How to Become a Copywriter

A Step-by-Step Guide to an Interesting Career in Marketing

You are driving and see a compelling billboard. It is a vacation rental company telling you to book that next vacation. You think about it a little more on your drive home and through the night. The next day, you book your vacation with the company from the billboard. A successful copywriter is behind this campaign.

What Is a Copywriter?

A copywriter is a type of writer who develops content for various types of media to promote the sale of a good or service. Copywriters are a key part of a successful marketing team.

Copywriters write copy for:

  • Companies selling goods and services to other companies (B2B: business-to-business)
  • Companies selling their goods or services through a retail business (B2C: business-to-consumer)
  • Companies selling goods or services directly to consumers through a website (D2C: direct-to-consumer)
  • Originally, a copywriter’s writing appeared mainly in newspaper ads or in commercials for television or the radio. As the world evolved, so did copywriting. Today, copywriters continue to write for newspapers and commercials, but also for social media, magazines, online advertisements, billboards, paper ads, and more.

    What Does a Copywriter Do?

    Copywriting job duties can vary from industry to industry, but at the end of the day the goal of a copywriter is to persuade consumers to buy a product or service the company they work for is selling. Copywriters are storytellers who work to create creative content about a particular product or service.

    The following responsibilities are included in most copywriter job postings:

  • Write copy for various media platforms and formats.
  • Research and create copy for different marketing campaigns.
  • Collaborate with members of the marketing team, including but not limited to, graphic designers, content strategists, social media specialists, and marketing managers.
  • Research and provide information on top industry competitors when it comes to website search trends, new products and services, consumer trends, and the industry at a whole.
  • Create a company’s brand voice.
  • Pitch your advertising plan to key stakeholders and clients.
  • Analyze campaign results and improvise when needed.
  • Copywriters are also responsible for constantly editing and rewriting copy. Key stakeholders and clients have many opinions, and it is the copywriter’s responsibility to rewrite and edit multiple drafts of copy until it is on target.

    Where Do Copywriters Work? Who Do They Work For?

    All companies who want to sell a product or service need copywriters to ensure the sale of their product or service. As a copywriter, you can work in any industry, including healthcare, education, technology, fashion, media, environmental science, tourism, fundraising, travel, and more. Really, any industry you can think of most likely has need for a copywriter.

    Copywriters tend to be employed by any of the following:

  • Freelance work: If you ever wanted to work for yourself, set your own hours, and work from the comfort of your own home, freelance copywriting might be the gig for you. Freelance copywriters work under contract or on a project basis. While this can be convenient and allow you to choose what type of projects you want to work on, the amount of work can vary, and as a result, so can your income. It is important to create a large client pool, and a backup plan to make sure you have a steady income.
  • In-house marketing teams: You work directly for a company’s marketing team, creating marketing strategies and writing copy for its marketing campaigns and advertisements. Unlike freelance copywriting, you work on campaigns related only to the business. As marketing grows and becomes a necessity, many companies create in-house marketing teams instead of outsourcing for this need.
  • Advertising or marketing agency: As a copywriter for an advertising or marketing agency, you work with multiple clients at one time, writing copy for all. Companies hire you to support their marketing initiatives.
  • What Skills Are Needed to Become a Copywriter?

    To be a copywriter, you must have excellent writing skills and be creative! You will often be working with other members of the marketing team to brainstorm new ways to inspire consumers to purchase the product or service.

    Check out the top skills recruiters are looking for in copywriters:

  • Creativity: You must be able to develop new strategies and ideas.
  • Persuasion: Copywriters need to be able to convince others to feel a certain way about a good or service.
  • Adaptability: You must be able to adapt and change your concepts to fit the goals of key stakeholders and clients.
  • Writing skills: Copywriters must write clearly and concisely to communicate effectively with their audience.
  • What Requirements and Education Are Needed to Become a Copywriter?

    Copywriters typically need a bachelor’s degree in writing, marketing, communications, business, or a related field. You should build a portfolio of recent work, whether that is blog posts, advertisements, short stories, etc. Recruiters tend to find these helpful in the interview process to see if your writing style and skills match the company. A bachelor’s degree in business from Excelsior University combined with work experience will help prepare you for a career as a copywriter.