Are the rumors true? Do copywriters really just tap away at their keyboards, write sales letters, and haul in six-figure incomes?
If you just randomly browse articles and videos about copywriting this is what it seems like.
But the truth is, it’s not that easy.
Don’t get me wrong...copywriting is an AWESOME career. But there’s a lot more involved than simply crafting clever words and making bank.
So, if you’ve been getting conflicting ideas and want to know once and for all what exactly does a copywriter do...
...I’m about to give it to you straight.
Let’s dig into what a typical copywriter actually does.
What Exactly Does a Copywriter Do?
You’d think a copywriter spends the majority of the day writing stuff like:
- Writing Google ads
- Writing a billboard ad
- Writing press releases
- Writing social media ads
- Writing product descriptions
- Writing a script for cold calls
- Writing a TV or radio ad script
- Writing a letter asking for a donation
- Creating a direct mail flyer to send out
- Writing a sales page selling an online course
- Making a brochure to use in sales presentations
- Creating a video script promoting a new exercise program
- Creating an email autoresponder promoting different products
- Mocking up a landing page convincing readers to subscribe to a newsletter
If it leads down the path to a sale, it’s copywriting.
But writing is only one piece of the puzzle (especially for freelance copywriters).
As a copywriter, here’s what you would do each day...
#1.) Market your services
Freelance copywriters are constantly marketing themselves (or at least, they should be).
As a freelancer, YOU are responsible for finding your own work. So if you want to avoid a dry pipeline and being stuck in the feast-and-famine cycle, you need to dedicate time to marketing your services.
This usually means…
- Applying to job boards
- Reaching out to past clients
- Attending networking events
- Cold emailing potential clients
- Connecting with businesses on LinkedIn
- Building relationships with other writers and freelancers
- Keeping an up-to-date portfolio
- Perhaps starting your own blog or writing content for people to read
The time you spend marketing is UNPAID. That means you have to somehow make up for it in the rates you charge.
#2.) Sell your services
If you market yourself well, you’ll eventually find people who raise their hands and show interest in your services.
Now you have to close them.
This usually involves a phone call, video chat, or in-person meeting. If you’re like many introverted copywriters (including myself), this is the sucky part.
The good news is, the more you do it, the more comfortable you get.
In-house copywriters (i.e. copywriters who work as employees of a company) don’t have to worry about marketing themselves or landing new projects. They just show up to work and start working on whatever project plops on their desk.
If you want the freedom of a freelancer but hate closing deals, your best bet is to look for “retainer clients”—companies that need ongoing help (vs. one-off projects).
#3.) Actually writing, creating, and researching.
The best copywriters spend just as much time researching as they do writing (if not more).
Depending on the project, this could involve...
- Interviewing the owner and employees
- Interviewing customers for case studies and testimonials
- Scouring scientific research for data to back up your arguments
- Studying the product to learn how it works and uncover a unique angle
- Studying product reviews to learn the market’s language and pain points
- Digging through past marketing material to find what works and what doesn’t
Basically, before you write a word of copy, you want to know both the PRODUCT and the MARKET inside and out.
The more familiar you are with the market to begin with, the easier this will be (one of the advantages of choosing a niche you’re already an expert in).
If you've been hired to write a blog post on a subject you know very well...this might take a few minutes to a few hours.
If you are writing a long sales page about a topic you know nothing about, this might take you many hours or days to fully complete.
Then of course at some point you have to do the actual writing.
In my experience just getting words onto the page is pretty easy, but the bulk of time spent is cleaning up, editing, and organizing those words in the proper format like a puzzle.
#4.) Managing your business
If you freelance, you’re not only a copywriter, you’re also a BUSINESS OWNER.
And business owners wear a lot of hats...
Once you reach a certain point, a lot of this can be outsourced. But when you’re just starting out, plan to spend a good chunk of time on administrative tasks.
The Day in the Life of a Copywriter:
The life of a freelance copywriter is pretty flexible and varies from person to person. Most copywriters try to batch their work on different days of the week (as you’ll see in a sec). But for the sake of this example, here’s what the day in the life of a copywriter might look like without batching.
The Week in the Life of a Copywriter:
The awesome thing about being a freelance copywriter is you have complete control over your time. That said, most copywriters try to follow a self-imposed weekly schedule to maximize productivity.
Here’s how the copywriters here at Copywriting Course spend each week:
Is Copywriting Right For You?
As you can see, becoming a copywriter is a lot different than most people expect.
Copywriters do WAY more than just write.
They also spend a huge chunk of their time...
- Marketing themselves
- Meeting with clients
- Doing research for projects
- Taking care of business administration tasks
Successful copywriters also spend time sharpening their skills.
They read books, learn about psychology, study successful ads, and most importantly…
They get feedback on their writing by other professional copywriters.
Copy critiques are one of the fastest ways to build your copywriting skills (and Copywriting Course members get UNLIMITED copy critiques).
If copywriting sounds like an interesting career to you, come join us inside the Copywriting Course.
We’ll show you exactly how to get your copywriting business off the ground.
Hope this helps you better understand the life of a copywriter!