Working as a Copywriter

By: Linda Pollitt

working as a copywriter

Copywriting is an exciting and varied field offering a wide range of opportunities in many different media.

Copywriters are most often thought of as the people who write advertisements in newspapers and magazines. However, this is only a small fraction of the copywriter' work. They may also write:

- the words for radio advertisements and TV

- commercials

- coupons and catalogues

- brochures

- company reports

- direct mail literature

- website content

- manuals and customer guides.

Indeed, they may write any material put out by a company or organisation, whether to communicate with customers, staff or investors.

Copywriters may work:

In an agency. These positions are much sought after and highly competitive. However, they offer fantastic experience - in a good agency you will find yourself working on a wide range of projects with a highly creative team. You can learn a lot and develop your skills quickly.

In the marketing department of a company. Many companies have their own in-house marketing team and these positions are often easier to find than positions in the best agencies. In a small company you may have the opportunity to become involved in many different aspects of the marketing process, developing a broad understanding of marketing and PR functions.

As a freelance. Most freelancers work from home. They may work with a wide range of clients and on many different projects. Working as a freelance does not suit everyone. Disadvantages include that income is not guaranteed, and the freelance may spend a great deal of time marketing his or her services. Advantages include the variety of work available, being able to pick and choose between projects once you are successful, and having flexible working hours.

Many freelancers find that it pays to specialise - it helps them to stand out from the crowd and gives them a focused sales message for their services. The best area in which to specialise is often one in which you have a keen personal interest - for instance, if you are enthusiastic about gardening or health this will help you to bring extra sparkle and understanding to your writing on the subject. Alternatively, you could specialise in a specific area of copywriting, such as web content or direct mail.

your portfolio

Whichever area of copywriting you choose, whether you work freelance or as an employee, your portfolio is critical to your success.

Your portfolio includes samples of all your best work, allowing you to show prospective clients or employers the full range of your abilities. Ensure that any training course you select includes advice on preparing and building on your portfolio; a good example being Learning Curve's highly regarded copywriting course.

Many freelance copywriters have their own website and use this as an online version of their portfolio. This is an invaluable marketing tool as it enables you to provide access to your portfolio 24-7. By listing your website in online directories such as freelanceuk.com you can also reach out to many more potential clients than you might hope to reach by traditional means. Your website is effectively working as a marketing tool even while you sleep! The Internet also opens up the global marketplace - in today's online world, when more and more copywriting work is undertaken entirely over the Internet, you can work just as easily for clients on the other side of the world as you can for clients a few miles away!

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