Revelations about earnings, work habits and rates
It’s here! The release of the 2019 Australian copywriter survey.
Can you tell I’m excited? For the last few years I’ve seen great reports come out of the UK for the UK copywriting industry and surveys and research a-plenty for the big community in the US of A, but nothing that drilled down into recent happenings in the world of copywriting and content marketing here in Australia. Especially for freelance writers.
FOMO? Yeah probably. But also, it’s hard to get a grasp on who you are, why you do it and how well you may/may not be doing when there’s are little to no insights into what’s going on in your industry. For me, this why this survey and the results within it are important.
Who done it and how
The Copywriters Survey Australia 2019 has been organised by Kate Toon, founder of The Clever Copywriting School (TCCS). Australian-based copywriters were invited to take the online survey between August and September 2019. A total of 206 responded.
Questions about earnings, numbers of hours worked, services offered and (of course) rates were included in the survey. The full report provides detailed answers.
In this blog I’m cherry picking the bits I found most surprising from a copywriter’s POV and the most useful if you’re a prospective client looking to hire a copywriter.
Average annual income
According to the report the average annual income of a freelance copywriter in Australia is $59,000. Not too shabby. I’m happy to disclose that my average annual income has been below this in my first two years of business.
A total of 59% of survey participants earn between $30k-$90k per annum. (This is where I sit.)
How we charge
A clear majority of copywriters (65%) charge per project, opposed to per hour or per word. The latter, thankfully, seems to be dying a death as only 1.1% of respondents are charging per word.
The average hourly rate is $107 and average day rate is $677. For context, my hourly rate is slightly higher than the figure found by the survey and my day rate is considerably higher.
To see all the information on average rates.
Whether you’re a fellow copywriter or a client, bear in mind that a copywriter’s hourly and day rates are affected by experience, the type of services or writing they offer, and the industries they write for.
Cost of services
While we’re on the subject of types of services let’s take a peek at what the survey found in terms of what Australian copywriters are charging for different kinds of copy. Knowing there are factors that affect average rates, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn you’re also likely to find a difference in the cost of services from copywriter to copywriter.
The survey looked at six different types of copy and asked participants what they charge for each, but for this write up I’ve picked three services that are closest to my service offerings and provide the average rate and my rate for comparison.
|Service||Average Rate||My Rate|
(Up & Running)
|1,000 word blog post||$499.50||$500|
|Sales landing page||$884.81||From $557|
To see the cost of other services get the full survey report.
What clients want from us
There are lots of copywriting and content marketing tasks copywriters can help with, from “just writing the bloody thing” through to planning whole content marketing strategies. The survey found the top three requests from clients in the last 12 months are:
- Blogging (79%)
- Editing (75.4%)
- Content development (68.7%)
Proofreading, writing for social media and landing pages were also pretty common requests from clients.
Experience and learning
The majority of respondents have been in the copywriting game for 3-5 years, but one in three participants said they have been copywriting for two years or less.
For me, this was a bit of an odd one. I’ve been a professional writer for over 10 years, copywriting since 2012 but only owned my own business for two years. So quite where I fit?
Although 62% of those surveyed hold a Bachelors degree, for many of us we know well enough that the learning doesn’t end after university. Here in Australia, continued training to keep those skills polished mainly happens in the form of online courses (67%) and in person workshops (68%). Home studies and webinars are only a little way behind.
Courses are good, but I’ve learnt that being part of a solid community is a great way to improve skills — both as a writer and as a business owner. And I’m not just saying this because I’m a current member of The Clever Copywriting School, but in terms of giving me the skills and knowledge I need to push my company further and harder, TCCS has been invaluable.
Get more insight
These are just a handful of the findings from the report. There are loads more in the full report, which I suggest you download and read. Especially if you’ve never worked with a copywriter before, you’re thinking about it and you really have little knowledge of the industry.