Can anyone be just a copywriter?


When I studied a copywriting module at university, my teacher, who was a wise and experienced copywriter, taught me how to write for print and the web. They made it sound like I could earn a living from just this.

Accurately enough, I became a junior copywriter after leaving university, where I wrote copy for print and the web. My creative director, who was also a wise and experienced copywriter, made it sound like I could earn a living from just this. And there are loads of books that have told me how to be a good copywriter.

But my teacher, creative director and books didn’t tell me how to be an events organiser. Or an analytics reporter. Or a design expert or an SEO guru. And I’ve read lots of job descriptions that ask me to be all of this.

A small part

Search any recruitment website, and there are tonnes of job adverts for marketing assistants or campaigns executives. These adverts usually say copywriting only makes up a small part of your role.

The rest of your time is spent reading and reporting on the analytics of your company’s website, helping them set up with promotional events, improving their SEO (something which divides copywriters) and using design software (which regular readers will know I think is an entirely different discipline).

I searched a recruitment site for copywriter jobs, and found loads of job descriptions for marketing assistants and communications assistants. Here’s an example of the duties involved in these:

“Maintaining and updating the company website and marketing materials (experience using WordPress would be hugely beneficial); writing and updating marketing materials using InDesign and/or Illustrator; developing and managing marketing image library; monitoring social media accounts; monitoring and tracking marketing activity – e.g. competitor analysis; working alongside the Marketing Manager to plan and analyse current and future marketing campaigns; keeping company documents and sales presentations up to date; creating and monitoring email marketing campaigns to support our sales teams.”

Writing website copy gets a small, somewhat clouded mention at the beginning. Here’s another example:

“Creating and scheduling HTML marketing emails and managing mailboxes; database and website updates; management of social media pages; organising and processing book reviews; marketing direct mail, catalogues and flyers; producing a monthly marketing report; customer relations, including answering publishing related enquiries by email and telephone; creating promotional book displays for conferences and attending coffee breaks; research and contact conference organisers to promote publishing services; creating and editing promotional material, including use of Photoshop and InDesign.”

‘Pure’ copywriter jobs

Adverts for ‘pure’ copywriter jobs do exist, but personal experience suggests they don’t appear as often as marketing assistant ones. I did find one during my search, and the description was a lot shorter than the other examples:

“If you’re a super talented writer who is passionate about content, obsessive about words and is looking for the next career step – then you may have found your calling.”

And of course, many freelance copywriters advertise themselves as just that. Copywriting is their speciality, maybe because they’ve earned the right to sell a high-quality service after decades of hard work.

A dilemma 

There’s lots of great advice on copywriting out there. But with so many jobs asking for more than this, I have a dilemma.

Should copywriters be multi-disciplined to find work, or should recruiters respect copywriting as something that can’t be put under an umbrella with other things?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comments section below.


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