So you’re done with your media course. You are geared to think out of the box, break rules and create unforgettable taglines; your portfolio is ready and the starting salary is not a bother.
You even landed an internship at a well-known ad agency. But somehow this is different. This isn’t going to be the dirty work of an intern that can end happily in ranting sessions with buddies in the evenings – your first gig as a copywriter could decide the course of your career.
Advertising has always been the most dynamic of all careers that demand creativity as a prerequisite. The high number of creative directors and senior copywriters in top agencies today proves that here’s a field where success can be less than 10 words away. The number of independent creative hot shops too is expected to go up big-time this year.
But what does it take to be a copywriter worth reckoning? Here’s a quick guide to an advertising career for Creatives, one step at a time.
Know your media
To begin with, you must know your medium. The world has come a long way from roadside pamphlets to Facebook marketing. Writing radio scripts for scooters is very different from the process that dictates SEO writing for phone apps. Knowing what you want will help you understand it better.
Learn from the masters
You may know all there is to know about advertising today, but that doesn’t guarantee the knowledge that is stored in all the collected trial runs of yesterday. There is a reason why Ogilvy was called a wizard. Read up those wizards’ tips and find the bright one in your own office for a mentor.
Ropewalk in office
Advertising agencies are known to be ruthless. They are famous for providing a creative outburst, a headrush and an ego kick all in quick succession. You need to remember that you must behave yourself while also taking risks. The trick here is to curb your enthusiasm; you might want to mentally proof your witticisms before hurling them into the office.
Stay updated on trends
It was Howard Gossage – the ad man with a conscience, the ‘Socrates of San Francisco’ – who stated the truth – “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad.” This is why it helps to stay updated. Know what’s trending, and know how to use such topical information to intrigue readers.
Have another talent going
Remember a certain something called ECA back in school? Extra-curricular activities, that’s right. No one’s born a copywriter, whatever arts got you to this profession are what you shouldn’t ignore either. If you can’t recall any other hobbies or passions, get out of your comfort zone and learn something new. It’ll teach you about the world and also add the quirk factor.
Keep humor by the seat of your pants
Things can get out of hand in an ad agency, and they usually do. Deadlines swallow days, tempers fly, egos shoot arrows, fools bring downfalls – it really can be a battlefield. Always remember to keep your sense of humor as your most active supporter, especially when things start to go haywire!
Mineli Goswami is a 24-year-old Assamese-East Indian, which usually translates into pretty good weekend feasts. When she’s not at her desk struggling with poetry – more often than she’d like – she’s seen wasting time on an assortment of things such as lugging an antique SLR, breaking nails climbing boulders, and chasing turtles. She’s graduated in history and has an unofficial PhD in Bandra-style jiving.