How to become a copywriter

Are you looking for an occupation that involves creative problem-solving? Do you enjoy writing in a diverse range of mediums? Copywriters create persuasive marketing content to promote their clients’ goods and services. They stimulate brand recognition and influence consumers to take a desired action. They use their research competencies and communication skills in many areas of their job. Copywriters craft targeted advertising materials and outreach campaigns that resonate with specific audiences. These include print ads, television commercials, websites, blogs and more. It can be an exciting profession for those interested in content development and fast-paced production environments.

“I think the most rewarding aspect of being a copywriter is the versatility of daily responsibilities. You’re always working on something different. You’re constantly generating new ideas. You’re also trying to move people with your words, which I think is very powerful,” says Amanda Stoneman, senior marketing content specialist for EdPlus at ASU and graduate of the BA in English program from ASU.

The popularity of online platforms has had a notable impact on how commercial businesses connect with their customers. It has increased the demand for tech-savvy writers who can produce engaging and informative content. Copywriters use data analysis and search engine optimization tools to uncover consumers’ buying habits. They also pinpoint the specific words and phrases audiences use while browsing online. This information helps content marketing professionals tailor their clients’ advertising collateral. It also helps them write effective calls to action. Search engine results play a significant role in e-commerce. So, copywriters must also have some familiarity with web page rank and methods for improving a website’s performance.

Whether they’re developing print or digital materials, copywriters rely on a diverse skill set. They must have technical knowledge, writing experience and an understanding of human nature. An online Bachelor of Arts in English can offer you advanced writing expertise. Topics include stylistics, persuasion, sociolinguistics and public communication. These are crucial for a successful career in this occupation. You'll also take copywriting courses that integrate creative writing, rhetorical theory and advanced composition. Graduates with a BA in English are well equipped to pursue a full-time role in a range of industries.

Students discuss copywriting courses over coffee.

What is a copywriter?


Copywriters create written content, usually for marketing materials on all platforms, from websites, brochures, billboards, emails, internet ads, catalogues, blogs and the list goes on!

“Copywriters have a range of responsibilities, from initial idea generation to the finalized product,” says Stoneman.

Responsibilities can include anything from pitching ideas to editors to searching for authoritative sources. Copywriters' activities can fluctuate, but they spend a lot of time researching and writing marketing copy. Large-scale assignments may need significant preparation and planning. This involves analyzing case studies, creating content maps and browsing their clients’ websites. Most professionals in this role work with several different organizations. So, efficient scheduling is an essential part of their workflow. Copywriters are responsible for developing targeted resources that serve a particular function. These functions include motivating customers to buy a product or service, fill in a contact form or sign up for a newsletter;

Want to know how to become a copywriter? It's important to consider what a copywriter does, such as:

  • Applying revisions and recommendations to meet client expectations.
  • Conducting keyword research, SEO analysis and audience investigations.
  • Producing advertising copy for use in print publications, broadcasts or websites.
  • Refining sales messaging to appeal to specific customer groups.
  • Reworking text-based materials to improve the tone, style and storytelling.
  • Tracking performance metrics for published resources.

Collaboration is an essential part of this occupation. Most copywriters work with clients to ensure content is consistent with branding guidelines. They must be able to adapt their writing style to a range of unique audiences and mediums. This is important because every assignment has different goals and constraints. Copywriters often act as creative problem solvers. They focus on clients’ marketing objectives and develop effective solutions for profitable growth. This requires flexibility and a willingness to tackle complex projects with tight deadlines.

Copywriter salary and market details


Writers in this field often gravitate toward in-house positions or work for marketing agencies. Though, there are opportunities to build a freelance-based career. Many online copywriting courses imply that freelancing is easy. But it's important to consider all the added complexities of being self-employed. Independent copywriters must find clients, plan pricing and keep track of their income for tax purposes. The high demand for content marketing professionals has remained consistent. O*Net OnLine projects more than 12,000 job openings between 2016 and 2026. Occupational growth in this field is on par with the national average. Though, most official estimates do not include freelance copywriters.

Qualifications tend to vary for this profession. Yet, most hiring managers want job applicants with a bachelor’s degree in English, communications or marketing. Many candidates secure entry-level positions without significant work experience. But you should be ready for hefty workloads and tight deadlines. The median salary for copywriters was $62,170 in 2018, per data from O*Net OnLine.

A copywriter works on a story.

Copywriting skills


Besides advanced reading and writing competencies, copywriters have a range of core traits. These traits allow them to research SEO metrics and produce persuasive copy. This role involves several responsibilities outside of content creation. So, it can be useful to learn what a copywriter does to achieve positive results. It’s also important to recognize the qualities that may help you excel in the profession. These include:

  • Creativity: Copywriters work with several different clients in the same industry. This may make it difficult to create distinct and memorable copy over the long term. Professionals in this role leverage their ingenuity and writing skills to develop original ideas. They also present information in new and exciting ways.
  • Attention to detail: A single word can alter the meaning of a piece of advertising collateral. Copywriters are meticulous about revising their work before presenting it to a client. This prevents production delays and helps maintain positive relationships.
  • Critical thinking: Professionals in this role often write about complex subjects and products they don’t completely understand. Efficient research skills and advanced reading comprehension can offset these challenges. Though, asking a client for more insight is usually the most direct method.
  • Self-Assurance: Copywriters usually have a busy production schedule. This can make it difficult to consistently produce high-quality content. Working in this field requires a willingness to accept constructive feedback. You also have to moderate the desire to write with the full force of your creative talent.

A degree to help you become a copywriter


The ASU Online Bachelor of Arts in English can help you improve your technical competencies. You'll also increase your knowledge of the content development process. This ranges from conceptualizing marketing campaigns to producing high-quality copy. You can learn how to become a copywriter by studying advanced composition, stylistics and public communication. These provide useful writing techniques that are essential to this occupation. The BA in English offers more areas of study to suit your interests. These study areas include creative writing, phonology and morphology, sociolinguistics and rhetoric. You can also take copywriting courses that can prepare you for professional roles post-graduation.

In the fast-paced field of content marketing, it’s important to stay competitive. You need the right set of skills, knowledge and experience. That's why an undergraduate education is a valuable way to excel in the field of copywriting.

ASU Online – Online Bachelor of Arts in English
Writers and Authors by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The 9 Traits of Highly Effective Copywriters by HubSpot
HubSpot's Guide to Becoming a Better Writer by HubSpot
Become a Content Marketer: 7 Serious Skills to Conquer! by Digital Marketing Institute
Copy Writers by O*Net Online

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