Some people may think “dying industry” the moment they hear the words “greeting” and “card”. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Data from the Greeting Card Association shows that more than 6.5 billion greeting cards are bought, and received, ever year in the United States. This industry continues to be valued at a surprising $7 to $8 billion (yes, that was a “b”) per year.
Card designers, marketing experts, and printers all play key roles in the industry. It would not be able to function, however, without the dedicated writers who create the messages printed on greeting cards. What do these professionals earn per year?
Average Salary for Greeting Card Writers
Writers and authors, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, make a median annual salary of $67,120, as of 2020. The lowest earners earn less than $35,880 per year, while the highest-paid writers can make over $133,460 on an annual basis.
When most people hear those figures, they may be able to form a mental image of the types of writers who earn least and those who bring in impressive annual salaries. Think about it — you will probably guess that a web content writer who just finished college makes least, while a presidential speech writer or famous book author brings in the highest earnings, right?
Where do greeting card writers — the people who write the messages already printed on greeting cards the general public buys for a loved one — fit in? Given the fact that this is a rather niche profession, with fewer employees than many other writing-related sectors, it is hard to tell. However:
- Business Insider reported, in 2016, that greeting card writers who are employed by greeting card companies on a full-time basis earn an average of $51,000 per year. Some, the publication said, can make as much as $70,000.
- Even some of the popular job search platforms that track salary ranges have some data to offer. ZipRecruiter says, for instance, that greeting card writers currently earn an average annual wage of $38,133.
- Vault offers more generalized data, suggesting that greeting card writers or designers tend to earn between $25,000 and $100,000.
What Do Greeting Card Writers Make Per Hour?
Although the average hourly earnings among greeting card writers are, frankly, unclear, ZipRecruiter estimates them to be around $26 per hour. Monster, meanwhile, suggests that earnings range from $25 to $150 per accepted submission, rather than offering an hourly estimate.
Salary Based on Experience
It would seem logical that greeting card writers with a proven track record — that is, those who have written countless messages for greeting card designs that proceeded to sell well in addition to receiving positive feedback — would tend to earn more. In reality, not much is known about how experience impacts earnings.
Salary Based on Education
The manner in which an aspiring or currently working greeting card writer’s level of education impacts their average annual salary is also unclear. Some greeting card companies, especially national chains, will generally look for applicants who hold Bachelor’s degrees (or above) in areas such as creative writing, English, poetry writing (yes, that is a degree) or even Liberal Arts.
The actual salary, or level of compensation, that a greeting card writer will receive is, on the other hand, far more likely to depend on their talent — their ability to write greetings that sell — than on their formal qualifications.
Top Paying States
ZipRecruiter says that California, Alaska, Wyoming, and Connecticut are the top paying states for greeting card writers. The reality, however, is that aspiring greeting card writers cannot only find employment or freelance work with major greeting card publishers, but also with the many independent and smaller greeting card companies that emerge every year, according to the Greeting Card Association. In addition, remote work opportunities are very likely to be available.
We can report that Millennials are now spending more money on greeting cards than Baby Boomers, something the Greeting Card Association makes clear. This means that greeting cards are not going out of style. As people increasingly crave physical connection, greeting card sales may even rise.
Although the demand for greeting card writers is not clear, and neither is the outlook for any individual writer, we do know that talented writers will have job opportunities. Those who are hired by major greeting card publishers are likely to have high degrees of job stability, and may explore opportunities as strategists or editors in the field.
What Exactly Does a Greeting Card Writer Do?
Despite the fact that our world is becoming increasingly digitalized, people who want to show that they truly care continue to send physical greeting cards to their loved ones and other important people in their lives. Occasions such as weddings, anniversaries, holidays like Christmas, birthdays, serious illness, retirement, and of course the birth of a new child remain important enough to warrant a greeting card.
Greeting card writers ensure that the message printed on the card hit the right note. Given the fact that most messages printed on greeting cards are short, that may seem straightforward. It isn’t. As part of their assignments, greeting card writers may:
- Research relevant cultural trends and popular words, so that the text they write simultaneously feels deeply personal and is able to appeal to a broad audience.
- Ensure that the message they craft perfectly matches the design on the card, which may include puns.
- Crafting a wide variety of heartfelt messages to be printed on greeting cards, with the length of the message needing to fit into the design of the card.
Greeting card writers may specialize in particular topics, such as weddings or birthdays. More often, they will be asked to write batches of greeting card messages for new card to be printed for the upcoming season. They will then have to research current trends so that the words they write feel refreshing and genuine as well as timely, while avoiding overused tropes.
You may wonder — does anyone actually do this full-time? The answer is a resounding yes. Some greeting card writers have long and fulfilling careers at well-known greeting card companies such as Hallmark. As this is a niche career, however, those who have always dreamed of being greeting card writers would be fortunate to land such a job.
We additionally have to note that the job description of “greeting card writer” may not only apply to greeting cards themselves. Greeting card writers can also craft messages that are to be printed on similar gift items such as mugs and stuffed bears.
How to Become a Greeting Card Writer?
Interviews with seasoned greeting card writers reveal that professionals in this field will usually have nurtured a love of writing and words from an early age. Some have backgrounds in poetry. Others were English teachers or used to write creative short stories.
In short, you increase your chances of becoming a professional and successful greeting card writer by practicing and perfecting your creative writing skills. You can then follow job openings or even consider starting your own greeting card company.
Qualifications to Be a Greeting Card Writer
Degrees in creative writing fields will certainly help aspiring greeting card writers land the right job, as well as perform well in it. Such degrees include:
- Creative writing.
Skills to Be a Greeting Card Writer
The skills greeting card writers rely on in their daily jobs are multi-faceted, and can include:
- Strong creative writing skills. This is not negotiable. A good sense of humor, that conforms to most people’s ideas of what is funny, can also be incredibly helpful.
- Research and analytical skills. To be able to write greeting card texts that perform well with buyers and recipients alike, greeting card writers have to be aware of the latest cultural tends as they relate to holidays and personal life events.
- Empathy. The ability to transport themselves into the minds of buyers as well as recipients, greeting card writers rely on exceptional empathy. They will likely write cards that convey heartfelt messages about events they have not experienced themselves.
- Interpersonal communication. Greeting card writers may have to collaborate with designers and editors as they craft their unique messages.
Freelance greeting card writers or those who are contemplating starting their own greeting card company, together with a designer, will additionally need strong business and marketing skills to be successful in this field.
Can You Be a Greeting Card Writer Without a Degree?
Although very little data is available about the level of education those people who are hired as greeting card writers have, it is clear that talent, skill, and experience matter more than formal qualifications. People who have not earned degrees may be able to become greeting card writers.
Should you be thinking about starting your own business, a degree is certainly not required.