Common questions: What the heck is copywriting? – by Copley Sutton


“So what do you do for a living?” It’s a question we’ve all heard asked. And if you know anything about wordplay, you know that the word ‘copywriting’ is a tricky one?

“Oh, so like copyright music?” someone might ask.

“Errr… no. That’s spelt very differently.” And so the conversation goes.

If you are a copywriter, you’ve DEFINITELY had this discussion with someone before. And if you’ve ever spoken to a copywriter, you’ve been on the other end of a very confusing conversation.

So what’s the best way to define copywriting?


Two vague words

The best way to logically explain what copywriting is, is to analyse both words this term is made up of.

‘Copy’ refers to content. These are the actual words that get displayed on… well, anything. Flyers, catalogues, websites, billboards, TV ads, and even the content you hear on radio ads.

‘Writing’ is exactly that. Not to be confused with ‘righting’ (a legal term), we’re talking about someone who very simply writes copy. A copywriter! Get it?


So what do copywriters do?

The term ‘copywriter’ is mostly associated with advertising. Before the internet, copywriters would write the scripts, slogans and dialogues for adverts.

But today, copywriting has exploded into so much more. Why? Because the internet is ALL about marketing. Blogs, websites, social media… you name it! It’s all geared at getting exposure for companies. People love being on the internet, and since so much on the internet is free, it’s the perfect place to advertise.


What are freelance copywriters and how much do they earn?

There are some really great international platforms for freelance copywriters. These platforms connect clients and freelancers and offer safe payment gateways for both parties. Freelance copywriters are lucky enough to work from anywhere in the world and will usually get paid in US dollars—the reserve currency.

So how much do freelance copywriters generally earn? There’s no definite answer to this question. An entry level freelance writer will often start off with basic blogging. If you were blogging for a client, you would typically charge per 100 words—and $1 per 100 words is pretty much an entry level rate.

But as your experience grows—and you start taking on different types of projects—your rate will go up. And when it comes to the ‘salesy’, marketing side of copywriting, you can charge very hefty rates for all the brain work and creativity that goes into persuasive copy.


So there you have it. Copywriters love talking about their jobs. The next time someone tells you they’re a copywriter, you’ll know what they mean and you can ask them more about it. You’re welcome!