Connecting people”, “We love to see you smile”, “Make it large”… You hear these “catchlines” in a 30-second spot on the radio or television. You read them in newspapers and magazines. Well, copywriters frame these phrases.
A copywriter creates the text for advertisements, promotional brochures and other public relations material. Advertising agencies routinely refer to a written script as copy; thus the name “copywriter” applies to those who create the scripts.
Copywriting is the use of words to promote a person, business, opinion or idea. Although the word “copy” may apply to any content intended for printing, be it in the body of a newspaper article or a book, the term copywriter is generally limited to promotional situations, such as advertisements for print, television, radio or other media. The author of newspaper or magazine copy, for example, is generally called a reporter or writer.
Copywriting can appear in taglines, jingle lyrics, web page content, online ads, emails and other Internet content, television or radio commercial scripts, press releases, catalogues, billboards, brochures, postcards and other marketing / communications media. Recently, there has been an expansion in the range of copywriting opportunities, thanks to the Internet.
Copywriters usually work as part of a creative team. Agencies and advertising departments partner copywriters with art directors. A copywriter has the ultimate responsibility for the advertisement’s verbal or textual content, which often includes receiving the copy information from the client. The art director has the ultimate responsibility for visual communication and, particularly in the case of print work, may oversee production. Either person may come up with the overall idea for the advertisement or commercial (typically referred to as the concept or “big idea”).
The work is varied and interesting and remuneration good, but there is the routine work that comes with any job, such as writing press releases for companies and general interest stories for newspapers.
During commercial production, copywriters work closely with the client and other creative team members to generate ideas. From those brainstorming sessions comes a working script that sets the tone for the other elements — video, music, narration, acting and so on. The idea is to use language to enhance the image of a product or create a specific mood.
■ A strong background in English and / or journalism or advertising. Creativity, the ability to think under pressure, and an enquiring mind are required.
■ Copywriters can find employment with advertising agencies or within the advertising departments of companies. Public relations firms, web developers, large stores, marketing firms, broadcasters and cable providers, newspapers, book publishers and magazines also hire them. You can also choose to be a freelance copywriter.
Other lucrative avenues include ghostwriting for non-professional writers and freelance editing of scripts or novels. Those working for newspapers or television news organisations may advance from copywriting to production or editing.
Some copywriters are also employed as voice over talent for radio spots or actors in television commercials and promos.
Where to study
■* Mudra Institute of Communications, Shela, Ahmedabad (www.mica-india.net); certificate course in crafting creative communications for aspiring art directors, copywriters and television commercial makers
* St Xavier’s College, Mumbai (www.xaviercomm.org); diploma in advertising and marketing, certificate course in creative writing
* National Institute of Advertising, Noida (www.niaindia.org); postgraduate diploma in marketing communication management
* Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai (www.nmims.edu); diploma in advertising and communication management
* Manipal Institute of Communication, Karnataka (www.manipal.edu); postgraduate diploma in corporate communication
* Institute of Copywriting, Delhi (www.instituteofcopywriting.in); three-month course in copywriting.