The term ‘copywriter’ might bring to mind a particular job title in a fiction book or a magazine. However, the role of a copywriter is far more diverse than that and can take many different forms. In fact, no two days are the same in the life of a copywriter!
Here, we’ll explore the many different jobs that a copywriter can do, the various requirements needed for each job, and how to become a copywriter yourself.
The Many Different Roles of a Copywriter
A copywriter’s role can vary from helping develop a business plan to pitching product ideas for a major corporation. Just like the name would suggest, a copywriter’s duties involve ‘writing’ the content of a document or pitch (i.e. marketing material). However, a copywriter isn’t always limited to just ‘writing’.
A copywriter can also be involved in editing, reviewing, and sometimes even performing the tasks themselves. The key is to find a job that you enjoy and that allows you to use your creative skills to their fullest potential. You can find a job posting for any role you might be interested in, as employers typically look for volunteers rather than employees.
The Business End of Things
As a business-to-business copywriter, your job is to pitch various products and services to companies. Your proposals will vary from designing flyers to pitch a new product to writing press releases to promote an existing product. Pitching a product or service to a company that you know nothing about can be difficult, especially when you are just starting out. To help make your life easier as a copywriter, you should look for an established brand that you can pitch to. This will remove the nervousness of having to find the product or service yourself and also give you a head start on your career. These brands have already established themselves within their respective industries and have the trust of their customers. By pitching your ideas to well-known brands, you will gain experience and credibility that will catapult you to the top of your career.
Writing Is Fundamental
As a starting copywriter, your primary duty will be to produce content for your client. This could mean pitching product ideas, creating ad copy, or even editing press releases and other forms of marketing material. It is essential as a copywriter that you know how to write a compelling piece, whether it’s a pitch or an article. Many businesses and brands will frequently ask you to write ‘about’ them or their products, however, this is rarely going to be your main focus as a copywriter. You are there to help them tell their story and convince their audience to buy their products. The best copywriters are a combination of talented and creative individuals who understand how to tell a compelling story and are equipped with the technical skills to back it up.
The Design End of Things
As a graphic designer, you will be asked to create the overall look and feel of a piece of content (e.g. a pitch, an article, a web banner, etc.). You will work with the content to create a coherent look that provides the reader with an experience that is both cohesive and interesting. This entails using your artistic skills to enhance the copy through visual design.
Depending on your experience, you could specialize in a certain topic or language. For example, you could become an expert in PR while also creating infographics, pitch decks, or social media content. Designing for a tech-savvy audience is also key, so you should be familiar with technologies such as WordPress, Squarespace, and Figma. Designing for print is also of great importance, so being able to produce a tight, clean design that looks like it was printed at a large scale is crucial. Mastering both print and web design is highly beneficial, as you will be working frequently on both types of media.
The Editing End of Things
Editors are usually given a piece of content and asked to make it better. This could entail taking out unnecessary words or sentences, fixing any spelling errors, or even changing the structure of the piece. When you are first starting out as an editor, you will be given small tasks and asked to take on bigger ones as you gain experience. Being a well-rounded editor means being able to handle a variety of tasks and be a jack-of-all-trades. Being a one-stop-shop for content is also beneficial, as you will be asked to take out the copy and the design of a piece and create a new one from scratch. This means being able to take a creative spin on any task and being able to deliver exceptional results. Editing is a great way to improve your skills and gain experience, so take on as much as you can!
Pitching and Marketing
Taking a more business-like approach, your job as a pitching and marketing copywriter is to go out there and find potential clients who will hire you to write their content. To get started, you can join a pitching network, which will connect you with numerous organizations and businesses who are in need of content. Once you have signed on with a pitching network, you will be assigned a pitching mentor who will help you develop your skills and learn how to pitch effectively. Additionally, your mentor will introduce you to potential clients who can hire you for your skills.
Pitching is a great way to build your career and gain experience, as you will be representing a company (typically a small business or startup) and selling a product or service that you know nothing about. Having said that, becoming a trusted adviser and long-term partner for a company you are pitching to can be mutually beneficial. A good pitch will highlight the value that your unique skillset can bring to the table and convince the reader to join hands with you in creating a better outcome for both parties.
Copywriting Is a Changing Field
One of the biggest advantages of the ever-changing world of digital copywriting is that the skills you need to succeed are continually evolving, as are the platforms on which you are expected to perform. The perfect pitch deck might look different to someone else, and what was sufficient 2 years ago might be beneath you today. The best way to succeed as a copywriter is to continually update your skills and stay ahead of the game.
Similarly, platforms like WordPress and Squarespace have evolved to suit the changing needs of content creators, and whether you are pitching a product idea or an existing product, your template will likely change as well.
As a copywriter, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to delivering results. The perfect job for a copywriter might look very different to somebody else, as your skills and experience will determine your unique ‘fit’. The best way to succeed is to continuously learn and evolve with the industry.