Six Questions with Susan Schultz, Dovetail Senior Copywriter
What inspires you?
So many things. Music is big. I listen to a variety of stuff, from classical to pop to country to old-school show tunes. Some of my favorite musicians are singer-songwriters. The way they can write words that really speak to me, put it to music, and then perform it amazes me. I also love a view with a big sky, or a night sky full of stars. As for copywriting, I just love a well-turned phrase, whether it’s Shakespeare or a perfectly timed string of profanity. If it has something to say and says it in a unique way, I love it!
What is your writing style?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. I’d say I’m literate but conversational, friendly, and down to earth. I hate copy that uses big words just to try to sound smart or more professional. I also hate copy that talks down to its customers. I do love wordplay, alliteration, even puns. But that can be frowned upon in copywriting so I try not to overdo it.
Do you ever experience writers block? And how do you deal with it?
Sometimes. But since copywriting is my job, it’s really not an option. The work has to get done. Sometimes it just gets done a little late. If I am struggling with a project, stepping away from it for a while can help, getting outside or eating something. When it’s really bad, I may pace the floor. Or I’ll stay up all night. Usually something comes to mind around 2:00am. There’s nothing like a deadline to get you moving.
How has the need for so much new content online and in so many mediums changed your approach?
Not really. Good copy is good copy. While most writers will have certain media they prefer and that they are better at, you should be able to adapt the message to the medium. I like the variety and the challenge of writing for a range of print, online and broadcast media.
With content becoming “more disposable,” how do you feel about how proper grammar may have lost the importance it once had?
I think advertising has always gotten a bit of a pass when it comes to grammar. And I am fine with that. I am particular about commas and consistency within a piece. But I’m not a stickler about always using complete sentences. You can’t go too crazy breaking the rules, though, as you don’t want the client or their products to look ignorant. But good copy is as much about how it sounds as how it looks.
As for content becoming “disposable,” them’s fighting words! I don’t even like the term “content” but it’s what everybody uses, so I’m stuck with it. If you see your message as disposable, why pay to produce it? Everything you put out under your brand should be thought out and have a message and a purpose. It doesn’t have to be poetry. But it should have a reason for existing. Content should at minimum provide something: information, insight, a laugh, and an emotional response, whatever. It makes me so angry if I take the time to read something and get nothing in return.
What is your favorite thing about Dovetail/clients?
We have such a talented, smart team here at Dovetail. Everybody brings a different perspective and experience, but it all works together well. I love that there is very little ego or attitude here. Yes, we take great pride in our work. But there’s no competition with each other, just a drive to do better. We all just want to help our clients and the agency succeed.