I'm a copywriter at PACIFIC Digital Agency in San Diego, ask me anything! (Well, almost anything)

Matthew Potter
Jul 11, 2018

I've been called an accomplished industry professional and thought leader in the content marketing industry. I have written copy for high-level brands including Petco, Expedia, Hipmunk, and Eddie Bauer. I'm currently working at PACIFIC Digital Agency in San Diego as a Technical Writing Program Manager, where I gratefully continue to write copy while also leading the programmatic content program. My natural ability to produce copy comes in handy, and it helps me to influence and inform large client audiences. I strive for excellence in all that I do, and I let my writing speak for itself.

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What types of content do you like most to create and why?
Jul 15, 8:08PM EDT0
What professional organizations are you involved in?
Jul 15, 2:43PM EDT0
In your experience, what comes first, design or copy? Why?
Jul 15, 8:17AM EDT0
What do you love most about working at Pacific Agency?
Jul 15, 4:24AM EDT0
Is there a better way to involve the audience than leading with a question? What are your thoughts?
Jul 14, 3:56AM EDT0
How do you establish the relationship with your client before a project? What questions should be asked?
Jul 13, 7:24AM EDT0
What awards or recognition has your work received and which ones make you most proud?
Jul 12, 8:29PM EDT0
What strategies have you developed to create copy that will enhance a brand’s credibility?
Jul 12, 4:59PM EDT0
Is it a good practice to repurpose successful copy? What are your thoughts?
Jul 12, 1:11PM EDT0
What activities do you practice to stimulate your creativity?
Jul 12, 10:33AM EDT0
Which are some of your best strategies for copywriting?
Jul 11, 3:04PM EDT0

Hi everyone,

I'll be live for an hour if you have any last minute questions. 

Jul 11, 1:32PM EDT0
What type of leadership style do you practice?
Jul 11, 12:27PM EDT0

I try to be fair and approachable. I am mostly hands-off, and I always make it very clear that I am available for any help or guidance. I also try to lead by example. I wouldn’t make any of my reports do something I wouldn’t want to do.

Jul 11, 1:04PM EDT0
What trends do you see in copywriting? How long do you think they will last?
Jul 11, 6:54AM EDT0

Listicles and FAQs reign supreme right now. I don’t know if they will ever truly go away, because they do exactly what Google wants—provide information in an easy-to-consume format. However, I do think people are gravitating towards more thought-provoking pieces. So much content nowadays is written at a basic level, and I think people are starved for something more. Especially, since people tend to share this type of content. Not only does it create an internal conversation, but it also allows you to have a person-to-person conversation. For better or worse, a lot of our communication happens online, and if companies can provide something worth talking about, then they have given their consumers something of value.

Last edited @ Jul 11, 1:01PM EDT.
Jul 11, 11:38AM EDT0
What would be the next step for you professionally? What would you like to see yourself doing?
Jul 11, 5:31AM EDT0

ACK! What a tough question. Fortunately, I have been able to grow the role they have given me here at PACIFIC. I can say that is it nice to have finally found a home.  Programmatic content provides a lot of challenges right now, and I know it can be taken even further. However, I would like to see myself in a Creative Director type role where I help create the big idea and become an integral part of pitches. I still love writing though, even the “grunt work” assignments.

Jul 11, 11:38AM EDT0
How does technology help your work as a copywriter?
Jul 11, 2:13AM EDT0

It helps immensely. Basic research is obviously improved, because it is so simple to check facts or learn about the advantageous a certain type of fabric a client may use in their products in a matter of minutes. We can have a virtual face-to-face with clients all around the world by hopping on a video call, or even collaborate with them in real time with Office 365 or Google Docs. We also have teams dedicated to researching what is trending or what people are talking about on social channels.

Moreover, my position would not exist without major improvements in artificial intelligence and data streaming. We are able to generate thousands of pages in a matter of weeks with programmatic content software. My editor and I broke it down at one point, and it would take a writer 10 years manually to write the amount of content my team produced in a month. So, yeah, we leverage technology wherever we can.

Jul 11, 11:37AM EDT0
How intense is the writing process for a copywriter? What does a regular day looks for you when working?
Jul 11, 1:48AM EDT0

After they make sure the chains are tight enough, so you don’t escape, they usually start you off with some day-old coffee. Seriously, there is some ebb, but more flow. Some days I will have a ton of work to do, and I am pounding away at my keyboard until it is time to go home. There are some days where I don’t have much writing to do because we are in between projects, or awaiting the statement of work. We are pretty good here about scheduling, so there are not too many assignments that get thrown on my desk last minute. However, when those do come my way, I get rush out of beating the clock with and turning in my best work.

Time management is an essential part of this job, because there is always a wrinkle in the process, no matter how much we have planned. It could be a pivot by the client, or something we need to address that become apparent after we started. In any case, I spend most of my days researching, writing, and revising. In the time I am not, I do the boring, but necessary managerial tasks such as updating spreadsheets, planning our upcoming writing assignments, and looking for ways to improve my team’s process. One thing I can tell you is that I am never bored. That is one major advantage of agency work, is that you get variety.

Jul 11, 11:37AM EDT0
Can you name three important SEO copywriting practices?
Jul 10, 8:19PM EDT0

The first rule of copywriting is you do not talk about copywriting. Bad jokes aside, you need to write first. Google is valuing quality of your content over anything else. If you are optimizing your content for search engines over good writing, then the search engines may penalize you. Secondly, you want to keep your content relevant. Sure “unicorns” may have a high SEO-vale, but if they have nothing to do with your page about designer rugs, then the search engines will know this and penalize you. Third, I think you need to know how to do some keyword research. Especially, if you are freelancer, because you probably won’t have the access to a great SEO team like we have at PACIFIC. It’s still debatable how important keywords are, but they are still essential. I think of them as flags for the search engines to let them know there may be something worth checking out over here. However, do not keyword stuff. This will definitely penalize you. Try to sprinkle your most relevant keywords throughout the content, and always incorporate them as naturally as possible.

Jul 11, 11:36AM EDT0
Are there any online courses or resources that you'd recommend for someone who wants to get started as a technical writer?
Jul 7, 7:14PM EDT0

I am not a true technical writer, so I can only offer some advice on copywriting. However, I will tell you that Technical Writing positions seem to open up far more frequently than most other writing positions. With so much new technology coming daily, they will need people to soften all the dense and heavy technical language into consumer facing materials.

Lynda has some courses on it that might be worth looking into. You can at least determine if it is a good fit before you enroll in a certification course. Whichever concentration you pursue, you need to make it apparent that you love writing all day, every day.

Jul 10, 3:17PM EDT0
What do you consider to be the most creative part of your work?
Jul 6, 6:54PM EDT0

I love the ideation and planning phases, especially, in a team dynamic. The writing phase is very isolating in a way, because you are surrounded by your own thoughts, and you can talk yourself into just about anything. However, I enjoy throwing something out there and seeing if it resonates with my peers. I also love hearing their ideas because it stimulates my mind and challenges me to do better.

Jul 10, 3:16PM EDT0
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