The role of the creative copywriter is to create the words and prose that accompany other ideas or concepts. This can be in anything from PR agencies to the text in the middle of cards, and means that the life of a copywriter is rich and extremely varied.
What the job entails mostly is understanding a concept which someone else wants to put across and then creating substantial content to convey their ideas in a succinct and persuasive manner. They would be expected to create a variety of different ways of expressing something in order that the client could choose their favourite, and would modify the text until all parties were satisfied.
Copywriters are employed by agencies of all shapes and sizes, and across all sorts of fields, and can be employed on either a permanent or a freelance basis, usually dependent on the agency’s reach and employee numbers. Smaller agencies will work with freelancers regularly, whilst larger agencies will employ copywriters as part of a creative team.
Salary & benefits
Salaries will start from around £18,000 per year for junior copywriters, rising to between £30,000 and £45,000 after around five years.
This can rocket to around £120,000 per year if one was to rise up through the ranks to become a well-respected creative director. This is however, dependent on location and agency, and each role will have its own nuances and benefits.
Whilst the role tends to remain mostly between the hours of 9 and 5, life can be quite busy for junior copywriters as they have to meet set deadlines as well as trying to learn from the more experienced professionals around them.
However, like most jobs in the creative sphere, hours tend to be somewhat flexible and depend on when deadlines are due for clients.
The entry level position in the career path is that of a junior copywriter, who would be taken on as a permanent member of staff at an agency. Creativity is king here, so degrees which showcase this, such as journalism, English literature or media studies can all be good starting points for entering the profession.
However, the creative industry is exceptionally competitive and saturated with graduates, so very few will take on a permanent role as soon as they leave University. Instead, graduates usually take some time to build up a portfolio, which they then use to showcase their talent and try and secure a job.
Portfolios must be good quality to do this though, and to begin with, getting it critiqued by different agencies is a good way to obtain information on how to improve. Innovative, well-presented books are the best way of obtaining a paid position in the industry.
Training & progression
As a junior copywriter, you will be expected to learn on the job and pick up tricks of the trade from those around you. Many creatives are given a mentor to make sure they are progressing in the right direction and the critiques of their mentor will be some of the first ‘lessons’ they learn.
As you grow into the role, your progression would be measured by your individual performance. If your ideas work and the agency gains good publicity from what you are doing then your route to promotion should be less stressful – once you have proved yourself on a regular basis, moving up the ladder seems unquestionable.