Also known as
- Copywriter, Advertising
Video: - Anthony: Advertising Copywriter
Video: - Rory: Copywriter and Vice Chairman
As a Copywriter, you will be using your creative flair to write advertisements for products.
This could include:
- online ads, such as those on social media sites
- direct marketing ads, such as the wording for emails and text messages
- newspaper or magazine ads
- catalogues or brochures
- posters or leaflets
- scripts for television, film, internet and radio commercials
This wording might include slogans and captions as well as detailed text.
Each campaign begins with a briefing session to provide you with information about the client, the product, service or brand, and the target group.
You will need to understand the interests and motivation of the audience and, using this knowledge, develop ideas to attract their attention.
As words and pictures need to complement each other, you will not be working alone – you will be working closely with Art Directors in a creative team. You will discuss ideas and produce drafts. A selection of ideas is presented firstly to the Creative Director and then to the client who might ask for changes.
Once an idea has been selected, you will compose the full text, known as 'body copy'. The finished ad is shown again to the client and, once approved, passed to the production team.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Copywriter, you will need to be:
- creative, original and persuasive
- able to write in a variety of styles ranging from the 'punchy' to the 'technical' or the 'literary'
- confident and enthusiastic
- able to understand ideas quickly and express them clearly in writing
- interested in popular culture and trends
- able to keep up to date with new media
- prepared to accept criticism and the frustration of having your work changed
- aware of the limits of the advertising code of practice
- able to work under pressure to meet deadlines
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate:
- Starting: £23,500 - £24,500
- With experience: £26,000 - £31,000
- Senior Copywriters earn £33,000
You may face long periods without work. To help, you may be able to claim benefits. Take a look at our information article on
Hours of work
Copywriters usually work 39 hours a week, Monday to Friday. However, long and irregular hours are often required as deadlines approach. Self-employment or freelance work is possible for experienced Copywriters.
Where could I work?
Employers are advertising agencies (such as full-service agencies and creative agencies) as well as direct marketing agencies.
Opportunities for Copywriters occur in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Experienced Copywriters could work independently as self-employed, freelance Advertising Copywriters. Some creative teams start their own agencies.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised in local/national newspapers, in magazines such as Campaign (available online), on job boards and employers' websites, on Find a Job and at Jobcentre Plus. Vacancies can often be for a creative team of a copywriter and an art director.
Entry Routes and Training
Generally, you need a degree to become a Copywriter. An Advanced Level Apprenticeship is also a great place to start. Take a look at our information article
Copywriting is offered as an option within some courses in advertising or creative advertising, and in a number of BTEC, and foundation degree courses in graphic design or creative advertising.
Applicants to graphic design courses often have a BTEC level 3 qualification, and/or have completed a Foundation course.
Some entrants have a degree in a subject such as English, creative writing or journalism. Courses in communication studies or media might also be relevant.
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising runs the diagonal thinking online self-assessment. This helps people to identify roles in advertising that they might be suited to. They also run a summer school for students which includes an agency placement, evening seminars and opportunities for recruitment. The summer school offers a creative programme.
During a higher education course, many Copywriters enter into a working partnership with a Graphic Designer or an Art Director to form a creative team.
Many employers prefer to hire a team rather than an individual Copywriter.
Creative teams aim to get placements in a few different agencies, to build up a portfolio of campaigns and ideas.
Training is usually provided on-the-job.
The Communication Advertising Marketing (CAM) Foundation also offer a diploma in marketing communications which would be really useful for this career. The qualifications are awarded through the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
Courses that lead to CAM qualification can be studied in a number of ways: for example, part-time at local colleges, through distance learning or by attending short intensive courses.
To apply for CAM registration, applicants need A levels (or equivalent) plus a degree, experience in a marketing communications role, or a relevant marketing qualification at level three or above.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
Previous experience working in graphic design or in marketing, for example, as a Marketing Assistant would be really useful for this career. Experience of broadcasting, or having worked as a Journalist for a newspaper or magazine would really make you stand out from the crowd!
Copywriters and Art Directors can progress to Senior Creative Team positions, handling larger and more prestigious client accounts; some creative teams start their own agencies
Many Copywriters have a degree.
For entry to a degree course, the usual requirement is:
- 2/3 A levels
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in 2/3 other subjects
Alternatives to A levels include:
- BTEC level 3 qualifications
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.
An excellent standard of English is normally required. You will also need a wide-ranging portfolio of your creative work.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Some entrants have developed relevant skills by working in graphic design or in marketing, for example, as a marketing assistant.
Some copywriters have a background in broadcasting, or have worked as a journalist for a newspaper or magazine.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (for example, Access to Humanities) could be the way in.
These courses are designed for people who have not followed the usual routes into higher education. No formal qualifications are usually needed, but you should check this with individual colleges.
Some employers prefer applicants to have postgraduate qualifications in advertising.
Staffordshire University offers an MA in Creative Futures: Advertising and Brand Management, by blended learning. This involves online study, supported by some attendance at the university.
A large number of copywriting workshops and courses are available, many by distance learning; however, it is important to choose with care.
- 71% of people in occupations such as advertising copywriting are self-employed.
- 42% work part-time.
- 12% have flexible hours.
- 20% of employees work on a temporary basis.
Skills for the creative industries
Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills
Creative & Cultural Skills
Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts
Design and Art Direction (D&AD)
Address: Britannia House, 68-80 Hanbury Street, London E1 5JL
Tel: 020 7840 1111
Communication, Advertising and Marketing education
Tel: 01628 427120
Address: College Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST4 2DE
Tel: 01782 294000
Advertising Association (AA)
Address: 7th Floor North, Artillery House, 11-19 Artillery Row, London SW1P 1RT
Tel: 020 7340 1100
Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)
Address: 44 Belgrave Square, London SW1X 8QS
Tel: 020 7235 7020
Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI)
Address: 8 Upper Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 01 6765991
Publisher: Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)
Publishing Training Centre (PTC)
Publisher: Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA)
Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships
Tel: 0800 028 4844