For those who have a passion to write and would like to turn this hobby into a profit, this post is for you.
And no, we are not talking about freelance writing.
Its a post on how to become a copywriter. A well-paying industry that you can enter without a degree or a qualification.
To help understand the job description of a copywriter, who better to bring in than Nicki Krawczyki of the Comprehensive Copywriting Academy. With over 15 years of copywriting experience, you are sure to find useful information and resources to help you start a new career as a copywriter.
*This post may contain affiliate links. Disclosure here.
Hi Nicki, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?
Hi! Well, my name is Nicki Krawczyk and I’ve been a copywriter for more than 15 years. I’ve written for big, multi-billion-dollar companies like Hasbro, TripAdvisor, and Adidas, I’ve written for solopreneurs, and I’ve written for just about every size business in between!
I also teach and coach people to create successful copywriting careers of their own through our site, FilthyRichWriter.com, and our course, the Comprehensive Copywriting Academy. “Filthy Rich Writer” is a bit provocative, I know; but, to me, being “filthy rich” means having a job you love, doing it well, and getting paid well to do it!
What is copywriting? What does a copywriter do?
And it’s amazing that it’s such an in-demand career but so few people are really aware of it.
Copywriting is basically advertising and marketing writing—writing that’s designed to sell or to persuade. But for those people who have that immediate “Ew! <cringe> Sales!” reaction, I want to make clear right away that copywriting is NOT about “Push-push-push-sell-sell-sell.”
It’s really about making a connection between people who have a want or a need with a company or organization that has the solution to that want or need—and doing it in a way that’s clear and that resonates with the target audience. Copywriters make connections.
How is this different from content writing?
This is a very astute question because there IS a big difference, and a lot of people don’t realize that. As I said, copywriting is writing that’s designed to sell or to persuade—to get people to take action or at least think a certain way about something.
Content is writing that’s designed to entertain, inform, or inspire. This would be blog post, articles, and things like that. And content is very important, don’t get me wrong, but because companies can directly attribute changes in their revenue and other important numbers to copywriting, copywriters get paid a lot more. Also, there’s more training involved in being a copywriter, more tactics to master.
With content writing, there’s a much lower barrier to entry and so the market is, unfortunately, flooded with writers who are willing to work for very low wages.
That can make it tricky for good writers to make a decent living at content writing for a sustained period of time and not burn out.
Copywriters do still write content for our clients sometimes, but we do it at our copywriting rate because our clients are still getting the benefit of our experience, skills, and strategic thinking.
How do you become a copywriter? Can you tell us about your course?
It used to be, maybe 20 or 30 years ago, that you could learn on the job. But that’s not really the case anymore—companies only hire people who know what they’re doing. And, of course, freelance clients have no interest in hiring people to write their copy who don’t know how to do it!
The crazy thing, though, is that (as far as I’m aware) there aren’t any colleges or universities that let you major in copywriting!
Advertising definitely, but not specifically copywriting. I was lucky that my dad, who was a Marketing Director (he’s retired now), would bring home extra work for me in high school and then give me feedback. But most people certainly aren’t that lucky! And I absolutely still had plenty to learn after that.
So, in 2012, I started creating the course – Comprehensive Copywriting Academy(CCA) I wish I had when I first got started.
We teach people the foundations of copywriting, the more advanced techniques, how to write for specific types of projects, how to practice and build their skills, then how to build their experience, how to build their portfolios, how to land their first clients, and how to keep finding and landing clients to build a big client base and a regular income.
There’s a lot to learn (I called it “comprehensive” for a reason), so we have monthly coaching calls and monthly Facebook lives so students can ask questions and get feedback. We also have a busy and very supportive feedback group just for students where people can ask questions, get support, and get feedback from each other—and where my head copy coach, our student coaches, and I pop in to give our two cents, too.
It’s a self-paced course, but nobody’s ever in this on their own! Students also get lifetime access so they can check back on in topics when then need to.
A lot of people ask if the CCA is appropriate for people with no copywriting experience at all, so I’m always happy to assure them that the vast majority of our students come in with no experience in copywriting or marketing at all. And, actually, we also teach them how to use their non-copywriting experience to set them apart as copywriters!
Nicki also offers a free copywriting training that you can check out here.
What is the average copywriter’s salary? How much can one aim to achieve?
It’s almost impossible to give an average because the career is so flexible and people approach it their own ways.
Some people will do it part-time or as a side hustle with their full-time job, some people will go on-staff to work at a cool agency or for an in-house team, and some people will decide to work freelance full-time from their kitchen table or, really, from anywhere in the world.
I also never give salary guarantees (a lot of caveats, I know, but it’s really important that people understand all of this!) because, as much as my team and I give people all of the steps and the support they need to be successful, it’s on them to actually *take* action. And some people do that faster or in a more focused way than others. (Though we actually also have trainings within the course to help them overcome “resistance” and other mindset issues that might pop up and slow them down.)
But I know it’s frustrating not to get any numbers at all, so let me give you a few ballparks and a few examples:
A beginning copywriter could expect to earn between $35-60/hour.
But people should also bear in mind that a lot of work is project-based so, for example, a student could take on a sales page project and earn $1,500 from that project alone. (Again, ballparks!) With a couple of those a month (or more smaller projects), it’s perfectly possible to get to that $70k, $80k level.
After a copywriter has been working for a bit (but, again, it depends on how fast they implement what we teach them and ramp up their systems!), six figures are certainly within reach.
On our website, we have an interview with a student who’s an American but who lives in Cyprus with her husband and kids and makes six figures as a copywriter. We also have an interview with a student who went from being brand new at copywriting to hitting $8,500 per month within three months of purchasing our course.
But, of course, all of this is dependent on people actually taking the steps that we give them.
Copywriting is a real career—definitely not a get-rich-quick scheme or some kind of gimmick. For people who love to write or who have a natural talent for it but have always been told that “writers don’t make any money” it can be a real revelation.
Is copywriting an in-demand career? Are there copywriting jobs available?
There are more companies and organizations in the world than ever, and they appreciate the importance of effective messaging more than ever.
Even in the middle of this pandemic and recession, when companies are scaling back in some areas, they’re even *more* focused on selling effectively, and that means they’re willing to invest in copywriting. Actually, the first time I hit six figures as a copywriter was in 2008, right in the middle of the “Great Recession”, and right after I left a full-time job.
And the crazy thing, too, is that because there’s so little quality training out there for copywriters, there is way more demand for skilled copywriters than there are skilled copywrites to meet it.
Every once I a while, someone asks if we’re going to “flood the market” with copywriters (people are always looking for something to be afraid of or something to object about!) and so I put together a post running the actual numbers in terms of opportunity. The fact is that there are so many companies with so much need that the market wouldn’t be flooded if the copywriter population increased by 100x overnight. There are jobs available, there is freelance work available, and there’s a lot of it, too.
Any last words of advice for those considering this career?
I’d encourage people to start dipping their toes in; learn a little more. I know that it might feel like there’s a “too good to be true” feel to all of this, but our students really are seeing success every single day.
I suspect that it feels like it’s “too good to be true” because people are conditioned to believe that writers don’t make any money or that you can’t make a good living as a writer and that’s just not true—at least, not when it comes to copywriting. There’s certainly some learning and some work involved, but what career doesn’t require that?
Copywriting feels like a “best-kept secret” that actually isn’t a secret at all—copywriting has been around for a very long time and thousands of people work at it every day. F. Scott Fitzgerald was a copywriter before he became a novelist and wrote “The Great Gatsby”!
There’s a reason why I’ve been writing copy for so long and why I have no intention to give it up, even while I build our business teaching others to write copy, too. It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s strategic, and it’s fulfilling—I love what I do and I love that I can help others have the same experience.
If people are interested, I’d really encourage them to learn more. It could be the beginning of a new chapter.