Advertising 101: Copywriters

No, it’s not a person who deals with copyrights or trademarks.

It’s a person who does two things:

a) develops advertising concepts, usually working with an art director or interactive designer; and

b) writes all the text for each tactic (whether it’s a print ad, radio/TV spot, direct mail piece, brochure, billboard, Web banner, e-mail, Web site, etc.)

It can be glamorous. It can be frustrating.

It can be fun. It can be boring.

How does one become a copywriter? There isn’t a “standard” path to take. Some come through advertising-specific schools like The Creative Circus or The Portfolio Center or the VCU AdCenter. Some attend “regular” colleges/universities and major in advertising or communications.

Or if you’re like me, you majored in communications and English (double major, thank you very much) and even went to grad school (for a degree that doesn’t really exist anymore: Master of Journalism, Public Relations & Advertising)

Based on my 13+ years in the biz, I can assert that most copywriters are clever, witty and tuned into pop culture. (Sometimes to a scary degree – just test me on Seinfeld or Cheers trivia.)

Some of us prefer the solitary, “alone in a dimly-lit room” working process, while others (like me) do best working in a cooperative, partner-or-team kind of atmosphere.

Although it depends on each creative person’s skill set, it’s not uncommon for a copywriter to come up with a good visual idea (or an art director to think up a great headline).

Personally, my favorite type of project is a radio spot. I relish the challenge of working in a non-visual medium, utilizing sound effects, music and voices to create a scene and attempt to persuade listeners to act. (Oh, and I love doing voices, too. I may post a list of voices I do in an upcoming blog.)

For samples of copywriting that represent some of my best work, check out my portfolio link at the top of the page.

And if you have any questions about copywriting, feel free to throw them in the Comments section.

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