Every summer when I was younger I would vacation for a week in Ocean City, Maryland. Inevitably, I’d eat too many crabs, win multiple rounds of mini-golf, and get sun-burned in ridiculous patterns. Another thing I remember were the planes that would fly over the beach each day marketing services and trying to capture the attention of all the sun-bathers and surfers. Copywriters are, in part, responsible for such signs, as they are the people charged with using words to get across a specific marketing message.
Copywriting Career Guide Overview
- What a Copywriter Does
- A Typical Day for a Copywriter
- Salary and Career Progression for a Copywriter
- Best Locations for Copywriting
- Pro/Con: Being a Copywriter
- What You Need to Know for a Career in Copywriting
- Copywriting Resources
- Careers Related to Copywriting
- Companies with Jobs and Internships in Copywriting
What a Copywriter Does
Copywriters help create marketing media which could be anything from direct mail, taglines, jingles, web page content, em-ail, television or radio commercial scripts to press releases, white papers, catalogs, billboards, and postcards. A copywriter has ultimate responsibility for the advertisement’s verbal or textual content. A copywriter tells a story, and crafts it in such a way that it resonates with the reader. The exciting news it that the Internet has expanded the range of copywriting opportunities available. For example there are now copywriting opportunities like writing web content, ads, e-mails, and even tweets or Facebook statuses.
A Typical Day for a Copywriter
On a typical day a copywriter works on a brief from a client. First the writer must learn what the client needs from the copy, for example who the audience is, and what benefits the client offers their customers. Then the writer researches the subject matter further and generally works with an art director within an ad agency to come up with a big idea concept. After that, the writer plans the structure and approach of the writing, and writes the piece. The client will review the work and let the copywriter know what needs fixing, until the piece is approved.
Salary and Career Progression in Copywriting
A copywriter makes between $26,000-$66,000 per year. And there’s plenty of room for advancement! As you continue to grow you can become a Senior Copywriter ($41,970 – $104,170), an Associate Director – Creative Services ($47,307 – $138,863) or Marketing Communications Manager ($38,762 – $97,886). There are also exceptional freelance and entrepreneurial opportunities for copywriters.
Best Locations for Copywriters
These hot spots have the highest salaries for copywriting:
- Minneapolis, MN
- San Francisco, CA
- New York, NY
- Seattle, WA
- Baltimore, MD
- Washington, D.C.
- Los Angeles, CA
- Madison, WI
- Austin, TX
Pro/Con: Working in Copywriting
- You get paid to write.
- The Internet has made copywriting even more important.
- Creativity is rewarded.
- You can control people with your words.
- Clients can be challenging to work with.
- You must be able to defend and justify your work.
- Last minute assignments or writers block can cause late nights.
- Writing good copy can often be unintuitive.
What You Need to Know for a Career in Copywriting
Formal education is not required to be a copywriter (just ask Don Draper), but it typically helps a lot. You might consider attending a school like VCU’s Brandcenter or The Creative Circus to get a graduate degree in copywriting. But the most important thing is that a copywriter writes very well in many different styles, so do whatever it takes for you to develop those skills. Copywriters must also be able to cover a number of different subjects, like writing about anything from a toilet brush to the next Iron Man movie. And they need to have an eye for detail and an understanding of writing for different media and audiences.
If copywriting still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.
Key Folks to Follow on Twitter
Blogs and Websites
Careers Related to Copywriting
Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Copywriting
Check out the latest job and internship postings in copywriting.