Copywriting has hit an all-time high. According to statistics, the copywriting job market will grow 7.6% by 2026.
This bump in demand has brought a burning question to the surface. How much does a copywriter really make, how much should they make, and what will influence how much you’ll be able to pocket per project, per hour, per word, and over a year?
The Pay Fallacy
It is very easy to be misled by the flurry of data and surveys published online about the boom in copywriting business and how copywriters are now walking to the bank with 6 or 7 figure salaries.
Those numbers barely reflect the reality on the ground.
For instance, quickly searching for the United States average salary for a copywriter brings up curious results. The figures they suggest are misleading and provide zero context because of several factors.
1. Most online salary calculators don’t consider the industry or specialization. Copywriter salaries vary massively across industries and specialties. For instance, a technical writer tends to make more money than a content writer.
2. The salary for freelance copywriters is different from in-house staff. To make matters worse, most copywriters don’t work in an office these days. Most of them also don’t work under a company or agency.
3. Location greatly affects pricing. This makes it rather impossible to have a one size fits all or ballpark figure. Trivial things such as the cost of living in your city can massively influence copywriting prices.
But that is not to mean that earning $200,000 a year as a copywriter is impossible. Technical writers with a lot of experience can hit such figures. They’ve years of experience to curate content targeted at the specific audience of tech companies and the products they sell.
Curating such kind of content is not easy. Moreover, these highly experienced professionals make up a small percentage of the overall copywriter population.
How Much Do Copywriters Really Make?
The real answer to this is you get to decide. Copywriter salaries are affected by a flurry of factors. Some of the most significant ones are under your control.
To earn the best salary, you need to gain as much experience as possible doing several projects, expand your contacts and network, and improve how hard you hustle for the jobs.
More specifically, you need to have a hold of the following factors.
What Affects How Much a Copywriter Makes?
When researching US copywriter salaries, Indeed reports a national average of $61,770. On the other hand, Glassdoor reports an average annual salary of $58,464. Payscale puts it even lower at $52,060.
So, what’s causing these variances to the tune of thousands of dollars?
Your copywriting strategy covers several things. These include your niche or focus industry, the type of copywriting you do, who you write for, and how you pitch. Whether you work part-time, as a contractor, full-time, freelance, or on-staff also falls under your copywriting strategy.
You have the flexibility of choosing which strategy suits you best.
If you choose to work as a freelancer, how much you earn will now depend on your networking capabilities. You will most likely have to accept low-paying jobs to build your portfolio initially. Also, freelancers tend to make hourly equivalents to contractors.
The better you are at what you do, the more you’ll pocket from your work.
However, skill goes beyond the quality of your work.
You’ll attract more clients if you have impeccable social or people skills. Even in the freelancing world, clients want to work with someone pleasant. You should also be willing to get more training to improve your writing.
The State of Freelancing 2015 report showed a strong link between income and marketing efforts. That link still exists for a copywriter or copywriting teams in 2022.
The trick to earning more is not marketing yourself but rather being consistent at it.
There’s nearly a $50,000 gap between the highest-paid and lowest-paid national average copywriter salaries in different locations in the US.
According to indeed, a copywriter in San Francisco pockets an average of $97,283. The lowest earners are in Los Angeles, pocketing an average of $50,745.
The more people are willing to vouch for you, the more clients you’ll likely land even with limited experience. That is the force behind social proofing. Most copywriters boost their earnings through social proof by:
· Having past and current clients write testimonials
· Building an online following by posting relevant content
· Engaging meaningfully in the posts of potential clients and other copywriters
Many old-school companies that want salaried copywriters ask for a degree or certification. Therefore, depending on where you want to work, this might matter.
Most copywriters find this to be an odd requirement. Some of the best copywriters don’t have a college degree.
How to Figure Out Your Copywriting Salary
It’s impossible to have a ballpark figure for how much you should be earning as a copywriter. But there are tools you can use to figure it out yourself.
First, avoid online calculators, even from the most reputable sources. They grossly assume the details of the project. For instance, an online calculator might advise you to charge $13,000 for a homepage with no details about what that homepage entails.
That figure can be grossly off-mark.
You should check listings for jobs, preferably in your city, that match your level of experience or where you’ll be starting once you’re done with training. Most of these listings will offer salary information.
Universities and non-profits tend to pay slightly less. So, beware.
Also, check with recruiters. Register yourself with recruiters, especially if you’re starting. You can connect with them via email, LinkedIn, or phone call.
If you want to figure out how much you should charge per hour or contract, take an average of the salaries you find and divide by 2080 (40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year), and multiply by 1.5.
The extra 0.5 accounts for the extra things contractors and freelancers have to pay for that on-staff copywriters don’t.
Get Started Copywriting with the Right Information
Some clients will always be willing to pay more, while others will charge less. Get someone looking to hire the right copywriter or wants to hire a copywriting team with the right qualifications and build your way up the order.