Advertising Copywriter

5 Types of Writing You May Not Know an Advertising Copywriter Does

By Staff Writer
In February 25, 2014

So you want to be an advertising copywriter. You daydream about headlines, taglines and all of the lines in between. You’re the wizard of words. The princess of puns. The czar of czingers. But if you don’t have any real-world experience as an advertising copywriter yet, you might be surprised at the many types of writing you’ll be expected to do in your position.

Sure, you’ll get to write for print, radio and television – but that’s just the beginning. Actually, in the beginning, you might not do much writing for traditional advertising at all. As a brand new copywriter, I cut my teeth on some pretty interesting pieces of work, none of which appeared in a magazine or were broadcast to the masses.

Copywriting students should expect the unexpected. As an advertising copywriter, you’re going to have to write in a lot of different voices, for a lot of different audiences, through a lot of different channels. Here are five types of copywriting they probably don’t tell you about in school.

1. Technical Writing

Technical Writing Copywriting

The first piece of copywriting that an advertising agency paid me to do was not an ad. It was a technical sellsheet on a product that went around utility penetrations in newly-constructed homes to prevent termites from getting in. I had to do some serious research about termites, chemicals and construction and then synthesize it all into a written piece that would get professionals excited about it.

I learned quickly that it’s not enough to be an expert writer. You have to become an expert in your clients’ industries, too. It’s what makes copywriting so much fun for people who love to learn – and so challenging for those who don’t.

2. Product Naming

Product Naming Copywriting

When I began my career as an advertising copywriter, I didn’t realize how often I would be asked to name products for clients. This can be a fun and exciting assignment, but it can also be very challenging. The selection of a product name can be very subjective, and an option that may sound great to you may conjure up some negative associations to your client.

Secondly, there are already a lot of good product names out there. Your first, second, third, fourth and fifth favorite ideas may have already been trademarked. The process takes time and patience – but when you see a name you created emblazoned on a package, it is admittedly a terrific feeling.

3. Presentations

Presentation Copywriting

It goes without saying that you will have to develop presentations to pitch your work to your clients, but did you know that you may also be asked to develop presentations that your client will be giving? Just like politicians hire speech writers, your client may come to you looking for help developing presentations to customers, stakeholders – even their own boss.

As the voice of their brand, it makes sense for clients to look to you, the advertising copywriter, for assistance in developing these presentations. Sometimes they are as simple as company overview that will be given in a conference room. Other times they are major multi-media presentations that will be delivered in an auditorium.

4. Legalese

Legalese Copywriting

I took exactly one media law class in college and was totally unprepared for the amount of legal copy an advertising copywriter is expected to write. But when you’re the one dreaming up the awesome Facebook promotion or product sweepstakes, you are often responsible for drafting up the contest rules to be submitted to your client’s legal team for review.

5. Completely Random Stuff

Copywriting for Completely Random Stuff

A day in the life of an advertising copywriter can present a veritable cornucopia of writing assignments. I have written copy for instructional manuals, product packaging, answering machine messages, tweets, grocery store bags, temporary tattoos, interactive games – more things than I could possibly list here. Oh, and let’s not forget the blog posts (like the one you’re reading right now!)

Even the best schools can’t prepare you for all of the types of writing you’re going to encounter, so just be prepared for a new and different challenge every day. That’s what makes being an advertising copywriter so fun, anyway.

Being An Advertising Copywriter is Fun

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!