Copy Writer

How to Become a Copy Writer
Copy Writer Job Duties
Skills or Qualities Needed to Become a Copy Writer
Copy Writer Salaries
Influential Professional Copy Writers
Leading Copy Writer Organizations
Top Cities for Copy Writer Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Copy Writer

Education and experience are the two factors prospective clients or employers look for in hiring a copywriter.

Many copywriters attend advertising institutions that focus exclusively on creative fields in copywriting and art direction. The Art Institute's Programs in Advertising attract future copywriters to their various campus sites who are interested in writing for advertising agencies. The Portfolio Center in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Miami Ad School in Florida are two reputable schools that focus on portfolio building and internships. These institutions can be expensive, but students graduate with impressive portfolios that showcase their talent and are extensively trained for positions as copywriters.

Copywriters generally have bachelor degrees in English, Journalism or Communications and Marketing. If a degree is not possible, many colleges offer certifications or non-degree courses on the basics of copywriting.

In order to pursue a career in copywriting a willingness to learn and to self- promote is essential. Writers new to the profession will begin by procuring an internship with an advertising agency or local newspaper advertising department. An internship is extremely effective in garnering the experience that future clients or employers look to see in hiring a copywriter. For many novice copywriters, an internship with an agency may lead to a permanent position of employment.

Copywriters watch for businesses that may need copywriting services. This may include offering to write advertisements for the local newspaper or neighborhood business. Small businesses need advertisement copy, direct mail, coupon copy and flyers written. Writing an item for free can grant a new writer the experience needed to build up their portfolio and aid in securing future paid contract jobs .

A copywriter's writing versatility allows for more employment opportunities. A portfolio that showcases writing samples written in a wide-range of copy style (print, web-based, direct mail) indicates a copywriter's skill in writing effective copy.

What does a Copy Writer do?

Copywriters create text for advertising purposes and newspaper stories. A copywriter researches, writes and perfects a piece of advertising in order to sell a product or service. The copywriter uses language to cultivate a mood or atmosphere, often to convince consumers of the desirability of a product. A copywriter might fashion the text, or "copy," for advertisements in print media, web-based promotional sites, radio, television or film-- these are the words read on web sites and bus depots, seen in newspaper advertisements, brochures and catalogs, in hand-books and guides to traffic signs.

Copywriters are also employed to write press releases, work as freelance ghost writers, freelance editors, or to write non-fiction magazine pieces. The fastest growing area in this field is in Web-copy. Web-copy is short, easy to read and must be Search-Engine Optimized (SEO).

Freelance copywriters are independent contrators that are hired by businesses and companies to write copy. Due to the flexibilty of being self-employed, many freelance copywriters tend to work on multiple projects at the same time in various mediums of copywriting: this may include writing contracts for the Internet, advertising agencies, direct mail or a publishing company.

An agency-based copywriter is employed full-time by a particular business or company and writes copy specifically for that firm. Many full-time copywriters work as part of a creative team alongside an art director. Most businesses that employ copywriters generally look for an experienced writer that can create a slogan, jingle or radio advertisement in the type of copy they want written. An agency-based writer adapts their style to not only fit the specific audience to whom they are writing, but also to reflect the image of the client they are representing.

What skills or qualities do I need to become a Copy Writer?

Copywriting is a fast-paced and creative field. Copywriters need to be disciplined and able to manage multiple jobs at once; they need to be detail oriented, imaginative and intuitive individuals that are able to work under the pressure of deadlines and tight time constraints.

A copywriter's goal is to educate, promote or sell a product or service. A copywriter is an expert communicator who can pinpoint in words and pictures the key benefits of that product.

Copywriters need to have strong writing skills and the ability to express their idea(s) clearly and concisely. Savvy copywriters study copy written by their colleagues and in styles outside of marketing in order to keep their craft fresh and innovative.

An astute copywriter is congenial and empathic to the issues of their targeted audience, while being cognizant of the needs of their client or employer.

Copywriters stay up-to-date with the latest cultural and societal trends. Expert writers are well-read and keep abreast with current events and world news by actively searching out and investigating new fields of interest that they can thoroughly research to create "better copy."

How much do Copy Writers make?

Copywriting has a singular goal: to sell a product. A copywriter's salary is based upon how well they are able to continually write copy that will cause an empathic reaction in the targeted audience. If this goal is reached then the copywriter will cultivate both a viable clientele and income. In 2006, the median annual salary for copywriters was just under $49,000 per year. The majority of individuals working in this profession earned between $34,850 and $67,820 on an annual basis during this time frame.

As in most professions, range in payment is dependent upon experience and skill. For a copywriter who is beginning a career in this field the need to gain confidence and copy-writing credits, combined with the client's budget, will dictate the rate of charge. A freelance copywriter--regardless if the contract is web-based or direct mail--is aware of their own business plan in completing projects and being diligent with deadlines, factors that help to determine rate per copy.

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

Copywriters are not often well-known for the copy that they have written, but many of them do go on to become famous authors in other genres. Augusten Burroughs, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett, and Dorothy Sayers are all fiction writers who started out as copywriters. The poet Ogden Nash began his career as a copywriter, as did the actor Rich Moranis. Hugh Hefner was also a copywriter before he published Playboy.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

Copywriters' unions, associations, and organizations tend to be rare, but many broadcasting unions and broadcasting organizations do cover copywriters as well.

What are the top cities for Copy Writer jobs?

The top city in the United States for a career in copywriting is New York City, due to the large number of marketing firms located within the greater metropolitan area. Copy-writers who desire to relocate for their profession have also moved to Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California, where the majority are employed by advertising agencies.

Copywriters have an advantage over many professions due to the unique nature of their field: the value of not being limited by location. Many copywriters freelance, keeping flexible schedules that allow them to work when it is personally convenient, and often telecommuting from their home. Even for "in-house" copywriters who work for a specific business, many employers allow their copywriters to telecommute. For many seasoned copywriters, their revenue is generated by word of mouth and personal marketing of their craft as opposed to living and working in a targeted city or locale.

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