Need Help? Talk to Our Experts
As an experienced copywriter, I’m passionate about writing high-quality, well-researched content that matches the tone and style of my clients.
It’s always been a passion of mine, and I couldn’t imagine having another job. However, the more experienced I become in the copywriting and content space, and the more I delve into the market, the more I find it to be a challenging and strange place.
From answering questions from budding copywriters on Quora and other Q&A sites to reading my fellow copywriters’ comments on social networking sites like LinkedIn, I’ve noticed how competitive and tough the copywriting market can be today, particularly for corporate copywriters like me. For freelance copywriters, it’s even harder, with the freelance market so precarious.
There are many different types of copywriters, content creators and journalists out there, but I’m focusing on business copywriters and content managers who write for organisations across the corporate landscape.
While I adore writing reviews of fun stuff, like food, lifestyle, books and puppies, I’ve had to specialise in business content, B2B marketing and search engine optimised website writing.
As such, this article is about my experience in these markets, and how potential copywriters who want to enter it can succeed.
If you want to find out more about the challenges that copywriters face, and the reasons why they still love their jobs, then read on.
What Is The Copywriting Market Like Today?
Copywriting and content creation is a highly-competitive market, with many budding copywriters out to get their start and many veterans trying to remain relevant in an ever-evolving niche.
Freelance copywriting is particularly popular among creative individuals who need flexibility, as it offers them the chance to ‘be their own boss’, as the saying goes.
However, becoming a freelance copywriter does come with a lot of challenges, including instability, the admin that comes with running your own business and the challenge of getting customers to pay up for the services they’ve received.
With so many individuals competing for work, being a freelance copywriter and finding copywriting jobs can be tough too. Many development firms have exploited this by creating freelancing platforms, where freelancers can bid for jobs and get themselves noticed.
Some of the platforms might be useful, but in general, they’re difficult to build a career on because they devalue writers and drive businesses to focus on paying as little as possible while expecting high-quality content.
Many of them also charge freelancers for the opportunity to pitch clients and get work, meaning you’ll make even less money in the long run.
Even in-house copywriters face challenges: many companies have unrealistic expectations of creative teams, and often they’re reluctant to invest money in their development and growth. I’m fortunate to be working for a company that values me and my contribution, but I’ve worked for several that don’t and try to make writers feel like a burden.
Copywriting is also closely linked with SEO, thanks to the rise of online platforms and digital marketing, so writers no longer focus exclusively on words, grammar and semantics.
Now, they’ve got to include even more in their work and show customers that they’re not only great wordsmiths but also SEO experts who can help them to generate leads, reach the top of their target SERPs and much more.
Writing can be challenging, and it isn’t necessarily lucrative. It can take a lot of money, software solutions and other resources to become a copywriter. It can also be hard to find high-paying jobs, at least when you first start your career.
For some time, you might find yourself working for free just to build a portfolio, or taking on an in-house job that you don’t enjoy. However, the same could be said for most careers, and over time copywriting can become a highly-rewarding profession.
Why Do Copywriters Start Writing?
With so many challenges facing them, you might be surprised to hear that becoming a copywriter is still an incredibly popular career.
Many individuals try to become writers, offering their services on platforms such as LinkedIn, as well as freelancing spaces.
When I was hiring in-house writers for previous roles, we would always get incredibly talented applicants with advanced degrees, who had been blogging and writing for free for months or even years. Often, the jobs were low-paid, entry-level roles, but they would still put their all into getting them just to get their foot on the writing ladder.
So, why do they do it?
Personally, I became a copywriter because I love writing and reading. I’ve always been passionate about words, so writing was always something that seemed like a good way to earn a living.
I entered the copywriting market relatively naïve about what it entailed, but thankfully I quickly picked up on what the copywriting landscape is like today and have enjoyed my career ever since. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great writers, marketers and SEOs over the years, which has really helped me to enjoy my work.
It isn’t as easy as I thought it would be to write about exactly what I want; clients tend to have their own topics! Despite this, I’ve come to enjoy the process of researching new topics and learning about the latest business practices and trends.
I’ve also created my own blog to allow myself the chance to write about what I love, so I’m literally always writing.
Finola Billings, a Content Manager who used to be a freelance writer, started for a similar reason to me: she just loves writing and the freedom it brings.
“I’ve always had an insatiable curiosity about the world. Choosing writing as a career path has allowed me to work with people from a variety of walks of life. So far, I’ve cast my “career net” out to an array of fascinating topics: from psychology to education, from travel to technology. Essentially, writing empowers me with a sense of freedom in my career.”
The varied nature of writing and the diversity of the topics you get to write about, is also a draw for many writers.
Alison Brinkworth, who is a freelance copywriter and content creator through her company ABC Communications, said:
“I started out as a journalist, so I always realized the power of words. I expanded into content creation and copywriting as a freelancer as the demand for online content in particular grew. I’ve worked with agencies, businesses and charities, who are are all keen to use people with experience in writing clear, concise copy that moves, excites and, most importantly, is accurate. That is whether it’s in print, online or for scripts. There’s a lot of variety in this kind of work, and I still get a buzz from seeing what I’ve created appear somewhere, knowing others will read it, and it could shape their view.”
Carol Tice, a renowned Copywriter, also shares her experience and how she came to start in this exciting and competitive market.
“I got into copywriting/writing for businesses pretty much by accident. I was a staff journalist at Seattle’s business journal for 7 years. After I left, I called some of my favorite sources to just say,’ Thanks for being a great source, I’m not at the paper anymore…’ and one of them asked me to ghostwrite their blog. And I was off, writing for businesses.
“I’d been trained to think of copywriting as the dark side of the Force… but once I DID it, I discovered I enjoyed the challenge of helping companies communicate their strengths to the marketplace.”
As you can see, for many of us, writing has always been a passion, and we’ve shaped it into a career we love.
Many of us have had to adapt to what the market wants, but one thing we all have in common is that we love writing and sharing our ideas with the world. There’s something intoxicating about knowing that, in some small way, your words have influenced someone else and helped to show them the world from a new perspective.
What Can Aspiring Copywriters Do To Get Started?
As highlighted above, becoming a copywriter is a fulfilling and exciting career, but it takes a lot of commitment and dedication.
You’ll probably have to work for free at some point in your career. While the creative industry as a whole is pushing back against the idea of working for ‘exposure’, it’s still one of the best ways to build your portfolio and get your foot on the copywriting ladder.
Until the world changes and companies start to understand the value of copywriting, and why the offer of exposure is so insulting to many writers, you’ll probably be caught in the vicious cycle of having to write for free. If you don’t have a strong portfolio, you won’t be able to get good paid roles, but many organisations won’t pay you when you’ve not got evidence of your work. So, for the first few months, you might have to write for free or take on a low paying in-house role to get your start in the copywriting market.
If you’re going for freelance jobs and building your portfolio, then try to find relevant websites that will give you the exposure and support that you need to grow your reach and benefit your portfolio.
Some other tips for aspiring copywriters include:
Carol, who has recently released an ebook on the topic of succeeding during the recession that’s coming as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic on her Make A Living Writing platform, echos my sentiments about finding the right customers and avoiding freelancer platforms.
“If you’re writing for content mills, checking mass online job boards, or signed up on Upwork, just know that these are bad neighborhoods for freelance writers. I call this’ the underworld of freelance writing.’ It’s all a race to the bottom on price with dysfunctional clients who don’t care about the quality of what you write. Just ordering content by the yard and want to know how cheap and fast they can get it done.
“To thrive in the recession, you’ll need to swim in a different pool. For this one, you need to proactively identify quality prospects and pitch them directly. Cut out the middlemen and find pent-up demand in the marketplace. It’s definitely still out there, I’m getting inbound inquiries steadily in the past few months, and so are many of my coaching students.
“When you proactively pitch bigger or fast-growing or venture-capital-funded companies, you’ll often be the only writer they’re considering — and the quality of what you write will be what matters.
“The typical conversation I have with a client goes, “So what’s your budget for this, what were you thinking you can pay?” And they say, “Haven’t thought about it. The key thing is getting the right writer.” THAT is where the opportunity is during this recession…smart companies that understand the power of what we write to drive SALES for them.”
Ultimately, copywriting, content creation and management are all exciting careers for creative, intrepid individuals.
Becoming a copywriter and working your way up the ladder can be a challenge, and the market is constantly evolving, so if you want to make a true success of copywriting, then you’ll need to be flexible and deeply committed.
I hope this article informs and inspires aspiring copywriters and helps you to see the value in pursuing this exciting career!
Hannah Stevenson is the Content Marketing Manager at UK Linkology, the UK’s highest-ranking link building agency. A former journalist who is now an experienced copywriter, blogger and editor, she is deeply passionate about writing quality content.
Refund Policy|Terms & Condition|Blog|Sitemap