Amana Dish Spec Guide

I wrote the copy for this Amana guide to highlight some of the new dishwasher features for consumers.

Amana has a conversational tone, so we speak directly to the customers, describing how Amana features can make their lives a little easier. The products are designed to be affordable, to perform well, and conserve resources.  You get the features you need without the fluff.

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Shop Your Way (Social)

Shop Your Way is a social site for Sears’ loyalty program, and I am the content manager for KitchenAid, Maytag, and Whirlpool brands. The site is reminiscent of Pinterest, with a single page for each brand and staggered posts.

I write some original content and share the calendar with the client every month, and once content is approved, I post it to the Shop Your Way site. I then use the analytical tools to determine which posts customers most relate to and tailor the content accordingly.

I am particularly proud of the work I’ve done for Maytag. When I started creating content for this brand, the page only had 80 followers. It became our mission to grow the following, and after six months of consistent posts and using feedback from analytical tools to tailor content, the following exploded to 5000+ followers and continues to grow!

 

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Maytag Dependability for 122 years

 

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Sales Today Articles

During my tenure at Aisle Rocket Studios, I have written many Sales Today articles about new Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid and Kenmore appliances.  The sales associates read them so that they can educate themselves about the new appliance lineups and sell the new products to consumers.  We emphasize the new features and how they benefit customers (Sears now refers to the customers as members).  I am particularly proud of the article that features Whirlpool’s first 5-door refrigerator, as I suggested a full spread layout.  It looked cramped when confined to one page, and both the art director and client were open to working with a spread.

 

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Sears.com Product Descriptions (SEO)

Here is a small sample of the appliances for which I conducted keyword research and wrote product descriptions for Sears.com.  In addition to writing descriptions and handling specifications, I manage this workload for two other junior copywriters and review all copy prior to client approval.  I also work closely with the account team to ensure schedules are on track and within budget.

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B2C Sears and Kmart Emails

These are samples of various emails I wrote for customers who subscribe to Kmart and Sears emails.

Kmart was particularly fun to write for. Since the merchandise team was open to selling similar products in a single email, I could develop themes.

Because Sears sells so many types of products in a single email, I often invented names for the type of sale so that all the products support a cohesive statement. The hierarchy in these emails starts with the name of a sale or upcoming holiday and then various headlines that tie certain types of products together like appliances, electronics, apparel, etc.

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Au Bon Pain App (spec)

I recently read an article on healthy fast food restaurants, and Au Bon Pain made the list.  As I browsed their current menu, I thought, what if they took it a step further and developed an app that allowed consumers to customize their orders with substitutions that meet unique criteria, like a meal that’s lower in sodium, fat, and / or calories?  I could see them creating something like this.

Note:  this is not a developed app — it’s something I created for fun.  It does not reflect Au Bon Pain’s current menu options.  I laid out the these mobile pages in Canva and pulled background images from ABP’s website.

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Valley Transit Company Website (spec)

When browsing websites for Greyhound bus lines,  I noticed that one of their subsidiaries Yo! Bus had some interesting branding geared towards its target of Millennials in the NYC / Philly area. When I started looking at Valley Transit Company, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to refresh their branding and copy as well. I then re-wrote the website, attempting to make it more engaging and SEO friendly, while giving their patriotic branding a conversational look and feel.

If Valley Transit really wanted to get serious about SEO, they could change their name to South Texas Transit Company (the domain is available) with a 301 re-direct to their new web address. This way, they would have “South Texas” in their URL, which is an important key word from a local search standpoint.

Please note this is a spec campaign – the deals are not real, and copy has not been approved by Valley Transit Company. Images are not my own and have been pulled from various royalty-free sites.

 

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OfficeMax Web Banners

I was an in-house copywriter at Boise Cascade when they merged with OfficeMax.  Shortly after the merge, OfficeMax hired an outside ad agency that launched the “What’s Your Thing?” campaign, and the Rubberband Man commercial aired shortly thereafter.  While the in-house creative teams were not involved with the campaign, we were asked to create some web banners to help reinforce the new branding.  These are some of the web banners I wrote and developed in conjunction with an art director.

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Lowes Flip Book

The Lowes Flip Book is a full-scale, 148-page catalog of the KitchenAid appliances offered at Lowes.  I wrote the copy and the specifications while working closely with the art director and account executive to ensure we met the client’s objectives.  Our team also oversaw the Spanish translation, which was published alongside the English version.  Because the pdf below can take awhile to load, you follow this link to view sections for the warming drawers and cooktops.

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Method Outdoor Campaign and Article (spec)

Sometimes when I’m commuting (I take the train), I think about potential outdoor campaigns for some of my favorite brands.  Success with outdoor now relies strongly on novelty.  Such campaigns must start with a big idea that translates across different mediums.  They must be events that consumers can share socially and agencies can distribute digitally.  This starts with a brand asking, how can we be more generous and give customers an excellent experience with our products?

During one particular commute, I found myself moody because the car I was riding in smelled horrible.  The train was full, so I was stuck.  As I sat there, I thought, I wish I had some Method air refresher.  And then it hit me, a potential campaign for Method could involve improving the smelliest platforms in New York City.  If such a campaign was executed, here is how I could see it unfolding.

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Copywriting Jobs: Tips on How to Get Hired

Copywriting Jobs

 

Here’s a great question that is trending on Quora from college students who want to land entry-level copywriting jobs:  How do you become a proficient copywriter and break into advertising?  The first step is to acquire the skills you’ll need, which you’ll demonstrate through a creative portfolio.  Once you have a portfolio assembled, you can then start building your network and applying for positions at ad agencies that hire junior copywriters.

Acquire the Skills

There are a few ways you can learn how to become a copywriter.  Attending a portfolio school is ideal, but there are other effective methods that I describe below.

Portfolio Schools

The best way is to attend a portfolio school if you can afford it.  You will learn how to think conceptually, and you will learn the art and science of copywriting.  This requires a unique blend of strategy and creativity, and it’s great to learn from well-established, high-level creatives.  These instructors will pair you with aspiring art directors who also need to create pieces for their portfolios.  A polished body of work will likely give you a leg up on entry level jobs versus your competition.  Your instructors will critique your pieces and help you select the best ones that showcase your talents.

Online Copywriting Schools

The second best option is to complete a certificate program through an online school like Media Bistro.  Their six-course Ad Copywriting certificate program is around $1650.  Alternatively, you could pay for one course at a time if you don’t think you’ll need all six courses.  If you attend an online school, you will definitely develop your skills, but you’ll probably want to pair up with an art director.  That way, you can send some well-executed pieces to potential employers.  If you’d like to take a stab at designing some pieces,  consider using a layout program like Canva.  Once you’ve written your copy, you can create a compelling layout and design using their elements for various types of media.

Expert-Led Training

A third option is to register for courses online with Udemy or Lynda.  This is a good idea if you’re not quite sure if copywriting is the right choice for you.  These expert-led courses will give you a taste for the skills you’ll need to succeed as a copywriter.  It is also a low-cost option compared to portfolio and online schools.

Udemy offer courses in copywriting instruction, blogging, and social media strategy.  I have seen plenty of courses, too, that give ideas as to how new writers can make money online, which is a great strategy for those who are less interested in full-time copywriting jobs and would prefer to freelance.  Lynda also provides courses in content marketing, though their offerings are light on basic copywriting instruction.

 

How to Find Entry-Level Copywriting Jobs

So where is the best place to look?  Besides the usual suspects like Monster and Career Builder, consider networking with prospective employers on LinkedIn.  According to job-search expert Richard Bolles, employees who network with prospective employers have an 86% chance of finding a new job.  Contrast this with a 4% success rate for those who apply to job ads.

If you decide to try networking, first determine what kind of work you’d like to specialize in.  Then decide on which advertising agencies you’d like to target.  For example, if you enjoy writing product descriptions, you might enjoy working for an ad agency that does shopper marketing.  Or if you enjoy big-idea campaigns, find ad agencies that provide branding services.

Once you decide on the kind of work you’d like to do, log onto LinkedIn and select “Companies” from the drop-down menu next to the search box.  Enter “Marketing/Advertising” in the search box and click enter.  This will give you a list of advertising agencies in the United States.  You can then narrow down your search by selecting your city and the size of the ad agency.  If you’re looking for entry-level copywriting jobs, you may want to target mid-sized agencies.  They usually hire some junior copywriters, and the competition is not as fierce compared to large, national agencies like Leo Burnett and Ogilvie.

Next, research agencies that produce the kind of work you’d like to do.  Visit their websites and look at their samples.  If you like what you see, learn more about the ad agency and immerse yourself in their work.  Then, return to LinkedIn and look up senior copywriters at those specific ad agencies.  You can then write to those copywriters and ask them if they’d be willing to chat with you in person about their work.

Many senior-level writers have mentored younger writers and will be willing to talk with you.  If they like you and your work, they will be willing to connect you to other senior copywriters and creative directors in your city who are hiring entry-level writers.  You can, of course, apply to open jobs, but your resume and portfolio will get special consideration if it’s coming from a warm connection.  Do this enough times, and the likelihood that you’ll have a few job offers increases.

The networking method takes more work than applying to open jobs, but Richard Bolles proves that it has a much higher success rate.  To read more about it, be sure to check out his best-selling book.

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One Final Resource

And finally, if you’re serious about pursuing copywriting as a career, get yourself a copy of Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan.  He discusses strategies behind most forms of copywriting, from creating a simple print ad to generating big-idea campaigns.  He also includes a great reading list.  Most importantly, he gives you an idea as to what you can expect when you join the industry.  I encourage you to check it out on Amazon.

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