So, you want to start offering copywriting services. Smart move! This is something that brands will always need. But what exactly does this even mean? What are your responsibilities as a freelance copywriter? And importantly, what kind of money can you make with copywriting?
Let’s dive into all the dirty details.
Copywriting Services: Wait… What IS Copywriting?
Great question! This is important, because people often use “copywriting” and “content writing” interchangeably. But technically, they’re not the same thing.
More specifically, copywriting focuses on getting the user (meaning the person reading it) to eventually take action. For example, if you’re writing for a website that sells mops and you’re explaining the features of their product, how it works, and how people can order, that’s copywriting.
On the other hand, we have content writing, which is more about educating, entertaining, and/or informing readers. Yes, you’re wanting to win them over, but our goal is more so nurturing this relationship. For example, if you’re writing a blog for that same mop brand, and the blog is about how to keep your floors clean when you have pets, that’s content writing.
Is there some overlap between copywriting and content writing? Yes. Are they the same thing? Nope.
What Kinds of Copywriting Services Are There?
As you might have guessed, “copywriter” is a pretty broad label and can mean several different things. Understanding what best suits you is going to be important in putting together you copywriter portfolio and building your business.
Here are a few different types of copywriting.
This is one of the more common forms of copywriting. When a brand needs persuasive text for social media posts or ad copy, they’ll go looking for a marketing copywriter.
This branch of copywriting is a little more to-the-point. Your goal is to educate the reader on the brand’s product/services, with the intention of getting them to explore these offerings more and hopefully purchase.
The main goal as an SEO (search engine optimization) copywriter is to get the pages you write to rank high in search engines. This could be something like product descriptions or landing pages for the services that a company offers.
So, you’re going to essentially need to know two things: (1) SEO and (2) how to write amazing content.
Understanding SEO involves elements like:
- Topic research
- Keyword research
- User intent
- Creating compelling meta-data
Psst! On a very related note, if you need help understanding SEO, check out How to Blog Like a Pro.
If you want to write for tech brands or SaaS companies, then it might be technical copywriting that you’re interested in. This will involve taking more complex topics and finding ways to explain them so they’re easier to understand.
Keep in mind that technical copywriting will require you to have a pretty thorough understanding of whatever product, service, or technology that you’re writing about, so that you can adequately break it down into simpler terms for your readers.
A creative copywriter is a storyteller. This copywriting service is more about forming a connection with the reader. Two common examples of creative copywriting are customer stories and case studies.
You’re still trying to get the reader to take action, but you’re doing so by telling a story that’s moving and really piques their interest.
Do Blogs Count as Copywriting?
It depends on the blog you’re writing. If the blog post exists to move the reader toward a sale or sign-up, then it might be considered copywriting. However, if it exists simply to educate the reader on a related topic, then it might be plain ol' content writing.
How Much Should You Charge for Your Copywriting Services?
Once again… it depends.
Often times, it’s easiest to give your client a flat monthly rate for a set amount of work. For example, if they want you to write 100 product descriptions a month, then you give them a flat rate for those 100 descriptions. The rate will depend on not just the number of descriptions but also the word count and the subject matter.
However, if it’s not going to be steady, predictable work, then you have a couple of options: Charge as you go (for example, per landing page) or give them an hourly rate.
The exact number you give them will depend on the scope of the work and the expertise that you bring to the table. I charge a heck of a lot more these days, because I’ve been writing professionally for 11 years. So, my clients pay me for 11 years of experience — not the (sometimes) hour I spend knocking out a blog.
Remember that when a client hires you, you are an investment. You write a piece of copy once, but they benefit from it for weeks, months, or possibly years. This is especially the case if your writing is very close to a purchase. For example, if you’re writing copy for a Facebook ad, and that Facebook ad is intended to get people to purchase a product straight away, this means that you are partially responsible for the sales they make. This makes your work incredibly valuable (if you deliver).
One thing I want to caution you against is charging for a very small unit of work. What I mean is charging for the copy for a single ad, or a single product description. Because this is such a small (literally small) amount of work, it’s going to be much harder to charge the client for the value that you bring, because all they see is a single product description or Facebook ad. Instead, aim to do this type of work in larger batches (like our example of 100 product descriptions a month).
Do You Have What it Takes to Offer Copywriting Services?
If you don’t, you can learn! Here are some of the more important things to remember about copywriting:
- This type of text is very goal-oriented and results-driven. You’re creating copy to accomplish something specific.
- More often than not, you’re going to need to have knowledge specific to that industry.
- You need to be able to write very concisely, sometimes with very little space to work with.
If you’re interested in offering copywriting services, here are a few things you might be interested in: