What Does an Advertising Agency Copywriter Do?
Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More
Copywriters create the written and verbal aspect of advertisements for digital and print advertising and marketing campaigns. They can work directly for an advertising agency as an in-house copywriter or work with several agencies as a freelancer.
Ad Agency Copywriter Duties & Responsibilities
The job generally requires the ability to perform the following duties:
- Write ad copy for websites, commercials, print, and other advertising mediums
- Contribute original copy ideas for ad campaigns
- Brainstorm content strategy for new business and current clients' ad strategies
- Help prepare pitch concepts for clients
- Proofread ad copy before it's sent for approval
- Edit projects that have come back for revision
- Meet with the creative team to give a status update on projects
The main job of a copywriter is to produce clear, concise, and compelling content for ad and marketing campaigns that sell products or services. The copy is usually presented alongside visuals for a complete advertising package. Some copywriters will write script for videos, campaign pitches, and sales presentations as well.
Copywriters usually usually report to an advertising agency's creative director. While some agencies do want their copywriters involved with the clients, campaign pitches and strategy sessions, others don't.
Ad Agency Copywriter Salary
An ad agency copywriter's salary can vary depending on location, experience, and employer. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers salary information for writers, which includes copywriters, but it doesn't break down specific salary data for copywriters in the advertising industry.
- Median Annual Salary: $62,170 ($29.89 per hour)
- Top 10% Annual Salary: $121,670 ($58.49 per hour)
- Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $31,700 ($15.24 per hour)
Education, Training, & Certification
Generally, the higher up the career ladder you want to go as a copywriter, the more work experience and college education is required. The requirements vary based on the agency's size and location, as well.
- Education: Many copywriters have a bachelor's degree in English, journalism, communications, advertising, marketing, or public relations. Some have specifically attended an advertising school. Others have started on the ground level with little or no college education and have worked their way up. They may have even taken a copywriting course to learn the fundamentals of writing copy.
- Experience: Interning while in college gives you a great opportunity to gain valuable experience and make contacts you can use once you graduate. Some agency copywriters start out as freelance copywriters and build their portfolio and make key contacts while freelancing.
Ad Agency Copywriter Skills & Competencies
To be successful in this role, you’ll generally need the following skills and qualities:
- Writing skills: Copywriters need strong command of the English language and ability to write compelling, persuasive copy that effectively sells products or services.
- Eye for detail: Copywriters must be able to catch spelling and grammar errors.
- Interpersonal skills: Copywriters must work with a creative team to move campaigns from conception to completion. That can include creative directors, other copywriters, and graphic designers. They may also work directly with account executives and clients.
- Time-management skills: Sometimes a copywriter will have to drop everything to work on a pitch and reprioritize the rest of their tasks. They must also be able to work under tight deadlines on several campaigns at once.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for writers in general will grow 8 percent through 2026, which is close to the overall employment growth of 7 percent for all occupations in the country.
Copywriters must be able to work under pressure, since advertising agencies are usually fast-paced, deadline-driven, high-pressure environments. Usually, they work in an office setting, and they may be required to travel for meetings with clients.
Copywriters working in-house at ad agencies usually work full time, but freelance copywriters may work part time. Often, they must work long hours—more than 40 hours per week—to complete campaigns and projects on tight deadlines. This may require working some evenings and weekends.
Comparing Similar Jobs
People who are interested in becoming copywriters at ad agencies may also consider other careers with these median salaries:
- Editor: $58,770
- Public relations specialist: $111,280
- Technical writer: $70,930
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
How to Get the Job
Score a copywriting internship to get your foot in the door, gain experience, and start building a body of work.
Build a Portfolio
Potential employers want to see what you can do. Create a portfolio of your work to show them.