Among the most important aspects of any marketing campaign is the copy that’s included on ads and in various marketing materials. Ad copy, however, doesn’t write itself. Instead, a professional copywriter is usually tasked with writing all of the written content that goes into marketing materials. Keep in mind that this can include some of the content that’s placed on the company website.
Nearly every type of company can benefit from hiring one or more copywriters. If a copywriter performs their job properly, the company they work for will be provided with clear and compelling copy that’s able to sell products and keep customers engaged. The content written by a copywriter can be placed on banner ads, white papers, websites, product descriptions, blog posts, social media platforms, newsletters, and emails. Copywriters tend to have extensive responsibilities and can be involved in everything from brainstorming ad concepts to making sure that the brand messaging is consistent.
A typical day for a copywriter can involve conducting online research for a specific topic, holding an interview, identifying how to properly convey ideas to a certain audience, writing and further editing copy, and locating images that can be attached to the content in question. For someone to be successful as a copywriter, they must have strong writing skills and comprehensive knowledge of what makes ads successful. This article goes into further detail about what copywriters do and how to become one.
Responsibilities of a Copywriter
As touched upon previously, copywriters have numerous responsibilities that they are expected to handle on a daily basis. Whether you’re working with a marketing agency or the company that the ad copy is being created for, it’s important to understand that the development of effective marketing campaigns can take anywhere from one week to several months depending on the scope of the campaign. Your responsibilities extend far beyond writing. The main responsibilities of a copywriter include:
- Writing copy for different formats and types of media
- Creating new brand voices or making sure that copy matches an established voice
- Researching customers, competitors, services, products, industries, and website search trends
- Analyzing the results of a marketing campaign to guide and strengthen future strategies
- Brainstorming concepts for marketing campaigns and advertisements, which can be done in conjunction with a graphic designer
- Pitching marketing campaign and advertising concepts to clients
- Editing and revising, which typically involves taking direction from various stakeholders until a revision matches the client’s wishes
What Do Copywriters Write?
Copywriters are tasked with composing the words, paragraphs, phrases, sentences, and taglines that sell services and products. If this copy is poorly written, it likely won’t engage customers, which could result in the marketing campaign or ad failing altogether. It’s possible for copywriters to work on a B2B or B2C basis. B2B means that companies are selling their products/services to other companies. The copy requirements for a B2B company are usually much different than the copy requirements for a B2C company.
B2C companies are businesses that sell their products or services to consumers through retail stores. Copywriters may also write copy for D2C companies, which are businesses that sell their products or services to consumers directly as opposed to doing so through a retail store. Even though the copy requirements can differ depending on the type of company that the copywriter works for, most professional copywriters have the skills needed to go from one type of company to another if necessary. If you work as a copywriter, your copy may appear in:
- Print ads – Magazines and newspapers
- Streaming services and TV ads – Scripts, taglines, and on-screen words
- Social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and LinkedIn
- Websites – Product descriptions, homepages, landing pages, “About” pages, and category pages
- In-store signs – Drive awareness about sales and products in the store
- Posters and billboards – Positioned in public transportation hubs and along the highway
- Scripts for podcast and radio ads – Spoken advertising that can be done by show hosts, actors, or announcers
The Difference Between Copywriting and Content Writing
While copywriting and content writing have some similarities, there are also some clear differences that you should understand before you begin a career as a copywriter. To fully understand the differences between the two terms, you should first know how these terms are defined.
When someone works as a copywriter, they are responsible for pitching a company’s brand to their target audience. They sell/promote an idea or product through a creative campaign of some kind. The materials that a professional copywriter works with include TV commercials, direct marketing emails, social media ads, and subway ads.
As for content writers, these professionals are usually tasked with creating copy that offers more in-depth context for what a brand does. Most of the copywritten by a content writer will be placed on a brand website. The purpose of this content is to produce top-of-funnel interest while also establishing authority that should push prospects further down the buyer journey. If written correctly, copy made by a content writer could get users to purchase a product, sign up for a membership, or subscribe to a newsletter.
Copywriting is designed solely to convey an impression. On the other hand, content writing is more detailed and explanatory. If you work as a copywriter, you may be asked to write copy for an ad that displays on search engines like Google. Once a user clicks on the ad, they would be taken to a landing page on the company’s website. While some of the landing page content could be written by you, any lengthy paragraphs describing products or blog posts on the website would likely be written by a content writer.
During the course of a career as a copywriter, you’ll likely collaborate with content writers on numerous projects. A modern marketing campaign requires both forms of content and copy creation. Because of how often these two professions overlap, copywriters and content writers have similar skill sets. In fact, it’s not too difficult to switch from one career to another once you have the requisite experience and education requirements.
Making a Career out of Copywriting
If you would like to make a career out of copywriting, doing so requires a certain amount of education and experience. Once you’ve met these requirements, you’ll still need to prove to potential clients, companies, and marketing agencies that you have the skills necessary to write copy for marketing campaigns.
Before you start taking a specific degree or program, keep in mind that there’s no single route that a copywriting career takes. On the other hand, a bachelor’s degree is usually required. The best degrees for this type of career include marketing, communications, English, journalism, education, and creative writing degrees.
However, specialized industries may require copywriters to have at least some education in the field that the industry operates out of. Specialized industries can include everything from engineering and technology to medicine and pharmaceuticals. You can also obtain some additional certifications to bolster your resume, which includes marketing certificate programs, Google Ads certifications, and search engine optimization training.
If you’ve obtained an entry-level job as a copywriter, try to gain experience working with varied marketing campaigns that allow you to write all different types of copy. Any experience you gain will help you advance your career on a long-term basis. Before you obtain a job as a copywriter, you should take time to write marketing materials whenever possible. Being a good writer will invariably help you start a career as a copywriter.
The average salary for a copywriter is around $58,000 per year. However, it’s possible to advance in your career and gain a higher salary. If you’re hired as a lead copywriter for a company or marketing agency, the average salary for this position is around $71,000. You could also become a senior copywriter, which comes with an average salary of $92,000 per year.
Skills to Becoming a Copywriter
If you have the necessary skills, copywriters are currently in high demand since nearly every type of company can benefit from having a copywriter on staff. Marketing agencies also hire numerous copywriters, which gives you the ability to choose which career path you would prefer. Despite the high demand that these professionals have, it’s important to understand that being a copywriter can be highly stressful. You’ll oftentimes be tasked with writing a dozen different types of copy for a single marketing campaign, which requires strong time-management skills.
In order to be a successful copywriter, there are numerous skills that you should have before applying for a job. These skills can be separated into soft skills and hard skills, the latter of which are profession-specific. The soft skills you should have include:
- Persuasive communication
- Quick learning ability
As for hard skills, the primary hard skills that would allow you to succeed in this industry include:
- Research skills
- Comprehensive writing skills that include copywriting-specific skills
- Knowledge of how strategic marketing works
- Knowledge of punctuation, grammar, and spelling
- SEO skills
- Knowledge of primary social media platforms, which include Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
- Familiarity with online publishing platforms
- Familiarity with basic content management systems
A career as a copywriter can be exciting and highly varied. Whether you work on your own, for a marketing agency, or for a specific company, the average annual salary for a copywriter is relatively high because of how much demand there is for reputable and experienced copywriters. With the right skills and education, you should be able to start a career as a copywriter.