You can discover how to become a copywriter and earn six figures in one year and this guide will show you.
One of the uncommon skill sets that is both extremely accessible AND highly lucrative is copywriting. Here’s why:
- The number of businesses hiring copywriters is insane.
- Copywriters with talent can easily make six figures.
- Today, remote employment is common for copywriters.
- Copywriters don’t need formal education or training.
In this guide, I’m going to walk you through the process of becoming a copywriter and making six figures this year.
But first, let’s deal with the basics:
Table of Contents
What is a copywriter?
A copywriter is a person who develops written content for a company or organization to sell or promote a good, service, or brand.
You are reading an author’s creation when you read a book.
You are reading the work of a copywriter whenever you read any kind of written communication from a company, organization, or brand.
Even though they are not connected in any way, the terms “copywriter” and “copyright” are frequently confused.
A copyright is a term used in law to refer to intellectual property.
The person who develops the written messaging for a company, brand, or organization is known as a copywriter.
What does a copywriter do?
The majority of a copywriter’s time is spent writing copy.
Some other processes could be included in the copywriting process:
- Ask thoughtful questions to get important information.
- Research the competition
- Pick the right copywriting structure.
- Make a copy plan for each area.
- Obtain opinions from key players
- Run through the editing process
- However, producing and editing the content itself takes up the great bulk of a copywriter’s work.
If you work as a copywriter, this will take up 75% of your time, while the remaining 25% is spent attending meetings, reviewing performance and getting feedback, and cooperating with other sorts of marketers on the same project.
Types of copywriting you see daily
You constantly read copy.
You’re reading ad copy when you see an advertisement with text on it.
You’re reading social media copy when you see a post on social media from a brand you follow.
You read website copy when you visit a website.
You’re reading email copy when you receive an email from a brand, company, group, or influencer.
You are reading blog copy when you read a post like this.
These things are considered “copies” because they are designed to compel action with the ultimate goal of making a sale.
Sometimes the objective is to influence you to take immediate action. “Direct response copywriting” is the term used to describe this kind of copywriting.
Examples of direct response copywriting are:
- A Twitter ad created to encourage clicks
- A billboard placed to persuade you to take the next exit and go into the business
- A landing page created to encourage email signups
- A message intended for “reply” in an email
- A description of the product intended to encourage “Add to Cart” clicks
Sometimes, taking immediate action is not necessary.
When the reader reads the copy, they might not be in a position to act right away, or getting them to act right away might not be the main goal.
Although it doesn’t have a catchy name, branding is essentially the idea of marketing now for results in the future.
Examples of copywriting that focuses on branding include:
- A magazine advertisement created to introduce the brand to readers
- A blog post intended to inform and engage readers
- A white paper to establish the credibility of the brand
These kinds of copywriting eventually will want you to take some action:
- The goal of the magazine ad is to get the reader to consider the brand and make a purchase later.
- The blog post wants the reader to subscribe to the email list, share the blog with others, and probably buy something later.
- The goal of the white paper is to encourage the reader to shop at the brand or recommend a future purchase.
The distinction is that this kind of copywriting isn’t intended to compel immediate action, which is significant because, in many marketing scenarios, trying to compel immediate action is counterproductive.
Imagine if every blog post you read urged you to make a purchase right away.
Imagine if every blog post was so intent on obtaining your email address that it removed the important idea and wanted you to subscribe to read it.
You’d likely be irritated and leave.
Direct response and branding scenarios are both crucial components of the marketing process.
How to become a freelance copywriter
Freelancing is your only realistic option if you want to truly succeed financially in the upcoming year.
And to be completely honest, that’s good.
Although many people would like to believe it, employment is not actually more stable.
- Your pay is not under your control.
- Your job security is not under your control.
- Your process is out of your hands.
- Your time is not in your hands.
- Your boss’s identity and management style are beyond your control.
By choosing to work as a freelance copywriter, you simultaneously assume control and accountability for each of these areas.
It’s challenging, especially at first, but if you stick with it, you’ll find that you have complete control over your professional and financial situation to a degree you never thought was possible.
The following 5 steps will help you learn how to write copy:
- Study the fundamentals of persuasive writing.
- Learn these 6 fundamental copywriting techniques.
- Get your first few customers.
- Develop and improve your freelance workflow
- Create a flow of recurring leads
These are not simple steps, but they are all you need to do to succeed as a copywriter this year.
Let’s examine each step in more detail.
1. Learn the basics of persuasive writing
Copywriting is just persuasive writing.
Your writing contains messages that are meant to sway the readers’ decisions.
This is why copywriting is such a useful skill for everyone.
Regardless of a person’s position, role, or industry, the ability to persuade through writing has endless applications.
Your first step to becoming a copywriter is to learn the fundamentals of persuasive writing, and there are tons—and when I say tons, I mean tons—of resources available to help you in doing so.
Feel no obligation to read them all.
You will spend the rest of your life perfecting persuasive writing if you decide to pursue a career in copywriting.
Don’t consider this skill to be a requirement because it has no upper limit.
Simply work your way through the fundamentals before continuing down this list.
Where can you find “the basics” and what are they, then?
So here’s where I’d suggest beginning:
- Ten Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques
- Robert Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion
- 14 Persuasive Writing Techniques That Trigger A Response
You can get a good idea of what persuasive writing is all about from these.
2. Learn the 6 core copywriting skills
All copywriting involves persuasion, but you’ll never get paid for “persuasive writing.”
You must be able to use your persuasive writing skills to create niche types of copy that are in high demand if you want to make money.
I’ve identified six copywriting skills that are in constant demand and that I would classify as “core skills” in the copywriting industry.
Don’t feel obligated to try to learn all six; however, practicing all of them certainly can’t hurt.
You can base your entire career on any two or three of the skills on this list.
- Take a course on headline writing.
- Study value proposition writing.
- Find out how to create landing pages.
- Study the art of writing sales emails.
- Learn how to write ads
- Learn how to write a video script
The only skill on this list that I believe is absolutely necessary for every copywriter is headline writing.
It’s the only talent on this list that you’ll probably never get paid directly for.
The success of the entire project will be significantly impacted by the quality of the headline, which will be present in almost every type of copywriting you produce.
The more clients you attract and the better work you produce for them, the better your headlines will be.
Value proposition copywriting
A value proposition is a concise statement that identifies the purpose, value, and nature of an offer made by a company.
Producing a concise statement that accurately sums up the offer for more complex goods and services is a challenge in and of itself.
For less complex goods and services, it takes skill to convey the brand’s distinctive value in a few short, snappy sentences.
Although it’s uncommon for businesses to hire copywriters specifically to work on their value propositions, developing a compelling value proposition is an essential component of writing landing pages and website copy and is also relevant to many other types of copywriting.
In particular, it’s one of the best ways to excite a reader with your writing.
Helping business owners develop a compelling value proposition will instantly gain their trust and support because business owners frequently find it difficult to express their value clearly and concisely.
Landing page copywriting
The “bread and butter” of online copywriting, in my opinion, is landing page copywriting.
Every company needs a website, and each website’s success depends on the performance of a few landing pages.
For instance, there are three crucial landing pages on my own website:
- Home page
- Services page
- Additional Service Page
Your business will succeed if these pages do well. Period.
It’s true that all websites have pages like this, and we could even broaden the scope of this idea to cover all essential website pages.
The key takeaway from this is how in-demand website and landing page copy is.
Businesses are also willing to pay a fairly competitive rate since it’s theoretically a one-time expense and the website copy is crucial to the company’s online success.
You will always have work as a copywriter if you are excellent at writing website copy, especially landing page copy.
Writing email copy is very popular, much like writing copy for landing pages.
Unlike website copy, everyone needs it, and they need more of it every month.
There are many successful copywriters who focus almost entirely on emails.
The work is ongoing, so it’s simple to fill a schedule and establish recurring income.
Additionally, tracking email “opens” and clicks makes it simple to evaluate your effectiveness, develop your skills, and show the client the value you add.
Ad writing is the founding father of copywriting, and it is more common than ever before… by a wide margin.
The good news is that advertising copywriting will always be in demand.
The bad news is that, from what I can tell, most of it isn’t being carried out by independent copywriters.
There are essentially two main categories of ad writing:
- Corporate advertisements
- Ads for small businesses
Within advertising agencies and companies, junior copywriters are typically the ones who write corporate advertisements.
They don’t receive much praise… and their earnings are modest.
Pay-per-click (PPC) service providers are primarily responsible for writing ads for small businesses.
These are your go-to experts for Facebook Ads or Google Adwords.
You don’t hire someone to write your advertisements. You hire someone to do your advertising, and they write as part of their duties.
Video script copywriting
Finally, there are scripts for videos.
The demand for video scripts is out of control, and there aren’t many copywriters who specialize in this area, so I won’t be able to offer you much advice in this area.
There are multi-million dollar industries centered on webinars that instruct individuals on how to launch successful webinar-based businesses.
The script determines whether a webinar will succeed or fail.
This market is ripe for the taking, and if you’re involved in video-centric communities, it might be the best course of action for you to take.
The best guide I’ve found to writing video scripts is located here.
Remember that learning or even mastering all six of these is not your objective here.
Start with 2-3.
You should first learn how to write value propositions and headlines, and then you should choose a third option to serve as the foundation of your copywriting business.
3. Land your first clients
You can only really learn so much about copywriting from reading.
Writing copy yourself is the key to learning how to write copy 90% of the time.
Even though it’s important to read some of the excellent copywriting resources available, once you’ve read for 12 to 15 hours, you’ve learned all you can from reading.
It’s time to get to work now.
It’s time to begin creating content, acquiring clients, and creating even more content.
If you’re a responsible person, you might ask yourself, “Wait a minute, how am I supposed to charge people to write copy if I’ve never written copy before?”
You’re not, though.
Or, at the very least, it doesn’t matter if you get paid (or how much).
You must exercise. Actual practice.
Start with 3 practice projects
Writing the copy for your own copywriting company should be your first step.
If you plan to work as a freelance copywriter, you are a legitimate business owner who needs persuasive writing.
Start there. Project 1 is done.
Next, ask a seasoned copywriter to review your copy for five minutes and provide some feedback.
It doesn’t matter to me if you are unaware of a reputable copywriter.
Send a message to someone you find on Twitter.
Similar to dating, some of them are likely to decline.
Who cares? Ask again.
Write new copy for two more companies after that.
Write copy for your friends who own businesses.
They don’t even have to be interested in using the copy or paying you.
You want to practice and get input from the right people.
Obtain as much feedback as you can.
When you’ve completed writing copy for three companies, including your own, it’s time to start looking for paying customers.
Land your first paying client
You’ll note that I did not say “high-paying clients.”
You’re trying to find anyone who will do work for you in exchange for a $20 bill.
But Maku, I have a natural talent for writing, and I should get paid fairly.
Not at all, no.
Your copywriting is terrible.
Your copy is garbage for now.
And it will continue to be terrible for the following three months if you are among the top 10% of natural talent.
Your copy will continue to be useless for the following six months if you are a little more average.
People who pay $20, $100, $200, etc. for copies are essentially asking for worthless junk.
It fits just right!
You must “get effing good”—be genuinely good—at copywriting as soon as possible if you want to make six figures as a copywriter.
That comes from doing and learning, not from scouring the market for clients who will pay more.
Here are some great ways to find some cheap-as-ss clients if you’re ready to stop chasing unicorn jobs and start gaining real experience:
- Pitch job listings
- Probe your network
- Network online and offline
- Cold pitch prospects
These strategies will sustain your company well past the “garbage stage” for the first year.
I would advise spending the majority of your time pitching job listings during your garbage period of three to six months. Here are some great places to look for gigs:
You can find good gigs here. Seize every opportunity you have. Avoid being picky.
In the beginning, say “yes” to as many jobs as possible and when you get really good, you can start saying some “Nos” because you charge more. This is illustrated in the image below:
4. Refine your freelancing process
You’ve stumbled your way through the entire freelance spectrum over the past three months.
You’ve spoken with clients, made sales, received payment, delivered work, edited work, realized you needed more information than you asked for, met deadlines, missed deadlines, had clients gush praise your way, and had clients yell at you.
It’s time to put all that knowledge to use by creating a process map for your freelance work and committing to being deliberate in everything you do.
What you need to plan is as follows:
- How you bring in leads
- How you close sales
- How you collect the needed project details
- How you collect payment
- How you work with the client
- How and when you deliver work
- How you gauge the success of the project
Finding the perfect way to do all of these things is not your initial objective in this situation. You are merely outlining your current workflow.
Next, list any issues you’ve been experiencing, like:
- Finding fresh leads is becoming increasingly difficult for me.
- The leads I’m getting are good, but I’m not getting many sales.
- When a client doesn’t provide much information, it’s difficult for me to finish the project.
- For whatever reason, some clients are really challenging to work with.
- On projects, I frequently feel like I don’t have enough time.
- My clients keep asking me where I am in the project, which is very annoying.
You can now begin to refine your process, both in the short and long term.
5. Build a recurring leads channel
You need a steady, recurring inflow of high-quality leads if you want to be a successful freelancer.
This requires time.
Even if everything goes according to plan, it will still take you between 9 and 18 months to build a channel that can generate leads worth at least six figures each year.
For copywriters who want to create their own recurring leads channel, they have three main options:
- High-End Guest Blogging
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Getting Google to send leads to your website on a regular basis—monthly, weekly, even daily—is the aim of search engine optimization (SEO).
You achieve this by having your website rank for relevant search terms for your industry.
I believe that SEO is currently the best lead channel available.
SEO offers copywriters a ton of advantages:
- Many business owners use search engines to find copywriters to hire
- Extremely flexible channel
- For the past 20 years, Google’s algorithm has remained largely constant.
- You can access specialized search results fairly quickly.
- The majority of the work is written (great for copywriters)
However, it also has drawbacks:
- Requires a variety of specialized abilities to be effective.
- Scaling is relatively slow compared to other channels.
- Google is taking more and more traffic away from content producers.
LinkedIn audience building
Although LinkedIn has always been a fascinating platform for generating business leads, it wasn’t really the kind of place where one could develop a successful following until recently.
When LinkedIn updated its algorithm, everything changed, and suddenly organic engagement was thriving.
On Facebook, people used to enjoy this same level of success in the past.
Then, overnight, Facebook completely destroyed organic reach, effectively making all of your work acquiring followers useless.
High-end guest blogging
High-end guest blogging basically means that you frequently publish guest posts on well-known websites as part of a recurring leads strategy.
When I refer to a website as “high profile,” I mean that between 7 and 10 people in your niche would instantly recognize the brand or publication if you mentioned it to them.
Many incredible things can occur when you write a guest blog for a sizable, well-known publication:
- Someone may read your post, value your knowledge, and decide to hire you to produce their copy.
- If someone reads your post and likes your writing style, they might decide to hire you to write for their own blog or magazine.
- Someone might read your post, like the way you write, and then ask you to write a ghost article for them for a prestigious magazine.
- If your post does well, the publication may decide to pay you to write more for them.
- Your post may introduce you to people who can advance your career.
- Your post has a better chance of showing up for a search term and exposing you to new readers every single month.
None of these occur frequently on their own.
It’s unlikely that one Forbes.com blog post will accomplish anything other than provide you with a sexy logo to display on your content creation page.
It’s very similar to how writing just one post on LinkedIn or one article for your website won’t help you at all.
The trickle of benefits from each post, however, eventually turns into a stream of leads and opportunities with enough posts over time.
How to become a copywriter and earn six figures
I hope this guide has helped you know that you can become a copywriter and earn six figures fast.
Also, know that you can land your first client in 7 days.