Following are some foundational basics of this profession.
Types of Speechwriters
There are many different kinds, eg:
Motivational Speech Writer;
Wedding Speechwriter (Really!); and
Corporate Speechwriter …
Just to name a few.
Duties / Skills
- Excellent research proficiency;
- Honed communication talent;
- Exceptional listening and information intake capability;
- Keen editing and data parsing skills;
- A strong analytical aptitude;
- Sharp attention to detail; and of course
- Top-notch writing ability.
According to information gleaned from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most employers want a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. Although no specific major is required, many speechwriters have degrees in related fields like speech communications, public relations, marketing, journalism and English.
If you want to specialize as a speechwriter, additional degrees or related fields of interest can be added, eg, majoring in Political Science and English (Political Speechwriter); or Business and Journalism (Corporate Speechwriter).
According to Salary.com, the median annual speechwriter’s salary is $121,533, as of June 24, 2016, with a range usually between $99,569-$155,512. Of course this varies depending on niche, education, experience, etc.
Interesting Speechwriter Trivia: When President Obama assumed office in 2009, John Favreau was appointed Assistant to the President and Director of Speechwriting. He became the second-youngest chief White House speechwriter on record (27 years) after James Fallows. His salary was $172,200 a year.
What’s It Like to Be a Speechwriter?
Here’s an interesting interview with a freelance speechwriter – who writes across various genres. When asked what a typical work week looked like, he responded:
In the kind of work I do, there really is no such thing as a typical week. When you work for clients on a freelance or even a retainer basis, the flow of work is not consistent. One week, you may have three or four major projects that need to be finished. Another week may involve just preliminary groundwork and researching. If you want to be able to plan your days out in nice, neat little packages, this is not an ideal career choice.
Kind of like the life of most freelance writers, no?
FYI, in this interview, freelance speechwriter Michael Freeman discussed salary, what he likes about the profession, what he dislikes, common misconceptions about the profession — and much more. It’s a very informative read.
What Makes a Great Speech: Advice from a Presidential Speechwriter
John Favreau, President Obama’s speechwriter, answers the question.
Learn more about how to become a speechwriter.
P.S.: Yes, I’m Ready to Start a Lucrative Career as a Freelance Writer.
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