Written By: Sara Jane
And why now’s the time to get started.
If you’re on the hunt for a sustainable side-hustle, you’ve probably seen the word “copywriting” over and over again. It’s not a job that’s widely talked about, so the industry remains a bit of a mystery to outsiders. But I’m here to invite you in – because the future of copywriting is so bright.
Whether you’re just looking for a side-hustle or a full-time career in the new economy (we’ll get to that in a minute), copywriting is the right solution for many. Because every business has some form of copywriting needs.
And, no, it has nothing to do with legal jargon. In reality, it has nothing to do with the legal world. You don’t need an advanced degree to make a living as a copywriter. You don’t need a degree at all.
All you need is the ability to write and learn. If you’re willing to invest the time to learn what copywriting is and how to write copy – you can be a copywriter.
What Is Copywriting?
Before you can decide if copywriting is the right side-hustle or career move for you, it is imperative you know what copywriting is.
Because it’s not just writing.
Copy is essentially writing that closes the sale. Ads, emails, landing pages, blogs, website pages, and more can all be forms of copy. (As a side note: copy is different from content, but in this article, we are going to focus on copy.)
Have you ever been interested in something and given your email to learn more about it? Then you started to receive daily or weekly emails from that company?
That’s called a marketing funnel. You were persuaded by a piece of copy to give your email. Then, your email was added to an email funnel, so they could nurture you (as a lead) into buying their product(s).
Maybe it worked. Maybe it didn’t. Maybe if they had better copy, you would have bought the product.
When a reader turns into a customer, we call that a “conversion.” So to create conversions, copy should be written in a very specific way.
Excellent copy does 4 things:
- Resonates with a reader’s pain points.
- Offers solutions to their pain or answers to their questions.
- Is written at a low-grade reading level (usually 6th-grade level or lower).
- Ends with a Call To Action (CTA) that encourages some form of conversion.
Each piece of copy has a goal. Sometimes that goal is to sell products. Other times, a conversion would be considered traffic to another site or page. And sometimes, a conversion would be someone signing up for an email list.
Basically, copywriting is the foundation of a solid content marketing plan. It’s an inbound marketing strategy that generates leads for companies, both organically and paid. These leads either become instant customers or they can be nurtured through email sequences into conversions. This really depends on the industry and product.
But no matter what industry or product the copy is about – copywriting is such an effective marketing strategy that copywriting has developed into its own industry.
What Is The Copywriting Industry?
Copywriting as an industry has been around for basically as long as people have been trying to get others to purchase products. Modern copy is written, but I could argue that a caveman convincing a cavewoman that she needs his rock on a stick to defend herself was a form of copy.
He recognized her fear for her safety and then offered her a solution. And he did it in a way that kept her listening while offering a deal she had to take.
Now, historically, there’s no evidence that this happened. But the important note is that the art of copy has always been around in some form or another.
Marketing departments and agencies often have a copywriter. But, in recent years, the new economy has exploded and the internet has made outsourcing copywriting much easier. Many companies prefer to outsource this task because it’s cheaper than having a full-time staff member. And some small businesses can’t afford to work with an agency either, but they’ve moved more online and need to improve their online presence.
So the future of copywriting shows an immense amount of growth for freelancers. There will be an uptick in copywriting needs for businesses – another reason copywriting is the perfect side-hustle.
The History of Copywriting
Are you concerned about choosing copywriting as a side-hustle or career because it feels like a new industry? Or that there’s no need for copywriting out there?
It may be a new concept to you, but copywriting is far from a new industry. And there’s a huge need for copywriting – and copywriters!
John E Powers is suggested to be the first freelance and full-time copywriter. And he lived from 1837-1919. This cemented the industry and led to the implementation of copywriting tactics in newspapers and publications from then on.
The concepts that form the foundation of copywriting existed long before. But after Powers’ career, it became a necessary position in marketing agencies and departments.
In recent years, though, many companies outsource this role.
The Current Copywriting Industry
Today’s copywriting industry is primarily made up of freelancers and self-employed individuals. A staggering 73% of copywriters identify as self-employed. Of that number, 67% classify themselves as freelancers and the remaining 6% are agency owners.
But every business needs a copywriter.
Literally every business has to put out copy. Whether it’s as simple as a flyer, or a more complex series of ads, or simply having words on their website. These are all forms of copy. And if they’re not done well, they will hurt the company.
Yet not every business employs a copywriter. Because it’s not feasible for many businesses to pay for a full-time copywriter as an employee. So sometimes businesses come to freelance copywriters because they know they need one (70% of marketers are investing in content marketing). Other times, a business just needs to be approached by a copywriter. And told they need help in that department.
And even if the business wanted to bring on a full-time copywriter, many writers don’t want to be an employee. Especially if they have a history as a freelancer. Freelancers realize the freedom in not being an employee. They have control over their time, income, choices, flexibility, clients, and more. They enjoy that freedom and don’t want to be employees.
Hence a large portion of the industry is made up of freelancers. There’s constant work from businesses all over the world.
And that will only continue to grow.
What Does the Future of Copywriting Look Like?
If 2020 has taught us one thing, it’s the importance of the digital world. People are working from home more every day and relying heavily on the internet. But people are also spending more time online for pleasure. During this pandemic, internet usage has increased by 70%.
This is groundbreaking for content marketers.
With copywriting as the cornerstone of a solid content marketing plan, this means every copywriters’ world is about to change.
The future of copywriting involves a huge uptick in demand. Clients and customers are consuming copy and content daily. And copywriters in the future will have a hard time keeping up. So the industry needs more copywriters.
We need more people to keep up with the growing demand for copy online.
Why Copywriting Is In Demand
In certain countries, ad spending has gone down in 2020, but, overall, the need for online advertisements has increased. While media buyers plan to lower budgets for TV advertisements and other more traditional marketing tactics, businesses are spending more on their online presence.
Because that’s where the people are. But more than that, they require a different form of marketing in this day and age. People are no longer falling for traditional marketing tactics.
Think about it. When was the last time you watched a TV commercial? The last Superbowl? This form of traditional marketing is falling behind.
One of my favorite marketing professors worked as a media buyer and advertiser, and she showed us the cost of placing ads on local stations. It was staggering. Not to mention the ads had to be designed to be understood while being watched in fast-forward. This is why the most expensive slots were the first and last advertisements because those are the only two ads people really see any part of.
But, even then, these traditional marketing tactics only work on certain demographics. There’s a reason the future of copywriting is so bright: it’s the marketing tool of the future.
Copywriting as the Marketing Tool of the Future
People don’t respond to overtly sales-y tactics anymore. They just don’t.
The younger generations hate knowing that they’re being sold to. But they love to buy.
They love to buy from companies that are in alignment with their values.
Think about the last time you bought a car or a house. You had to work with a salesman or realtor, right? Did you enjoy it? There’s a reason these industries are notorious for being difficult to deal with.
Not all car salesmen or realtors are obnoxious, but most consumers at this point know when they’re being sold to. They know what they want. And they don’t want to be upsold. They just want to make the purchase they need with an authentic and honest person.
And that’s the key: authenticity and honesty.
There’s a lot of false information out there. It’s no secret the internet has propagated false information about pretty much every topic. After all, anyone can publish a website. It’s the reason college and high school students literally take classes on how to find credible sources. And every day there seems to be a new scandal with a business that leaves customers running for the hills.
Because they feel lied to.
People want to work with a brand that’s honest and authentic. They want a relationship with the brands they work with. And they want information.
They don’t want to just be sold a product, they want to be proud of where they shop. They want to support businesses that support something other than themselves.
Thus, content marketing enters the scene.
And with content marketing comes copywriting.
If brands want to reach people where they are and build a relationship with them to increase sales – they need a copywriter. And to afford a copywriter, they may need to venture into the new economy.
The Future of Copywriting in the New Economy
The new economy is where people work from gig to gig. This sounds super unstable and nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. You can definitely learn how to make a stable, steady income in this new economy without scrambling for small jobs here and there.
Is that why you’re questioning choosing copywriting as your gig? The fear of stability?
As someone who left a full-time job for a career in the new economy as a copywriter, I get it. But the future of copywriting is bright.
It’s predicted that over half the US population will take up freelance work by the end of 2020. That’s not surprising with the current economic situation.
So let me ask you, how much more comfortable would you be knowing your income is tied to more than one source?
This will be the thought process of many. With two major economic collapses in just twelve years, people will be tired of having their income tied to only one source. And with the explosion of internet use, people will find it easier to become a freelancer.
Sure, there’s a lack of stability in some ways for freelancers. But there’s a ton of demand. You just need to get started looking for it.
How Can You Get Started in the Copywriting Industry?
Over the coming years, we’ll need more copywriters. We’ll need to work hard to keep up with the demand for quality content online. This will be critical in both paid and organic marketing plans.
So now is the time to jump into the copywriting industry.
Because once you get started, you may have so much demand that you just can’t manage life with a full-time job, and a prospering copywriting business.
Oh, and you won’t be making pennies. Freelancers regularly make 5- and 6- figure incomes.
So what can you do to get started as a copywriter?
- Learn how to write copy. This is super crucial. Even if you consider yourself a good writer, being a good copywriter is different.
- Learn how to start (and run) a business. You won’t be an employee in this endeavor – you’ll be an outside agency, contractor, or freelancer. This will impact how you are paid and your taxes. You will be a business owner, so you need to learn how to navigate that.
- Learn how to land clients. If you’re going to make this work, you need to know where to find potential clients and pitch to them.
- Learn how to make your income stable. There’s risk in being an entrepreneur and the new economy can have fluctuations. But you can make your income regular and predictable so you aren’t living in a state of anxiety about paying your bills.
It’s a lot to learn. But the demand for copywriting is there, so it’s worth investing in yourself. It’s worth setting yourself up for a career in an industry that every business needs.
Are You Ready?
This all may seem overwhelming, exciting, and stressful – that’s ok. Starting something new and jumping into the unknown is scary. But you don’t have to do this alone. And arguably, you shouldn’t do this alone. Copywriting is an established industry and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
There are so many tools to help you get started, grow, and improve along your copywriting journey. Write Your Way To Freedom will give you all these tools (and more!) to help you succeed as a copywriter.
Because the future of copywriting is bright – and so is yours.