Posts tagged ‘writing’

Lessons Learned, Part 2

AlexYesterday, Kelsey got the ball rolling for X.Y.Zag’s special blog theme this week. To reiterate, every staff member will post a few things they have learned and loved about agency life in honor of Zag’s six-month anniversary.

Over here, everyone has a different hat to wear; I fall on the creative side of things (but that doesn’t mean I have stayed there — more on that later). Because of these differences, we all take something unique from Zag as a whole.

Here are a a couple of things I have learned in lieu of our six month anniversary as a writer:

  • A copywriter’s job isn’t glamourous, but it’s very important. I like to say we are the first line of defense for clarity. We write messages that are clear and concise and edit content for the same criteria. It doesn’t matter what type of job it is, a copywriter/editor will find their way into it.
  • In a small agency like ours, job titles tend to shift around. Though I am formally a copywriter, I have had to do a lot of work related to account service such as research and presenting. Getting out of my comfort zone has been interesting, but ultimately worthwhile.
  • Tag lines are the bane of my existence. Writing short, simple and sweet is nice. But it’s definitely easier said than done. In most cases, I will write 20 or 30 tag ideas in a list, and it will naturally whittle away to the best one, which is really time-consuming.
  • An AP Stylebook is a (media) writer’s best friend. With our wide and diverse client base, I have had to deal with some strange grammar and style issues, and our work would have greatly suffered if it weren’t for this inexpensive paperback.
  • Like Kelsey said yesterday, enjoy the little things. We are service-oriented in this business, so we have to be constantly open and available for clients. The moments we have free time are spread out pretty thin, but it’s more about the quality in the time you spend rather than the quantity.

Get ready to read tomorrow’s post from our butt kickin’ account executive Collin — he’ll definitely have some interesting things to say (in a good way of course).

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11/10/2009 at 11:40 AM Leave a comment

A different type of creative writing

AlexThree years ago, I came to TCU as a naive advertising student. I was a journalist for nearly three years in high school, so reporting and writing were the only things I could do well. I didn’t want to pursue the newsroom because (a) the money is slim, (b) the hours are strange and (c) the road to recognition is long and rife with ethical dilemmas.

Luckily, my skill-set helped me along a different avenue.

I majored in advertising and public relations with the intent of becoming an account executive. I pictured myself wearing tailored suits to the office, making phone calls to clients while tossing pencils into the ceiling and grabbing three martini lunches (okay, I may watch a little too much Mad Men). Things turned out differently.

Today, I’m a copywriter here at Zag – and I’m completely enamored with my work.

The question I get asked the most about my position is, “what exactly do you do”?

Simply put, chop the “copy” off of my title and think of me as a writer. Yes, I am a writer, but there’s more to it.

Copywriters, a part of the creative realm of marketing, produce copy (words) and help develop concepts for advertising collateral and campaigns. Some jobs require a lot of copy, like annual reports, while others may only need a simple tagline to coincide with a captivating photo. The diversity in my work is what I love – one day in the office is never the same as another.

The toughest part of my job is creating clarity. Our fast-paced world doesn’t have time to decipher a tagline: you have to write as clearly as humanly possible (though a blog might not be a great reflection of said concept).

Making eight words speak a hundred is definitely easier said than done, especially when we’re expected to write at a sixth-grade level.

I’d like to think of myself as the first line of defense for clarity; art directors and designers are the yin to my yang. They make sure the words I write are legible. This is a team business; successful copywriters owe their colleagues countless round of drinks.

My stint as a copywriter has really pulled me into the world of advertising, but now it’s my turn to pull my own rope and find my niche. I’ll admit, thinking about the future is terrifying, probably as much as my trip to Cutting Edge will be next month.

Who knows? I may have found my niche already. The only thing I am sure of right now is that I love what I’m doing, and that’s all that matters.  Life is much more fulfilling when you show up to work aching for something to do. I certainly owe a lot to Zag for helping me.

09/28/2009 at 11:24 AM Leave a comment


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