around after that. I got the rights back to all of my articles (more then 2,000 of them total, over the 7 years I did it) and started putting them up on my website. I got about 400 of them up on my website, and then used the rest to compile together and re-write into non-fiction books to publish on Kindle. The 400 pages on my website, act as quasi-sales pages now. The page has the article, then at the bottom asks "Want to read more? Check out these books on the same topic:" then there are my books on Amazon for them to check out.

    My articles kept getting longer and before I knew it I had switched from copywriting for products to content writing for blogs and websites.

    In a way I'm still copywriting, because I'm still writing those same sort of non-fiction articles, and I still tell you all the products I'm using, but I'm no longer writing for companies and trying to pitch a sale, and just now I make a short article (2,000 words) for my site, followed by a longer book (35,000 to 75,000 words) that I publish on Kindle. The pay is a lot less doing it this way, but it's more steady, stable, and long term, with a regular income coming in over and over again from the same book. So now I can write 1 article a month, write it's matching book, and then get the same income as writing 5 articles a week and hunting down places to pitch it to. Hunting down places to pitch your copywriting skills is the thing I hated about copywriting, and why I also disliked content writing for others. In both cases I wanted to be free to just publish it on my own and move on to writing the next thing, without having to find someone to publish it for me.

    The reason I didn't focus on turning copywriting into a full-time income was, I was more interested in writing fiction, so I was only doing copywriting enough to pay the bills, because it was paying so much for so little time, that it allowed me to focus the rest of my week on my novel writing.

    I originally started copywriting after reading this book:

    How to Write & Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit: Your Guide to Writing and Publishing Books, E-Books, Articles, Special Reports, Audio Programs, DVDs, and Other How-To Content by Robert W Bly How to Write &amp; Sell Simple Information for...How to Write &amp; Sell Simple Information for...
    I have since read a lot of other books and courses on copywriting, but that's still the best one and remained the method I used.

    The other thing is, when I first started, I didn't do it for the money, either. Here's how it all happened:

    I write both fiction and non-fiction.

    Fiction I write because I'm obsessed with the characters and can't stop writing about them. Non-fiction pays the bills.

    I'm not making huge amounts of money, but I make more then minimum wage. I don't promote my books. I just self-publish them to Amazon and then move on to write the next one. I think if I did some heavy duty promoting and marketing, I could make and up swing from a part-time equivalent income, to a full-time equivalent income from my non-fiction.

    What do I write?

    All sorts of stuff.

    In the older days (1970s - 1990s) I did a lot of short articles (magazines, newspapers, etc), mostly under 2,000 words each. (Pay used to be good; but I've not done it in a while so, not sure what the current forecast is on it.)

    I write stage plays for local theatre. (pay is next to nothing)

    I've done a few cookbooks. (pay is next to nothing)

    I've done a few sewing books (costume making, embroidery, cloth doll pattern book, and crazy quilting) (pay is hit and miss, but fairly low)

    I've done a few travel items, but lost interest (this could equal substantial income if I put more effort into it)

    MOST of my income comes from three sets/series of books.

    They are a combination of autobiographical-like essay/opinion/how-to books, on three topics that I know realy, realy, realy well. (Survival skills; writing short fiction, and my culture/family heritage/traditions)

    Here's what I do:

    I was homeless for 9 years. Unlike most homeless folks I opted to stay on my land, even though it was a very rural area with no near by cities and the nearest shelter was a 2 hour drive away. I did not have access to dumpsters or business or a shanty community. I became a boondocker living off the wild, building lean-tos and eating local plants growing in local forests. As a result I started a blog to keep a record of things that happened to me. I went into a lot of step-by-step detail on various things, like building shelters and cooking food and finding places to bathe, etc. That blog went viral a few months after I started it, because as I soon learned, there were some 20million homeless families in America and not one single solitary how-to guide website on how to survive being homeless. I modernized the blog with Google ads and made about $90 a month from it.

    One thing lead to another and I started writing website content on homelessness and survival skills for various blogs and websites. I was making about $200 a month from that one topic alone.

    Then I wrote a book (print; now out of print; never had an ebook edition) and gained a following from that. While the book didn't make much and went out of print a year later, word of the book got out a few years later and I started getting requests for a follow up part 2 of it.

    I ended up on Squidoo, where I started a series of pages called "On Being Homeless" and BOOM, suddenly I was gaining a lot of fans and readers. Squidoo went offline in 2013, and now I had to figure out where to put all those articles.

    Also in 2013 my blog host sold to another company and in the move, accidentally erased all the info off one of the servers, including my blog. FORTUNATELY, I had a copy of the entire thing save on 3 separate spare hard-drives...and suddenly I found myself needing a way to get all that how-to info back up.

    By this time, I had saved up enough money from writing, to buy a motorhome and was now, in addition to writing about homelessness, was also writing about full-time RVing, boondocking, and homestead. Basically, I was writing stuff that appealed to preppers. So now I have developed a multiple following: homeless folks, vandwellers, vacation campers looking to rough it, fulltimers, boondockers, homesteaders, and preppers.

    I talk to these people on various camper/RVer/vandweller/prepper style forums and yahoo groups, and so I asked them: How do you suggest I get this info back online?

    They had a lot of suggestions, but the thing that kept popping up over and over again was: "It'd be easiest for me to access it on my Kindle." or "It'd be nice to have it on an ebook I could keep on my smart phone." Basically they were all telling me to publish the stuff on Kindle so they could have the info whenever they needed it.

    So, I spent about a year sifting through the blog (which had 6,000+ posts at the time it went offline.) and sorting the posts together by topic, rearranging them, rewriting them, and compiling them into a set of, what eventually became a series of 30 books.

    Each books starts out with a notation that reads along the lines of:

    This book is just one author's opinion (mine) and is more of an insider's look at how I did things and what did and did not work for me. It in no way guarantees that your results will be the same as mine. Everything in this book is all based of what I've personally done and experienced, so take or leave it. Your results may vary. I'm just telling you what I've done, what worked for me, what didn't work for me, what I liked or didn't like, how I did things, how I solved various problems, etc and you can decide if any of it applies to you and your situation or not. Some of it might, some of it may not. It is in no way advice on what you "should" or "should not" do, just advice on what I recommend based on my own experiences and you can choose to consider all, any, or some of those recommendations, or you can throw them all to the wind and do completely the opposite.

    In each book I strive to focus on a narrow topic, within a broader topic. I'll write, re-write and expand the book, adding more information and details until the book is 100 to 250 pages long.

    So I end up with one book on how to survive being homeless during blizzards and hurricanes; one on how to build a shelter out of found items and how to maintain it for several years of homelessness; one on how to upgrade from a shanty tent to vandwelling; one on how to find safe access to food and water; one on the dangers you'll face while homeless and how to protect yourself; one on how to outfit a motorhome into a full time boondocking bugout machine; etc.

    I make my goal to have all my non-fiction books at least 100 pages and more then 100 pages if I have enough to say on the topic and usually I can get a book well over 150 pages.

    I brand them as a series, with matching covers, then put them up on Kindle. Books 100+ pages I sell for $2.99; and under 100 pages I sell for .99c; the few over 300 pages I list for $4.99.

    In most cases, shortly after one volume sells, with in the next day or two, one of each of all the rest (30 volumes) sells as well. It is very common for someone to buy 1 volume then come back and buy the whole set a few days later. Well, most of them are $2.99, earning $2.09x30 volumes. That's $60 income in one day.

    And then I have another series, done the same way, on writing short fiction. I've been writing short stories since the 1970s. I've got hundreds of them up on Kindle. There are 3 volumes out now and the set will have 25 volumes when finished. Again, each volume is 100+ pages and sells for $2.99, and when someone buys one, they often come back and buy the rest a few days later.

    Then I have a third series, again, done the same way, this time on the history of my clan and it's traditions. I am the keeper of the records in my clan, I know the family history inside out. So far it is as 7 volumes published and 30 planned, again, each volume is 100+ pages and sells for $2.99, and when someone buys one, they usually come back and buy the rest a few days later.

    I'm selling several a day now and once the full set of each set is up, these 3 sets of books alone will be bringing in about $500 a week.

    In each case, it is me, taking some that I know really well and am on some level and expert on, and writing about it, to share my knowledge of it with others.

    Everybody has something they are good at or know well enough to write about. It's just a matter of figuring out what it is you are interested in and writing about it.

    And it may surprise you what you are an expert in. 10 years ago, I lived in a house and if you had told me that a major disaster was going to wash through my yard and take my house with it, and result in websites all over the world listing me as the top expert in homeless survival skills, I would have told you, you was crazy. But that's what happened. a flood took my house, and I did what I had to o to survive, and out of frustration I started a blog to vent about it and one thing led to another and next thing I know, I've got people coming from all over the world to meet me and see my camp set up in person. I didn't plan on this. I never intended to become a writer of survival books, but here I am, writing books on how to survive when nature attacks you from behind.

    Somewhere in your life, you have something that has really impacted your life. It could be war, illness, natural disaster, a hobby, your job, your culture, your car, a pet, something, that you can write about and turn into a non-fiction writing career. And it may be the last thing you expect you'd ever write about too.

    And I'm sure there's more ways I could spin my survival skills writing. Maybe I could write a newspaper column? Do lectures? I don't know. There's a lot of RVers out there requesting I set up a sort of "caravan tour" where I take my motorhome across the country and do lectures at campgrounds, and invite other RVers to follow me in their motorhomes. I'm thinking of doing that. Not sure how to set it up, yet, but working out the ideas... but anyways, you can see how, I started out with simply copywriting some articles on something I knew a lot about and because I knew it so well, it just exploded from there into a full time career about the topic and no longer was about me just copywriting anymore.

    You want to know something funny? As a result of my writing those survival skills books, I have since started featuring homeless, vandwelling, and/or RV full timers as main characters in my fiction writing. and guess what: my top selling fiction novel right now, is the one about a guy who became homeless, lost his home and his family to a major disaster event, and just started walking all over the world, being homeless and trying to survive. a lot of that book, even though it's fiction, was based off actual events in my life. A lot of the stuff that happens to him, are things that happened to me. So, you can even take your non-fiction and write fiction based off of it.

    So, yeah, that's how I took copywriting writing non-fiction and turned it into a steady income.

    My current personal writing process is less organized then what most copywriters do, and is much more emotion driven, and usually follows something like this:

    Disagrees with something someone said, either a news article or a blog post I read or something a reporter said on TV or something someone said during a conversation with me, etc. Or something happens to me and I'm really upset about it and need to talk about it. For example, the first time I set out in my motorhome, I had this nice set of china dishes. By the end of the day all the cupboard doors were open and smashed dishes were in the floor. Taught me two things: use plastic dinnerware in a motorhome and secure the doors with bungee cords. Well, I got several articles out of that event. It was just a simple thing, but I was: "OMG! This pisses me off so much, I must write about it."

    Writes a rant on my blog, rambles on every thing that annoyed me about the issue, however it pops into my head. Ends up with a post about 2k words long.

    Make a top ten list for my website (Top Ten Things NOT to take with you in your RV; Top Ten Reason Every RVer Needs Bungee Cords; etc) Make sure the Top Ten list contains a link to any blog posts and books published on the topic.

    Soothes the savage beast inside me by painting or drawing and BOOM gets an idea for a book cover to match my rant.

    Rushes to ChaseyDraw to create a book cover, and wonders what I'm going to do with it now that I've created it because I can't publish a 2,000 word rant with a cover.

    Spends a week or so, editing and re-writing the rant trying to determine how I could turn it into a book. Soon I am picking the issue apart and writing a more organized and detailed rant on why I wrote the first rant.

    100 pages of in depth rating later I now have something that looks like a book.

    Re-write the whole thing into a more logical, less hysterical, stream of consciousness "here's how this made me feel and why I felt that way" sort of opinion piece, that doesn't rant as much as it did when I first wrote it.

    Edit it, add the cover, slap it up on Amazon Kindle, hit publish. Done.

    Look for new issue to set a fire under my rant button and start the process all over again.

    As you can tell, my approach is very "unprofessional" and more "this is how I feel".

    I guess you could say my non-fiction is less "expert in my field" and more "Dear Reader, this outraged me and I needed to scream at someone about it, thank you for letting me vent", whatever genre of non-fiction that may be. But then because I'm writing about actual events that happen to me on the same topics over and over again, I ended up becoming seen as "the go to expert" of my topic.

    The thing of what I'm doing is, I'm NOT selling my writing, I'm selling my knowledge of how to do a thing that I'm really good at doing, and it has a group of people out there who want to do it to and are willing to pay money to learn how to do it well. That's the thing you have to focus on. Not making money. If you focus on making money, you'll fail. Instead focus on finding out what it is you have to share with others. Then find the people who want to know that information and get information to them.

    In the early days I was writing content for others, but today all my writing goes 100% into my own site, my own blog, my own books, my own lectures, etc. I no longer do any outsourcing to others anymore, so I've now cut out the middleman and turned this into a business that s no longer copywriting. But copywriting for others all those years taught me how to do stuff, that I wouldn't have been able to figure out on my own, had I just jumped in and started off on my own site. I think it would have been really had for me to gain a reputation had I started out with my own website first. It was definitely because I was writing so much content for so many others, that I gained a reputation in my niche, so I definitely recommend starting out in copywriting and building up your reputation before heading out on your own with your own website.

    So, yeah, that's the basic road map of my own copywriting career and where I took it and how it evolved out of copywriting for products I used, into content writing that no longer pitched products, into book writing, into a full time career about the topic itself. I never expected that taking up copywriting in my spare time, would evolve so far away from copywriting and end up becoming a fulltime career elsewhere. I completely did not plan on any of this. It just happened as one thing snowballed into another and I sort of went with the avalanche, changing to match the changes around me. I think that's the most important thing of all:knowing when to change and adapt and move away from the thing you started out with, and go to the thing that speaks to you.
    Signature

    My review of Flamboyant Nipples: The Site That Supports KKK Anti-Gay Terrorist Crimes
    Info on my Novels is HERE. History of Stephen King's Thinner Gypsies is HERE.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10153726].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author affiliatez
    There are so many ways of monetization from copywriting, if one is good at copywriting, they will be easily learning about seo, sales, affiliate,... and make more from sales, not only selling their own stuff
    Signature
    Fapturbo2 introduction version 2014
    Buy virtual credit card at www.Luckygiftcard.com
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10154762].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author JohnBarela
    Banned
    If you have to ask this question then you clearly don't know the true potential of having a solid copywriter!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10155160].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author GeorgeTod
    Certainly, Yes. There are many well paid writing projects/jobs, but you have to get them which is almost impossible simply by applying for the job.
    Read my Linkedin post How to Get Any Writing Project and probably you will come up with ideas.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10184606].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ryanmilligan
    Banned
    Yes - speaking from experience, we do.

    I often only charge my clients half my usual fee and in turn want a percentage of every sale.

    Most will agree due to it getting them a half price service upfront and if I'm happy with the clients sales model (traffic techniques, back end, product quality) then I'm happy as I can make more money from conversions than I would have just charging my whole fee.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10185460].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author TexasSteve
    After years of practice and working their way up they'll make average-good ACTIVE income.

    Ie: they'll still have to bust their ass writing to make money. $1 a day in passive income beats $20 an hour writing.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10185480].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author HajimeAnne
    I've been a writer of articles and books but never considered myself a copywriter. Sara Young's program called Income Steps Academy has "writing" as the first step in creating Internet income. She believes in earning your first online dollar no matter how small the amount. I earned my first dollars, $2.43 to be exact within 3 hours of starting. Makes such a difference to my confidence. I started with iWriter. I'm committed to working my way up to Elite or Elite Plus within the month. This means an article a day. When I've written 25, I get to one level; at 40, the next...something like that. Within two months, I expect to earn $900 a month. Then, who knows...when you are really skilled copywriting commands an impressive salary. I read the story of one of them.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10185506].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author aula
    if you are paying more than 30 $ for any copywriter, per page, you are doing something very very wrong
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10186205].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Sorry, but what?!?!!!???

      Copywriter is not the same as article/blog post/letter/technical writer.

      Originally Posted by aula View Post

      if you are paying more than 30 $ for any copywriter, per page, you are doing something very very wrong
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10186278].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author Jill Carpenter
        Originally Posted by DABK View Post

        Sorry, but what?!?!!!???

        Copywriter is not the same as article/blog post/letter/technical writer.
        And I'd add that paying $30 for a decent article is not unheard of.
        Signature

        "May I have ten thousand marbles, please?"

        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10186308].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author DABK
          No, it's not. It all depends on the purpose of the article, what is it going to do, where and for whom.

          I am always amazed when people make that kind of statement.

          In my area, a mortgage broker gets paid a percentage of the loan amount.Ends up being between $1,300 and $15,000.

          If I were a mortgage broker and got a copywriter who could get me 5% of the homeowners who'd be paying $15,000 that see my message, I'd surely pay at least $31.

          If the writer's copy converted at 8% and I was a mortgage broker, I'd pay thousands and thousand of dollars.

          Just one example where it makes perfect sense to ignore the $30 per page limit.

          I think the parts she missed are:
          copywriters write stuff that gets people to do something you want
          the stuff they write is a tool that can be deployed again and again, often for years and years.

          Originally Posted by Jill Carpenter View Post

          And I'd add that paying $30 for a decent article is not unheard of.
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10186695].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author kk075
    Originally Posted by vastcosmos View Post

    So does anyone really know?

    Do skilled and experienced copywriters really make top dollar.
    Hey Jim-

    I've worked as a copywriter for about twelve years now without one single drop of training. I've never taken a copywriting course, attended one of those guru workshops or even purchased a book on the subject. Likewise, I never graduated college...although I did challenge two of my English classes and passed them on the first day. So just know that with no degree and no training, I had everything possible working against me to become successful.

    Well, that's a lie...I did have one massive advantage. I was a former business owner that ran my own location plus oversaw a franchise of five other stores. So I knew business extremely well plus I understood customers and their buyer's journey. Every product has one, from a toothbrush to a brand new Porsche, and a copywriter's job is to take the consumer on that journey from start to finish without losing their attention or over-hyping the product. In a nutshell, that's what a great copywriter does and you either have it or you don't.

    In the early years, I would grind out $30-40k a year writing 4,000-8,000 words a day, seven days a week- I was a machine back then and I wish I could still write that way. Heck, I wrote a 92k word novel in a week that first year...just for the hell of it. So I want to you to know early on that my success came 100% from my work ethic.

    By year three, I had some pretty good clients under my belt and I was starting to transition to a normal work schedule. I probably averaged $50k a year during this time for a 30-40 hour workweek, but I am also an incredibly fast writer as well. You'd give me a concept, I'll think about it quietly for a minute or two, then I could run with it instantly and give you a great page of sales copy 15 minutes later.

    Around year six, I landed my first whale of a client- Motorola. I handled all their newsletters plus worked with them on a number of other marketing campaigns, and this was my first six-figure year. Which was great and all, but I was also back to 80 hour weeks because I didn't want to drop any of my former clients. The thing you'll learn as a copywriter is that even the happiest of clients will come and go at times, and it's often feast of famine. So you're always looking for that balance between having your calendar booked and taking on even more...and it's easily the hardest part of being freelance.

    By 2013 (which was year 10 for me), I had my first $200k year thanks to Internet Marketing and really understanding SEO. Now, some of that income was from side projects and building/selling my own affiliate sites, but this was around the time when people in the industry stared really knowing my name. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a nobody by a wide margin, but this was around the time I'd pitch a larger client and they'd say, "Oh, I heard you worked with so and so on his project...we'd love to have you on board for this."

    So to answer your question, "can copywriters make good money," the answer is a resounding yes. But becoming a good copywriter is not about learning a few skills and then getting paid overnight, and I truly believe that you either have the gift or you don't. Training can only take you so far in this industry and it's ultimately your people skills and logic that will make or break you.

    Can you look at a new product and see the sales angle right away? Can you sit down with a CEO and tell him why his quarterly profits are down 13%? Copywriters have to see that kind of stuff; we're a highly visual group that can take complex things and turn them into simple, elegant bite-sized servings that the world will enjoy. And to do that, you really have to understand your clients and their specific needs just as well as they do.

    Honestly, most people just can't do that...so they will likely never become an elite copywriter. But there is still very good money even with the grunt work if you're motivated enough. I hope that helps.
    Signature

    Learn to sell like a pro through Web Synergy's marketing blog.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10186788].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author pwdta37
    Yes, there are some expert copywriters who can earn a really good amount of money.
    Signature
    soon
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10542010].message }}

Trending Topics