What Are the Job Duties of a Copywriter?

Copywriters create attention-grabbing, informative text, also known as copy, that describes and promotes products. They may write copy for print ads, billboards, catalog descriptions, blog entries, or television and radio commercials. Many copywriters have a bachelor's degree in communications, journalism or marketing. Schools offering English Reading & Writing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Overview of a Copywriter

Copywriters often work for advertising agencies, but many work as freelancers or as in-house staff members of companies ranging from healthcare providers to clothing manufacturers. In addition to writing, they may also be asked to edit copy, lay out Web pages, post copy to websites, meet with clients and conduct research. Copywriting takes many different forms, from concise slogans to detailed sales proposals.

Researching

Copywriters must understand the product about which they are writing. This includes learning about what need the product meets, how it works and who the intended user will be. Copywriters must also understand what type of writing works best for a particular media outlet, whether it's print, television or Web-based, and the best way to convey a message to the target audience. Additionally, copywriters must be aware of pop culture trends and slang, as well as industry-specific jargon. Research may involve:

  • Product testing
  • Meeting with clients
  • Reviewing market research obtained through focus groups
  • Experimenting with emerging trends in new media

Writing

A copywriter's main job is to write persuasive, often sales-oriented, copy. Successful copywriting encourages people to take action. It requires creativity, excellent writing skills and an ability to meet tight deadlines. Copywriters must be able to collaborate with teams of editors, creative directors and account managers; they also interact with clients, pitch ideas, receive feedback and revise their work. They often write material for the following:

  • Print, radio and television ads
  • Brochures and catalogs
  • Sales presentations
  • Web content

Editing and Proofreading

Copywriters must be able to proofread and edit the copy they submit. While they may pitch original ideas and create concepts, they are also expected to make revisions based on feedback from employers and clients. Rewrites may involve everything from polishing a few lines of copy to starting over. In addition to flexibility and strong problem-solving ability, copywriters must possess:

  • Solid spelling, grammar and punctuation skills
  • Familiarity with stylebooks and other reference materials
  • An eye for detail
  • Knowledge of word processing programs and editing tools

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