copywriting

What is Copywriting? A Modern Definition and How-To Guide

What Is Copywriting? The How-To Guide for Freelancers. Makealivingwriting.com

It’s a question so simple, you might think everyone already knows the answer: What is copywriting?

But in my decade-plus helping newbie writers launch their freelance careers, I’ve learned not to assume. People come from all walks of life into freelance writing, and aren’t born knowing the lingo.

When I researched this question, it got even more interesting. Because I disagreed with many of the most popular posts on the topic.

What I have for you isn’t your grandpa’s copywriting definition and description. It’s a rebel’s 21st Century copywriting definition — and a how-to guide on how to break in and do it.

How copywriting evolved

Old copy hacks will tell you copywriting is the art and science of crafting writing that sells.

They’ll tell you writing that overtly sells a product or service is copywriting — and everything else is ‘not copywriting.’

That was once true — but it isn’t any more. Because the Internet changed much of what we once knew about marketing.

I’ve got a new definition of copywriting for you, one I think is more accurate for the 21st Century marketing era we live in now.

Read on to learn what copywriting is today, how to do it — and how you can capitalize on the changes to earn well as a freelance writer.

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Freelance Writing Rates: What Hard-Working Writers Earn in 2020

2020 Freelance Writing Rates: What Hard-Working Writers Earn. Makealivingwriting.com

It’s the biggest question many freelance writers have: What should I charge? More specifically, what are going freelance writing rates for the type of project I’m doing?

After all, we don’t want to leave money on the table… or price too high and lose the gig.

If you struggle with pricing your work, it’s no surprise. Writing rates are all over the place, as there are so many variables that affect appropriate pay for a particular writing job. Those variables can include:

  • Size, age and reputation of the client
  • How important the writing is to client’s income
  • The level of competition in their industry
  • Complexity of the subject matter
  • How well you know the subject matter
  • Country and language used
  • Deadline
  • Volume of work on offer
  • Usefulness of these clips in your portfolio
  • How badly you need money right now

And more. See why the whole concept of ‘going rates’ is problematic? There’s also the question of your personal income goals, time available, living costs… all may factor into what you seek to charge.

What we can learn is what real writers are charging, for roughly similar work. I began investigating what writers earn last year, with the 2019 Writer Pay Survey.

It was a good start. But I only asked about rates on a couple of types of writing in last year’s survey — articles and blog posts, mainly. Writers asked for more.

So this year’s survey of nearly 600 writers asks more questions, about case studies, white papers, email marketing, and more. You can grab a downloadable version of all the data and my takeaways at the bottom of this post.

What are freelance writing rates these days? Are rates getting better or worse? Short answer: Some of each.

But I see lots of reasons for optimism in this year’s survey. In reviewing it, I decided it would be most useful to spotlight data from writers who earn primarily from freelancing — it represents 60%-100% of their income.

All the stats shown below are for writers in this more full-time freelancing category. Let’s dig into the data:

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Staffing Agencies for Freelance Writers: 7 Insider Tips from a Recruiter

Staffing Agencies: Insider Tips to Get Freelance Work. Makealivingwriting.com

Can you find freelance work with staffing agencies?

Definitely. But you need to know what happens behind the scenes at a staffing agency when a recruiter is trying to find a writer for their client.

Here’s what usually happens. A staffing agency recruiter posts a contract job for a writer to work for one of their clients that looks something like this:

“Our client needs a copywriter who’s a natural at writing copy that’s on brand, fun, helpful, and authentic for a major company.”

Looks like a perfect writing gig for a solid client, right? So you fill out a few details online and click send. Hundreds or maybe even thousands of writers do the same thing. One writer gets the gig, and it’s not you. You never hear back.

Sound familiar? If you want to connect with staffing agencies to find freelance work, there’s something you need to know…that kind of lazy-ass marketing will fail you almost every time.

So what’s the secret to landing freelance work with staffing agencies? We talked to a veteran copywriter and staffing agency recruiter to find out…

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Writing Copy That Sizzles: 6 Ways to Serve Clients Tasty Content

Writing Copy That Sizzles for Clients. Makealivingwriting.com

Ever wonder what the secret is to writing copy that sizzles?

You know, the kind of content that turns that one-off assignment into a long-term client.

When you take on a copywriting assignment, you have to connect with your client’s target market. Get this right, and you’ll be a lot more likely to convert readers into subscribers, and subscribers into buyers.

Think of it like grilling the perfect burger with just the right amount of seasoning and cooking time. Do it right, and your clients will be satisfied, and their audience will be hungry for more.

So what’s the secret sauce to writing copy that sizzles?

It starts before you write a single word. The prep-work you put in to serve your clients tasty copy can make all the difference between bland and boring or mouth-watering and delicious.

Want to learn how to write copy that sizzles? Here are six ways to crush your next copywriting assignment:

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Use the Grandma Method to Win at Video Script Writing

The Grandma Method for Video Script Writing. Makealivingwriting.com

You’ve probably watched a million how-to tutorials, explainer videos, and commercials to promote a product or service. But did you know you can make money doing video script writing?

If you’re a quick thinker who loves coming up with new ideas, video script writing might be perfect for you.

From TV commercials to training videos to Internet marketing spots, opportunities are growing in this diverse, well-paying niche.

But if you haven’t done this type of writing before, you probably have a bunch of questions, like:

  • What kind of clients need video script writing?
  • How do you find them?
  • And how do you write a video script your grandma could understand, and still motivate, persuade, and educate a client’s target audience?

We caught up with two creatives and video script writing pros to get the answers. Here’s what you need to know:

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Freelance Copywriter Mistakes: 3 Reasons You’re Not Landing High-Paying Clients

Are You Making Costly Freelance Copywriter Mistakes? Makealivingwriting.com

If you’re a new freelance copywriter, sending a quote can be fraught with anxiety:

  • Will they think you’re professional?
  • They know you’re not a content mill writer, don’t they?
  • Did you cover everything they mentioned?
  • Are they going to accept your price or try and haggle over freelance copywriter rates?
  • Did you include an upsell?
  • Are they going to say no?

It’s enough to distract you from your paying clients, get frustrated, and start second guessing your career as a freelance copywriter.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If any of these post-send fears sound familiar, you might be making some common, but easily fixable, freelance copywriter mistakes.

Here’s how to find out, fix the problem, and earn more:

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