Learn What a Copywriter Does and How to Become One

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You're creative, witty and good at pumping out well-written stories under a timeline, so it's no surprise that your friends in advertising keep telling you that you should leave your day job as a blogger to become a copywriter. Sounds great! Just one problem — you're not quite sure what exactly it is that a copywriter does, or how to go about becoming one. Don't fret, here we explain a normal job description for the role of a copywriter, and how to become one.

What a Copywriter Does

At advertising agencies a copywriter is known as a “creative” because he or she makes up the slogans or copy, that drive ad campaigns. Bud Light's — This Bud’s for You. BMW — The Ultimate Driving Machine. Nike — Just Do It. Those famous ad phrases are all the work of a copywriter somewhere.

The job may not be in the spotlight or very glamorous (not all copywriters work for big name brands) but the role is an important one that makes a large impact on the image and reputation of a company or brand.

How to Become a Copywriter

Getting a job as a copywriter is tougher than getting a job in other fields of advertising because you need a portfolio of work to get in the door. So how do you get a portfolio, or a book, as it’s dubbed in the ad world? To get a book together, your best start is to get an internship. Your book is a collection of ads you’ve worked on and you can’t work on any ads until you get some work at an advertising agency.

To get an internship at an ad agency you need to be diligent in searching online for openings. You can also contact creative directors, who run the creative departments at ad agencies.

If you don’t want to get an internship, or can’t afford to work for zero to minimal wages for a long period of time, you can create spec ads on your own.

Because copywriters work in various fields — print, TV, radio and online — your spec work will have to mimic the kind of ads you’re interested in creating. If you want to work online, you should be creating banner ads and online campaigns.

You’ll need print spots if you want to work in print advertising, etc. Although you might be able to land work by creating spec ads, hiring managers prefer to see work you’ve done while interning at an agency. Also, while you don’t need a graduate degree to become a copywriter, hiring managers do prefer to see that you’ve earned an undergraduate degree.

What Skills You Need for the Job

Copywriting is all about creativity so you really need to have a talent for the work. While some people might learn on the job, this kind of work is best for people who can craft stories with images and words and think outside of the box. (It’s stories that often sell products — the slogans and images simply tell the stories.) Getting an internship in the creative department of an agency, as mentioned above, is also a good way to figure out whether you have the talent to be a copywriter.