I am an Independent Marketing Consultant, similar in job duties to an agency, but I do everything for just a few clients. (Radio, newspaper, PR, direct mail, ad budgets, concepts, etc., plus place all their ads)
Effective writing is an essential part of advertising, and is used daily. From brainstorming sessions to final copywriting and proofing, a strong grasp of the language and how to use it to reach your target customer is as basic as breathing. If you cannot translate your ideas into attention grabbing copy, you won't really make it in any form of advertising.
Personally, I write daily. The days that I am best at conceptualizing and brainstorming, my writing is short, ideas, doodles, messy and scrawling. Always by hand. Later, on the computer I put that into a format that will work for the actual ads. It is revised several times and run by other people to see if I am getting the right effect before final drafts, revisions, and layout.
My audiences are usually pretty much 30-60 year old homeowners, white, high school or college educated, middle class, rural, mid-western, men and women, who are in the market for home improvements. (Not that I am racial profiling, its just that is who lives here. Pretty white-bread.)
Because our target customers are pretty similar, it is easy to write to them. I am one of them! On occasion, my audience is senior citizens, women only, farmers,or general contractors, and the copy reflects their specific needs, and how this product or service is best for them. To do this, I talk to people, ask their needs, how they choose a company for this product, etc. Then write the ads to appeal to them.
About three to four hours a day is spent writing...emails, direct mail letters, copywriting, and editing. A large part of every job I have ever had is sales, and that is what advertising is all about. When I am approaching a client I want to work for, there is always something printed on paper that I leave with them that points out the key benefits to having an outside marketing person. I am constantly taking notes about their needs, interests, or any questions they have. Then a followup proposal is written that shows how my service can solve their problems. In addition, the note taking gives me little reminders of personal things (like their dogs name, or kids ages, or favorite magazines, or whatever). This is "fuel" for followup letters, emails or calls.
If you can turn ideas into revenue with a subtle play on words, you will never go hungry. If you can succintly spell out why the customer needs your product, you will make your own raises. When you learn how to do this so effortlessly that no one ever feels "sold", you just keep climbing that ladder.
To keep your writing skills tuned, never stop writing. Take classes all through life. Write short stories, answer questions like these, keep a blog or diary, write letters on paper, recall your childhood stories,etc. And keep this in mind....for a billboard to be effective, it needs to have 7 words or less. Try to boil all your concepts to 7 words. Or write a 30 second commercial to boil things down.
Good luck in your career. Detail is important, but the creative process is essential. Pay attention to all forms of advertising....radio, tv, newspaper, magazine. Analyze who the target customer is based on what ads are playing during that show. Its a game of sorts that is very interesting.
Also, watch the TV show "Mad Men" on AMC channel for a perspective on how advertising works.
Answered By: 2 Happily Married Americans - 10/23/2007