Step by step guide to becoming an advertising copywriter

Writing professionally can be both exciting and rewarding. However, it is important to realize that writing for a living can be a challenging career choice. The options for professional writers are numerous and varied, but all require extensive knowledge and skills, as well as years of actual writing experience. Anyone seriously considering the life of a professional writer must answer the following questions for themselves: What style of writing am I best at and who will hire me to do it? Do I need a formal education in writing to succeed? How do I showcase my talents to potential employers or clients? Do I want to work at home as a freelancer or do I prefer a more traditional employment environment?

What does an advertising copywriter do?

Writers develop a wide variety of written material such as magazine and newspaper articles, web copy, copy for advertisements and for corporate publications like annual reports, catalogs and brochures. Writers conduct research on a regular basis. After completing assignments, writers receive feedback from editors when sections need to be revised or rewritten.

Many writers are self-employed. Freelance writers contract with businesses to create content for short-term assignments. They are continually marketing their services and establishing relationships with businesses that require content. Freelance writers have the advantage of working anywhere there is access to a computer.

What kind of skills are required?

Outside of communicating clearly and succinctly in a way that engages readers, writers must possess a number of other skills. They need to be able to complete tasks independently, practice good time management, adhere to deadlines, and be determined to succeed in a competitive market. Creativity is important, especially for writers of advertising materials. Writers must also be adaptable, because different clients require them to work with various types of software and content management systems (CMS).

The steps to becoming an advertising copywriter

  1. Think about your specialty
  2. Pursue a formal education
  3. Write on spec and compile a portfolio
  4. Get an agent or manager