Climbing the Ladder
You can be a happy camper for many years writing for a great company or agency. However, there is going to be a time when you want to — or have to — spread your wings. Either you'll have the desire to take on more responsibility or your boss, in recognition of your experience and track record, will want you to do so.
On the agency side, the career track for copywriters is fairly well defined. After a few years as a copywriter — or even just a few months if you're a fast-rising star — you can expect your pay to increase and your job title to change to something like senior copywriter. Eventually, you may become the copy chief managing a team of writers. If you're really ambitious, you might even climb to the top of the agency heap and become the creative director — a senior executive supervising an entire creative staff of writers, designers, art directors, producers, and production coordinators.
Creative directors are among the highest paid professionals in the ad agency world, typically earning more than $100,000 annually.
The career track for agency and corporate writers often involves getting into managerial positions where you are supervising others. However, many writers don't want to be managers and prefer to stick to writing copy. The option for them is freelancing. See Chapter 20 for more information.
In the corporate world, the career path is a bit more muddled. You can begin as a staff writer, but where you end up next is not always predictable. Usually, the ladder to success involves rising into managerial positions with titles like marketing manager, public relations manager, and marketing communications manager. These positions often involve less writing and more strategy and coordination. Eventually, you could be promoted to the top of the department, say, the VP of marketing.
That being said, corporate staff writers have been known to migrate from their original departments and find success somewhere else entirely. For example, you might start as a staff writer in the PR department, move over to the technical department to write user manuals, get promoted to marketing coordinator, and then end up in employee communications!
That's the exciting thing about getting a job as a copywriter. It can lead you on an exciting, and sometimes unpredictable, career path. Enjoy the ride!