Jamie Smith
survey 2019 copywriters

4 Survey Based Insights in to the World of Copywriters

If you’re on this site, there’s a good chance you’re interested in copywriters. So, I thought I’d give you a peek or four into our weird little world with the help of the ProCopywriters 2019 industry survey.

The copywriters survey is based on responses from 514 members of the ProCopywriters directory aged between 20 and 67 from all over the UK.

The gender pay gap is serious

First, some bad news and just a little good news about the gender pay gap. The bad news is that despite what two out of five men and one out of five women believe, the pay gap is there and it’s big.

Yes, the 43% of women and 17% of men who said gender impacts pay are right. Self-employed female freelancers earn less than their male counterparts across the board, around 30% less in fact. Whether they freelance full-time, on the side, or even if they own their own business, women can expect to make around a third less than their male competitors.

The good news, such as it is, is that the gap for copywriters in standard employment is much narrower, and it goes in women’s favour. Female agency workers earn five percent more than men on average while the number for female in-house copywriters is nine percent. Still, when freelancers, who constitute two-thirds of survey respondents, are subject to such a painfully wide gap in favour of men, this is little consolation.

Word of mouth is a force of nature

How did you hear about me? The most popular way to find new clients is word of mouth by far. This is hardly surprising since we spend most of our time giving consumers reasons to talk about our clients. What is surprising is that this year a massive nine out of ten respondents said they get work by word of mouth, a jump of more than a quarter from last year’s 64%.

Word of mouth has always been the best type of marketing for almost any business, but it seems that 2019 is the year of the recommendation. Bringing the issue back up to date, websites and social media come next in the poll on 50% each, so it’s clearly important to keep on top of the web.

Half of copywriters specialise, often in big-money areas

 Do you prefer a specialist or someone who can turn their hand to anything? You’re equally well-served either way as pretty-much half (51%) of copywriters specialise, while the other 49% don’t. The most popular specialism is ‘digital and SEO’, which 18% of respondents have, followed by marketing materials at 15%. In terms of sector specialisms, B2B was the most popular by far on 64%, although I’m not sure if that counts as a sector. The most popular industrial sector specialism is business, finance and law, which 34% of specialists focus on, closely followed by science and tech on 32%.

These are both big-money sectors where each lead can mean a lot of income for the client. This means it’s well worth investing a lot in marketing in the first place to create leads, meaning in turn that copywriters who specialise in these areas have a lot of earning potential. It’s also worth noting that they are both highly technical areas involving a great deal of specialist knowledge, so someone who focuses on the segment can offer much more value to clients than a general copywriter. Consider this when you’re thinking of hiring a copywriter or other marketing professional. I myself specialise in business and finance while still working in a wide range of areas.

Earnings are on the up

Now for the big money announcement: How much do we earn? How much do we charge you, our loyal, dare I say appreciative, clients? The average rate for a copywriter in the UK is £349 per day or £43.62 per hour based on an eight-hour day. That’s a tenner a day more than 2017, which is what we want to see. I’m trying to resist the urge to shamelessly plug my prices here, but I will say that they represent above-average value.

All of these daily and hourly fees result in an average full-time income of £43,092, which has strangely dropped since 2018, while part-time income is up by around £1,500 at £26,968. Do they know something we don’t?

It might help all of you prospective clients out there to know that 59% of freelancers prefer to charge a pre-planned project fee while 40% charge by the hour or day. This is an important consideration for client and copywriter as different pay structures can completely change how a project is conducted and valued.

If you are thinking of hiring a copywriter, or if you want some advice, then get in touch on mail@jamiewordsmith.co.uk