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Advertising Agency Copywriter Career Profile


Job Description for Copywriters:

Copywriting jobs in an ad agency will have you working at an agency that handles multiple clients or a company's in-house agency, meaning the client is the company and they do not handle advertising for other companies. If you accept one of these copywriting jobs at an agency, you will work on the creative team and you'll usually report to the Creative Director. A copywriter's main focus is on writing for ad mediums like print ads, brochures, Web sites, commercials and other advertising materials.

Salary Range for Copywriters:

$32,927 - $52,166 for a Level I copywriter, with some Level III copywriters reporting a salary of $78,014.

Special Skills for Copywriters:

  • Ability to write catchy, persuasive copy that sells every client's products or services
  • Brainstorm copy ideas and possible angles for a client's ad materials
  • Work long hours and meet deadlines are both a must
  • Must be able to work in a fast-paced, high pressure environment
  • Strong command of the English language with an eye to catch spelling and grammar errors
  • Contribute original ideas for ad campaigns
  • A thick skin because your copy will be revised many times
  • Ability to work with graphic designers, account executives and possibly even the client to move the projects from concept to completion

Education and Training for Copywriters:

Many copywriters have a bachelor's degree in English, journalism, communications, advertising, marketing or public relations. Some have specifically attended an advertising school. Others have started on the ground level with little or no college education and have worked their way up. They may have even taken a copywriting course to learn the fundamentals of writing copy.

Generally, the higher up the career ladder you want to go as a copywriter, the more work experience and/or college education is required. The requirements vary based on the agency's size and the city as well.

Typical Day as a Copywriter:

• Write copy for ad materials like print ads, brochures, Web sites, commercials and other advertising mediums

• Edit projects that have come back to your desk for revisions

• Proofread your ad copy before it's sent for approval

• Meet with the Creative Director or the entire creative team to give a status update on each of the projects you're working on

• Contribute ideas for new business and current clients' ad strategies

• Help prepare pitch concepts for clients

• Work with the creative team to cast for projects ready for production

• Go on location where commercials are being produced

Common Misconceptions:

While some agencies do want their copywriters involved with the clients, campaign pitches and strategy sessions, a lot of copywriters find their job description doesn't include some or all of these involvements with the client's campaign.

Other copywriters spend a lot of time involved in these activities. They don't sit down at their desk at 8 a.m. and write copy all day until it's time to go home.

Know what type of environment you prefer before going in for the interview. But be flexible. As a new copywriter, every bit of experience is helpful no matter how the agency views the role of its copywriters.

Getting Started as a Copywriter:

Copywriters can begin with little or no college education by interning or landing an entry level position. A ground level job generally begins at a very low pay scale. Without much education or experience, your best approach is to find a smaller agency to get your feet wet.

College graduates may also find they have to start with a ground level job. Interning while in college gives you a great opportunity to gain valuable experience and make contacts you can use once you graduate.

Some agency copywriters started out as freelance copywriters. They built their portfolio and made key contacts while freelancing.

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