How to become a Copywriter

Copywriters interpret how a potential market will react to an advertising proposal, and write material to advertise products or services. With experience, and sometimes further training, copywriters may become creative directors in advertising agencies where they supervise the work of staff in the design area, or advertising managers in retail or manufacturing firms.

Personal requirements of a Copywriter

  • An observant and inquisitive approach to people, their environment and what motivates them
  • Creativity and originality
  • Able to analyse a situation quickly
  • Able to pick out relevant facts and emphasise them
  • Able to write clearly
  • Good concentration
  • Technical ability when writing for all forms of media
  • Good time-management skills and able to work under pressure

Education & Training for a Copywriter

You can work as a copywriter without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. Artistic and creative abilities are essential. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in marketing and communication or professional writing and editing. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a copywriter by studying advertising, marketing, communications, media studies, professional and creative writing, journalism or English at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English and mathematics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Additional Information

Although there are no formal education requirements, people who want to become a copywriter may be required to provide a portfolio of creative work to demonstrate their creative flair. The Australasian Writers and Art Directors Association (AWARD) runs a 12-week course each year that is highly regarded in the advertising industry. Visit awardonline.com for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Copywriter

Copywriters:

  • study products or services to decide the main selling features
  • assist art directors to create ideas for advertising and promotion, often thinking up names for products and slogans that appear on packaging and other promotional material
  • plan and write promotional material that will appeal to the people most likely to buy the product, and submit copy for approval
  • write advertisements for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, cinema screens, billboards, catalogues, displays, websites, blogs and social media
  • write brochures, annual reports, documents, speeches and other sales and promotional material
  • discuss the theme, style and length of copy with advertisers or management to determine the most suitable approach.

Employment Opportunities for a Copywriter

Copywriters are employed by advertising agencies, radio and television stations, advertising departments of retail, wholesale and manufacturing firms, and some government departments. Some are self-employed as freelance copywriters. Competition for entry-level positions is very strong.

Avg. weekly wage:

$1,521

Future growth:

Stable

Employment by state:

ACT ACT 2.5%

NSW NSW 49.4%

NT NT 0.5%

QLD QLD 12.9%

SA SA 6%

TAS TAS 1.1%

VIC VIC 18.8%

WA WA 8.7%

Hours worked:

38.2

Unemployment:

Average unemployment

Gender split:

Male 39.3%

Female 60.7%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 7.9%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 6.8%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 60%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 25.3%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.3%

20-24 - 14%

25-34 - 18.9%

35-44 - 24.7%

45-54 - 22.7%

55-59 - 6.7%

60-64 - 4.4%

65 and Over - 8.4%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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