Episode 33: 9 Types of Copywriters You Want to Become
Episode 33 identifies and explains the jobs of the nine most lucrative and easily started copywriting careers. Do you want to be a copywriter? Listen here to find out which direction to go.
You can listen to the episode right here. The transcription is below the player. Feel free to add your comments using the comment section below.
Episode 33 Transcript
Note: Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and humans, as such, it may contain errors. Please, double-check the audio file before quoting anything from this page.
00:00 [JT Pledger] Good Morning, kids! In episode 33 I want to switch gears and talk about copywriting. We are going to discuss the nine major types of copywriting to help you decide where you want to focus your talents and abilities. This way you can start your copywriting career on the right foot. Stick around, this is going to be interesting!
00:43 [JT] Copywriting isn’t a new thing, but there are a lot of you out there that haven’t heard of it or don’t quite understand what it is. Let’s be honest, there are copywriters out there that can’t even define what they do. When someone asks “What do you do for a living?” some of you will find it difficult to answer anything beyond “I am a copywriter,” or “I get paid to write words.”
01:10 Today we are going to cover the nine major types of copywriting. Hopefully, this will help you not only be able to decide which direction you want to pursue but will help you also define the jobs to others.
What is Copywriting and Why Should You Care?
01:25 Now, before we get started you need to understand that copywriting is an umbrella term. It covers a myriad of different job sets and skills. While anyone under the umbrella can say they are a copywriter, the truth of the matter is that it is more like a professional sports team. Comparing it to the NFL, for example, Copywriting is the NFL, the sub-types of the copywriter are the teams, and your specific niche or ability is like a position player.
02:03 So while Adam Thielen can say he works for the NFL, technically he is a wide receiver, who works under the Minnesota Vikings who is under the NFL umbrella. Similarly, you might be able to say you are a microcopy creator for websites, which falls under the content creation group of the copywriting umbrella.
02:27 Make sense? Let’s move on then. Since there are so many different sub-groups, niches, and specialties of a copywriter, we won’t be able to cover them all here. Literally, we could talk back and forth non-stop for days just on the sub-groups of copywriting.
02:48 However, I have made it easier for you. This podcast will cover the nine types of copywriter that are the most well-known, lucrative and easiest to get into (even with no degrees or experience!).
Group 1: Ghostwriters
03:04 The first group I will cover is the ghostwriter. Ghostwriters are a special breed of copywriters because they can write pretty much anything, you just never know about it. A ghostwriter is someone who writes content for someone else and after payment, they no longer own the rights to the content and cannot claim it as their own.
03:32 Usually this is the first step of a new copywriting career, and there are many who stay here and do very well. A ghostwriter is responsible for most of the blogs, articles and web pages that you see every day. If you have ever looked for a blog post about the “best of something” or a product review, the chances are high that it was written by a ghostwriter.
04:02 Ghostwriters get zero credit for their work, but as such, they can charge more for their services. Ghostwriters write eBooks, novels, whitepapers, blog posts, and articles. Usually, these copywriters will charge by the word and the best of the best can get as much as a full dollar or two per word! If you hone your skills as a ghostwriter you can easily make $400 to $600 for a blog post that is about 2000 words long. Ghostwriting a novel can fetch $10,000 or more, too.
04:45 The best part is that as a ghostwriter, you have the easiest job to explain. You can tell people that you are a ghostwriter and most will understand. You can also say you write novels, articles or simply “I create the content you see online every day, and people pay me to put it there.”
Group 2: Blog Writers
05:07 The second group follows closely on the heels of the ghostwriter and that is the blog writer. The primary difference here is that the blog writer has a byline. These are seen on blogs and articles around the web where you go through the whole post and at the bottom is a little picture of the author with a short bio and a link to their site or Twitter page.
05:32 Blog writers maintain the rights to their content after it is published, and through the byline, they get new customers, notoriety and sometimes special offers. When I was a blog writer, for example, I would get emails from business asking me to write for them (some even send free products to use and review). Because the blog writer keeps their name on the work, they generally don’t get to charge as much.
06:04 However, it is a lucrative gig if you do well enough. Blog writers don’t just write blogs, either. They create all manner of words through articles, web pages, of course blogs, and other content. Like the ghostwriter, a blog writer gig is easy to get into, can pay pretty well, and is easy to explain to others.
Group 3: Journalist Copywriter
06:32 Both the ghostwriter and the blog writer fall under a larger umbrella called the journalist copywriter. As the name implies, the journalist copywriter creates news-article style content. This can be an article or a blog post, it can even be a newspaper or magazine spread.
06:54 What is interesting to think about is that every blog writer is a journalist copywriter, but not every journalist copywriter is a blog writer. Journalist copywriters do a lot of content work. As you can imagine, the pay scale here varies greatly (which is why it is usually broken down even further to other sub-groups).
07:19 A journalist copywriter may or may not have a byline, but they are often the ones found writing for the Huffington Post, Time magazine and your local newspaper. Freelance writers can get gigs for big publications if their writing is on point and they have a firm grasp of the topic needed. The big difference here is that journalist copywriters generally charge by the project, not by the word count. You also get to put where you have written on your website like a bragging banner of accomplishments.
Group 4: Content Creators
08:00 The fourth group of copywriters are known as content creators. Again, this is a broad category or sub-group that can envelope different copywriters from other groups. Basically, a content creator is a copywriter that takes a blank page and fills it with words. This page can be a blog post, a web site page or even a billboard.
08:23 Content creators are more likely to be working on filling niche sites with review and comparison articles, though they are quite often fond of heading up the building of brand new websites. Depending on your specialty, you can come up with brand new web pages or add to existing blogs.
08:43 When a copywriter is asked (or decides for themselves) to niche down to a specific topic or identity, a content creator is born. For those of you that want to write articles for home automation, for example, are content creators. Your write only one type of article, or blog or web page copy dealing with a particular sub-set of content.
09:10 Of course, based on your niche, or specialty, as well as the type of content you provide, your fees and prices will vary greatly. However, you get to tell people exactly what you write, and who you write it for.
Group 5: Social Media Copywriters
09:30 Social media copywriters tend to stick to one thing and they do it well. Writing posts for Facebook pages, groups or running ads on social media takes a certain knowledge and you must have visible results. A social media copywriter is hard to come by and they get to charge high rates for their specialized services.
09:55 In the age where social media is king, finding a social media manager or content creator for your social media page is often met with high prices. However, you get monthly, if not weekly results. So for a social media copywriter to keep their job, they have to perform at a constant high level.
10:18 It helps to be a master at the most popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. However, if you can provide unmatched service through a single social outlet, you can bring in quite a bit of cash.
Group 6: SEO Copywriters
10:38 Another specialized group of copywriters are the SEO copywriters. These are the guys and gals that run through existing copy and spruce it up to make it better for SEO rankings. Generally, though not always, an SEO copywriter is brought in to a blog or article-driven website that isn’t ranking well. They will be tasked with performing SEO upgrades to the blog posts and articles already on site to make them rank for specific keywords.
11:14 With affiliate marketing and niche sites becoming more and more popular, an SEO copywriter is at the point where they can set their own rates, and get them. As long as the client can see an improvement in rankings, click-through, and sales, the SEO copywriter is seen as a god. The job isn’t very flattering, you won’t have your name all over the place, but if you are good at what you do, you can make quite a living with SEO right now.
Group 7: White paper Copywriters
11:45 What about the white paper writer? These copywriters are the unsung heroes of the corporate world. Because a white paper is such a specialized field, it takes a certain type of copywriter to perform well. As such, the money draws in a lot of people trying to become a white paper copywriter, but the actual job turns a lot more of them away.
12:10 A white paper is a reusable, free resource that once you have written one, it can stick around for years. Because of this fact, repeat business isn’t generally warranted. However, you may be asked to come back in a year to provide updates to the white paper you already wrote.
12:35 Another benefit to being a white paper copywriter is the money. A small, 10-page white paper can bring the writer between 3000 and 10,000 bucks. And if you think about it, those 10 pages only have a total of about 2500 words, sometimes less. White paper writing is an exact science, though, and if you don’t know what you are doing, or turn in something less than stellar, you can quickly be fired. And most of the time without payment for the work you have already done.
Group 8: Microcopy Copywriters
13:12 Next we have the microcopy copywriter. These guys are amazing at their craft and they know human psychology better than anyone. If you have a sales page and you haven’t hired a microcopy copywriter, you are missing sales. It is that simple.
13:33 What is a microcopy writer? These are the copywriters that make your call to action stand out. They change the font from Georgia to Helvetica because they know it increases the likelihood of someone clicking on the button by 12 percent. These are the copy geniuses that make your headers blue and your clickable button say “Sign me up” instead of “Sign up now.”
14:04 A microcopy copywriter fixes copy so that it attracts attention and goes subliminal to get visitors to click to read more, click to buy now, or simply to stay on the page longer. Because as we all know, the longer they listen; the sweeter the pitch.
Group 9: Advertising Copywriters
14:24 Finally, we have the advertising copywriter. If you know anything about copywriting at all, you know of these highly sought-after copywriters. The advertising world is full of copywriters and the best of the best make a killing doing what they do.
14:43 If you have ever seen the TV show Mad Men, then you know about advertising copywriters. They bring products and brands to the public. They make the public want the product, love the product and (for my side anyway), pride themselves on making the brand memorable.
15:03 If you have ever heard the names David Ogilvy, Eugene Schwartz, John Caples, or Joseph Sugarman, then you have heard of the advertising gurus; the godfathers of advertising. Ever since there have been brands and products to sell, there have been advertising copywriters making the products stand out, helping brands recover, and making unknown people famous.
15:30 Copywriting agencies are where you will find these gurus of the written word. However, there is a place for freelance advertising copywriters. You may get slush work from an over-worked agency, or you may fit the bill for a smaller brand that can’t afford the hundred’s of thousands it takes to hire the elite.
Love What You do, As I do
15:51 I moved to advertising copywriting about a year ago. Of the nine types of copywriting listed here, I have done them all. There are other types that I haven’t covered that I have also been a part of. I didn’t list them for a good reason. However, advertising copywriting, for me, is the best. And instead of telling people I am an advertising copywriter and getting those weird looks, I get to tell people that I bring new products to market. I make brands become name brands, and I connect the buyer with the seller using only my words.
16:31 It’s a good feeling. I am sure that as a copywriter, you will get your moments of good feelings, too. Perhaps this list of the nine types of copywriters has helped you identify what you want to focus on in your career. If it has, or even if it hasn’t, click on the link in the show notes to go to the page for this podcast episode. There, leave us all a comment letting us know what you think about copywriting, where you want to go with your career or any questions you may have. I’ll be sure to answer you.
17:07 Until next week, have fun; write words.