Copywriter Career Snapshot

  • Copywriters create content intended to persuade customers to purchase a product or service. The content can include print ads, web pages, emails, fliers, scripts for radio and television ads, billboards, etc.
  • Copywriters are employed in a wide variety of industries including advertising, retail, and marketing. They may also be employed by companies with their own advertising/marketing departments.
  • Due to the high number of people seeking this type of work, employment opportunities for copywriters are not expected to increase from 2018 to 2028.
  • As of 2018, the median pay for copywriters was $71,920.
  • Many copywriting jobs require a bachelor’s degree in English, Marketing, Advertising, or Communications. A strong portfolio of work is essential for this competitive field.

Job Details

  • Copywriters are often expected to research products/services in order to create content. Research can include interviewing customers or reading customer reviews, studying any available manufacturer documentation about the product/service, and trying the product/service to gain firsthand experience.
  • Once their research is complete, copywriters create content that will resonate with potential customers and persuade them to try the product/service described.
  • Copywriters are highly creative in their approach to the content, i.e., word choice and style, as they work to evoke emotions and sensations around the product/service.
  • Copywriters should be comfortable working in a variety of mediums and platforms, e.g., content for an email blast will differ greatly from a billboard or radio ad.
  • While copywriters must demonstrate creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, they must also ensure that copy they create is truthful and accurate.
  • Copywriting can be a demanding job due to short turnaround times and last-minute changes.
  • While some copywriters are hired as permanent employees, there are growing numbers of freelance copywriters. Freelancers may be hired for individual assignments (an email blast for a new product) or for specific time periods (the duration of an entire advertising campaign).
  • Copywriters may be required to work at the employer’s location, but some freelance copywriters work remotely. Office-based work may be more concentrated near metropolitan areas. Some jobs may require travel in order to meet with the client, conduct interviews, or perform the research required to complete the assignment.
  • Copywriters should pay careful attention to any contracts or NDAs as they add completed work to their portfolios.

Education and Experience

  • Salaried writing positions generally require a college in English, Advertising, Marketing, or Communications.
  • A growing number of copywriting programs are available through colleges, universities, and some writing organizations.
  • Copywriters must possess demonstrable skills and should have both print and online portfolios of their work.
  • Copywriters looking to build a career before they have a strong portfolio can gain experience by working for local businesses and organizations, applying for internships, entering copywriting contests, starting a personal blog, etc. Work in these areas could lead to paid assignments and a more professional collection of copywriting samples.

Career Outlook

  • Employment opportunities for copywriters are not expected to change from 2018 to 2028. This is due to the high number of copywriters competing for work.
  • As of May 2018, the median pay for copywriters was $71, 920.
  • While fulltime copywriting jobs is not likely to increase, opportunities for freelancers may improve. Many companies require the skills of a copywriter, but hiring a freelancer makes better sense financially.

Professional Associations

As you explore copywriting as a career, you can also visit the websites of organizations involved in field for more information:

American Association of Advertising Agencies provides a wealth of information and resources to new, soon to be, and established copywriters. There are tools for career development and information on the latest happenings in the industry. This is an official, recognized trade organization in the United States.

American Marketing Association (AMA) is a trade organization offering opportunities for copywriters. They aid in developing skill sets, provide webcasts, post job openings, and aid members in networking, education, and professional marketing. To learn more about what the organization can offer, visit the member’s benefit page.

American Society of Professional Copywriters is professional association is an organization devoted exclusively to American English copywriters. It offers membership, consultation service to other copywriters, and an annual awards program for excellence in the art and science of copywriting.

Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is a membership association providing a range of resources and tools for advertising-based careers, including copywriters. The organization offers a number of training and career programs for current and future copywriters.

Copywriting.com is an online, free-to-use forum that allows individuals in the copywriting profession to share tips, information and news. Additionally, a section for critiques is available to enable new copywriters to improve their skills before providing a client with a finished product.

Freelancer’s Union is the largest and fast-growing organization representing the 56.7 million independent workers across the country, providing 490,000+ members a powerful voice through policy advocacy, benefits, and community.

Media and Content Marketing Association (MCMA) is devoted to helping members achieve excellence and success in media and content marketing through education and networking opportunities.

National Association of Independent Writers & Editors (NAIWE) is a professional association for writers and editors that provides members with professional support and business development through an ever-increasing array of benefits.

National Writers Union (NWU) is the only labor union that represents freelance writers working in all genres, formats, and mediums.

Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the nation’s leading professional organization serving the communications community with more than 30,000 professional and student members.

Copywriters write the text of advertisements for various media.

Written ad copy is the backbone of consumer marketing, and it has been for a very long time. Copywriters are ultra-precise marketing masterminds capable of summing up a product's capabilities or an organization's vibes in a few snappy words. Though copywriting strategies change with every new generation and platform, a few things show no signs of changing: effective copy is engaging, encourages its reader to do something, and says exactly what it means to...no more, no less.

Copy appears online, in print ads, on billboards, in radio promotions, and in commercial scripts, as well as some other unexpected places. A trained eye can spot copy anywhere simply because it is so well constructed. No one communicates quite as efficiently or persuasively as a talented copywriter, which is why good advertisements border on sketch comedy and good slogans can stick around for decades. Good copy is somehow both natural and memorable - it never reads as clunky, tryhard, or overly complex. This is a difficult balance to strike, and those who succeed often get involved with various aspects of the advertising process, expanding their reach over a period of time.

Work in copywriting may include...

  • Brainstorming effective ways to word a sentiment
  • Collaborating with marketers and creatives on advertisements
  • Developing a brand's unique voice
  • Researching target markets and what they respond to
  • Contributing words to web pages, publications, videos, and more

Nearly every successful business, brand, and institution has employed a copywriter at one point or another. Any organization that wants to make a good impression, from universities to bakeries to startups to gyms to hospitals to retailers, can benefit from having a skilled copywriter maintaining their public voice. Some copywriters are freelancers who take on various clients in order to manage their public voice; others are full time marketing professionals whose work represents a single organization. Copywriters commonly work in-house for ad agencies, who assign them to various client projects. This type of work can be both high pressure and creatively fulfilling, with visible impact upon each project's release. Most employers recognize the value of copy and are willing to pay for it, which makes it a viable career path for many talented writers.

It takes a special something to write effective copy, and some people just have it. Regardless of natural skill, most working copywriters hold Bachelor's degrees, often in marketing, communications, or writing, though majors do little to predict success in the profession. Most college programs involve stylistic training and structured writing, which can serve as great practice for day to day copy work. Students also commonly receive feedback on their work, engage in extensive revision processes, and explore various topics they may not have been familiar with. All of these experiences provide helpful context to a copywriter's workflow once they enter the workforce.

If you're good with words and can always find the right combination for any occasion, you might have a bright future in copywriting ahead of you.

The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors is a professional association for all publishing professionals, helping members succeed by creating multiple streams of income.

Writers Guild of America West is a labor union composed of those who write the content that keeps audiences constantly entertained and informed.