I recently wrote a series of advertising interviews, detailing how to get into the industry as a graduate. Following on from that I thought it might be useful to detail some of the roles and what their purpose is. This week I’ve explained the Copywriter job description.
Some people may know what a Copywriter is but just want to know a bit more about the role, while others may be starting from scratch and not know what the Copywriter job description entails. Whoever you are, I hope this post will help you.
Copywriter job description: What does a Copywriter do?
A Copywriter is responsible for creating the words we hear and see on adverts, from written copy, to audio scripts and slogans.
The typical process a Copywriter might go through on a project would be to, discuss the client’s core message and target audience, work on advert ideas with their creative partner (an Art Director), writing and presenting ideas to the client and overseeing the overall production work of the advert.
Together, the Copywriter and Art Director are responsible for checking all the content on the advert, ensuring it is both truthful and complies with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) guidelines.
Both projects and clients vary massively from agency to agency, but the most common types of projects are to work on ‘above the line advertising’ (TV, radio, cinema advertising etc) and ‘below the lines advertising’ (direct mail, brochures, print, press etc).
What is the work like?
Copywriters tend to work Monday to Friday typically, although work can move into late evenings and weekend work when deadlines and client pitches are approaching.
Copywriters and Art Directors will often be hired together, as a Creative Team, though it is possible to work as a Copywriter on a part-time, permanent or freelance contract at the agency. These can be both hard to come by and extremely competitive. When hired by the agency, the Copywriter spends most of their time with their Art Director at the agency offices. Occasionally they will be expected to travel when filming adverts – location is dependant on where the advert needs to be filmed.
Moving from agency to agency is very common in this industry, that or being head hunted by another agency. It can be rare to find a creative team with a longstanding career history at just one agency.
What is the salary like?
I cannot speak for every Copywriter out there when I mention salaries; they are all dependant on location, experience and agency discretion. However, an average salary for a Junior Copywriter will be around £18,000.
Once Copywriters have built up their book and experience, there is a chance to move up the career ladder and become a Senior Copywriter. Salaries for this role can vary between £30,000 to £50,000. A role as a Creative Director can bring in salaries of up to £120,000. Again though, these salaries are all dependant on the location and size of the agency.
Copywriters can move up the career ladder by building their portfolio, gaining positive recognition for their work and via training, which is normally under taken in-house by more experienced / Senior level colleagues.
What are the hours like?
As a Copywriter you have to be flexible. Agency work is heavily focused on client work and deadlines and so your working hours will revolve around this. Average hours tend to be 9 – 6, but these hours often merge into evening and weekend work when client deadlines or pitches are approaching.
Getting a Copywriter role
As an advertising Copywriter, you need to be highly creative and imaginative, have great writing and English skills, be able to work well under pressure, have an eye for detail, lateral thinking, work well in a team and have an interest in everything outside of advertising.
There are various ‘advertising’ courses throughout the UK and abroad, where copywriting skills can be taught. These courses will offer creative briefs, allowing students to build up a portfolio and put their skills to the test. However, attending a university course doesn’t guarantee you a position at an agency. In fact, a university degree isn’t even compulsory in advertising, though some people do believe it helps.
The main route into an agency as a Copywriter, is through placements and via a strong portfolio, with an equally strong Art Director, where they would be hired / offered a placement as a Creative Team.