Ok if you're here, it's to answer the only TRUE question: how much do copywriters make?
And if you want to become a copywriter, this question is particularly important.
I'm gonna tell you right now but before that let me clarify something.
There are different types of copywriting jobs : from writing email sequences, to blog posts, to text in UIs, to articles for the web...
All those jobs pay well. But they do not pay insanely well.
Those are what I call "Commodity Jobs". You'll always be seen as a cost by your client.
Instead, you should be seen as an investment opportunity.
That's why in the following I'll be only talking about copywriters that write sales pages or (or other kinds of directly converting pieces of texts) so that they can have a real impact on their client's revenues.
Sorry for the others, but you'll never get rich by writing a blog post.
That being said, let's see together the different remuneration models for a copywriter.
Different ways to get paid for the same job
There are many ways you can charge your client. Some are more adapted than other for the incentives a copywriter needs to do its job the best possible way.
Ok so that's the common way of charging for a freelancing job. That guarantees you to have a clear idea how much you'll earn from the job and your client how much it'll cost him.
But that's not really adapted to copywriters in my opinion.
Indeed, let's say you agree with your client to get paid $1000 for a sales page.
No matter how effective your copy is, how many leads it converts, you'll be paid the same. Why would I go the extra-mile to really take the most out of it? Why would you spend hours iterating on it just to get 5% more in your conversion rate?
Yeah that's quite logical: you don't have any incentive to surpass yourself once the contract is signed.
What you can expect for a sales page:
→ $200-500 as a beginner copywriter
→ $1k-5k as an intermediate copywriter
→ $10k-100k as an advanced copywriter
It is another classic way of charging for a job. But I would discard it completely for a copywriting job since it wouldn't give you the right incentive to do your job.
Let me take an example. Let's say you estimate the job at 10 hours. And you agree with that with your client.
What's your interest? Do the job in 5 hours. See where I'm going. It is not in the interest of your client, neither in your interest long term.
What you can expect:
→ $30-80 / hour as a beginner copywriter
→ $100-200 / hour as an intermediate copywriter
→ $500-1000 / hour as an advanced copywriter
This one is specific to writing jobs. However it is more common for commodity-kind copywriting jobs.
Again. You see me coming. This does not give you the right incentives to do a decent job.
Indeed, everybody knows the length of a copy has almost no link with its effectiveness, let alone the effort you put in it.
What you can expect:
→ $0.01-0.10 / word as a beginner copywriter
→ $0.10-1 / word for good freelancers
You can also (and you should) negotiate a commission on the performance of your sales copy. It's the best way to align your interests with your client's ones.
This is for me the best way to get paid. If you're a good copywriter, you'll be confident enough to get paid mostly with a variable commission. If you're rather beginner you won't be confident your copy will make money so you'll probably prefer other remuneration models.
What you can expect:
→ 1-5% as a junior copywriter
→ 10-20% as a senior copywriter
→ up to 50% as a top copywriter
What's the perfect compensation model?
The compensation model that aligns best the interests of the client and the copywriter is a mix of a fixed price and royalties. Having a fixed price is important so the copywriter secures at least a few bucks for its work, even if the copy does not generate much. This is especially important for beginner copywriters that may not have the treasury to not get paid for a few months or just don't have enough confidence in their copywriting skills yet.
→ Junior: $500 + 1-5%
→ Senior: $1000 + 10-20%
→ Cream of the cream copywriter with proven track record: $10k + 25-50%
Of course you should ask more in fixed if you're not confident in the ability of your client to send qualified leads on your copy or just if you have any doubt in its offer / market. On the opposite, if you're pretty confident your client's offer will be easy to sell, because he already has a strong relationship with its leads or because he has a great offer, you can negotiate more royalties.