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Working As a Freelance Copywriter

  • Thinking Creatively
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $50,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Freelance Copywriter Do

Writers and authors develop written content for advertisements, books, magazines, movie and television scripts, songs, blogs, or other types of media.

Duties

Writers and authors typically do the following:

  • Choose subject matter that interests readers
  • Write fiction or nonfiction through scripts, novels, biographies, and more
  • Conduct research to obtain factual information and authentic detail
  • Write advertising copy for newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, and the Internet
  • Present drafts to editors and clients for feedback
  • Work with editors and clients to shape the material so it can be published

Writers and authors develop written material—namely, stories and advertisements—for books, magazines, and online publications.

Writers must establish their credibility with editors and readers through strong research and the use of appropriate sources and citations. Writers and authors select the material they want to use and then convey the information to readers. With help from editors, they may revise or rewrite sections, searching for the best organization and the most appropriate phrasing.

An increasing number of writers are freelance writers—that is, they are self-employed and sell their written content to book and magazine publishers; news organizations; advertising agencies; and movie, theater, and television producers. Many freelance writers are hired to complete specific short-term or recurring assignments, such as writing a newspaper column, contributing to a series of articles in a magazine, or producing an organization’s newsletter.

An increasing number of writers are producing material that is published directly online, in videos and on blogs.

The following are examples of types of writers and authors:

Copywriters prepare advertisements to promote the sale of a good or service. They often work with a client to produce written content, such as advertising themes, jingles, and slogans.

Biographers write a thorough account of a person’s life. They gather information from interviews and research about the person to accurately portray important events in that person's life.

Bloggers write posts to a web log (shortened to “blog”) that usually pertain to any topic or a specific field, such as fashion, news, or sports.

Generalists write about any topic of interest, unlike writers who usually specialize in a given field.

Novelists write books of fiction, creating characters and plots that may be imaginary or based on real events.

Songwriters compose music and lyrics for songs. They may write and perform their own songs or sell their work to a music publisher. They sometimes work with a client to produce advertising themes, jingles, and slogans, and they may be involved in marketing the product or service.

Playwrights write scripts for theatrical productions. They come up with a concept, write lines for actors to say, produce stage direction for actors to follow, and suggest ideas for theatrical set design.

Screenwriters create scripts for movies and television. They may produce original stories, characters, and dialogue, or turn a book into a movie or television script. Some may produce content for radio broadcasts and other types of performance.

Journalists write articles and reports on current events. For more information, see the profile on reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts.

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How To Become A Freelance Copywriter

A college degree in English, journalism, or communications is generally required for a salaried position as a writer or author. Experience can be gained through internships, but any form of writing that improves skill, such as blogging, is beneficial. Excellent writing skills are essential.

Education

A bachelor’s degree is typically needed for a full-time job as a writer. Because writing skills are essential in this occupation, many employers prefer candidates with a degree in English, journalism, or communications.

Other Work Experience

Writers can obtain job experience by working for high school and college newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, advertising and publishing companies, or nonprofit organizations. College theater and music programs offer playwrights and songwriters an opportunity to have their work performed. Many magazines and newspapers also have internships for students. Interns may write stories, conduct research and interviews, and gain general publishing experience.

Employers also increasingly prefer new applicants to have the ability to code and program webpages or manipulate data to create a visual story using tables, charts, and maps.

In addition, anyone with Internet access can start a blog and gain writing experience. Some of this writing may lead to paid assignments regardless of education, because the quality of writing, the unique perspective, and the size of the potential audience are the greatest determinants of success for a piece of writing. Online publications require knowledge of computer software and editing tools that are used to combine text with graphics, audio, video, and animation.

Writers or authors can come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences as long as they demonstrate strong writing skills.

Training

Writers and authors may need to gain some writing experience through on-the-job training with more experienced writers and editors before their work is ready for publication.

Writers who want to write about a particular topic may need formal training or experience related to that topic.

Because many writers today prepare material directly for the Internet, knowing graphic design, page layout, and multimedia software can be advantageous.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some associations offer certifications for writers and authors. Certification can demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. For example, the American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) offers the Certified Grant Writer® credential.

Certification can also increase opportunities for advancement.

Advancement

Beginning writers and authors can get a start and put their name on work immediately by writing for smaller businesses, local newspapers, advertising agencies, and nonprofit organizations. However, opportunities for advancement within these organizations may be limited because they usually do not have enough regular work.

Writers and authors can advance their careers further by building a reputation, taking on more complex writing assignments, and getting published in more prestigious markets and publications. Having published work that has been well received and maintaining a track record of meeting deadlines are important for advancement.

Many editors begin work as writers. Those who are particularly skilled at identifying stories, correcting writing style, and interacting with writers may be interested in editing jobs.

Important Qualities

Adaptability. Writers and authors need to be able to adapt to newer software platforms and programs, including various Content Management Systems (CMS).

Creativity. Writers and authors must be able to develop new and interesting plots, characters, or ideas so they can come up with new stories.

Critical-thinking skills. Writers and authors must have dual expertise in thinking through or understanding new concepts, and conveying it through writing.

Determination. Writers and authors sometimes work on projects that take years to complete. Freelance writers who are paid per assignment must demonstrate perseverance and personal drive to meet deadlines.

Persuasion. Writers, especially those in advertising, must be able to persuade others to feel a certain way about a good or service.

Social perceptiveness. Writers and authors must understand how readers react to certain ideas in order to connect with their audience.

Writing skills. Writers and authors must be able to write clearly and effectively in order to convey feeling and emotion and communicate with readers.

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Freelance Copywriter Career Paths

Freelance Copywriter
Senior Copywriter Creative Director Marketing Director
Brand Director
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Copywriter Creative Director
Marketing And Creative Director
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Copywriter Marketing Communications Manager
Marketing Program Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Social Media Manager Founder Public Relations Director
Public Relations And Communications Director
7 Yearsyrs
Content Writer Technical Writer Web Developer
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Content Writer Technical Writer Marketing Communications Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Content Writer Technical Writer Content Manager
Senior Content Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Social Media Manager Digital Marketing Manager Senior Manager Of Marketing
Director, Online Marketing
7 Yearsyrs
Communications Manager Content Strategist Content Manager
Content Director
7 Yearsyrs
Content Strategist Content Manager
Digital Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager Social Media Manager
Manager Of Digital Media
5 Yearsyrs
Marketing Consultant Freelance Marketing Consultant Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Freelance Marketing Consultant Marketing Analyst Marketing Consultant
Senior Marketing Consultant
8 Yearsyrs
Freelance Marketing Consultant Marketing Analyst Digital Marketing Specialist
Online Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Engineering Specialist Online Marketing Manager Director Of Ecommerce
Director Ecommerce Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Marketing Manager Digital Marketing Manager
Brand Strategist
5 Yearsyrs
Engineering Specialist Online Marketing Manager Search Strategist
Director Of Search Engine Optimization
5 Yearsyrs
Content Strategist Web Content Manager Web Manager
Ecommerce Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Communications Manager Social Media Strategist Digital Strategist
Digital Communications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Top Skills for A Freelance Copywriter

  1. Web Content
  2. Online
  3. Email
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Worked extensively with Blind Save (http://www.blindsave.com/) editing web content, creating business proposals and writing press releases.
  • Provided quality control and optimized content to ensure a highly favorable experience for customers using online and mobile banking platforms
  • Executed a marketing plan specifically targeting independent insurance agencies with websites and prospect email lists.
  • Edited existing web copy and developed new ideas for the revamp of client's entire site.
  • Engaged in writing advertisements, articles, press releases, and newsletters; proofing real estate magazine before publication, etc.

Freelance Copywriter Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 3,438 Freelance Copywriter resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Freelance Copywriter Resume

View Resume Examples

Freelance Copywriter Demographics

Gender

Female

48.9%

Male

42.6%

Unknown

8.5%
Ethnicity

White

64.1%

Hispanic or Latino

14.8%

Black or African American

10.9%

Asian

6.7%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

46.9%

French

26.0%

German

5.6%

Italian

5.1%

Portuguese

2.3%

Mandarin

2.3%

Japanese

1.7%

Swedish

1.1%

Chinese

1.1%

Hindi

1.1%

Hebrew

1.1%

Arabic

1.1%

Turkish

0.6%

Irish

0.6%

Hindustani

0.6%

Hungarian

0.6%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Albanian

0.6%

Dutch

0.6%

Russian

0.6%
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Freelance Copywriter Education

Schools

New York University

10.7%

Columbia College Chicago

6.5%

University of Texas at Austin

6.3%

School of Visual Arts

6.1%

Syracuse University

5.8%

Emerson College

5.8%

Michigan State University

5.6%

Northwestern University

4.9%

Ohio University -

4.4%

Arizona State University

4.4%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

University of Georgia

4.2%

San Francisco State University

4.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

4.0%

San Diego State University

4.0%

Florida State University

4.0%

University of North Texas

3.7%

Temple University

3.7%

Ohio State University

3.7%

University of Florida

3.7%
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Majors

English

20.4%

Writing

12.0%

Communication

11.6%

Journalism

10.4%

Advertising

8.0%

Marketing

5.8%

Business

4.1%

Public Relations

4.1%

Psychology

3.1%

Graphic Design

2.7%

Political Science

2.7%

Photography

2.5%

Fine Arts

2.3%

Theatre

1.9%

History

1.8%

Liberal Arts

1.7%

Education

1.3%

Management

1.2%

Agricultural Public Services

1.2%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

62.4%

Masters

19.0%

Other

11.8%

Certificate

2.6%

Associate

2.4%

Doctorate

1.2%

Diploma

0.6%
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Updated May 19, 2020