Updated: Feb 4
You might be interested in becoming a copywriter or content creator. This could be due to your ambitions to build a career in marketing. Or maybe you want to live “the dream” as a digital nomad, working under a palm tree sipping on a cocktail in some exotic location.
But will you be able to pay the bills? It’s not easy to predict your future earnings, as numerous factors, such as location, experience, and your specific niche (if you have one!) will help determine your copywriter or content writer salary. To answer the “how much do copywriters make” question, here are some possible scenarios and real examples to help you estimate your earning potential.
Location and Experience
Two of the most significant things that will impact your content writer salary will be location and experience. A writer's salary in developing countries, such as many across Asia, Africa, and South America, won’t be the same as in the more “developed” regions like Western Europe and the USA.
According to the website PayScale, an average copywriter in Malaysia earns only about $9,853 USD a year but, according to Glassdoor, the average yearly salary for a copywriter in the USA is about $51,395 USD. Meanwhile, in New York, the average lies 12% higher at $57,385 USD, in Medford, Oregon, content writers earn just $44,095 USD, 14% less than the national average.
But your writing experience is what has the biggest impact on your paycheck. In Singapore, a junior copywriter earns around $24,764 USD a year, while for a senior copywriter this can climb up to $61,182 USD.
As a copywriter, you have a world of options available to you. You can choose to work for an agency, as an in-house writer for a company, or you could opt for more freedom by choosing the life of a freelancer -- either locally, or trying the digital nomad writer lifestyle on for size.
While working for an agency or one company can give you more security and learning opportunities, working for yourself allows you to determine your hourly rates and lets you work completely on your own terms.
Per Word Freelancer Rates
Freelancers often charge per word, and those rates vary greatly, starting from less than $ 0.01 USD to more than $1 USD per word. Charging per word could make more sense because a company can ask you to write an article of 800 words, and easily agree to the exact price beforehand. But again, rates per word vary as much as hourly rates. And to calculate how much you want to charge per word a writer, you’ll need to be able to guess the needed time per article. This will vary greatly on your experience and the writing subject.
The best way to calculate the price you want to charge is to determine how much you want to earn per hour. Imagine you want to earn $20 USD per hour and it takes you 3 hours to write a quality piece of 800 words. In that case, you want to earn $60 USD for the article. Dividing $60 USD by 800 words makes $0.075 USD per word. This is just to show you how you can calculate your rates. Always ask more so you can always drop your price if necessary and you might need more time than first expected.
The following table gives you the average rate per word depending on your experience
Level Fee per word (USD)
Entry level 0.03-0.06
In Demand Expert 0.21-0.30
Different Content Writing Niches
The type of subjects or writing you decide to specialise in can also impact significantly on your earnings. So how much do copywriters make in specific niches? Let’s have a look.
The standard rule to earning a better income is to simply follow the money! A copywriter in the finance world will be better paid than a content writer focusing on standard blog posts (with an average salary of $49,114 USD).
If you want to specialise in digital marketing, you’ll need to have some extra skills, but salaries average around $55,207 USD per year. If you’re interested in tech writing with topics such as blockchain, tech news, and software manuals, the average salary is higher, at $63,076 per year.
Rates for someone with expert skills in writing white papers can rise up to $180,000 a year. One of the reasons for this is because businesses can use white papers to grow their email lists and attract potential leads, which has a direct impact on their sales. In other words, if your writing is captivating and persuasive enough to get readers to reach into their pockets, you’ll make more money! This is in most types of sales writing. Other writing niches focusing on increasing a company’s sales include salespage copywriting and sales email copywriting (average salary of $52,616 USD per year). If you develop the right skills and can deliver proof of previous success to a company they could be offering you up to $5,000 USD or more to write a single landing sales page.
A writing career as a bid writer is another very lucrative writing career choice. You might never have heard of bid writing, but the concept is pretty straightforward. Imagine a big company such as Starbucks that is looking to cooperate with a travel agent for all their needed business trips. All interested travel agents will need to convince Starbucks they are best suited for the job. And therefore they might hire a bid writer to deliver a convincing piece of writing. To land a job as a bid writer, you do need more skills such as working with graphs and being able to analyse investor reports. But developing those skills will eventually pay off with salaries up to $76,000 USD.
As it is difficult to predict your exact future salary as a writer, the average content writer salary is probably around $51,395 USD (having calculated our own average for your convenience). It is absolutely possible to make a comfortable living out of writing, and if you are a senior writer in a lucrative niche (like sales copy), you might even do very well. That being said, to earn your spot and beat the competitive market, you’ll need to show excellent skills, be reliable and give the client exactly what they want.
If you want to earn big money, you’ll need to specialise in a niche, keep educating yourself on the latest writing trends (we talk about them a lot in our free Facebook group for remote writers -- you should join!), and gain extra skills that will increase the value of your writing such as SEO, email marketing, funnel marketing and writing salespage copy..
Since the Coronavirus has forced many businesses to focus on their online presence, the demand for good writers has increased (though of course, so has the number of people who call themselves ‘writers’). So this crisis might be your greatest opportunity to become a professional and well-paid copy or content writer -- just make sure that you develop the skills and experience you need to set yourself apart from the competition and be able to charge a rate that allows you to live comfortably.