How to Make Money: Copywriting
Several weeks (months?) ago, I began a series called How to Make Money where we discuss different money-making opportunities. What I’ve covered so far isn’t close to everything, but I got distracted by bright, shiny objects and wandered off to talk about other things. Now I’m back with a single topic that encompasses multiple ways to make money as a writer: copywriting.
What is Copywriting?
The simple definition of copywriting is that it’s the content you write to sell something. The flyer you get in the mail from a car dealership and the script used in a commercial are two obvious examples. It’s also the blog post a brand writes discussing their latest product. Copywriting shows up on sales pages, product descriptions, and even a social media post to convince someone to use your coupon code.
Copywriting is content that sells a product or service. It can be overt or subtle, but the purpose is to help further a brand’s business goals. The absolute best resource to learn how to copywrite I know of is Copyblogger. I have no idea if they’re sex friendly (I always assume the answer is no), but the information is good, and I soak up as much as I can as a lurker. Check out their main site or start with something like 10 Ways to Write Damn Good Copy.
When I discuss “client work” as a smutlancer, it’s almost always some form of copywriting. Why? Because I’m hired to write content that serves a purpose and moves the business forward in their goals. They don’t hire me to wax eloquently about kink or sex. My job is to write compelling content that makes someone want to click a link or buy a thing. But some forms of copywriting are more subtle than others.
In my experience client work is a much more stable way to earn an income as a smutlancer. It requires the same amount of hustle as any other form — you’ve got to find a business willing to hire you, do the work, and be a professional. But they also tend to be longer term projects so you can depend on the income.
Here are just a few ways you can work as a copywriter for an adult business.
I just finished a job for a long-term client who’s re-doing their entire sex toy website, including the product descriptions for 16,000 sex toys. No, I didn’t write 16,000 descriptions (we used a handy tool to automate a lot of it). My job was to make the product sound interesting or fun, with a quick description of how it can be used, in as few words as possible. Each one had to be unique and get to the point as quickly as possible without making false claims.
I also went the next level and tried to make them all as gender neutral as the company would allow. There are compelling SEO reasons for some gendered language (we’ll discuss that in a future post) but that was another step in the process. Writing product descriptions has been the hardest copywriting I’ve ever done. Ever.
On sex toy websites, there are pages that focus on specific topics: sex toys, lingerie, vibrators. The text you see there is all meant to move the customer into buying or, at the very least, coming back later. It all depends on the client’s goals but the best copywriting I’ve done here has been to discuss the topic and answer potential questions a customer might have.
This content will and should be used to build authority and trust with potential customers, not just sell a single product. It’s also a place for a company’s “voice” to come through. If you get to be the one who does it, there’s a lot of pressure to get it right, but it can truly help a business succeed.
When you write blog posts for a company, you’re not sharing thoughts and feelings like you do on your own blog. You’re moving a brand forward. Your job as the writer is to build their authority and influence with potential customers. Blog content answers questions, solves problems, and educates. Or, at least, it should.
Good blog content doesn’t promise miracles or indulge in click-bait bullshit. It helps people who, in turn, learn to trust the company and, if the product is what they want, buy something.
Any Content Meant to Promote the Business
Whenever a brand wants to create content that promotes their business, whether overtly or subtly, you can classify it as copywriting. The purpose is to move an audience to do something — subscribe, buy, trust, or just come back to the website another day. There are many, many ways to get hired for copywriting, even if it’s not always called that:
- Case studies – specific stories of how a customer/client used a project, how the brand provided their service, etc.
- Ebooks – usually on a topic showing the brand’s expertise
- White papers – an in-depth report on a single topic, usually providing solutions to solve a problem
- Ad copy – content used in an overt and obvious advertisement
- Free webinars and online courses – if the purpose is to sell a service or product at the end
The best copywriting isn’t smarmy or an obnoxious sales pitch. Instead it presents information, answers a question, solves a problem, and tells a good story. One reason why bloggers can be such good copywriters is because we already know how to tell a story. We just rarely use our powers for capitalism. But if you want to create content in the sex space, copywriting can be extremely lucrative.
How to Get Into Copywriting
I may do a longer piece on this later, but briefly, it’s not as difficult as you might think. I stumbled into copywriting and found a career.
- Pitch your services to brands you want to work with or brands who clearly need help with their content.
- Keep the customer/audience in mind at all times – solve a problem, answer a question, tell a story. When content is created to genuinely help people, it will be more successful than content created only to sell.
- Learn from the pros. Copyblogger really is amazing for this.
- Practice, practice, practice.
- Help the brand seem less corporate and more real to people (that always helps sell products).
- Don’t lie in the copy you create. Click-bait headlines and false promises always get found out in the end.
- Use your blog to show off your writing ability so brands know you can do the job.
- Google what you don’t know.
- Keep writing in other spaces and on your own blog. Two clients found me this way and approached me.
Copywriting is such a huge opportunity for smutlancers because literally every company needs content, online or not. The trick is connecting with the companies who understand the value of good content and are willing to pay for it.
Have you had success in copywriting? Feel free to share in the comments below or talk to me on social media!