Copywriters (often known in the advertising industry as ‘creatives’), produce the written words or â€˜copyâ€™ for advertisements. This could be anything fromÂ slogans and text for printed ads and leaflets, toÂ radio jingles and scriptsÂ for TVÂ commercials.
As a copywriter, you wouldÂ work as aÂ team with an art director, who would provide the visual images to go with your words. Your job would begin with a briefing about the client, their product, the target audienceÂ and the advertising message to be put across. Your work could then involve:
- creating original ideas that fit the brief (working closely with the art director)
- presentingÂ ideas to the agencyâ€™s creative director and account team
- helping to present ideas to the client
- making any changes that the client asks for
- writing clear and persuasive copy
- making sure that ads meet the codes of advertising practice
- proofreading copy to check spelling, grammar and facts
- casting actors for TV and radio advertisements
- liaising with photographers, designers, production companies and printers.
You would often work on several projects at once, usually under the supervision of a creative director.
What qualifications and experience will employers look for?
Employers will usually be more interested in your creativity, writing skills and business sense than your formal qualifications.
However, advertising is a very competitive industry to join, so you may have an advantage with a qualification that includes some copywriting, such as:
- a foundation degree, BTEC HND or degree in advertising
- Communication, Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation (CAM) Diploma in Marketing Communications.
Other useful courses include BTEC HNDs or degrees in journalism, English, media studies and marketing.
Most people get their first copywriting job as a result of work experience. This can give you the chance to make industry contacts and impress potential employers.
You could contact agencies directly to ask about placements, and make industry contacts through relevant groups on social networking sites. See the Work Experience section of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) website for more information and a list of member agencies. The IPA also runs a Graduate Recruitment Agency, and D&AD runs a Graduate Placement Scheme.
- Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
When looking for jobs, you will need to show a portfolio of your work (known as a ‘book’) to potential employers, as you will be employed on the strength of your creative ideas, versatility and writing ability.
It’s a good idea to team up with a would-be art director and work together on campaign ideas for your portfolio, as this can help prove your ability to fulfill a client’s ‘brief’. See D&AD’s website for details of their advertising workshops, aimed at helping people build a portfolio and make contacts in the advertising industry.
If you join the IPA, you can also showcase the best of your portfolio online on their All Our Best Work website.
- All Our Best Work
Visit the Diagonal Thinking website to find out if you have what it takes for a career in advertising.
- Diagonal Thinking
What further training and development can I do?
You would start as a junior creative in an advertising agency, and develop your skills on the job. In larger advertising agencies, you may be trainedÂ through a structured graduate scheme.
Your training may include the IPA Foundation Certificate, an online course for junior staff with at least six monthsâ€™ experience in any area of advertising.
You should keep up to date with advertising industry news and developments throughout your career. D&AD offers Workout, a range of one-day courses for creatives, and the IPA runs a range of short courses and seminars for staff working in its member agencies.