One of the professional areas given little attention by academic programs in multimedia is that of copywriter.

Copywriters, according to a California Occupational Guide, write the words used in advertisements for newspapers, radio, television, magazines, and other media.

Other areas in which copywriters work include the development of promotional or informational booklets, sales material, press releases, and annual reports to name but a few.

I have been looking at what is meant by "other media" and have found that many copywriters today promote their services as including the development of Web content, scripts for video,television, film, CD, PowerPoint presentations, and Flash introductions.

Copywriters often find that their skills are especially needed when the content is informational, educational, or technical in nature. Writers can be assigned to a variety of tasks and being flexible to work with a variety of content and in any number of media is important.Being curious about the world is a great advantage. Writers tend to be learner-interpreters.In otherwords they learn about a complex subject and are able to write in such a way that the novice understand.

Regardless of the size of the agency for which a copywriter works, he/she must be knowledgeable about the craft of writing, graphic design and layout. Expertise in the use of computer and digital art has become a standard expectation of copywriters.

Although copywriting is a creative task it is often done so within a short time frame. This is especially so in the area of advertising. Last minute changes and revisions are common as project deadlines loom.

The field of copywriting is competitive and agencies look to hire the very best. Beginning opportunities are limited. Positions that do become available are often with advertising agencies, media, public relations, insurance providers, public agencies, and professional trade associations.

Employment in this field is anticipated to grow at slightly higher than average levels through 2005. It is projected that in California, for example, copywriter positions will grow by 38% reaching a total of 18,680 workers in 2005.

The average wage for copywriters is about $40,000 per year with assistants earning 27-35 K per year. Senior copywriters can earn up to $100,000 a year with some agency heads earning up to $200,000.

Although the normal workweek is 40 hours, the role of copy writer often requires overtime with peak times for many agencies coming just prior to the holiday season. Overtime pay is usually at time and a half the regular rate.

Copywriters should be skilled in visualizing ideas as well as in writing effectively. The copywriter who is competent in multimedia design has an additional advantage. Most agencies will require a college degree with knowledge of communication, and training in creative and copy writing.

Hands-on experience gained through internships with public or private agencies increases one's chances of being hired.

Job opportunities at the inexperienced level are often best obtained outside larger cities. Working with a small advertising agency, public organization, media house, or other firm will help build one' expertise. Networking through professional organizations is always encouraged.


American Association of Advertising Agencies
130 Battery Street, Suite 330
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 291-4999

American Marketing Association
250 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 200
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 648-0536

The Association of National Advertisers
41 East 42nd St.
New York, NY 10017
(212) 697-5950

How to become an advertising copywriter. Career advice from John Kuraoka, freelance advertising copywriter.

Copywriters Directory - Portland, Oregon. Provides links to individual copywriter web sites. A good place to see what copywriters do and what services they provide.

Content Based Upon: California Occupational Guide Number 163. State of California, Employment Development Department, Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group.