What is Different about Copywriting at Digital Agencies?

 

 

We hope to hire a second creative copywriter at Viget soon, and I’ve been busy processing applicants. Ideally, all job candidates would have full awareness of what working here might be like. In this case, I want applicants to realize that being a copywriter at Viget is, in some ways, very different from being a copywriter at another creative agency, particularly at a more traditional ad agency.

The biggest reason for the difference, in my opinion, is that Viget is a digital agency with roots in software development. Since 1999, we’ve been solving problems for clients mostly by building things (clever, thoughtful, gorgeous things), first for the web and lately also for devices and physical objects. That history shapes our vocabulary, org chart, company culture, and relationships. 

A talented creative copywriter applying to work at Viget might also be applying to work at an ad agency that, at its core, exists to create, well, advertisements. On the surface, that agency might seem similar to Viget — we’re both working with big brands to make stuff that gets attention. But, I want to help candidates see past the surface. 

To help paint a clear picture of what the Creative Copywriter opportunity is really like, I've created these two lists ...

5 Things We Don’t Have at Viget:

  1. Creative Directors - Our copywriters and designers are responsible for their own creative ideas, direction, and execution. Freedom, power, responsibility, stress, accountability, self-direction, exhilaration — it all can be yours.
  2. Accounts -  The formal Agency of Record system isn’t as common at digital shops. While we do have long-term relationships with clients who hire Viget to concept, design, and build interactive experiences, we don’t have traditional “accounts” and locked-in teams that service them. We work with a huge range of clients and the variety of work is a point of pride for us. As a result, we don’t hire teams of people to work on a specific project. A perk of this approach is that nobody gets stuck against their will on the same client work for long periods and, if a long-time client takes their business elsewhere, we don’t do layoffs. (I am so glad — that practice has always seemed like such a bummer to me.)
  3. Campaigns - There is some nuance here. We do work that could be classified as campaigns; but, we also do work that’s meant to serve as a durable communication tool for our clients. That means we have the opportunity to think and concept ideas for the long term (well, the Internet long term) and not just for a campaign cycle. Copywriter candidates who also want to do brand and content strategy are going to be well suited for this aspect of the position. 
  4. Banner Ads - We seriously do not do anything that comes close to a banner ad, ever.
  5. Planners - Well, we sort of have planners — we just call them copywriters. If you truly just want to receive your brief and go make your words, you will be unhappy here. On the other hand, if you want to have an integral role in defining project problems with your team, outlining solutions, and then going off and executing on those solutions — with your word making — then this is a great opportunity for you.

5 Things We Have in Abundance at Viget:

  1. Design Talent - Our new copywriter will work most closely with our visual designers. Have you seen what they are doing lately?
  2. Smarts - We’re big on hiring people who like learning and sharing. Everyone at Viget is encouraged (not mandated) to write and speak about what they’re working on. We’re all growing professionally, and you can tell — Project Managers, Developers, Front-End Developers, Designers, Strategists, UX Designers, Data Analysts, Copywriters ... even our Recruiters and Office Managers drop knowledge.
  3. Technical Know-How - Developers choose to work at Viget, in part, because they want to collaborate with other creative people. If you have a cool concept but need to discuss technical feasibility, we have a lot of folks you can turn to. No idea is too wacky; we’ve built some pretty superfluous things
  4. Stability - We’ve grown slowly, we’re independently owned, and we honestly believe that our team’s quality of life is just as important as its quality of work. Our hiring standards are high, and so is our retention rate. We’re financially prudent; but, we also like to celebrate milestones and have a good time.
  5. More Sheldon Coopers, Fewer Donald Drapers  - Viget is a practical place, largely driven by hard work and a "the best idea wins" mentality. We have both introverts and extroverts, we make decisions that are informed by data, and we hit deadlines — rarely working nights or weekends. Low drama, lots of passion.

 

These lists highlight the ways in which a copywriter’s role is different at Viget. I hope whomever we hire doesn’t just understand these differences, but is, in fact, thrilled by what I’m describing. I’m obviously biased; but, I think Viget’s environment might give a copywriter the ideal mix of responsibility, creative freedom, and coworkers to allow their best ideas to achieve the biggest success possible.

If you have questions about copywriting at Viget, the general environment here, or observations on copywriters at digital agencies, let me know in the comments. If what I’ve described appeals to you and the Creative Copywriter description lines up with your background, I hope you’ll apply to work with us.

Emily is Viget's people director, hailing from our Durham, NC, office. She specializes in heart-to-hearts and asking questions that don’t have concrete answers.

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