what kind of person becomes a copywriter?

i’ve had a few people ask me if they’re suited for copywriting.

copywriters come in all flavors and sizes, with backgrounds that include playwriting, scriptwriting, journalism, PR writing, catalog writing, sketch comedy, linguistics, fiction writing, editing, marketing, and account management.

do you love words? are you interested in cultural nuances, or psychology, comedy, food, drink, parenthood, childhood, pets, music, fashion, sports, or the arts? if you do crossword puzzles, or know latin, or love film and fiction, or if you’re a polyglot with a gimlet eye for the persuasive, you can be a copywriter.

if you relish slang and love to communicate, you can be a copywriter.

if you don’t mind rewriting and polishing, then reworking, then starting over, then reworking again, you can be a copywriter.

If you can take negative feedback with grace and a somewhat philosophical attitude, if you can sit through long and tedious meetings, and if you can work well both on your own and in teams, you can be a copywriter.

if you get excited by creative possibilities, if ideas spew forth and unfurl like dazzling fireworks, and if the mere thought of being a copywriter excites you, then welcome to The Copy Lab: you are already a copywriter at heart.

if you are a copywriter, how did you know that you wanted to write? what’s your writing background for bridging into advertising?

kim taylor

for more information on our membership and events, visit The Copy Lab.

6 reasons not to miss this!

Creatives: The Copy Lab has R/GA’s award-winning copywriter Jenna Livingston on deck to give the low-down on crafting amazing alternative and experiential concepts (plus R/GA creative recruiters will be there!) oct. 24, 7-9:30 @ flatiron lounge. for info & to sign up: www.thecopylabnyc.com/Events

developing your necessary thick skin as a copywriter

every one of us is vulnerable to criticism, whether it’s when presenting a creative idea for an ad campaign, acting in a play or improv skit, unveiling a painting, sporting a new look, or even dancing at a friend’s wedding — in other words, while living. So we all should be prepared for those who will critique.

just as you may balk, celebrate or remain neutral over Taken 2 being a box office smash, or turn your nose up at cold cherry soup, each person has a set of likes and dislikes that stem from uniquely personal experiences, encompassing family, culture, personality and education. so if someone doesn’t like your idea, don’t take it personally — it’s possible that they don’t have the same frame of reference you do. Or more likely, maybe the idea really does need to be reworked.

you’ll know you’re a pro when you no longer worry about negative criticism, because accepting it with equanimity is part of the being-a-copywriter deal. you’re paid to come up with tons of ideas that will be rejected, and a few that will be accepted too. you’ll come to view criticism as useful and constructive, compelling you to create your best work. or perhaps you’ll want to bang your head against the wall, mid-critique.

the thicker your skin, the more of a rhino you’ll be. and we all know rhinos sallie forth with horn lowered, ready to take on anything. the true king of the jungle.

be honest. have you developed a thick skin? when was the last time you successfully managed to keep your cool in a touchy situation?

kim taylor

for more information on our membership and events, visit The Copy Lab.

jenna explains it all: advice for advertising creatives

jenna livingston

jenna livingstonaward-winning senior copywriter at R/GA and purveyor of creative prowess and recreational mayhem (did you miss out on “Gosling Easter?” Google it!), took some time out on wednesday night to celebrate our official launch.

in typical fashion, jenna charmed our guests with her warmth, ease and sense of humor as she shared the story of her career and some insightful tips for creatives—check  them out below and sign up now to secure your spot in her october 24th alternative advertising workshop, where you’ll get a glimpse of her eclectic portfolio and the inner workings of an experiential campaign. sign up now and bring your burning questions: www.thecopylabnyc.com/Events

jenna’s ten tips:

  1. 10% on your 401k.
  2. try not to burn bridges. you don’t know where people will end up and your enemy could end up being your boss.
  3. the more people you know, the more chances you have of hearing about job opportunities and or even getting some freelance work.
  4. go to ad parties and make friends with reps and have them take you out. you’ll network, meet important people and maybe even find a boyfriend or girlfriend.
  5. find a mentor or two you like and respect. someone you feel comfortable showing work to and can give you advice on how to better your book.
  6. go on job interviews in other cities even if you aren’t interested. you’ll meet people and keep in touch until you are ready to move, and they move somewhere you want to work
  7. try people out – it’s ok to pay people to do work for you. from writing copy to making an app, you’ll get a feel for if you like working with someone and get something good out of it for your work.
  8. do side projects. always keep your book fresh – especially if the work you’re doing at your agency isn’t portfolio-worthy. always good to have something in your back pocket.
  9. keep in touch with people. build relationships.
  10. join The Copy Lab. network. build your book. build your skills. build your career!

kendria smith

for more information on our membership and events, visit The Copy Lab.

6 truths and a lie: what copywriters should know about working in the ad industry


  1. there’s really only 1 rule in advertising, and it’s to resonate with your target audience. however you manage to do that is fine.
  2. just as every family differs, every agency has its own culture, so your experience as a copywriter will never be the same from agency to agency.
  3. some copywriters can’t spell simple words, but their ideas are brilliant.
  4. it’s rare that everyone in your target range will love an ad – it’s successful if most people like it.
  5. award-winning campaigns don’t always translate to increased sales for the client, rendering them unsuccessful from the client’s viewpoint.
  6. to be an effective copywriter, you should try to understand the nuances of the culture you live in across all age groups, education levels, ethnicities and lifestyles.


  1. it’s untrue that a copywriter’s age, education level, ethnicity or lifestyle will determine whether or not he she or he can achieve #5 above. appearances can be deceptive; sometimes the person with the most bravado has the worst creative ideas, and the retiring wallflower in the corner can stun with a wildly intricate, perfect concept. sometimes it’s the person in his twenties who shuns social media and the man in his sixties who loves it. sometimes everyone has to get into the head of a seven year old girl for a campaign, and it could be the guy in the Yankees hoodie who does it best. i’ve learned that you just never know.

kim taylor

for more information on our membership and events, visit The Copy Lab.

launching your copy career

kelley granger

when i swapped an editorial career for one in copy, there were so many things i didn’t know–what does an attractive portfolio look like? how does SEO work? what’s an effective subject line made of? how do i make a “voice?” from simple to complex, the list was diverse and endless.

since i was no longer a student and already out in the working world, i felt like i had no place to pose these questions. having an outlet for answers–for all the things i wanted to know then, and the things i still want to know now–was one of the driving forces behind the creation of The Copy Lab.

each event on our calendar was inspired either by a copy conundrum i’ve faced or questions raised by kim and her students throughout her experiences teaching and writing. (we’re open to any and all topic suggestions, too.) plus, each one has a built-in networking element so you can pump up your contacts and future job opportunities.

we want this to be a forum for discovery, friendship and learning, a place to bring your passion and leave even more excited, with a notebook full of inspiring ideas and the email address of a new connection. meet with us regularly, recognize faces, become friends, make connections, link each other to jobs, inspire better work…the potential is limitless.

i hope you’ll join us in the experiment and come toast creativity and community at our launch party october 3rd!

see you then!

kelley granger
co-founder, The Copy Lab

for more information on our membership and events, visit The Copy Lab.

connections are key to your copywriting career

copy lab co-founder

kim taylor

great writing inspires a tacit challenge: meet or exceed this standard. but nothing happens in a vacuum – you write, and then you have to find a place for it in the world. so your connections count, especially if they’re in the same industry. when I was starting out, I was fortunate to have a few generous friends who either sent work my way or introduced me to people who hired me. friendship is a gift, and connections are crucial. and if you want fortuitous connections and solid friends, you in turn have to be a lucky connection and a solid friend. what goes around comes around — in both the best and worst of ways, because people can change agencies, get promoted, marry your boss, or buy your company.

so we created The Copy Lab to inspire and forge practical connections and sometimes, fingers crossed, enduring friendships too.


kim taylor
co-founder, The Copy Lab

for more information on our membership and events, visit The Copy Lab.