How to Become a Freelance Speechwriter: What It Takes; How Much You Can Earn & More

As speech writing is in the news right now and this is a blog about freelancing writing, I thought this was a good subject to tackle as it’s a high-paying freelance profession that’s not widely covered on blogs like this.

Following are some foundational basics of this profession.

Types of Speechwriters

There are many different kinds, eg:

Political Speechwriter;

Inspirational Speechwriter;

Motivational Speech Writer;

Wedding Speechwriter (Really!); and

Corporate Speechwriter …

Just to name a few.

Duties / Skills

How to Become a Freelance Speech WriterA speechwriter prepares and/or writes speeches, briefings, and other material for a defined audience. Skills necessary to succeed in this discipline include, but are not limited, to:

  • 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.

Education Required

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).

Speechwriter Salaries

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.


How to Start a Freelance SEO Writing CareerUnsolicited Testimonial

Hi Yuwanda!

Just wanted to say thank you for your e-books! I bought your SEO e-book on May 10th and just received payment for my first order of SEO blog articles! It’s a recurring job for an SEO company that is working with an allergist. All I have to do is take some stock articles and rewrite 8 articles per month at $25 each. I got this job by [following the marketing plan] in your e-book. … Now I am confident that I can charge more for my work!

This is just in time because I was worrying about having to break down and find a full time job. I want to stay home and work because my fiance has kidney failure. He needs a transplant and we fully expect that he will receive one and live a long life. However, if he does not, then he has a good 15 years of life.

While 15 years can be a long time and any number of things can happen in that span of time, I don’t want to spend it stressed out about a job and commuting to a place I hate. Thanks for giving me the tools to create a flexible online career!

P.P.S.: Have something to stay to the freelance community?

Have some freelance advice, tips and/or a success/failure story to share? Submit a guest post. Read the guidelines and if I like it, I usually publish it within a few days.

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    1. Really informative post.

    2. Charley Penatac says:

      Have you ever considered about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. But think of if you added some great visuals or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this website could undeniably be one of the very best in its niche. Fantastic blog!

      • Thank you for your kind words Charley.

        One day, I hope to be more prolific with video, but for right now, my words will have to suffice — and great graphics … I’m trying to get much better with graphics that “pop!:)

    3. Nicoli Redmayne says:

      I have done some speech writing over the years for speakers ranging from CEOs to awards presenters. I think it was some of the most challenging writing I have ever done. Anybody can write a speech, but I think the truly skilled speechwriters write in a way that they capture the speakers own voice.

      • Thanks for the first-hand insight Nicoli.

        I’ve never done it, but can see how it can be challenging. It’s almost like writing for two people — yourself, and the person who’ll actually be saying the words. Not sure I’d make the cut. 🙂


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