Copywriting

Instructor:Alexander Filimonov
Updated:3 February, 2016

Course Summary

The Copywriting course teaches students to write texts for different advertising media and to promote products or technologies in more sophisticated ways. Each student will choose a product or technology and develop promotional materials for it: a newspaper advertisement, a research article, a radio commercial, a TV commercial, a webpage, and statuses for a social networking website. Throughout the course, theoretical information will be supplemented by text analysis and lay the groundwork for students’ own attempts at writing persuasive copy.

Course Format

Hours of lectureHours of discussionHours of independent studyTotal numbers of hours
7135272

Please note that the time spent on independent study exceeds hours of lecture and discussion.

Course Content

The course will cover the following topics:

  1. Target audience and promotion strategies (3 hours)
    • The art of copywriting
    • Strategy categories
    • Analyzing the target audience of a specific promotion campaign
    • Creating a brief
  2. Copywriting principles and techniques (4 hours)
    • The style of an advertising text
    • Writing for various communication channels
    • Analyzing communication channels for a specific promotion campaign
    • Analyzing the structure of advertising texts
    • Writing headlines
    • Creating slogans
  3. Writing for the print media (3 hours)
    • Principles of writing for the press
    • Print advertisement format
    • Analyzing newspaper and magazine advertisements
    • Editing headlines and changing the structure of advertisements
    • Creating an advertisement to be published in a specific newspaper
    • Types of articles and how to use them for promotion purposes
  4. Writing for radio and TV (4 hours)
    • Principles, format and style of radio commercials
    • Analyzing and writing radio scripts
    • Principles of TV commercials
    • Techniques of getting attention and influencing the audience
    • Analyzing and writing TV scripts
  5. Writing for the Web (5 hours)
    • Peculiarities of writing for the online audience
    • Principles of developing and maintaining a website
    • Comparative analysis of websites
    • Differences and similarities between print and online articles
    • Creating a webpage of a product/ technology and writing an article for that webpage
    • Using blogs and social media for promotion purposes
    • Creating a product page on a social networking site and writing statuses for that page
  6. Colloquium (1 hour)

Reading List

Required reading:

  1. Berman, M. (2012). The Copywriter’s Toolkit: the Complete Guide to Strategic Advertising Copy. Wiley-Blackwell.

Recommended reading:

  1. Aronson, M., Spetner, D., Ames, C. (2007). The Public Relations Writer’s Handbook. The Digital Age. Jossey-Bass.
  2. Bly, R. (2005). The Copywriter’s Handbook. A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Copy that Sells. Henry Holt and Company.
  3. Lee, G. (2012). Crank out Copy that Sells: the Easy Outline for Everyone. No publisher (electronic format).
  4. Studies in Communication Sciences. Elsevier. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/14244896

Online resources:

  1. http://www.wiley.com/go/copywriterstoolkit
  2. http://bcs.wiley.com/he-bcs/Books?action=index&bcsId=7290&itemId=1405199520
  3. http://www.strategicbusinessinsights.com/vals/ustypes.shtml
  4. http://www.copyblogger.com/10-sure-fire-headline-formulas-that-work
  5. http://www.copyblogger.com/headline-swipe-file-3
  6. Media websites

Homework Assignments

You will be expected to study the books from the reading list and complete 8 assignments:

  1. Choose a specific product/ technology and analyze its target audiences. Create a brief for your advertising campaign.
  2. Write advertisement headlines for each target audience from task 1. Create a slogan of your campaign.
  3. Analyze advertisements in a newspaper aimed at your target audience. Write an advertisement to be published in the same newspaper. The advertisement should promote the product/ technology from tasks 1-2.
  4. Write a journal article about the product/ technology from tasks 1-3. The article should be aimed at professionals, meet the requirements of academic writing style and focus on advantages of the product/ technology. The recommended length is 10,000 characters (appr. 2,000 words). The task is due at the last class.
  5. Write a script for a radio commercial of a product/technology from tasks 1-4.
  6. Write a script for a TV commercial of a product/ technology from tasks 1-5.
  7. Create a product/ technology page for a corporate website and write one article for that webpage. The recommended length of the article is 1,000 characters (appr. 200 words). The product/ technology should be the same as in tasks 1-6.
  8. Choose a social networking site used by your target audience and create a product/ technology page there. Write three statuses for your page. The recommended length of each status is 250 characters (appr. 50 words). The product/ technology should be the same as in tasks 1-7.

Grading

It is a pass/fail course. To get a pass, you should complete all the assignments.