A Day in the Life of a Copywriter
If you’ve ever seen an advertisement, marketing blast, or product packaging, you’ve encountered the work of a copywriter. While copywriters are prolific, you will likely never put a name to the words they produce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 131,200 writers are currently employed in America, many of whom work in relative anonymity in advertising and marketing. If you’ve ever been curious about the people who craft the content you consume the most, keep reading. While I can only speak for myself and those close to me, I’d like to share a day in the life of a copywriter.
Tumble Out of Bed and Stumble to the Kitchen
Whether we work for an agency, write in-house, or freelance, I imagine most copywriters start their days like I do: a few hits of the snooze button, a quick scroll of the feeds, and a cup of coffee. With a variety of clients and quick deadlines, this work requires a sharp mind – or at least an awake one. We get our first burst of energy and set off for an exciting day of wordsmithing.
Get to Work
I think about riding my bike or taking the train to work before having a long conversation inside my own brain in which I justify paying for a rideshare, rather than saving money for an exciting vacation or retirement. Part of that justification is not wanting to sweat out the dry shampoo that allows me to be presentable enough to keep my job, and part of it is that rideshares allow you to talk to a driver about their divorce, your shared existential dread, and/or the sci fi novel they’re working on. I arrive at work either 10 minutes early or 10 minutes late. There is no middle ground.
Check in with The Team
This is one of my favorite parts of the day. As I delight my brain and devastate my gut with a second cup of morning coffee, I check in with the rest of the copy team. We warm up our brains with jokes and conversation and align ourselves on what needs to get done. There’s a sense of camaraderie in the copy room. Building a sense of creative ensemble among a writing team is really valuable. This may seem on the surface like your typical “company culture” and “team building” stuff, but it’s different. It’s about “group mind.” While we can’t thank improv comedy for much, we can thank it for this concept of group mind, which describes a deepened mental unity that serves to heighten both individual and collective contributions to creative goals. It makes the work not only more satisfying but more effective.
Churn, Baby, Churn
I’ve had two cups of coffee, and my tummy is churning, but that’s not the only thing. Most of the hours in a copywriter’s day are spent churning words. We write new content for our clients every day, some of whom are in similar industries, most of whom have a dedicated product or service, all of whom need new, effective language on a regular basis. Scripts are easy to keep fresh, but when it comes to taglines and engaging product copy, we find the real challenge of this work. Three things keep me going when it’s hard to come up with new ways to describe a company, product, or service: the thesaurus, my teammates, and the mathematical concept of factorials. Factorials remind me that there are a staggering number of word combinations, and that it is possible to find them. Even if I have to drink one more cup of coffee.
Eat Lunch At Some Point
At some point during the day, a copywriter may remember to eat lunch. If you’re me, you meal prepped but then ate everything you meal prepped or forgot it at home either deliberately or by accident, so you have to go to Whole Foods. At Whole Foods you contemplate the hubris of man.
Brainstorming, whether formal or informal, is another big part of a day in the life of a copywriter. Whether it’s turning to the team and asking for another way to say “good,” or a focused session to come up with a new campaign or product name, this is where that group mind really comes into play. We toss out ideas, build on them, scribble on white boards, pace back and forth, scream into the distance, chug more coffee. It’s all very glamorous.
Meet With Other Teams
At an ad agency, you get to work with all sorts of talented folks. In production meetings, we get to meet up with our art and video colleagues and creative leadership to strategize, plan, and work out edits for upcoming projects. This is fun!
Learn Something New Every Day
I joined the world of copywriting recently, and one of the most thrilling aspects of this job is how much we get to learn. We write for clients in diverse industries and every day there’s a good amount of research we need to do to make sure we’re accurately representing them. I’ve gotten to learn about acoustical science, periodic limb movement disorder, luxury homes, the value of working with a recruiter, and shockingly more. It’s kind of like graduate school, only you get to learn about a variety of subjects instead of one dedicated field. And instead of paying a lot of money for a little upward mobility, you get paid a little money for a lot of upward mobility. I’m kidding, of course. You don’t become a writer for upward mobility.
When the work is done, we bid each other farewell. We go home. We think and speak in taglines. We tell our dogs, “Tired of Needing to Pee? Pee Freely with Outside.” We catch hilariously bad product placement in movies. We hang out with friends. We see our work in the real world and think, “No one knows I did that. But I do.” We begrudgingly pay our student loans. In short, we live.
Create Copy with Bullseye
If you’re a writer looking to use your talent as a career, and are interested in advertising, you should contact Bullseye. You won’t be required to drink as much coffee as I do, and you’ll get to do something interesting and varied and fun while genuinely enchanting people. Oh, and just to be clear, when I said I was joking about upward mobility, THAT was the joke. There really is room to learn and grow within this industry. The leadership at Bullseye empowers that growth, and helps you develop skills in line with your goals. Be a Bullseye copywriter with me. Reach out today.