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Updated

Advertising Copywriter

Advertising copywriters create concepts and write ads. The ads can be for print, broadcast media, or online or outdoor use.

  • Avg. Salary $58,979.00
  • Avg. Wage $30.43
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 2,100
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Copywriter, Writer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Copywriters (5121.3) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Authors and Writers (F021) 
  • 2011 NOC: Authors and writers (5121) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

23%
23%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Advertising Copywriter is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Copywriters
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to write text for advertisements and commercials, including commercial scripts

METHODICAL

Interest in studying products and services to be advertised, and in submitting copy to editor for approval

directive

Interest in persuading audiences by determining the most effective advertising approach, including text, style and length of copy

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Advertising copywriters write ads to promote goods, services, and organizations. Their main function is to work with creative team members to come up with ideas, present them to clients and carry them out.

In print media, copywriters write newspaper and magazine ads. They also may write copy for reports and brochures.

In broadcast media, they write radio and TV commercials and short announcements. They also may write video scripts.

In online media, they write ads that appear on websites. They also may write web copy, blog entries, social media posts, and email messages.

In out-of-home media, they write ads for billboards, location-specific posters (such as for washrooms), and transit applications such as bus shelters. They may also write scripts or scenario guides for guerrilla or street-team marketing.

In ad agencies, copywriters may write for all of the above. They may specialize in local or national corporations, government departments, retail outlets, or not-for-profit organizations. Along with ads, copywriters may write media releases, brochures, direct mail pieces, or articles for trade journals. They may also consult on branding projects, which could include developing names, taglines, and brand stories.

Duties vary from one role to another. But in general, advertising copywriters:

  • Come up with creative ideas and solutions that meet clients’ goals
  • Take into account client needs and the overall marketing plan
  • Sell their ideas to clients, supervisors, and account executives
  • Consult with account executives or clients about key messages
  • Research the product or service they are writing about
  • Work with others to create advertising concepts and develop tactics to attract the target audience and influence consumers
  • Discuss concepts and copy with their creative director, then make revisions based on their feedback
  • Work closely with layout artists (such as creative directors, art directors, graphic designers, commercial artists, and photographers) to add visual impact
  • Edit and proofread ads
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Advertising copywriters work in office settings. Because it is a competitive, fast-paced industry, they have to juggle projects and meet deadlines. They must balance their need for quiet, creative thinking, and writing time with the need to take calls, go to meetings, and work with clients and co-workers.

Copywriters generally keep regular office hours. But they may work overtime to meet deadlines. They may need to travel to photo shoots or radio or film productions.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Advertising copywriters need:

  • An outgoing nature
  • Writing, editing, proofreading, and presentation skills
  • The ability to put themselves in customers’ positions
  • Creative conceptual-thinking skills
  • The ability to give and take constructive criticism
  • Time-management and organizational skills
  • The ability to focus and work well under pressure
  • Interest in current events and social trends
  • Interest in advertising, sales and marketing

To work in online media, they also need an interest and aptitude in technology.

Advertising copywriters should enjoy:

  • Finding creative solutions
  • Studying and researching products and services
  • Synthesizing information
  • Persuading people
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Most advertising copywriters have post-secondary education in communications, journalism, marketing, or broadcasting. Many have a bachelor’s degree in English. They should be motivated to keep up to date in the field.

Building a strong portfolio is essential for finding work.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Concordia University of Edmonton

Cypress College - Medicine Hat

Grande Prairie Regional College

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Simon Fraser University

University of Lethbridge

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Advertising copywriters work at:

  • Ad agencies
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Radio and TV stations
  • Government departments
  • Corporations
  • Consulting firms

It may be hard to find a copywriting position at first. Experience writing for school or community publications or personal or corporate blogs is a definite asset. So is social media or sales experience. Applicants should provide portfolios. Prior to working in the field, portfolios often include several pieces of work for fictional projects that show diverse creative thinking and writing. Applicants may also need to pass a writing test.

Few specialized advertising agencies exist in Alberta. Most copywriters start working with smaller print or broadcast media companies. They progress to larger newspapers, radio, or TV stations. A copywriter may develop a strong working relationship with an art director. That way, they are treated as a creative team on projects.

In larger stations and agencies, there may be opportunities to advance to copy chief or creative director positions. With training, copywriters may also move into broadcast sales, production, public relations, fundraising, or marketing. Or they may choose to move into a different area of media or to do freelance work.

Advertising copywriters are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 5121: Authors and Writers. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019
Authors and writers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $13.42 $38.43 $23.55 $22.72
Overall $15.18 $46.66 $30.43 $29.94
Top $15.18 $48.86 $35.53 $39.42

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALL INDUSTRIES
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

39%
39%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

23%
23%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

15%
15%

Vacancy Rate

7%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Communications
  • Humanities and Languages
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Big Future website: bigfuture.collegeboard.org

Institute of Communication Agencies (ICA) website: theica.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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