Make money from speechwriting – MoneyMagpie
Writing speeches for public figures to use is quite a niche profession but it absolutely pays dividends for the right candidate. Speechwriting tends to be a very competitive market but if you make, or have made, the right preparations, you might find yourself qualified to become a professional speechwriter.
Before we share the best places to find jobs, let’s have a look at the following steps you can take that will improve your chances of getting hired.
Get Your Qualifications
You need at least four GCSEs at grades 9 to 4, or A* to C, including English and Maths, as well as a complete set of A-Level qualifications to increase your choice of your next steps.
There are no specific further education requirements to becoming a speechwriter but having a degree in a relevant subject might help make your CV more noticeable to potential employers. You might consider the following subjects:
- Communication Studies
- Creative Writing
See what each of the universities you’re interested in applying to is looking for, and if you don’t have the right A-Level results or subjects, think about a foundation year – which is four years instead of three – and usually focus on developing your research skills, written communication, critical thinking and argument building: all things that are essential to speechwriting or jobs that lead to speechwriting careers.
There are also plenty of short online or in-person courses that are sometimes run by speechwriting experts, which can give you a valuable chance to develop the speechwriting skills you’ll need.
It’s always a lack of experience that flummoxes potential candidates, even if they’ve studied. And a lot of employers simply won’t hire you if you haven’t had relevant experience. So how do you gain experience relevant to speechwriting? Well, you might consider volunteering your services to charities, community organisations or small businesses, and those smaller roles will essentially provide for you a portfolio of experience. Anything you can grab in copywriting, publishing or journalism – including running your own blog – will serve toward proving you have the skills to become a speechwriter.
As with many communication roles, networking is essential both to meet people and create opportunities, and also to get your name out there and make yourself known. Speechwriting is all about knowing and working with people. If it’s political speechwriting you’re keen to get into, you could for example get involved in local election campaigns and build your professional contacts in the industry this way. Introduce yourself to as many people as you can, and let people know your skills and career goals when you can.
You must make sure your writing skills are excellent, and that you’re able to present, clear, concise, compelling paragraphs and pieces that successfully communicate your ideas. Read a lot of books and newspaper features, listen to speeches and analyse why they’re good. Go on Twitter (but not for too much of the day) and pick out several long-form pieces of writing to study. See what you find persuasive and good or bad examples of writing.
You may, after reading all this, realise you’re already qualified. Whether or not this is true, here are a few tips that could prove useful:
- Speechwriting is surprisingly difficult as the longer, more complex phrases and sentence construction don’t necessarily translate when spoken out loud. The most important thing you can do with a speech is to stand up and read it aloud, as if to an audience. If it’s hard for you to say, it may be hard for the speaker to say.
- You may find that sticking to clear, simple language, expressed in short sentences that are easy for the speaker to deliver and the audience to follow, is the best method.
- No speechwriter can be expert on every single topic and style of speech. So, with each speech, give yourself a chance to gather and read as much material as possible. Or, work with a researcher to get more relevant context.
- The News is everywhere all at once these days, so you’ve got just about every single idea and style of communication at your fingertips every day, BUT be careful not to burn out and consume too much reality. You need to know your stuff if you’re going to be a speechwriter but it’s also possible to watch,
- Listen to and digest much of what’s going on in the world, so maintain some distance from the material and work out how to break it into chunks of time.
Try Indeed for some current UK jobs involving speechwriting. LinkedIn is also a great community to discuss and find jobs with like-minded candidates and employers. There are daily updated speechwriting jobs in London at TotalJobs, and similarly at Jooble.
Those are just some examples. Have a Google around and visit the websites of the relevant companies you might be keen to work for.
Do you have speechwriting experience? Let us know your top tips below!