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Average Salary
$50,804
Average Salary
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Job Openings
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Copy Writer Careers

What Does a Copy Writer Do

Writers and authors develop written content for advertisements, books, magazines, movie and television scripts, songs, blogs, or other types of media.

Duties

Writers and authors typically do the following:

  • Choose subject matter that interests readers
  • Write fiction or nonfiction through scripts, novels, biographies, and more
  • Conduct research to obtain factual information and authentic detail
  • Write advertising copy for newspapers, magazines, broadcasts, and the Internet
  • Present drafts to editors and clients for feedback
  • Work with editors and clients to shape the material so it can be published

Writers and authors develop written material—namely, stories and advertisements—for books, magazines, and online publications.

Writers must establish their credibility with editors and readers through strong research and the use of appropriate sources and citations. Writers and authors select the material they want to use and then convey the information to readers. With help from editors, they may revise or rewrite sections, searching for the best organization and the most appropriate phrasing.

An increasing number of writers are freelance writers—that is, they are self-employed and sell their written content to book and magazine publishers; news organizations; advertising agencies; and movie, theater, and television producers. Many freelance writers are hired to complete specific short-term or recurring assignments, such as writing a newspaper column, contributing to a series of articles in a magazine, or producing an organization’s newsletter.

An increasing number of writers are producing material that is published directly online, in videos and on blogs.

The following are examples of types of writers and authors:

Copywriters prepare advertisements to promote the sale of a good or service. They often work with a client to produce written content, such as advertising themes, jingles, and slogans.

Biographers write a thorough account of a person’s life. They gather information from interviews and research about the person to accurately portray important events in that person's life.

Bloggers write posts to a web log (shortened to “blog”) that usually pertain to any topic or a specific field, such as fashion, news, or sports.

Generalists write about any topic of interest, unlike writers who usually specialize in a given field.

Novelists write books of fiction, creating characters and plots that may be imaginary or based on real events.

Songwriters compose music and lyrics for songs. They may write and perform their own songs or sell their work to a music publisher. They sometimes work with a client to produce advertising themes, jingles, and slogans, and they may be involved in marketing the product or service.

Playwrights write scripts for theatrical productions. They come up with a concept, write lines for actors to say, produce stage direction for actors to follow, and suggest ideas for theatrical set design.

Screenwriters create scripts for movies and television. They may produce original stories, characters, and dialogue, or turn a book into a movie or television script. Some may produce content for radio broadcasts and other types of performance.

Journalists write articles and reports on current events. For more information, see the profile on reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts.

How To Become a Copy Writer

A college degree in English, journalism, or communications is generally required for a salaried position as a writer or author. Experience can be gained through internships, but any form of writing that improves skill, such as blogging, is beneficial. Excellent writing skills are essential.

Education

A bachelor’s degree is typically needed for a full-time job as a writer. Because writing skills are essential in this occupation, many employers prefer candidates with a degree in English, journalism, or communications.

Other Work Experience

Writers can obtain job experience by working for high school and college newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations, advertising and publishing companies, or nonprofit organizations. College theater and music programs offer playwrights and songwriters an opportunity to have their work performed. Many magazines and newspapers also have internships for students. Interns may write stories, conduct research and interviews, and gain general publishing experience.

Employers also increasingly prefer new applicants to have the ability to code and program webpages or manipulate data to create a visual story using tables, charts, and maps.

In addition, anyone with Internet access can start a blog and gain writing experience. Some of this writing may lead to paid assignments regardless of education, because the quality of writing, the unique perspective, and the size of the potential audience are the greatest determinants of success for a piece of writing. Online publications require knowledge of computer software and editing tools that are used to combine text with graphics, audio, video, and animation.

Writers or authors can come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences as long as they demonstrate strong writing skills.

Training

Writers and authors may need to gain some writing experience through on-the-job training with more experienced writers and editors before their work is ready for publication.

Writers who want to write about a particular topic may need formal training or experience related to that topic.

Because many writers today prepare material directly for the Internet, knowing graphic design, page layout, and multimedia software can be advantageous.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Some associations offer certifications for writers and authors. Certification can demonstrate competence and professionalism, making candidates more attractive to employers. For example, the American Grant Writers’ Association (AGWA) offers the Certified Grant Writer® credential.

Certification can also increase opportunities for advancement.

Advancement

Beginning writers and authors can get a start and put their name on work immediately by writing for smaller businesses, local newspapers, advertising agencies, and nonprofit organizations. However, opportunities for advancement within these organizations may be limited because they usually do not have enough regular work.

Writers and authors can advance their careers further by building a reputation, taking on more complex writing assignments, and getting published in more prestigious markets and publications. Having published work that has been well received and maintaining a track record of meeting deadlines are important for advancement.

Many editors begin work as writers. Those who are particularly skilled at identifying stories, correcting writing style, and interacting with writers may be interested in editing jobs.

Important Qualities

Adaptability. Writers and authors need to be able to adapt to newer software platforms and programs, including various Content Management Systems (CMS).

Creativity. Writers and authors must be able to develop new and interesting plots, characters, or ideas so they can come up with new stories.

Critical-thinking skills. Writers and authors must have dual expertise in thinking through or understanding new concepts, and conveying it through writing.

Determination. Writers and authors sometimes work on projects that take years to complete. Freelance writers who are paid per assignment must demonstrate perseverance and personal drive to meet deadlines.

Persuasion. Writers, especially those in advertising, must be able to persuade others to feel a certain way about a good or service.

Social perceptiveness. Writers and authors must understand how readers react to certain ideas in order to connect with their audience.

Writing skills. Writers and authors must be able to write clearly and effectively in order to convey feeling and emotion and communicate with readers.

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Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the right jobs to get there.

Average Salary
$50,804
Average Salary
0
Job Openings
8,771
Job Openings

Copy Writer Career Paths

Top Careers Before Copy Writer

Editor
7.7 %

Top Careers After Copy Writer

Editor
11.2 %
Teacher
7.1 %

Copy Writer Jobs You Might Like

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Average Salary for a Copy Writer

Copy Writers in America make an average salary of $50,804 per year or $24 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $77,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $33,000 per year.
Average Salary
$50,804
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How much should you be earning as an Architect? Use Zippia's Salary Calculator to get an estimation of how much you should be earning.

Best Paying Cities

City
ascdesc
Average Salarydesc
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range49k - 87k$66k$65,592
Hackensack, NJ
Salary Range48k - 86k$65k$64,565
New York, NY
Salary Range45k - 82k$61k$61,410
McLean, VA
Salary Range45k - 79k$60k$59,989
Philadelphia, PA
Salary Range43k - 78k$59k$58,530
Boston, MA
Salary Range39k - 72k$54k$53,543
$27k
$87k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyascdescCompanyascdescStart DateascdescSalaryascdesc
Copy Writer 2
Copy Writer 2
Randstad
Randstad
03/30/2021
03/30/2021
$58,43603/30/2021
$58,436
Marketing Copy Writer/Content Specialist
Marketing Copy Writer/Content Specialist
RK Mechanical
RK Mechanical
03/26/2021
03/26/2021
$59,00003/26/2021
$59,000
Copy Writer, Health Education
Copy Writer, Health Education
R and C Media Group, Inc.
R and C Media Group, Inc.
12/17/2020
12/17/2020
$73,02912/17/2020
$73,029
Copy Writer
Copy Writer
XXX
XXX
11/22/2020
11/22/2020
$58,00011/22/2020
$58,000
Senior Copy Writer
Senior Copy Writer
Venables Bell & Partners LLC
Venables Bell & Partners LLC
10/16/2020
10/16/2020
$185,00010/16/2020
$185,000
See More Recent Salaries

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Copy Writer Demographics

Gender

female

53.1 %

male

41.6 %

unknown

5.3 %

Ethnicity

White

80.1 %

Hispanic or Latino

7.3 %

Black or African American

5.0 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

47.8 %

French

16.3 %

Russian

5.4 %
See More Demographics

Copy Writer Education

Majors

English
19.5 %

Degrees

Bachelors

74.5 %

Masters

8.0 %

Associate

7.6 %

Top Colleges for Copy Writers

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,832
Enrollment
4,550

2. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

5. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

6. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

7. California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,816
Enrollment
21,047

8. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

9. Emory University

Atlanta, GA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,306
Enrollment
6,975

10. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX • Private

In-State Tuition
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329
See More Education Info

Online Courses For Copy Writer That You May Like

Content Writing & Copy Writing For SEO and Sales
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Content Writing, Copy Editing, Proofreading and Copy Writing - Freelance Writing for SEO Copywriting and Sales...

Write to Ignite - Master the Art of Sales Copy & Copywriting
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Writing sales copy is critical to content marketing/writing. Learn copywriting today and write copy that gets the click...

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Top Skills For a Copy Writer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 29.0% of copy writers listed web content on their resume, but soft skills such as social perceptiveness and writing skills are important as well.

  • Web Content, 29.0%
  • Content Marketing, 8.4%
  • Email Campaigns, 4.7%
  • Edit Copy, 4.1%
  • Paid Search, 4.0%
  • Other Skills, 49.8%
  • See All Copy Writer Skills

Best States For a Copy Writer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a copy writer. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, Maryland, New York, and Maine. Copy writers make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $64,233. Whereas in Maryland and New York, they would average $61,691 and $61,203, respectively. While copy writers would only make an average of $61,198 in Maine, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Copy Writer Jobs:
763
Highest 10% Earn:
$105,000
Location Quotient:
2.24
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. New Jersey

Total Copy Writer Jobs:
235
Highest 10% Earn:
$110,000
Location Quotient:
1.11
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Maryland

Total Copy Writer Jobs:
322
Highest 10% Earn:
$104,000
Location Quotient:
1.91
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Copy Writer Employers

1. Bartle Bogle Hegarty
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$75,736
Copy Writers Hired: 
8+
2. J. Walter Thompson
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$73,842
Copy Writers Hired: 
6+
3. Interact
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$46,470
Copy Writers Hired: 
4+
4. HIS International Tours
3.6
Avg. Salary: 
$50,804
Copy Writers Hired: 
4+
5. Tappan
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$46,587
Copy Writers Hired: 
4+
6. Crispin Porter Bogusky
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$73,295
Copy Writers Hired: 
4+

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