Creative Director of Copy

  • Anywhere (Remote)
  • Part-time

I first posted this ad about a week ago. I received many responses (thank you!) and deduced from some of those that it would be helpful to revise my ad a bit. This is that revision.

You are about to read an ad from a startup company founded by a guy from Silicon Valley who has successfully done this start up thing twice before. But as each of your children differs from the others, no two startups are exactly the same. This one could use a (for now, part-time) Creative Director of Copy.

My name is Jerry McLaughlin. I have spent much of my adult life living in California and running technology-enabled starts up in the online space. It took a couple of decades, but I have gotten pretty good at it.

Most people who know me would tell you I am a nice guy - a few have told me I'm a mensch. I am easy to get along with. I genuinely like people. Sometimes I talk too much.

Why does any of that matter? Because this position reports to me. If you have enough of the right experience for this position then by now you have figured out that it's easier to work for people who are nice and not hard to get along with.

Right, so what's the gig?

We'll get to that in just a sec. But one more thing. I value sincerity, empathy and honesty very highly. With regards to those values, opposites do not attract. I won't work with big egos. And I can't work with incompetence or, worse, indifference. I care both about what we do at work and how we do it - I am sure you do too.

Here's what we're up to

A small band of us have launched a new kind of service. We have created an alternative to the greeting card store (or what most of us have been relegated to, the greeting card aisle). We created a greeting card service. (Stick with me - it's cooler than you know).

What's a greeting card service?

Our greeting card service allows a shopper to choose a greeting card on our website and then "sign" the card in his or her own handwriting. We mail it a few minutes later.

How do you actually sign your card?

The handwriting is accomplished by having the shopper snap a picture of his or her handwritten note and then send that note to our computers for processing. The system then transmits the note to our signing machine which produces a high fidelity reproduction of the original handwriting inside the selected greeting card. 

(The whole process takes a lot less time than it took you to read to this point)

Why is that cool?

Young people are buying greeting cards again - and sending really great notes often to the very parents that they have driven crazy for years. (18 – 24 is one of our highest converting demographics among people who visit the site). And men buy cards from us too - at about 2.5x the rate that men buy cards in stores.

This comment from a 28 year old customer is representative of what we get every day: "When I saw your website and that I could do that I was just like 'My God, that's such a great idea!' "

Where do the cards come from today?

Today our card designs come from about 50 independent artists that like to design greeting cards. Those artists post their designs to our site. We handle all the marketing, promotion, production and order fulfillment and pay the artist for each card sold. The artists do the part of the work they like best - designing and creating - and we do the part we know best - marketing, operations, production, and customer service.

To date, we have not curated the cards. We have selected artists that we know and like and that know (and hopefully) like us. They add the cards they want to add.

Where do tomorrow's card come from?

To date, we have gotten new cards only when one of our artists uploads new designs and/or when a new artist joins us. (We are going to keep doing that). But after reviewing our sales to thousands of customers, we started to think that maybe we could strengthen our card assortment by adding specific cards more deliberately than we have to date.  

Our sense is that most new card designs in the marketplace start with art.

But we started to think that maybe new card designs should start with copy.

Once that started to seem like a promising idea we asked some friends in the world of advertising what kind of person we need to lead this talent acquisition effort. They responded, as if in one voice, "Creative Director of Copy". We Googled it. Now we get it. And we want one.

Here's what you actually do...

The position is part-time, for now.

Your role is a combination of arbiter, editor and talent scout.

Every new card starts with a creative brief for that card. The brief explains, among other things, who the imagined giver and receiver of the card are and the situation in which the card is being given. You’ll create a brief for each new card (we’ll provide the basic information about the “holes” in our card assortment that we are trying to fill at any given time).

You staff each new card brief with a card writer. Where will you find the card writers to do that work? That's is the part of the problem you would be signing up to solve.

You need to find, vet and assign work to card writers. When those people, that you have chosen, send in work you need to provide guidance as to whether or not it is what we are looking for. If it is not what we are looking for you will guide the card writer toward what we want by providing actionable feedback in plain terms. If you can't get what we need from the first card writer you chose you'll place that brief with another card writer and try again. Over time you’ll develop a roster of go-to card writers.

You are responsible for being certain that every design we accept is a very nice piece of work and consonant with the brief.

Cards are their own medium; card copy is its own genre. Creating great copy for cards is very gratifying but doing it consistently isn’t easy.

You'll need these six (6) skills and attributes to be successful in this role:

Situational empathy – we are not trying to make cards with universal appeal. We are making cards each of which has a strong appeal to the giver, as profiled in the card brief. Based on one brief you may be reviewing proposed copy for a respectful card for a cool grandmother’s birthday; on another you may be evaluating proposed copy for card for a 22 year old’s college graduation from his younger, sassy sister. You have to be able to mentally emulate the point of view of many different card givers across a range of situations.

Editorial Judgement - we are out to make fantastic cards - really great work. You won't pass on to the rest of us anything that you think isn't first rate. It will become obvious quickly whether we have the same idea of what constitutes first rate. The copy is very strong or it isn’t. 

Editing – much of the copy you receive from your card writers will be made better by the effective application of your red pen. You’ll be able to make good copy great, while showing your card writers how to give you even better work the next time.

Recruiter - you have to recruit a stable of talented card writers that, after some winnowing, we can turn to again and again for great work. This requirement implies that you are either good at networking, good at research, or both. Both is probably best. Of course you'll be able to pay the writers you approach for freelance work, but you'll also need to be able to sell them on working with you. In your recruiting you'll have to kiss a lot of frogs...and most of them will stay frogs.

Value conscious; a business sense - we are making a greeting card. Each card will have a creation budget. We will have great work, but we will also have it at a fair price. You’ll have time and budget to develop a stable of card writers but eventually the cost and productive of the writers will have to result in cards at an acceptable cost.

Organized - at any one time you'll have many briefs out to card writers and you'll have many projects in various stages of review. You have to be organized and a good record keeper to keep it all straight

Prior experience required...

You must have experience recruiting and managing writers and editing their copy. You must also have experiences that would convince me that you possess the six (6) skills and attributes detailed above as being necessary to succeed in this role.

Pay?

There will be enough. More on that when we talk

Location?

You can do this gig from anywhere. So you'll need to be a self starter and diligent or else the work won't really get done.

Next?

If this description interests or intrigues you drop me a note with one of your favorite quotes of all time. In that note tell me what experiences you have that demonstrate that you possess each of the six (6) skills and attributes detailed above as being necessary to succeed in this role. You don't have to write more than two or three sentences about each - just tell me where and how you acquired and demonstrated those skills and attributes. But just tell me, don't sell me.

Email is best - Jerry@SignedCards.com

Thank you for taking the time to read my ad. I appreciate that.

All my best,

Jerry

Posted 10 days ago Apply Now