How to Become a Copywriter in 2024 (EVERYTHING You Need to Know)

By Sean Ogle •  Updated: 06/12/24 •  19 min read

So you want to learn how to become a copywriter.

But, you keep running into one big roadblock — you don’t know how to get started with copywriting.

And then, there’s that other matter of experience.

You don’t have any.

Isn’t that kind of a big deal when it comes to getting copywriting jobs?

Well, yes and no.

Just like any job out there, experience matters. But that doesn’t mean that you’re going to be stuck in a never-ending cycle of trying to figure things out. You can get started as a copywriter, even without experience.

Consider this post a step-by-step guide. By the end, you’ll learn what is copywriting and how to become a copywriter.

Let’s do this.

Is video more your thing? See the video version right here. I’m pretty proud of this one 🙂

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is the art of using persuasive words to get someone to take an action. Examples are buying a product, clicking an ad, or subscribing to a mailing list.

It’s a type of freelance writing.

Ok, that makes sense.

But what does a copywriter do?

A copywriter sells with words. And there are tons of ways to do it.

Most people think writing copy is just long-form sales pages like the image you see below:

lr sales page

Copywriting in action! Here’s an example of a Location Rebel sales page headline.

But that’s only one kind of copywriting. There are actually tons of different ways a freelance copywriter gets paid to write copy, including:

A good copywriter can come in and improve the number of people who take action (buying, clicking, subscribing).

Here’s an example:

Let’s say a brand has a sales page, and they get 1 out of every 100 people who land on it to buy.

They want to make more money, so they hire a copywriter to redo the sales page. With this new page, now 5 out of every 100 people who land on it buy. The brand is thrilled because now, they’re making more money, all due to your words.

Why Should You Learn How to Become a Copywriter?

Companies want people to buy stuff, and using persuasive copy is a great way to help make that happen.

Even if you’re doing something as simple as writing an Instagram caption, the more persuasive your content, the better off you’re going be in the long run.

Here are a few of my biggest reasons for wanting to learn copywriting:

  1. Get more freelance copywriting clients. Every pitch or letter of introduction you make is a form of copywriting. Want to get more clients? Get better at writing cold emails.
  2. It will help you create an email list. An email list is your most valuable asset as a business owner. And how do you get people on your list? You need to create a persuasive and appealing offer on your landing page or opt-in box.
  3. Benefits in your personal life. Being able to persuade friends and family to see things your way can have a powerful impact on how things evolve in your life.
  4. Helps you become a better thinker. When you’re writing copy, you need to think through what you’re trying to accomplish with it. The more you do it? The better and more effective your planning becomes.
  5. It’s essentially like having a personal ATM. I’ve said it over and over before on this blog, if you’re a good copywriter, you’ll never hurt for money. Whether it’s creating your own products, making passive income through affiliate marketing, or landing copywriting jobs as a freelancer, there will always be a way to monetize those skills.

You can apply copywriting skills to anything you write, from emails to blog posts. The better and more persuasive of a writer you are, the more opportunities you’re going to have for your writing career.

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How Do You Get Work as a Copywriter?

Ok, so how do you become a freelance copywriter without experience? You get some! There are a couple of ways to do it.

Work For a Company

You’re employed full-time for one company, and you write copy for them. This is called ‘working in-house.’

And before you get caught up on not wanting a 9 to 5, let’s think this through. Working as a copywriter for a company is a great way to learn the ropes quickly and do projects with some of the big-name brands in your niche.

It also helps to have a mentor or a boss who can give you a lot of one on one copywriting advice. Plus, the stable paycheck doesn’t hurt!

Don’t worry; there are plenty of chances to work remotely today and be a copywriter from home, so you don’t have to sit in an office if you don’t want to.

So, it’s an option. You can plan on sticking to it for a year or two and then moving out on your own. Plenty of people do that.

Work With an Agency

If you want to learn how to get into copywriting, working with an agency is a great place to start.

You connect with a marketing agency (sending LOIs is a great way to do it), and they send clients your way.

The big positives are you don’t have to constantly be out on the hunt for new clients. The agency does all the heavy lifting when it comes to the marketing side of things. You just need to focus on writing copy.

The agency acts as a go-between for you. Generally, the person you’re working with on the agency side reviews your work and gives you some tips and advice on how to change things or make them better. So you can still get a learning experience that way too.

The cons are you will likely get paid less than you would if you connected with the client directly. And a lot of agencies focus on paying by the hour, so if you’re a fast writer, you could actually lose out.

But, for new copywriters getting started, it’s a really good idea to at least send an LOI to a few local marketing agencies.

Want to look for agencies?

Start with Google. Just search for “marketing agency” + your location.

But we’ve found a couple of lists to help get you started:

Work as a Freelance Copywriter

As a freelance copywriter, you work for yourself. That means you’re responsible for everything — the marketing and client side of your copywriting business.

If you’re going to go this route (with a bit of agency copywriting sprinkled in probably), it’s a good idea to think about what you want to do in terms of a niche.

It was mentioned before, but it’s worth mentioning again.

A lot of copywriters have succeeded by not just defining one niche but actually looking at things through multiple lenses. That includes both what kind of copywriter you want to be and also what niche you want to focus in

Think of it like this. As a copywriter, you will:

Here are a few examples of freelance copywriters that have niched down:

Also, think about industries too. It’s never a bad idea to start with what you know because so much of good copy is tied to hitting emotional responses.

It’s this deep knowledge of golf that has made me successful both with my golf niche site and as a golf copywriter.

When you’re able to lock on to both a niche and an industry, you’re going to be in a really good position to join the ranks of successful copywriters (keep reading for more on that).

What is a Copywriter’s Salary

Another big reason why people start on a copywriting career?

The money.

Copywriter salaries can vary. Some earn six figures on a limited schedule, where they pick and choose exactly which projects they want to work on. When you’re getting paid $5,000 or $10,000 a pop for a project, you don’t have to take on more than one or two a month to get the lifestyle you want.

Sounds like living the dream, right?

Before you start packing your bags to move to your favorite tropical island, let’s look at what you can expect (on average) to earn in each of the working situations described above.

According to PayScale, the median in-house copywriter salary at a company is about $55,000 a year.

copywriter salary

Most agencies usually pay freelancers by the hour.

So, you could realistically expect to see anywhere from $25 an hour on the low end to over $100 an hour for highly skilled copywriters. It’s not unreasonable to come into an agency and get around $50 an hour, even as someone new.

When it comes to the earnings of copywriters who freelance on their own, it’s harder to nail down an exact number.

Most freelance copywriters charge on a per-project rate, so it could be $50 for an email or $500 for an about page, or $5,000 for a sales page.

Learn how to set your writing rates here.

I personally know many six-figure copywriters, so it’s not all that rare. But, there are also brand new copywriters who make $25,000 a year while still working a full-time job and doing copywriting as a side hustle.

The range can go well upwards of $100,000 and even $300,000 for really good freelance copywriters, and some of the serious pros can make in the millions.

Crazy, right?

So, even if you’re just starting out and have a knack for being a copywriter, you have a ton of potential.

And the more work you put into honing your copy and learning a bit about the psychology of people and why they buy, the better.

How to Become a Copywriter with No Experience

Ok, now let’s get into how to become a copywriter, even with no copywriting experience.

Copywriting is a hands-on type of skill — you actually have to practice to get good. No matter how much raw talent you might think you have, if you don’t actively spend time learning about copywriting and writing out copy, you’re never going to get to that top level.

The best copywriters are really into two main things: studying and writing.

When it comes to learning about copy, there’s a ton of information out there.

And that goes even beyond the technical aspects, like how to write a sales page or how to come up with good headlines, it can get pretty deep into looking at how people think, the psychological aspects of persuasion.

If I were a beginner copywriter today, this is the path I’d take.

Step 1). Learn Copywriting From the All-Time Greats

The first step to building your copywriting career is to study top copywriters.

These are people like David Ogilvy, Joe Sugarman, Gary Halbert, Dan Kennedy, Robert Collier, Victor Schwab, and Eugene Schwartz.

These guys have all written really famous ads that have made them (and the brands they worked for) a lot of money. But they also took a traditional approach to copy, and that’s something you can learn from as you move forward.

So, spend a bit of time studying how great copywriters write copy.

A lot of people start by checking out the Gary Halbert Newsletter.

gary halbert newsletter

Yes, it looks this old school, but for many professional copywriters, these newsletters are a treasure trove of amazing copywriting ideas, styles, and techniques.

Just look at the headlines in these newsletters. Very clickable, right?

Then there are the ‘must read’ copywriting books.

Here are a few of them:

I’d start by picking two of them. People fall into the trap of needing to read every book about copywriting.

But learning is only part of the process.

So pick two copywriting books, and you’re going to understand exactly what a copywriter does and have a really solid foundation to start copywriting.

Step 2). Learn Some Human Psychology

The other big part of understanding copywriting is human psychology.

The best copywriters have a really deep understanding of feelings and motivations around why people buy.

You have such a limited time to really grab people’s attention today. We’re all way too distracted, so anything you can do that packs a punch right from the start is going to set you ahead of the pack.

You can see in example, after example, how psychology plays into understanding how to write compelling copy.

So learning a bit about persuasive writing skills is something else that is going to take you a long way.

A great place to start is Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini.

A lot of really good modern copywriters cite this book as one of the reasons why they write winning copy.

Step 3). Learn by Writing Copy (by hand)

Ok, enough reading. Time to start doing.

Sitting down and writing is essential to becoming a copywriter.

A lot of people skip this part. You need to write copy before you can apply for copywriting jobs.

And here’s another thing you should do.

Write out copy by hand.

Yea sounds weird. But it works.

The best way to do that is with CopyHour.

With CopyHour, you’ll get daily assignments. The rules are simple. You open up the email and copy it by hand.

Soon your inbox will be filled with stuff like this:

copyhour emails

Here’s an example:

copyhour example

Sitting down and writing something like this out by hand (distraction-free) is going to sink serious copywriting skills into your brain.

You’re going to pick up on techniques and learn a ton from doing this.

Here are some other copywriting exercises that will help you learn the craft of copywriting quickly:

Step 4). Create a Copywriting Portfolio

One very important thing to remember about your copywriting website is that it is the first place where you can show off your copy. That’s going to set you apart as a professional copywriter.

Think about that as you get your website set up.

Anything you do on your website you can track and use as proof to your future copywriting clients.

Do you have a killer landing page that gets a ton of email subscribers? Highlight that! Do you send emails that get opened all the time? Use those as samples!

Get a main page, a portfolio page, a contact page, and an about page to start.

That’s it.

And for your freelance copywriting samples, try a combination of:

If you know you want to do video sales letters, then make sure your samples are all examples of those. But to start, keep it simple. Then as you get better and some paid gigs, update your online copywriting portfolio.

Alright, now on to the important stuff, getting paid as a skilled copywriter.

For more info on creating a writing portfolio, check out this post.

Step 5). Find Freelance Copywriting Jobs

Copywriting jobs are everywhere.

You just have to find them.

Here’s one unique approach to getting freelance copywriting work.

Once you’ve decided that you want to be a copywriter, the first step is to let everyone know. Chances are someone you know might have somebody who needs a copywriter. That can be a great way to get your foot in the door.

Beyond that, you’ve got to dig in and do some searching. You can use this post on finding writing jobs online to start. While they aren’t all geared toward copywriting, there are good jumping-off points.

Here are just a few places to find freelance copywriting jobs:

My suggestion is to look at local agencies and small businesses to start.

Make a big spreadsheet with all your local marketing agencies, and add their contact information and what types of clients they work with. Then set a time and bang out your LOIs in groups of 5-10 (depending on how much time you have).

Do the same with local small businesses. Walk around your town, get on Google and pull up a map, or connect with your local chamber of commerce and get lists of small businesses.

Then, add them to your spreadsheet (and sign up for their email lists).

Chances are a lot of these sites need basic copy work, stuff like sending out emails and fixing up their website copy. These are great places for beginner copywriters to get experience. Small tweaks can help these business owners bring in a few more clients each month, and you become a hero.

Charge $50 to $500 for these small projects to start, and then use that experience to approach bigger brands and raise your rates.

And if you want one weird way to find copywriting work? Check out this video.

Here’s an example of how to make money copywriting

During your research, you found a local landscaping company. You get on the email list and notice they don’t send any emails besides a welcome email.

Contact them and say you’re a local copywriter and you’d love to help them send a few more emails to help them get clients. For example, a monthly newsletter that offers tips on what they should be doing to take care of their yards based on the season. And a quarterly email that reminds people it’s time to book their (spring/fall/summer/winter) cleaning/leave/snow removal.

There’s a good chance that just sending a few more emails can land a couple more clients for this company. But the landscaping company owner is busy; she just doesn’t have a ton of time to do it.

That’s where you can sell your services and make a difference.

Send them a pitch with your suggestion, and make sure on your website you have a sample or two that highlights an email like the one you suggested they send. Then they can see it in action, and it makes it easier to hire you.

This is the basic way to start building your own copywriting business.

And remember, use a marketing mix to keep a bunch of irons in the fire. Don’t rely just on UpWork or agencies or your friends to point you in the right direction. Search out local businesses, contact agencies, and keep practicing your copywriting skills.

Common FAQs about Copywriting

You probably have a bunch of questions about how to become a copywriter, so let’s cover a bunch of them right here.

Can you become a copywriter without a degree?

A lot of aspiring writers get worried about not having a copywriting degree or any sort of advanced education on the topic. Here’s the real deal: you don’t need a degree to become a copywriter (or any type of writer, actually).

So, don’t worry about that. There are plenty of ways to become a copywriter with no experience or no degree. And you can teach yourself how to do it.

It’s all about putting in the time and effort.

Here are a few tips to help you avoid common copywriting fails.

Do copywriters make good money?

Amazing copywriters can make a lot of money, we’re talking multiple six-figures. But, it takes them a long time and special skills to get there.

Now, don’t let that get you discouraged because the fact of the matter is, you can start out making pretty good money even with basic copywriting skills. Since copywriting is critical to sales, you should always charge more for it than, say, a blog post.

It’s not uncommon for newer copywriters to earn between $500-$1,000 per page of copy. Get better, and you can up those prices. But, charging $1,00o a page, and getting two clients a month gets you an extra $2,000 in your pocket.

What qualifications do I need to be a copywriter?

Don’t worry, you don’t need to get a certification or go back to school to become a copywriter. The reality is, anyone can start. It just takes time and effort.

You need to study great copywriters, read a lot of copy, and write a ton of practice copy.

My suggestion? Build your own swipe file. Follow good copywriters and get on their mailing lists. Sign up for product newsletters and see how their copy works, check out sites like SwipeFile and Swipe Worthy, and finally, pay attention. 

Look for copy everywhere and think about it and analyze what you see.

Learning Copywriting Has Been The Most Valuable Skill for My Business

One last thing I wanted to add about copywriting. Of all the skills I’ve learned in my business career, copywriting is the most valuable.

How valuable?

I’ve made over $1,000,000 in the last decade. And most of it can directly be tied back to my copywriting skills. So even if you don’t go the freelance route, learning how to become a copywriter can be incredibly valuable for your own business.

Here are 5 of the most valuable things I’ve learned that have allowed me to have so much success with it:

Ready to become a copywriter?

If you’ve made it this far, then it looks like you’re dedicated, which is one of the biggest skills you need when it comes to getting into copywriting.

The rest is all about the dedication and work you put into it.

Great copywriters aren’t born, but they are made.

Ready to give it a shot?

Get our free 6-day course on how to start freelance writing.

Note: This post was updated in December of 2023 to include our most relevant and up-to-date information on becoming a successful copywriter.

Sean Ogle

Sean Ogle is the Founder of Location Rebel where he has spent the last 12+ years teaching people how to build online businesses that give them the freedom to do more of the things they like to do in life. When he's not in the coffee shops of Portland, or the beaches of Bali, he's probably sneaking into some other high-class establishment where he most certainly doesn't belong.
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13 comments on "How to Become a Copywriter in 2024 (EVERYTHING You Need to Know)"

  1. Jana Brock says:

    Excellent article, as expected! Thanks for,putting all of this out there. Since I began learning more through Location Rebel about the world of writing I have found myself trying to pull others in with me! I’ve been talking it up, but haven’t really gotten my feet wet.
    Anyway, thanks again! (found a few typos – retired teacher in me) I love proofreading! 😎

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