Editor’s Note: The following content is provided to Writer’s Digest by a writing community partner. This content is sponsored by American Writers & Artists Inc. www.awaionline.com.
“You’re a good writer if you can write a story that can make people cry …
“You’re a better writer if your writing can make people laugh …
“But, if your writing can persuade people to take action — that’s when you know you can be a very wealthy writer.”
Mark Morgan Ford (formerly known under his pen name Michael Masterson) – a Master Copywriter who has mentored hundreds of up-and-coming writers – said those words some years ago – and they’re still true today …
If you can effectively use words to persuade another to act, you stand to make a lot of money.
The secret … is direct-response copywriting.
And while in this blog I talk about lots of ways to make a living as a writer, when it comes down to it, most well paid writing opportunities are just variations of copywriting.
The Truth About Copywriting
Simply put, copywriters write words – in the form of advertisements and promotional materials – to persuade people to take action.
That action might be to support a cause, read a special report, buy a product, request some more information, and so on.
Copywriting can be found everywhere…
- Letters and advertisements you get in the mail.
- Company websites including home pages, landing pages, blog posts, and more.
- Marketing emails sent to potential customers.
- Newsletters, magazines and special reports.
- The text on brochures, billboards, and sometimes, even business cards.
You see the writing of copywriters every day. And today I want to show you how copywriting may very well be your best choice for achieving what we call the writer’s life …
Making a Living As a Writer?
You might think you need to be the next Stephen King or J.K. Rowling to make a living as a writer, but …
Nothing could be further from the truth!
In fact, many copywriters make a very good living working full-time. Others work just part-time, and still earn a full-time income. So, yes, the compensation can be quite good … and depending on how much you work and the types of projects you land, a six-figure income is definitely attainable (if that’s your goal).
Here are a few stories from the writers I’ve worked with:
- There’s Krista Jones, who used copywriting to replace her income from an 18-year engineering career … she said, “I feel like I’m finally leading the life I was meant to live. I can’t thank you enough!”
- There’s copywriter, Joshua Boswell, who says, “I know that at almost any given time I can pick up assignments worth $3,000, $4,000, $10,000, $20,000 or more and that I don’t have to sacrifice one minute of family time to successfully complete these assignments.”
- And, there’s Penny Thomas, who was let go from her job due to downsizing and turned to copywriting instead. Penny says it really hit her that she was living “the writer’s life” when she was watching a neighbor digging his car out to drive to work after a snowstorm – and all she had to do was walk to her home office and turn on her computer.
- There’s also copywriter, Cindy Cyr, who says, “I don’t have to wear pantyhose, can work barefoot, and I get to take naps whenever I want. I eat better. Drive my car less (A LOT less), see my friends and family more, and never worry about running out of vacation time.”
And of course, there’s Pat McCord, a once struggling novelist who learned to support herself and her creative passion by becoming a copywriter. (You may have heard from Pat if you’ve been with Writer’s Digest for a while … we sometimes share her story and a letter she wrote about our copywriting program.)
I could keep going because I actually have hundreds of stories like these. But, I’ll move on so we can get to the real point of today’s blog …
Why Copywriters Make So Much
I’ve often said, “If you can write ‘copy’ that persuades, there isn’t a business in the world that won’t beat a path to your door to get you to work your magic for them.”
That’s not going to change any time soon.
Consider this: As a copywriter, you can realistically write a promotion in a week. Let’s say you charge $5,000 for your service. Let’s also say your promotion brings in $100,000 for the company who hired you …
There’s no downside. Everyone is happy – you got paid, the client made money – and, because you did well, they’re likely to hire you again and again.
Now, if you’re just getting started, that figure might seem like a lot. But, experienced writers – those with just a few successful projects – can charge between $5,000 and $10,000 (and more) per sales promotion.
Even if you only write one promotion per month, you could easily bring in $60,000+ (working just part time)! And that doesn’t even take into consideration any royalties that are very common with direct-response copywriting …
Typical rates are around 2-3% of sales, but I’ve seen them go as high as 10%. And because companies will mail your letters again and again, you could continue to get paid on one single letter for years and years.
What It Takes to Succeed
People often think they need a lot of qualifications to become a copywriter. But, the truth is, you can learn copywriting just as easily as you could learn any other type of writing.
Also, you don’t need a special education to succeed in this industry. There are successful copywriters with college degrees and some who didn’t finish high school.
Age … experience … location … none of that matters …
Some copywriters are only 18 and some are retired. Some copywriters are stay-at-home moms and some left six-figure corporate jobs.
The only thing you need is a computer and an Internet connection. Everything else can be learned.
How to Get Started Now
While you don’t need any formal qualifications to become a copywriter, you do need someone to show you the ropes.
That’s why American Writers and Artists Inc. created the Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.
All the copywriters I’ve met—like the ones mentioned above—started their successful freelance copywriting careers by taking this program. Its step-by-step instructions prove anyone can quickly go from asking “What is copywriting?” to learning how to be a freelance copywriter.
Of course, I’m partial to it because I work at AWAI, know the program inside and out, and have personally met and worked with hundreds of people who started successful freelance copywriting careers by taking it.
But if you’re new to the idea of copywriting, and would like the opportunity to learn some basic copywriting techniques for free, I recommend you check out our report, Copywriting 101: An Introduction to Turning Your Writing Passion Into a High-Paying Career.
Along with giving you an inside look at the life of a copywriter, you’ll learn a few copywriting principles that you can put to work for you right away.
Just remember, no matter how you get started, the fact remains: You don’t need to get a degree or pay a lot of money for expensive training to become a successful freelance copywriter.
If you can write a simple e-mail to a friend, and you like to share ideas with other people… you have all the qualifications you need to become a successful freelance copywriter.
And if you were to ask me the best way to make a living as a writer …
I would say with 100% certainty – copywriting.
No other opportunity offers writers more variety, more freedom, or more income potential. And it’s the one thing I recommend every writer consider when looking to make a living.
To your success,