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Occupational Profile

Advertising Copywriter

Advertising copywriters write advertisements for print, online, outdoor and broadcast media.

  • Avg. Salary $48,660.00
  • Avg. Wage $24.91
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed 1,900
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Copywriter, Writer

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

58%
58%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Advertising Copywriter is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Copywriters
NOC code: 5121.3
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 19, 2015

Copywriters write advertisements to promote the sale of goods and services, and promote and maintain positive images of their client organizations.

  • In broadcast media, copywriters write radio and television commercials and short announcements for customers who buy advertising time. They also may write scripts for corporate or professional videos.
  • In online media, they write advertisements for clients who buy advertising time and space on Internet websites. They also may write copy for websites, blogs, social media profiles and correspondence and CD-ROM applications.
  • In out-of-home media, they write advertisements for clients who buy billboards; outdoor, washroom or location-specific posters; and transit advertising. They also may write scripts or scenario guides for guerilla or street team activities. 
  • In print media, copywriters write advertisements for clients who buy advertising space in newspapers and magazines. They also may write copy for reports and brochures.

In advertising agencies,copywriters may write for all of the above mediums. They may specialize in writing for local and regional companies, national corporations, government departments, retail outlets or not-for-profit organizations.

In addition to writing advertisements, promotional materials and merchandising materials, copywriters may write media releases, brochures, direct mail pieces or trade journal articles. These materials may appear in a variety of formats including Internet home pages. Duties therefore vary from one position to another but, in general, advertising copywriters:

  • consult with account executives or clients, or follow client instructions that specify the messages to be conveyed
  • research the product or service they are writing about
  • communicate client objectives to digital, media and creative personnel such as art directors, copywriters and media planners
  • work in conjunction with others to develop effective ways of attracting the attention of the target audience and influencing consumer attitudes and buying habits (creative thinking is an important part of the job)
  • sell their ideas to clients, supervisors and account executives
  • take into account client needs and the requirements of the overall marketing plan for the product or service
  • work closely with layout artists (art directors, graphic designers, commercial artists and photographers) to add visual impact
  • edit and proofread ads for accuracy and for copy or photo co-ordination.

Most copywriters routinely work on several projects at the same time.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 19, 2015

Because advertising is an intensely competitive, fast-paced industry, copywriters must be able to deal with the pressure of having to work on several projects simultaneously and meet deadlines. Copywriters must manage their time and balance a need for quiet, creative thinking and writing time with the need to deal with many interruptions such as phone calls and meetings with clients and co-workers.

Copywriters usually keep regular office hours but meeting deadlines frequently involves working overtime.

Travel to "on location" photo shoots, radio and film productions sometimes is required.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 19, 2015

Copywriters need the following characteristics:

  • excellent communication skills in person and in writing
  • the ability to put themselves in the customer's position and think creatively to generate fresh, exciting, new ideas
  • an outgoing personality able to relate well to others (clients, co-workers, intended audiences) and sell ideas
  • the ability to focus on their work in circumstances that sometimes are chaotic
  • the ability to give and take constructive criticism
  • time management and organizational skills (copywriters work on multiple concepts in one day)
  • the ability to work well under pressure
  • interest in current events and social trends
  • an interest in advertising, sales and marketing, and in keeping up to date in their field.

They should enjoy synthesizing information and finding innovative solutions to problems, studying products and services, and persuading people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 19, 2015

The most important qualifications for advertising copywriters are:

  • the ability to write in a variety of styles
  • a solid grasp of the English language
  • good research skills
  • a willingness to edit their own work ruthlessly
  • excellent word processing and proofreading skills.

For working in online media, copywriters need an interest in technology as well.

Building a strong portfolio of work is essential for finding employment in this field. Most copywriters have somepost-secondary education related to communications, journalism, marketing or broadcasting. Many have a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in English. 


Related Education

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

British Columbia Institute of Technology

Concordia University of Edmonton

Cypress College - Medicine Hat

Grande Prairie Regional College

Northern Alberta Institute of Technology

Simon Fraser University - Burnaby

University of Lethbridge

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 19, 2015

Advertising copywriters are employed by:

  • advertising agencies
  • newspaper and magazine publishers
  • radio and television stations
  • governments
  • large corporations
  • private consulting firms.

Advertising agencies recommend that people who have not had previous training in advertising critically study ads currently in circulation and read books or other publications on the topic. Applicants for jobs should provide portfolios of their work and may be required to take a writing skills assessment.

Initially, a copywriter's position may be difficult to obtain. Experience writing for school or community publications, personal or corporate blogs or social media and sales experience are definite assets.

There are relatively few specialized advertising agencies in Alberta. Generally, copywriters start working with smaller print or broadcast media companies and progress to larger newspapers, radio or television stations. A copywriter may develop a long term working relationship with an art director so they are treated as a creative team when projects are assigned. In larger stations and agencies, there may be opportunities to advance to copy chief or creative director positions.

With additional training, copywriters may move into areas such as broadcast sales, promotions or production; public relations; fundraising or marketing. Or they may choose to move into a different area of media or 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  in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • 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 19, 2015
Authors and writers
NOC code: 5121

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 $15.00 $37.49 $20.24 $16.63
Overall $17.74 $41.76 $24.91 $20.79
Top $21.56 $45.86 $32.31 $30.00

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.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Information, Culture, Recreation

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

58%
58%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

20%
20%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

13%
13%

2015 Vacancy Rate

7%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Management and Marketing
  • Media, Design and Communication Arts
    • Communication Technology
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 19, 2015

The Institute of Communication Agencies website: www.icacanada.ca

My Big Future website: www.mybigfuture.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 16, 2015. 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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