If you enjoy reading, writing and have an interest in marketing or advertising, you may have wondered whether a copywriting career may be the right fit for you. Copywriters are one of the few professionals who are paid to think outside the box and be creative. In many ways, a copywriter’s job is one of its kind. After all, they are paid to write jingles, posts, emails or scripts to sell, launch or promote goods and services. Who wouldn’t want to have such a creative job role!?
This article is for those of you wondering how to start your career in copywriting. Whether you want to know what a copywriter in India does, or whether you’re looking to grow your copywriting skills, this article can help you with the relevant information.
What Do Copywriters Do?
Unlike celebrities, bloggers or authors, copywriters aren’t glamourous jockeys of the advertising world. And contrary to what social media and all the memes may have told you, copywriting isn’t the party that Don Draper makes it seem like. Now that you’re wondering how to start your career in copywriting, let’s understand what copywriters do.
This one is quite the no-brainer. The average copywriter’s primary responsibility includes producing stellar copy for their client’s brands. This copy has to be in line with the brand’s tone of voice, and it must communicate with the right audiences. Whether it is for social media, newspapers, magazines, or even the radio, copywriters have to ensure that their communication resonates with the target group. A well-written piece of copy has the power to elicit an action or a reaction from the audience. Needless to say, your copywriting abilities need to be honed throughout your career.
Another critical duty of the copywriting department includes interpreting client briefs. This means that they decipher the brief sent by the client and break it down into actionable pointers. Based on the brief’s requirements, the copywriter then crafts concepts, creatives and campaigns.
Pitch or Propose Concepts and Campaigns
The average copywriter juggles multiple clients and brands, typically on tight schedules and even tighter deadlines. They often have to craft communication concepts and other innovative marketing collaterals based on a particular brand’s needs. Additionally, copywriters also work towards pitching to new brands and landing new clients.
Copywriters don’t work in a vacuum. Irrespective of which agency or organization you’re at, you will have to collaborate with account managers, graphic designers, media planners and other professionals in your team. Whenever needed, they also collaborate with business development executives, clients and even other marketing or sales personnel.
How To Start Your Career In Copywriting
Now that we’ve understood exactly what a copywriter’s responsibilities are let’s demystify the journey of how to start your career in copywriting.
The Right Education
It goes without saying that the right education and training can take your understanding of copywriting to the next level. Ideally, after your 12th board examinations end, you should opt for a Bachelor’s course in Journalism, Advertising or Mass Communication. These courses can help you understand how the process of crafting communication includes so many other factors except writing and grammar. However, if you prefer to pursue a B.A. in Literature or even Sociology, it can still be a viable choice to kickstart your copywriting career.
While a Bachelor’s degree can help you get started, to take your knowledge and expertise to the next level, it makes perfect sense to opt for a post-graduate diploma or Master’s course. The best part about these courses is that many great options exist in a fully online format, making it ideal for those candidates who want to study part-time.
MICA and upGrad’s PG in Digital Marketing and Communications is an excellent option for a short-term yet extensive course to get acclimatized with copywriting and digital marketing basics. With this program, you can become an expert in copywriting, digital marketing, content marketing, social media, branding, market analysis etc.
Types of Copywriting
Contrary to what many freshers believe, copywriting isn’t a homogenous role. There are a wide variety of verticals within the realm of copywriting, all of which require different skills and talents. Sales copywriting is all about being persuasive with your words to push potential clients towards a purchase. On the other hand, blog content demands a different approach altogether. If you are tasked with SEO copy, you’ll have to work around SEO-oriented guidelines or limitations.
By understanding the market’s landscape, you are at an advantage when choosing your path. A keen understanding of your skills can help you evaluate where you’d be able to contribute best. Have an eye for writing quirky, pun-ny copy on trending topics? You may make a fantastic social media copywriter! Can you churn out a copy that not only catches the reader’s eye but can also convince them to give your new product a try? Sales copywriting all the way!
Self-Learn and Practice
Since copywriting is a highly creative field, only learning the fundamentals may not prepare you for the realities of a copywriter’s role. It would be best if you keep practising your writing skills by trying out new forms of copywriting. Perhaps you can start by writing an article or two about a subject that fascinates you. If you haven’t already done so, try crafting simple ads for your favourite brands, just as a way of practising your trade.
Irrespective of what stage of your career you’re in, reading the best books about copywriting will help elevate your skills to the next level. ‘Hey, Whipple! Squeeze This’ by Luke Sullivan and ‘Nawabs, Nudes, Noodles: India through 50 Years of Advertising’ by Ambi Parameswaran are excellent titles to level up your knowledge. Apart from this, it would be best if you also read blog articles from the most reputed marketing entities on the web.
Stay On Top Of Trends and Be Social-Savvy
In today’s day and age, copywriters have to be savvy on social and digital platforms, solely because it works best. No matter what your speciality may be as a copywriter, keeping up with trends and modifying your communication according to what audiences respond best to will only help you in the long run. Most importantly, it pays to keep an eye out for your competitors and peers’ work. Inspiration can strike from anywhere, and stay abreast of the current trends will only help you and your professional endeavours.
Grow Your Professional Network
Whether you choose to be a copywriter at an advertising agency, independent organization or whether you branch out as a freelancer, having the right contacts is extremely important. The right network can aid you in looking for a job, finding the right mentors, or even landing new clients. Apart from that, the professional relationships you make and maintain can also help you stay informed about the latest trends, news, techniques, workshops etc.
Keep Your Creative Juices Flowing
If we had to pick just one quality common across all copywriters, it would undoubtedly be creativity. When it comes to succeeding as a copywriter, you need to have a unique and highly creative way of working and solving problems for your clients. This can often get tiring or exhausting and may leave you feeling burnt-out. To make sure you’re always at the top of your game, incorporate tasks that fuel your imagination and creativity within your weekly schedule.
For some, this may mean setting aside some time to paint, for others, it may mean working on a comic strip on the weekends. By choosing to pursue other creative avenues, you will be able to find unique inspiration and unleash your creative side, all while elevating your skills as a copywriter!
While this article can help you answer the question of how to start your career in copywriting, there’s a lot more you’ll need before you can start changing the world with a stellar copy.
If you wish to learn more about how the world of advertising, social media, digital marketing and paid ads work, check out MICA and upGrad’s PG in Digital Marketing and Communications. This course is designed to help budding copywriters, content creators, social media writers, and other digital marketing aspirants kick start their career with the right mix of theoretical and application-based learning.