My career in advertising and marketing started at a small market station.
It’s the ability to write copy, but to think strategically about how the copy will also be used in marketing, positioning, branding. It’s not just about writing, but about how you want someone to think about what you are writing. In clever, creative, interesting ways. This wasn’t a career path I chose; but it soon became something I excelled at doing.
Today, I utilize my experience I learned writing 30 second radio stops and short print copy; “key words” SEO, are how I had to do it then; Facebook, web content, banners … it’s how it’s done now… because people read a lot of content and they want their messages – fast.
A little history
In 1983, I landed a job as Continuity Director at a local radio station. It was like working at WKRP In Cincinnati . Complete with a production studio, I wrote 30-40 ads a week. I won my first ADDY award (now the American Advertising Federation awards- why?) at WSPB1450AM-WMLO106.3FM, in Sarasota, FL.
In 1986, I started as a copywriter at a fledgling ad agency. We won lots of awards and I created a public relations department utilizing what I learned working at Merlin Group, LTD, a theatrical press agency in New York City.
From there, I was offered a position at a newly formed agency as creative director and now I was going to be the senior copywriter and work directly with the art department. We won more awards. However, the owner had, shall we say, “financial issues,” and at one point all eight employees had one week before the money ran out.
Hit the ground running and in three weeks, started an agency with the art director; we did okay but too many long hours, too much stress for me anyway.
I decided to get out of the advertising biz for awhile and enjoyed a stint as an Information officer/PR Guy at a Behavioral Health organization. That led to joining a p.r. agency that specialized in nutraceuticals, supplements and food clients. Now, back then (the 90s), you were considered job hopping if you did this. Today it’s called normal. 🙂
After this stint, we decided it was time to get out of Florida. I wanted to see seasons. I needed a change. My partner and I moved to Washington DC where I landed a position at a top notch ad agency as creative director. That went pretty well until 9/11. And the dot-com bust. 80% of our clients were tech. Poof. All gone.
With this layoff, I then started another ad agency with two guys who had been at that agency; One partner had moved to Richmond, VA for personal reasons and was commuting in every day with 10+hour commutes. We won more awards. But the creative director was doing a side hustle for the previous agency. Partner was exhausted, we decided to just throw in the towel and ended about 18 months in.
Finally, moved to Asheville, NC, in 2005. Great clients, four seasons, great area. I’ve been working as an independent ever since. It’s the most successful and longest gig so far.