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How to become a copywriter

Interested in becoming a copy wiz? Explore the in-and-outs of the copywriting profession and discover all there is to know about becoming a copywriter.

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Just do it.’ 

Got milk?’ 

Did somebody say…’ 

What do all these phrases have in common? They’re the famous words from household brands and campaigns that have captivated audiences from around the world. Let’s face it, copy is everywhere you look. From the clear and functional product landing pages to the inspirational voiceovers from sports ads, copy can make or break a brand. 

Great writing is the foundation of amazing copy, whether it’s so inconspicuous that you don’t even notice, or serves as a creative conversation-starter. But how do you become a copywriter? Good question. We’ll explore that, and more, in this article. 

What is copywriting?

Simply put, copywriting involves writing in an effort to market a brand or organisation. Whether it’s a legacy brand, traditional bank, national charity or a shiny new start-up, copywriting is designed to get eyes on the brand, keep them there and influence interaction. At times, this looks like brand awareness, and other times (well, most times), it means sales. 

While most people think of copywriting as strictly the domain of witty ads you’d see on TV or while travelling, there’s so much more to it. Emails, social media posts, landing pages, video scripts, blog posts, presentations, print media, billboards, product messaging and, of course, out-of-home (OOH) and digital ads are all the work of copywriters. 

What does a copywriter do?

Copywriting, as you’d expect, is mostly writing. However, it also involves a lot of planning, collaboration and reporting. Brand copywriters will work on one brand (and sometimes its subsidiaries), whilst freelance copywriters and agency copywriters tend to work with a variety of different companies as clients. 

A copywriter will receive a brief and work with designers, and sometimes even brand strategists, to craft compelling copy that meets the brand goal and matches the brand voice. 

What is the average copywriter salary?

The salary for a junior copywriter can range from £20-£25,000 a year, with salaries averaging around £26,000 in England. Salaries for senior copywriters can reach up to £65,000 a year, while the earning potential for freelance copywriters varies greatly depending on the scope of clients. 

Where can you work as a copywriter?

The beauty of copywriting is that you can work practically anywhere. Every industry needs copy – whether that’s tech, education, travel, entertainment or retail, there are tons of small and mainstream companies out there that need copywriters. Freelance writers are also able to build a portfolio of clients, enabling them to work remotely. 

Types of copywriting

Ask any copywriter and they’ll tell you – copywriting as a profession is as varied as they come. While copywriters balance different types of copywriting on a day-to-day basis, here are some of the most common you’ll find:

1. Creative copywriting – This is probably what comes to mind when you think of copywriting. While copywriting in and of itself is a creative form, creative copy is usually created for an advert or campaign. Creative copywriting also works to promote brand awareness. 

2. Technical copywriting – This involves simplifying difficult technical concepts in a way that’s easy to understand and digestible to users. 

3. Product and service copywriting – The physical product messaging and UX copy you see, will have been crafted by a copywriter.

4. Corporate copywriting – Arguably the least glamorous, but just as crucial, corporate copywriting involves internal messaging for employees and writing copy for corporate companies. 

5. Direct response copywriting – As expected, this is copywriting that’s been crafted to get customers to take action and boost sales. 

Alternatively, copywriting can also be broken down by medium: website, social media, email, script and print media

How to become a copywriter

That’s the million pound question, isn’t it? At the core of copywriting is a passion for writing, a way with words and an understanding of marketing and the industry landscape. These can be developed, but to put yourself in good stead, here’s where to start. 

Copywriter skills

Most copywriter jobs will require you to have at least a BA in English Literature, Media, Marketing or Business. 

Alongside that, you’ll need: 

  • A great command of language and a way with words
  • Excellent grammar and punctuation
  • Varied writing experience 
  • Communication skills
  • The ability to conduct research
  • Editing and proofreading skills
  • Time management and organisational skills

Once you have at least some of these, the best idea is to build your portfolio and then apply to junior roles or brave the freelance route. Blog posts, articles and social media posts – whether produced during work experience, an internship or even at a university newspaper – all serve as good starting points. 

Ideally, these will demonstrate your clear writing skills and depth of knowledge, as well as your ability to adapt your tone of voice to each platform you’ve written for, all while maintaining your unique voice. 

What a day in the life of a copywriter might look like

As a copywriter, the only constant is change. While you can expect that each day won’t be the same, copywriters generally spend most of their time completing briefs or communicating with team members about said briefs. For brand copywriters, this might look like writing emails, copy for social media or a blog post (like this one), or meeting to talk through concepts. 

Agency copywriters, on the other hand, work with brands on a project-basis. Their day might involve naming development, researching for brand messaging audits or tone of voice development, alongside typical writing duties. 

Become a copy connoisseur with FutureLearn

Now you’ve had a rundown on all things copywriting, you’ll probably want to take the first step. Whatever industry you’re interested in, FutureLearn has the tools you need on your journey to becoming a great copywriter. Gain expert knowledge and learn anywhere with our copywriting courses. 

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