My typical work day as an in-house copywriter and editor
Ever wondered what the heck I do at my job? Many people are familiar with the agency style copywriters, but maybe not so much about copywriters who work in-house for a company. I imagine it’s not that much different, you’re just working for one client instead of multiple, and perhaps you can learn more about the subject matter since that’s what you’re focused on year round. If you want to learn more about what I do on the daily, keep on reading.
7:00 - 8:30
Anywhere between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., I force myself out of bed. Unfortunately, I have a nasty habit of browsing on my phone first thing in the morning, the excuse being that I need a transition period between still being half asleep and being able to open my eyes fully. I wish I had the willpower to literally jump out of bed and shock my body into waking up, but alas, old habits die hard.
After the usual hygiene and getting dressed details, my mind and my body are focused on two things — coffee and breakfast. I can do coffee without breakfast, but not the other way around. (If any corporate employee tells you they don’t drink coffee or at least some sort of caffeinated tea or beverage in the morning, they’re not from this world.)
8:00 - 9:30
Between 8am and 9 a.m., with coffee in hand, I clock in and begin my work day. I check Outlook and MS Teams first to see if anyone has followed-up on projects or warned me of something to come. I check my calendar to see if I need to prepare for any meetings throughout the day. Depending on this, I’ll try to dedicate longer blocks of time to focus on editing or copywriting projects.
9:30 - 11:00
I wouldn’t describe myself as a morning person in the sense that I’m not a huge fan of waking up early. However, I do feel that I do my best work during the morning hours until lunch time. That’s why I try to use my ‘free’ morning hours to focus on writing and/or editing. For example, I’ll work on longer projects that involve a lot of colleagues and input from various departments/sources. I’ll make sure to set my MS Teams status to ‘do not disturb’ or I may get easily distracted. Fellow writers know the struggle of really being on a roll with some great content, only to be interrupted by a colleague who needs a ‘quick chat’ which could have been an email.
11:00 - 12:00
It might be time now to have a meeting with a project team to discuss, for example, some new landing pages that are being created. I’ve already sent the scientific expert my text to review to make sure we are addressing the market and target group correctly, as well as check that all statements are scientifically accurate. (I can’t be an expert on every product or disease we’re talking about…it’s not mentally possible.) We might talk a bit about SEO and how we need to have a certain kind of title or meta-description of the pages, as well as how we can link the planned social media posts to get traffic to the page. I love learning about these online marketing topics because they’re here to stay.
12:00 - 13:00
Time for a break and a little something to eat. When there’s nicer weather, I might try and get out for a little walk.
If I’m in the office, I try to eat lunch with various people to switch it up throughout the day and network a little.
13:00 - 14:00
I try to check Trello every day because that’s where we do a majority of the social media post planning. (It’s a really good tool and I think it’s actually free, at least with the limited version.) I check to see if there are any upcoming posts that need an accompanying caption, or maybe there are some upcoming corporate posts that need to be planned.
To give a truly accurate picture of what some of my days are like, I also have to share that I sometimes spend 30 minutes searching through the Oxford English Dictionary online or thesaurus.com to find the perfect word that I’m looking for. It’s actually quite fun, especially when you find the right one. (Nerd alert!)
14:00 - 15:30
Usually I hope there’s another stretch of time in the afternoon where I can focus on writing copy. I’ll turn on some background sounds that make me feel like I’m in a cozy cafe and get to work on the next long-term project. My process involves jotting down every idea, even ones that I think might be iffy in the beginning because you never know if it might fit in the end. I’ve had the ‘just get that sh*t down’ philosophy since college, meaning, just get a first draft of initial ideas down in a rough way. And even though it might be sh*t at first, you can come back the next day with a fresher mind and refine it. Rinse and repeat until you have something with promise. And of course this becomes faster and more intuitive with time and practice.
15:30 - 16:30
Just like most corporate workers, no matter the title, I always have some administrative tasks I have to take care of every week. These can vary from invoicing, updating meeting minutes, emailing internal stakeholders, creating presentations for upcoming meetings, etc.
16:30 - 17:30
Unless I’m really on a roll with some long-term project work, I may end my day by completing a shorter copywriting task. For example, maybe I got some input toward the end of the day on an upcoming press release, so I work on that. Press releases are pretty straightforward, so being able to complete this before clocking out for the day is a nice little checkmark to punctuate the day. Aside from that, I try to shoot off some emails that move projects forward before the end of the day. Then it’s time for Feierabend!
Other things I might encounter throughout the day
- Colleagues mistaking my job for a translator. Spoiler alert: I’m not trained in translation. Nicht meine Baustelle. (Not my job.)
- Random calls with colleagues to discuss last minute questions or things that are easily discussed in 5 minutes rather than bouncing a few emails back and forth.
- Having a second or third (or even fourth) review of something I’ve written or already edited. Sometimes it takes that many reviews to get it just right!
- Calls to just chat and gossip. Especially as we’re all working from home at the moment, these fun little chats really help boost morale.
Is this the typical day you expected when you think of a copywriter or editor? Let me know in the comments!