{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’m going to be teaching Intro to Copywriting at a university this fall. What are some things you liked and disliked about the writing courses you took?", "post_id": "610805e03f953c0020dac00b", "reply_count": 24, "vote_count": 5, "bowl_id": "591a223804ff130016b983f4", "bowl_name": "Copywriters" }

I’m going to be teaching Intro to Copywriting at a university this fall. What are some things you liked and disliked about the writing courses you took?

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Give them a regular, ongoing, semester-long writing task. Something that gets them writing More. Amazon reviews. Start a blog. Review ads. Tweet 10x day. Start a journal. Whatever. Not enough writers spend enough time writing and it’s a good exercise to get people in the habit.

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Love this idea!

I was taught "headline formulas" and though it helped me in cranking out lines, it didn't help with my thinking. When I started my internship, I couldn't tell the difference between an idea and execution. It was quite painful.

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Formulas of any kind are obnoxious when enforced in this industry.

Be sure and teach them about how writing a lot of the headlines is important part of the process. Even if you think you’ve nailed it after the first 10, you likely haven’t. Especially when you’re just starting out. Sally hosghead wrote about this and her work with Harley Davidson or BMW. I forget

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One other thing to call out—it’s very easy to talk about male copywriters because it’s been a predominantly male dominated field for so long. It might be nice to make sure you’re also sharing work from some of the great female copywriters in ad history.

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More guidance for art director’s esp when in university we don’t always have a partner and would like the work to shine despite that.

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Also if you’re from a small agency, don’t use that experience ad an example.

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To me the two most important things are being able to create spec work, and doing critique if ads that do and don't work. Also would you be willing to share how much something like this pays? And do you do it on top of your FT gig? I've always wondered.

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Yeah I definitely want to get them analyzing copy to learn how to articulate their opinions. The pay is next to nothing (a couple thousand) but I’ve always wanted to teach and absolutely love mentoring, so it’s more about the experience for me. And yeah I’ll be doing it on top of my day job. It’s online so it shouldn’t be too time consuming.

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Teach them to know when to stop writing. Teach them how to handle criticism without ego. Teach them that rejection is the rule, not the exception. Teach the reality of being a Copywriter in this industry, and don’t leave out any negative truths. Be honest, warts and all. It’s the education we all want. Best of luck and congrats on the awesome opportunity.

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Teach them what a big idea is. If they can crack a big idea (know what one is), the writing is just a bonus.

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WK1 - There are other classes to focus on the big idea. OP asked about what to teach in intro to CW. If every class in portfolio school is all about big ideas, then students never actually learn craft.

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Be sure to introduce various disciplines of copywriting - long form, short, digital, direct marketing etc. I transitioned to UX design. Not everyone will write ads. If you don’t have the experience in a certain discipline, invite guest speakers. I speak to classes 1-2X per semester.

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How to format word docs. A senior in my first ever agency told me to write in a very specific way and art directors for the rest of my career have loved me because it's so easy for them to drop copy into layouts without reading it. I think it'd be really useful to learn about proofreading too. It's such an integral skill for a copywriter, especially one just starting out. How to write long copy and how to write short copy would be next for me. It's all fair and well saying learn how to crank out headlines but sometimes clients will push an inferior one so you need to know how to write killer sub copy. Character and word lengths would be next for me. We all know the divide by time length trick for radio is handy but you need to be able to eyeball scripts to know they're within time. That will come with experience obviously but I wish someone told me all the tips and tricks earlier on.

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Write a song about fish sticks and the make them sing it in front of the class.

Not everything has to be - or form part of - "a story".

I hope you share the British D&AD, One Show, etc. Encourage conceptual thinking. 

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