How To Become A Lean, Mean Ad Copy Machine

Are you set on becoming an advertising copywriter? To do this you will need at least a BA Degree and a passion for selling. This is an ideal model for an advertising copywriter and the prerequisite that most ad agencies look for. If you don’t have a degree it might take a little longer, but that’s not to say you won’t do well if you have a knack for selling, and are able to write well. It just means that it will take you a little longer to get to the top of your game.
In fact, the more selling you do from an early age, the better. This will stand you in good stead for when you finally arrive at your dream career destination. There’s a lot of hype about glamour in this industry, but it’s really all about being able to manage your time, deadlines and still be able to create really good ad copy. This is not an easy task and you have to be able to deliver, come rain or shine, it’s what really sets you apart as a professional.
Deadlines are deadlines and they shouldn’t be broken, and as the pressure mounts and waves of new work pours in, you might find yourself working through the night on some jobs. If you can’t take the pace then this is not the job for you. There are those who embrace pressure, it’s seems to get their creative juices flowing – and if you’re one of these creatively charged individuals, then this is the perfect position for you.
Just Do It. I’m Lovin It. A Diamond is Forever.
Shoes, Burgers and Diamonds – If you can write a mean slogan, you’re well on your way to becoming a five star advertising copywriter.
Your Resume
Your resume has to be honed to get a creative director’s notice. You have the skill, all you have to do is put it all together to impress, in a clear sophisticated way that highlights your creativity, and sets you apart from everyone else. This is a competitive field and there’ll be tons of English and Journalism majors who will be contending for your position. Find the right format online and see how other advertising copywriters present their resumes, or send yours to a professional to rework and finish properly.
The ‘I Like Words’ Portfolio
Your portfolio should be the next piece of ammunition that will wow the creative director. This is where you can show the work that you’ve been accumulating that has already been published at school or any projects you’ve finished elsewhere. If you haven’t got anything to work with, it’s no train smash just invent something or do a mock add on an existing product.
Write a perfect headline, a tagline and some great copy. Use the same font as your resume and type them up and organize them to make the best of your portfolio. It’s also a good idea to put down some of the great ideas you’ve had in your book and organize them into the various marketing disciplines. Striking images with bold, snappy advertising copy will work wonders, so make sure you have at least three examples in your portfolio.
Advertising Internships
Getting an internship at an ad agency is what you should aim for, even if you don’t have a degree. If for example there’s an opening in the media department, you will learn more about media than copywriting but it is a step in the right direction. If you can slot into a copywriting internship and are allowed to focus on your primary objectives, your options won’t be so limited.
What you have to try and do is turn your internship into a job offer. If there are particular agencies that you like and you’re hell bent on getting into the creative department, try and set up an interview with the creative director and show them what you’ve got – remember there’s no room for reservation when you’re in sales.
Once you’re in, you can ask for a copywriting assignment, or better still try and team up with some of the solid senior creative people who will give you invaluable insight and training. This is a fast paced industry and you have to be sharp, focused and ready. Try and attend the weekly meetings where new and current projects are discussed in the hope of getting a few assignments to work on.
Getting into an agency without a degree is rare but not impossible. If you’re a natural with great ability, your chances of landing a position are greater. It may not be in the department you’re most interested in, but it’s a stepping stone, and you’ll have to work on setting up milestones to achieve your primary objectives.
Tips for Becoming a Great Advertising Copywriter
• You have to be sales orientated, try and experience sales across the board, expose yourself to anything and everything to do with sales.
• Get a College Degree or BA Degree, it’s the acceptable norm in the industry. If you have done a couple of marketing or advertising courses and have a natural talent, you also stand a good chance of scooping up a junior copywriting position if your portfolio shines.
• Do whatever it takes to build up your portfolio, even if it means working for nothing, you have a reputation to build and starting early has its benefits.
• If you’re not sure if the passion is there, make enquiries at an ad agency or corporation and ask to “shadow” an advertising copywriter to get a feel for the work environment and the position.
• Get yourself into an internship program at a large corporation. In their marketing department you will get hands on experience and it’s a great way to build your portfolio.
• Never stop studying ads, whether they’re good, bad or ugly – if it’s been known to sell a lot of products, then you want to know why.

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