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Can a Copywriter Make a Great Living?

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by Masterful, Sep 5, 2009.

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  1. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #101
    If you write advertising copy, then you're an ad copywriter, so you can already call yourself that. That said, copywriting is not about selling. Only sales / advertising copy is about selling. Copywriting as a whole is much broader. It's about influence and persuasion, but it's not always about making a sale.
    SEMrush
     
    jhmattern, Jan 3, 2010 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Copywriter-ac

    Copywriter-ac Peon

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    #102
    I'd agree it's not always about making the sale, with fields such as charity fund-raising, political speech writing etc. However 99% of the time when someone refers to a copywriter they're either unaware of what a copywriter is or they're talking about sales copy.

    Until peeps understand the difference between content writers and copywriters there's little point in being subtle about it.

    Yes, it's about persuasion. Usually that means persuading people to part with money, either immediately or as part of a sales funnel, such as gathering leads. Ultimately it boils down to "How much is your writing worth?"

    If it's not worth much to the client then no, you're not going to "make a great living as a copywriter". No-one hires a copywriter for big money without expecting an even bigger money return. Usually that means sales and I'd lump political contributions, charity donations or similar as the "sale".



    AC
     
    Copywriter-ac, Jan 3, 2010 IP
  3. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #103
    I do business as a copywriter regularly, and very few people contact me assuming I write sales copy. Plenty of people (at least on the professional side of things) are well aware of the differences, and they seek copywriters who specialize in what they want. The DP marketplace is the exception, not the rule, but I don't believe the OP specifically referred to making a great living in copywriting solely here.

    Also not correct. PR copywriters make a lot of money for example, and most of it has absolutely nothing at all to do with persuading people to part with money directly. For example, I charge $1.00 per word to ghostwrite features for them for trade publications (a form of PR copy). The value has nothing to do with money. It's about exposure and persuading people to want to know more about the company. Press releases from a professional can range from several hundred dollars to four figure payments, and they're about getting news out and influencing how people feel about the company and what they're doing. There are pitch letters -- pitching evergreen story ideas related to a company to media outlets. Again, big money for the copywriter, especially if they're good at converting pitches to coverage, and again it's about the exposure (in this case persuading members of the media that a company is actually newsworthy). Then there's basic Web copy (anything from a company's homepage to About Us page -- many of which have nothing to do with sales, but which are all about persuading users to trust a company). Conversions go far beyond sales -- sign-ups, registrations, giving up an email address, subscriptions, clicking a specific link, forming a desired opinion, changing an undesirable opinion, etc. Responsible business owners and executives know all of this, and they spend very good money to get it even when the copy does little or nothing to directly impact the bottom line. Without the right image and opinions from a target market, even the best sales copy in the world can be ineffective (when people go into it distrusting the company). That kind of copy can be just as valuable, and even moreso depending on the situation.

    The best thing we can do here to help people understand what copy is would be to stop putting it in a little sales box that only paints a fraction of the picture.
     
    jhmattern, Jan 3, 2010 IP
  4. Copywriter-ac

    Copywriter-ac Peon

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    #104
    Yes, because it's PR, which ultimately leads to sales. The "little box" you're referring to would perhaps be "direct response" but my point stands, the writing has bottom line value, hence the high fees. I often write white papers, press releases and so on - but in my capacity as a sales copywriter.

    I don't know what kind of copywriter you are but if I don't increase the client's sales I don't get paid (beyond the deposit).

    OK, quick show of hands - how many members here would pay someone $5000 to write an article, press release or anything, that wouldn't measurably increase their bottom line?

    I didn't think so.



    AC
     
    Copywriter-ac, Jan 3, 2010 IP
  5. jhmattern

    jhmattern Illustrious Member

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    #105
    You're welcome to think what you want to think. Those of us specializing in PR copy will continue going on earning great money offering different types of value to clients, and clients will continue to seek it and pay for it. Also for the record (and from someone who ran a full-service PR firm before focusing solely on the writing side), PR writing often does not lead to sales. Then again, our clients generally understand the difference between true value and sales alone (which is simply one example of value businesses get from copy).

    The OP's question has already been adequately answered, and the thread is completely side-tracked. If you'd like to continue discussing sales copy specifically, you're very welcome to start a separate thread for that purpose where it will be more obvious to other users what's being discussed. This thread will be closed.
     
    jhmattern, Jan 3, 2010 IP
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