Are you thinking of a career in copywriting? If yes, knowing how to get into the field makes sense. You see, copywriters play a critical role in the marketing department. It is because of them that brands can put words into their communication.
But not just any words. Whatever copy they come up with must be persuasive, educative, and interest-generating. The copy should persuade, tell a story, and sway audiences to take a specific action.
Take the example of a product advertisement. If the brand uses complex sell language, it can turn off customers. But copywriters are creatives who can manipulate language in a unique way. They can make a pretty standard ad copy sound so exciting.
The history of copywriting goes way back to 1477. William Caxton was behind Britain’s first advert. The seven-line advert he crafted had the intention of promoting a handbook for priests. Over the years, copywriting has evolved into an illustrious career path.
So, let’s explore how to get into the exciting world of word crafting.
Copywriting, What Is It?
In marketing, copywriters create written content or copy for advertising purposes. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it may surprise you to know that it is not. True, the copywriter must have a good command of language. They must also have a creative streak to churn out a good copy.
But beyond that is the tons of research that goes into copywriting. They must, for instance, know how best to communicate with their target audiences. And that requires an in-depth understanding of the demographics. Research also includes knowing the market, competitor insights, and more.
Roles and Responsibilities of Copywriters
We can summarize the roles and responsibilities of copywriters as follows.
- Writing copy for a wide range of marketing uses. These include advertisements, catalogs, websites, and electronic media.
- Researching and crafting content that audiences resonate with. That includes using the right tone and language to communicate with specific demographics.
- Editing and proofreading work to meet editorial standards.
- Collaborate with marketing, product, and creative departments to develop the right messaging.
- Ensure brand messaging consistency across all platforms.
How to Become a Copywriter
The work sounds pretty exciting so far, right? Well, you now need to know how to become a copywriter. Depending on the company, you may need a bachelor’s degree in a related field. These include journalism, marketing, English, and communication. Part of the course curriculum will teach you research, audience awareness, writing, and editing. These are critical components in the copywriter’s career path.
After graduation, do sign up for internship roles. This is critical because it will help hone your writing skills. Also, it allows you to start building your portfolio. As a fresh graduate, you will enter at an entry-level position. But, you can escalate your move up the ladder by getting an MBA.
Additional skills to have in your copywriter career path include:-
- An inquisitive nature will be critical because of the amount of research you have to do
- Detail-oriented with keen attention to detail. Your work requires that you come up with an error-free or near-perfect copy. This further compounds the need to have editing skills as well
- Excellent communication skills because people have to understand the copy you develop. You should also be able to articulate your ideas to the clients and other stakeholders
- High levels of creativity and the ability to see things from a unique angle
- Time management and the ability to work under tight timelines
- Level of independence or autonomy without needing too much supervision
- Ability to accept feedback without losing patience or getting annoyed.
Do check out this list of some of the best copywriters the world over. Industry greats like David Ogilvy, Leo Burnett, and Claude Hopkins are on the list. If you keep up with advertising and marketing news, you must have come across these names.
Entry-Level Copywriting Positions
There are different areas of specialization for entry-level copywriting positions. These include:-
- B2B or B2B copywriting, depending on the target audience
- Marketing copywriting for promoting products or services. Good examples include direct emails, display ads, and YouTube videos
- Social media copywriting that develops messages for social platforms
- Brand copywriting for the generation of content to support brand values and vision. These include taglines or brand messages
- Direct response copywriting like limited-time offers or website pop-ups. Such aims at sparking specific reactions from customers
- Technical copywriting explains product attributes while encouraging customers to buy
- Public relations copywriting, including press releases, editorial content, and new developments
- Thought leadership copywriting provides insights into subject matters. These include opinion pieces and white papers
- Email copywriting and SEO copywriting for brand communication and visibility.
In terms of job opportunities in the copywriter career path, there are many opportunities. One option is to become an agency copywriter, where you serve many clients. You can also go into corporate copywriting. This makes you the in-house resource for the organization. A final option is freelance copywriting, which comes with tons of flexibility. You can also decide which jobs to take and when to work.
Advancement Opportunities in the Copywriter Career Path
With more experience, you can move up in copywriting and even the marketing department. The typical progression is junior copywriter > senior copywriter > Creative director.
But you don’t have to confine yourself to copywriting alone. From entry-level, you can move to mid-level, then senior copywriter position. The next step is the creative director and then the marketing director. Within seven years, you can make it to the top spot as the regional marketing director.
In the same way, a senior copywriter can become a social media manager. That can lead to a position as a digital marketing manager and, finally, senior digital marketing.
Now, here is where it gets interesting. You do not need a lot of experience to start your copywriter career path. The only requirement is an excellent command of the language. You need the same for grammar, sentence structure, spelling, and proofreading.
Start creating small pieces while focusing on the copywriting basics. These include:-
- Knowing your audience well
- Proper research on the subject matter
- Writing compelling or persuasive copy. Remember, you don’t want people to feel like you are pushing them to buy. You will achieve better results, for instance, by appealing to emotions.
- Focus on product benefits rather than features
- Learn how to engage interest with catchy headlines and the right tone, etc.
You can use many resources to improve your skill set both online and offline. Get a mentor who can guide you on your copywriter career path.
Finally, join networks of like-minded individuals. There are plenty of such on platforms like linked in and Facebook. You can learn a lot from those who have been in the copywriting industry for some time. Such groups are fantastic because your next employer or client might be right there.
Diversifying Your Copywriting Skills
As a copywriter, you have some pretty fantastic skills. That means you can easily diversify your portfolio. The direct result is the ability to land better-paying jobs. You can, for instance, go into content creation. Please note copywriters generate content with the aim of selling. Content creation is wider and incorporates problem-solving, education, storytelling, and more.
Feel free to experiment with different types of copywriting. Yes, you may have a liking for and specialize in one style. But, you will be a more desirable candidate if you show competence in other areas.
So, you could apply for a job as a technical copywriter. But you can also churn out copy for SEO, email, or brand copywriting. That could be why a company picks you instead of another candidate.
Challenges and Considerations for Copywriters
The copywriter career path is exciting and has tons of opportunities. But, like any other marketing role, there is the reverse side. The truth is that the job can get stressful. The workload can get quite intense. Imagine if the company is running a marketing campaign. You can be sure of long days. And, say goodbye to getting more than a few hours of sleep.
Another stressor is the tight deadlines. If you don’t do well in high-stress situations, this may not be your career path.
And you can’t always be sure that the client will get your creativity. Approvals, feedback, and corrections add to the stress of the job. Indeed, it can take a massive toll on your confidence if the client rejects the job.
Finally, you may not always like or have a passion for the subject. That can make your job dreary, sometimes resulting in creativity blocks.
Take an honest look at yourself before signing on to the copywriter career path. Go back to the list of extra skills you need to have. Are you patient, and do you listen to instructions? Also, how are you in stressful situations? But take heart. You can learn coping mechanisms, so you don’t give up on your copywriting dream job.
Your choice of a copywriter career path is an excellent one. It allows you to use your talent for writing and communication. Indeed, without you, the marketing department would be in so much trouble.
You need persistence and the right mindset to succeed in this career field. Also, it helps to have clarity on your career goals. Keep expanding your knowledge with training or career-advancing courses. And, of course, keep up with the latest copywriting trends. And finally, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone by diversifying your portfolio.