Fed Up of Churning Out Keyword Articles? Here’s How to Increase Your Copywriting Income…

The freelance copywriting life can sound enticing: choose your own hours, work from wherever you like and do what you enjoy. But the reality can be a lot different when you’re starting out. Many get stuck treading water in the dregs of keyword writing monotony, where $6 per article sounds generous.

Some think the answer lies in writers banding together and declaring ‘Enough is enough!’, and refusing to hit another key until the rate is improved. Well, they could be waiting a long time because Elance and Guru are flooded with writers undercutting each and fighting for whatever scraps are flung into the pit.

Yes, I might have dallied in the dark world of bidding websites in the past. But I was one of the lucky ones able to escape into a brighter place where clients don’t hire you based on price alone.

So, how can you break free and attract clients prepared to pay you a fair rate and enjoy all the perks of the freelance copywriting life?

Well, it comes down to basic economics. When a market is saturated, prices are driven down. So in the world of freelance writing, to improve your income you need to escape the markets that are saturated and write about specialist topics others can’t easily tackle.

Three ways of increasing your income

1. Be an ‘added value’ copywriter – What else can you offer clients beyond the words? Internet marketing expertise? Blogging advice? What about online PR, optimising WordPress or running a Twitter campaign? These are all skills you can easily teach yourself and will make you a greater asset to prospective clients (You can learn more about becoming an added value copywriter at Tom Chandler’s The Copywriter Underground).

2. Write copy that generates sales – Direct marketing copy pays well for a simple reason: the impact of your writing directly impacts sales. It can take many years of practice and building a reputation before you can command the big fees enjoyed by those in the upper echelons of the copywriting world. But writing direct mail should be a string added to your bow if you’re chasing after the big bucks.

3. Become an expert – When you’re stuck in a saturated market the best way of breaking free is to tackle topics that are too complicated, too difficult or too specialist for your wordprocessing rivals.

What topics do you already know a lot about? What are you interested in? Once you’ve decided on an area you want to specialise in you’ll need to become an expert.

Read about your chosen topic as much as you can. Attend conferences and network with people in that field. You can then start targeting relevant businesses and see if they need any promotional work doing (perhaps research this stage first).

Many companies with specialist products will be more interested in your experience and knowledge of their industry than whether you’ve got an English degree or write poetry. And they’ll be prepared to pay you for that experience too.

[This post was inspired by Bob Bly’s The 12 Undeniable Truths of Freelance Writing]

6 thoughts on “Fed Up of Churning Out Keyword Articles? Here’s How to Increase Your Copywriting Income…

  1. Your “3 ways” tip list concisely sums up the simple strategy for escaping the $6 an article trap.

  2. Thanks Bob. I’m honoured to have you comment on my humble blog.


  3. TC/Copywriter Underground

    Scheez, no love for the Value-Added world of the Underground?

    It’s clear the bottom has fallen out of the generic copywriter’s world. There are so many people willing to work for a pittance that simply operating as a word jockey isn’t the honorable way to make a living it used to be.

  4. Hi Tom,

    Sorry about that. Post updated to give credit where it’s due. There’s always plenty of love for the Underground around here.


  5. TC/Copywriter Underground

    Thanks! Writing SEO articles isn’t much of a career path, and I applaud you for suggesting a way out – even though it’s not the most popular stance you can take.

    Bly’s “12 truths” article was interesting; he nailed the concept that the flood of willing-to-work-for-free writers had turned portions of this profession into a hobby.

    And no professional really needs to play in that space.

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