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What does a Professional Copywriter do?

By Kerrie Main
Updated May 17, 2024
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At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

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Just like different types of written work, professional writers come in many forms. A professional copywriter may work in a permanent job and do freelance jobs on the side. Some writers can choose to work full time or part time, and on a team or alone. Copywriting jobs usually fall into one of several broad categories including fiction, non-fiction, marketing, and business writing.

A professional copywriter who writes fiction typically works in one or more of many areas. Professional copywriters can write children’s books and stories, short stories, novels, poetry, and articles for literary journals. Many create plays, movie and television scripts, and other forms of creative writing. These types of projects sometimes can be six-figure copywriting opportunities. Some of these copywriting jobs include working on a creative team, and some are working independently.

For content and informational sites, a non-fiction professional copywriter typically is needed. Most of these types of copywriters do research and write newspaper, radio, magazine, television, and Internet news stories, travel copywriting, and other journalism projects. Academic research and scientific reports also can fall into this copywriting category. Most biographies, autobiographies with a ghostwriter, and e-books also are written by professional copywriters.

Marketing writing is another form of work for a professional copywriter. These types of projects usually need persuasive, informative writing to sell a product or service. Copywriting opportunities can include search engine optimization (SEO), e-mail writing, brochure writing, radio writing, press release writing, and Website writing. Many marketing writers also create sales letters, direct mail, magazine, Internet, radio, and television advertisements. Some write marketing plans and overall strategic plans as well.

Many professional copywriters work in companies and corporations to create all types of business writing. These copywriting jobs include researching and writing white papers, proposals, proposal requests, and case studies. A professional copywriter in this type of job also may write business plans and employee handbooks, as well as internal and external company communications. Resume writing also is a type of business copywriting.

There are many different ways to become a professional copywriter. Many writers have educational backgrounds in journalism, English, or advertising. Some people who have writing talent and skills start off with internships or pro bono work to build a writing portfolio. Some professional writers began their career paths in other areas, became subject experts in a specific area, and then transitioned to writing. For those with writing abilities, there usually are many copywriting opportunities available.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Eviemae — On Aug 04, 2011

You know what is incredibly funny. I had no idea I could be a copywriter until someone offered me a job to be one. I guess I thought you had to have more skills than to actually be able to write to do this. The 'copy' part threw me, I guess.

However, I now know differently! I got this gig through an online marketplace community where I freelance my skills regularly. Anyway, you can get invitations to interview or you can apply to jobs which are posted.

I got a project offer that included being a copywriter. The money was good, so I was like, “Sure. Sign me up!” On the inside, I had no clue what I was doing!

Come to find out, it’s one of most long term projects I've had where I’ve made thousands of dollars. So, I guess it’s good to take a chance sometimes!

By seag47 — On Aug 03, 2011

Though I majored in art in college, my minor was English. I decided to pursue a writing career, and I ended up working as a resume writer.

Though most universities and even some high schools teach you how to format a resume, there is an overwhelming demand for resume writers out there. I often write between thirty and forty each day. Of course, part of this is due to high unemployment levels around the neighborhood.

I am glad that I have the knowledge of how to make a good resume. If the time ever comes for me to move on to another job, I can be sure that my copywriting skills will give me an edge.

By orangey03 — On Aug 02, 2011

Copywriting can be a really hard field to get into, especially the lucrative side of it. I have a friend who writes wonderful fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, and he has been trying for years to get published. No one seems interested, and I don’t know why.

He even wrote a children’s book, which I illustrated. It’s about a three-eared rabbit and the challenges he faces with being different. It’s a wonderful kid’s poem, and everyone who reads it loves it.

He decided to strike a deal with a publishing company that makes the book for you, but then leaves you to market it yourself. They do put it up for sale on several bookstores’ websites, but if you want to sell any of your books in person, you have to buy them first. It’s definitely not glamorous, but it’s a way to get your book out there.

By StarJo — On Aug 02, 2011

@Oceana - I worked for a similar site, but I quit because the instructions for articles were often too vague for me to write an article that made the client happy. Copywriters have to have something substantial to go by, and I felt lost.

Sometimes, the instructions would only be one line long, and they would say something like, “Write an article about online product marketing.” Well, that could encompass many things. It seemed that whatever I tried was just not what the client was looking for, and the crazy thing is that they often accepted the article, only to give me a low approval rating and a scathing review.

I am much happier in my new position as copywriter for one specific website that always lets me know exactly what they need from me. I have an editor who encourages me while suggesting changes, and I really respect that.

By Oceana — On Aug 01, 2011

I worked as a professional copywriter for a website with many different clients. They would place their orders for articles, and then the copywriters could choose an article from several different categories. It was nice to be able to choose my topic from several options.

After writing the article, I would send it through the company’s website to the client, who could either request a revision or accept the article as is. Clients were required to give copywriters one chance to revise the article. If they did not like it even after the alteration, they could then reject the article.

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