Copywriter talks about importance of editing within advertising
By Tiler Grossman
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Nick Goodwin is the copywriter and producer for Thought District, a creative and innovative advertising agency located in the heart of downtown Lincoln, Neb. In an interview, he talked about how his agency works to tell a brand’s story in a new way. Thought District takes pride in believing that it can take bold steps forward for the agency and its clients.
For Goodwin, those first steps toward achieving his career goals were at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he majored in advertising. During college, he interned as a campus representative for TOMS and held his first position as a copywriter for Infogroup.
Q: How have your past jobs and internship experiences helped to prepare you for where you are currently within your career?
A: Anytime you have an interview they first will ask about your past experiences that helped prepare you for the position you are applying for. For me, it tends to often be about my internship with TOMS because people are really enamored with the brand. I don’t even think it’s just about the brand, but the stuff that they do. Having that internship, though, wasn’t the only reason that getting a job wasn’t super hard for me. I think that anybody that goes through school and does more than they need to do to learn and to get better, will succeed beyond the classroom. Gaining experience creates for an easy transition into a professional level position. Take the initiative.
Q: How do you think an advertising and public relations student can benefit from journalism editing courses?
A: You would be shocked at how many times that my knowledge of AP style has helped me with my job here at Thought District. Pretty much anywhere you go within journalism or advertising you need to have an understanding of AP style to some extent. For instance, the blog posts that I generate are often centered on AP style guidelines, so I am constantly doing things around AP style. We may move away from it slightly because it’s a blog that takes on a personable tone but you have to still sound readable. You cannot just be a headline and subhead story, you have to have the ability to write in paragraphs too. If you are able to follow AP guidelines, you are much more valuable as an employee.
Q: How does Thought District help brands to plan and work to adapt to the ever-changing industry?
A: That is a really good question, and it’s something that we think about a lot. It’s an aspiration. We want to elevate the work of our clients and we want to not only have them keep up with the industry standards, as far as social media and where design is going, but to set them. We want to make our clients leaders. Part of what any advertising agency does is pitch stuff that doesn’t exist yet. We pitch people stuff that never gets used but that shows that we are thinking and willing to push them forward. It is all about showing clients new things and constantly challenging them. You should never give clients what they want; you should always give them way more. Ultimately at the end of the day, if you’re showing them things they haven’t seen before and telling them that you can take them there, then I believe you are successful as an agency. That is part of our brand motto: collaborate, elevate, ship.
Q: As the copywriter are you part of the creative, sales, and branding strategy at Thought District?
A: Something that we really try to do and something that I think is really important is to attempt to get the creatives involved in the process early. That is when you truly elevate a brand. We put creative in the front end, we allow them to talk to the client, to work with the client and to get the client excited. That is something that is noticeably helping our brands a lot. If we get creative involved early everyone has a better understanding of what everyone is capable of bringing to the clients.
Q: What advice do you have to offer for students?
A: Number one, just do what ever you can to be around people that are good at what they do. Try to surround yourself with talented people, with pros, and get as much experience as you possibly can. Try to learn as much as you can about other aspects of the industry. If you want to be a copywriter, learn as much as you can about design. If you want to go into design, learn as much as you can about writing. Being aware of how everything within the industry works will help you so much, especially when looking for a job. Understand the big picture and how all of the parts work together. Have the ability to generate solid and compelling ideas, not just a single layout or headline. Be well-rounded.
Q: Is there anything you would like to add that I failed to ask?
A: One thing that I would I say, that just kind of reiterates what I said earlier, try to be as well-rounded as you possibly can. This is especially important for students interested in the creative aspects of advertising. The more stuff that you can do, skills wise, the more hireable you are. Learn as much as you can and get good at it. Also, I would say that people get hired here at Thought District because they have the ability to come up with good ideas. Be able to analyze a situation and come up with a creative solution. This industry is constantly evolving, keep learning and keep getting better.