For three years, I worked as a professional in-house copywriter/editor, so I’ve been around the block before. Since I have some familiarity with the industry, I’d like to talk more about my experience with copywriting, to give you a sense of what it is and if it’s for you.
There are a lot of rumors floating around about just what a copywriter is and does (some of them true; most of them not), so let me start us off on the same page here and define the term copywriter as I see it.
copywriter. n. A staff writer in the marketing department of a corporation; the person or people responsible for the creation of the company’s copy (which is coupled with design to create a coherent marketing piece for customers)
Copywriting, then, would include all of those marketing projects that a company creates in order to find/attract and educate customers on its products and services. Since companies have tons of options these days when it comes to marketing, a copywriter’s projects typically span a wide variety of media: everything from social media, blogs, and websites to announcements and emails to printed/electronic brochures, catalogs, magazine/newsletter articles, and flyers. If the company is small, the copywriter might also take on advertisements, film scripts, press releases, media kits, etc—projects that are typically done by an advertising, film, or public relations specialist.
And you can’t forget the final act for every writing job: editing. Everything you write also needs to be superbly edited by you. In fact (and this has been the case for me many a time), you may be one of the only employees in the entire company who knows how to edit. In that case, you’ll be responsible for all company editing on top of your writing projects. (Since this happens to be one of my favorite parts of the job, however, I never minded the added responsibility.)
As one co-worker and I liked to put it, corporate writers and designers (and trainers and illustrators) are the creative talent. No, we aren’t managers (some people seem to think that’s important), but we bring our unique skills to the table and those skills carry the company along. Without copywriters and designers, there would be no communication, so it’s a pretty important place to be in an organization. And if you like to write, it can be a bucket of fun, too.