- What do copywriters do?
- Copywriter career path
- Copywriter salaries
- Qualifications and training
- Copywriter skills
- Pros and cons of being a copywriter
- Copywriter work-life balance
- Copywriter employers
- Related jobs
Are you interested in a career in copywriting? Explore current jobs in marketing and PR right now.
What does a copywriter do?
Copywriters are the interface between a company and its consumers. As a copywriter, you take a brief and turn it into a well-crafted piece of writing. Your work could include writing blog posts, content for websites, advertising campaigns, and product descriptions. You could even write the instructions for how to use products. Some copywriters take their expertise in technical fields and turn complex medical or legal cases filled with terminology into easy to read copy for marketing or media purposes.
As a copywriter, here are some of the daily tasks that you could do:
- Have meetings with your team to update everyone on your progress in the project you’re working on
- Write copy based on the briefs you receive from either your supervisor or your client
- Edit work that you’ve completed based on supervisor or client notes
- Make sure that any work that will be published online is search engine optimised so the relevant audience can easily find it
- Organise and conduct interviews with experts
- Research the type of content you’re writing so you can adapt your writing style to suit it
Copywriter career path
Copywriting can lead you to senior positions in a company. The career path of some copywriters diverges and they decide that they like the advertising aspect more than the writing and move to marketing. Some copywriters like the interviewing and writing area more so move into journalism or publishing. Here is the standard career path for copywriters:
Entry-level jobs for copywriters begin with a junior copywriter or starting-level copywriter role. In these jobs, you learn the basics of copywriting, build up your portfolio of published work and improve your writing skills. You may be set specific writing tasks to complete, for example being setting a title and writing the article or piece based on it.
Mid-level copywriters have more responsibility than entry-level and junior copywriters. In this role, you may set your own work or collaborate with other team members to decide on the work to produce. You have more complex writing tasks and may conduct interviews more frequently.
As a senior copywriter, you have a great deal of experience. You typically set your own work. Your tasks may be complex and higher profile than that of entry-level and mid-level copywriters. You may train and monitor the work of less senior members of the team, offering advice and editing tips to them.
If you’re very successful as a copywriter, you could work as a freelance copywriter, receiving work from your clients and being your own boss. You could even start your own company and employ others if you have enough experience to do so.
You can find the average salaries that you expect in different roles as a copywriter here. These are based on how much you earn when working in a company because your earnings could be very different in freelance copywriting and entirely depend on the economy, the amount of work you have, your skills as a writer and your ability to sell yourself as a freelance copywriter:
- Junior and entry-level copywriters typically earn between £18,000 and £23,000 per year
- Mid-level copywriters earn an average of £28,000 per year
- Senior copywriters earn £45,000 per year on average
- Freelance copywriters earn between £16,000 and £50,000 per year
Qualifications and training
There is a range of ways to become a copywriter. Here are the steps that you could take to start your career:
You don’t actually need any formal education beyond secondary school to be a copywriter. If you’re committed to the job and have work experience and a good profile, you could start your career once you finish your A-Levels.
Most copywriters have a degree in essay-based subjects like English, journalism, media studies, creative writing or other humanities subjects. The process of writing essays for your degree helps you improve your writing skills and teaches you how to edit well.
An alternative to a degree is a college diploma in copywriting. This gives you the relevant skills that you need for the job alongside experience in writing for different audiences and purposes.
If you’re interested in a diploma in copywriting, consider the accredited copywriting diploma from the College of Media and Publishing.
There are many ways of getting copywriting experience before you start your career, much of which you can do at home. Building up your portfolio of work is a great way to demonstrate your skills and get employers interested in you. Your portfolio could include any voluntary writing you’ve done for a local newspaper, at school or in a society at university. You could put high-quality pieces of work that you’ve written for fun in your portfolio as well. Your portfolio could either be a collection of documents that you send to prospective employers or you could set up a website that highlights your work.
Copywriting requires many skills which are useful to have before you begin your career. Here are some key transferable skills that will help you:
- Creativity. You need to be creative to work as a copywriter so you can think of different topics and adapt different writing styles to make your work interesting for the reader.
- Written communication. Having great writing skills helps you make content that is great to read. You can use different writing styles, sentence structures and a wide vocabulary to do this
- Organisation. As a copywriter, you organise your workload to make sure you’re on track to finish your work. You may even organise the employment that you have lined up if you’re freelance or on short term contracts
- Eager to learn. You may not be an expert in the subject you’re writing about. Being eager to learn means you can research a topic and write an informed article about it without being an expert
Pros and cons of being a copywriter
Copywriting can be a creative and fun job and a great career to get into. But there are some less positive parts of the job. Here is what you should consider before you begin your career in copywriting:
- You get to be creative and write every day
- If you’re in freelance or contract positions, you get to choose to do the work that excites and interests you
- You talk to so many interesting people to make your writing more in-depth
- If you’re not afraid of a blank page and find writing enjoyable, then the working day is fun and goes by very quickly
- Getting started can be difficult if you don’t have experience or a portfolio
- Unless you’re successful as a freelancer or work in a top company, your salary may not grow as exponentially as other jobs in the marketing world
- You may start your career in freelance or contract positions that are short term, maybe lasting a few months or a year. With employment that lasts under a year, you have very little certainty with money and you have to plan your next form of employment. This may make renting a flat or house more difficult as you don’t have a guaranteed stream of income for the future. Also, your employer is not obliged to make pension payments for you if you’re on a short term contract which can become a problem if your work is consistently short term contracts as you miss out on years of vital pension payments.
The working life of a copywriter depends on the organisation you work for and the type of contract that you have. Some organisations give you set working hours to do the work, typically 9am to 5pm on Monday to Friday. However, others have flexible working hours where you can complete everything you have to do in hours that suit you.
Many copywriters work on a freelance basis. If you’re a freelance writer, you don’t typically have working hours and instead get set work to complete in the span of a few working days to a week. Another option is short term contract work. In this work, you are an employee of a company for a few months to a year. You’re more likely to have set working hours if you have a contract-based job rather than freelance.
Unlike with a contract or permanent copywriting job, you may work weekends and long hours in freelance copywriting so you can complete your work by a deadline.
Many large companies need great copywriters to produce high-quality content for them. Here are some of the companies that you could work with as a copywriter: