Emails are the new blogs. 💌 I’ve written email content for several higher education clients, for both internal and external communication channels, and I have been responsible for building many of these emails in MailChimp. I also maintain my online art shop’s email lists and produce monthly emails in MailChimp. (You should subscribe!)
Email stream sample
As part of CCA’s evolving recruitment strategy, I worked with the Admissions team to create and build a comprehensive inquiry project with more than 150 emails broken into 16 audience segments by student type.
In addition to supporting on project management for our team of designers and developers, I built strategy priorities based on each customer’s point in the journey, interviewed multiple cross-divisional stakeholders about messaging priorities, wrote copy for each email (including subject lines, preheader text, and alt text), maintained copy decks and image folders, and proofread html versions of each email before we hit send.
My writing and creative strategy for these emails focused on sharing the value of attending CCA while also providing expert information and advice about applying to art and design school. This helped ensure the content was interesting enough that recipients would open the emails even if they were unsure about which college they wanted to apply to. Inboxes are getting noisier and noisier and it’s essential to craft email communications that provide more than a slogan or clickbait, otherwise people will rightfully unsubscribe.
This project became the foundation for multi-channel marketing communications I wrote, including:
- A digital ad campaign landing page for the website that encouraged prospective students to subscribe for the email streams and submit their information for complementary direct mail materials
- Admitted student email streams, providing a continuity of messaging, creative format, voice, and design
- New SEO blog writing priorities for the college’s website; our team developed a special editorial calendar based on content we could multipurpose for the inquiry stream emails and cross promote to the ad campaign landing page
While working on the new email content strategy and writing, I needed a component to close out each email consistently—a little “content dessert” at the end of each email experience. I wanted it to be something that could show the range of CCA student experiences and the college’s values without feeling contrived or too marketing heavy.
My solution was the Then/Now component. For each block, I wrote a headline that related to the theme of the email and found an image in the archives (the “then”) and our current photo library (the “now”) that spoke to the theme. This work also helped show—not tell—the message that CCA has been around for more than 100 years (a brand awareness challenge the college has experienced for some time). It also became a great place to link out to relevant student news stories on the website, driving traffic to the EDU so prospective students could learn more and keep CCA on their list of dream schools.
Storytelling is my extra-sweet spot. 🍨 I bring a creative-nonfiction writer’s craft perspective, a journalist’s storytelling dynamism, and a marketer’s brand and strategy insights to any story I tell. I can write compelling longform feature articles with multiple source interviews and research, as well as voiced SEO-driven blogs that achieve a business objective without making the reader feel gross.
I also excel at turning things around fully polished on a tight deadline. I got my start as a magazine and newspaper journalist. Now, most story deadlines thrown at me feel like a leisurely underhand pitch from the summer office softball league compared to the whiz-bang fireballs of a newsroom.
Feature writing samples
- The hidden journey of Melissa Rodriguez
- What’s with the tam?: Three surprising stories from CCA’s commencement traditions
- Alum spotlight: Writer Julie Lythcott-Haims
- Stars aligned: Diedrick Brackens and Lauren O’Connell discuss their new exhibition
- Faculty spotlight: Grammy nominee Rob Epstein
- Alum spotlight: Digital media scholar Dorothy Santos
- Alum spotlight: Director and writer Shane T. Watson
- Graduate alumni help launch Black X Film Festival
- Nurturing Oakland’s legacy
- Committed to Craft
- Faculty spotlight: Michael Wertz
- New housing and dining at CCA
- (PDF) Three tikis to try in Chicago
- (PDF) Surviving Cancer: Revolutionary new treatments are reshaping the field of oncology, how patients get to remission and how they thrive after
- (PDF) A Light in the Dark: The story of Alexandria Reese
Blog writing samples
- Four reasons to study on the West Coast
- Why live on campus?
- A guide to graduate programs: 1-year, 2-year, low-residency, and more
- Four common art portfolio mistakes
- Three Pillars of a Strong Remote Work Company Culture
- WFH Tips from Our All-Remote Team
- Crisis Response Advice Every Website Could Use
- Crisis Response Best Practices for Higher Ed Websites
- How to Focus in a Distracted Work World
- Why High-Deductible Health Plans Are More Common Than Ever
- How to Navigate the Rise of High-Deductible Health Plans
- Prescription Discount Cards: What You Need to Know
- Three Reasons to Skip Insurance When Buying Your Prescriptions
- How to Talk to Your Doctor About Prescription Costs
- Brands vs. Generic Prescriptions: What You Need to Know
As the lead writer and editor at California College of the Arts, I edit all digital and print editorial content, managing the stories and blogs from writing to production. As part of my duties, I work with photographers and designers to assign, gather, and optimize images and media; organize and complete copy decks (with meta descriptions, alt text, social copy, internal newsletter blurbs, etc.) for web handoff and CMS entry; maintain the editorial calendar and collegewide style guide; and manage file-keeping, digital folder storage, and documentation.
I recently edited the print edition of Glance, CCA’s alumni magazine with an international circulation, previewing the college’s campus expansion and unification in San Francisco. Download issue PDF
Good headlines aren’t obvious. 🕶️ “Obvious” is boring and often becomes overwrought in an attempt to make it less so. I love writing ads that challenge the project’s strategy, brand voice, and business objectives. I try to push each of these elements, which are happening behind the scenes of any ad copy, to their creative limits. If I’ve delivered a campaign or post that the client (and then the customer!) thinks is surprising, delightful, and effective, I know I’ve done my job.
I’ve developed ad content strategy, created full advertising campaign concept and copy, written copy for ads of all media, strategized and written lead generation forms, and tracked KPIs for branded campaigns.
In the digital realm, I’ve written high-performing paid content for all social media channels, including audio and video ads on Spotify and YouTube. In the physical realm, I’ve written environmental and print ads, including advertorials, ads for one-off communications, comprehensive ad concepts, and interlocking ad series for branded campaigns.
Advertising campaign sample
At CCA, our team needed to create compelling new digital advertising that did several things:
- Stood out from marketing efforts by our peer institutions and digital competitors
- Spoke to the key benefits of attending art and design school in the Bay Area
- Leveraged our newly developed messaging strategy and brand voice
- Directed prospective students to one place where they could easily sign up to receive more information about CCA
Together with my team’s director of creative strategy and director of design, I helped conceive and develop our “visual ASMR” campaign. I created the tagline “A future in the making,” as well as the headline content structure format, inspired by the Then / Now features I had created for our new email inquiry streams.
In GIF banner ads and videos, the word pairings change position throughout the ad’s run time. The ad lands on the tagline “A future in the making” and surfaces a CTA that redirects to a landing page I wrote. The page content is easy to navigate; the user can download our viewbooks and portfolio guide, learn more about CCA, and submit their information to subscribe to an inquiry stream.
This ad campaign performed consistently higher than the industry average and blew our CPA and conversion rate goals out of the water. It also set a new tone for our wider community and got our students and internal audiences excited to be part of such a cool school.
Our digital ad campaign media mix included:
- Programmatic display
- Facebook and Instagram newsfeed and lead generation
- Google search
- Google display and FB/IG newsfeed retargeting
- Responsive display
These campaigns drove over 5 million impressions, with Snapchat being the highest impression driver at 1.3 million impressions. Snapchat also provided the lowest CPM in our undergraduate media mix (and nearly $2 better than the industry average). Our graduate campaign delivered a fantastic CPA of $125.56, which is much lower than the industry benchmark for graduate programs.
The Google Search campaigns performed best in our media mix, driving 156 conversions with a fantastic CPA of $57.82 (the average industry CPA is usually around $200). These campaigns also drove the highest CTR in our media mix at 4.83%, which shows that my search campaign copy resonated with users and drove them to click to the landing page and convert.
The “For the action oriented” creative drove the highest swipe-up rate with a .04% advantage over the industry average. This creative also drove direct conversions, which is great to see from top-of-funnel channels.
Print writing has to pop. 💥 In a digital world, print marketing and communications must be extraordinary to be worth the printing costs. Strong copywriting—the kind that that packs a lot in a little—is essential. I’ve written copy for annual reports, case studies, white papers, viewbooks, gift packages, holiday cards, event collateral, direct mail, magazines, environmental designs, billboards, speeches, step and repeats, and so much more.
Fashion show event collateral sample
I was the lead writer for the CCAD Fashion Show, an annual scholarship fundraiser. I helped create the concept for the event collateral, wrote copy for the invitations, direct mail, and print look book.
Admissions recruitment materials sample
At CCA, our Admissions team needed a print item that could act as both a direct mail piece and a leave-behind for high school students considering college. Counselors needed help telling the story of why. Why is studying at art and design school a valid—and valuable—experience? I developed a content and creative strategy that told the “outcomes story” in a brief but inspiring way. We needed to excite the students with the possibilities of studying at CCA, while also demonstrating to their parents that creative career options are robust and uniquely flexible for future markets.
I developed the idea and wrote the content for a folding pamphlet that connected each major at the college to a real-life alum’s career story. I kept the descriptions high-level so the student didn’t feel intimidated but had enough info to be motivated to apply to art and design school. It also helped show what was possible in each major.
Digital is the future, and the future already started. 📱✨ I have nearly a decade of UX writing experience. I’ve written copy and developed content strategy for:
- Websites, from wireframe concepts to finished product (and every client review in between)
- Longterm website maintenance, including annual page updates and iteration based on UX trends, analytics, and CMS capabilities
- e-commerce product descriptions that deliver on SEO, customer appeal, and product designers’ specs
- Social media copy that builds a brand while serving its intended audience
- Every kind of digital editorial content and storytelling, for websites and apps
I stay up to date on the language, tools, challenges, and possibilities of creating content for the web. I love working with web developers and UX and interaction designers, trusting their expertise from the start of a digital project and understanding the value my skills offer the team. Effective web writing requires extreme flexibility from the copywriter, multidisciplinary collaboration, and constant iteration—and I dig that.
Website writing samples
Modern Tribe website
I was the lead writer on the website redesign and launch for Modern Tribe, a fully remote digital agency.
International Council of Shopping Centers new website
I was the lead writer on the website redesign and launch for ICSC. This site was to make its debut around the time of its annual conference, and it needed a strong voice with many moments for lead generation and member connection. This work included developing new site tone and voice guidelines and traveling to ICSC headquarters to teach teams how to write for the new site.
POP from Sappi microsite
I was the lead writer on my agency team that created the initial round of content for Pop from Sappi, a marketing microsite for the paper company. In addition to writing for the parent pages and lead generation components, I worked with the designers and developers to create content for interactive message-focused microblogs like Craft a catchy message, Direct mail in a digital age, One brand key you’re missing, The Science of touch, and Ownership starts with perception.
Website creative concept and copywriting
CCA.edu Silver Linings series
In 2020, with the college fully remote, it was difficult to communicate news items to the entire college or to create a sense of camaraderie while far apart. All our communications up to fall 2020 had been incredibly dark and serious. Everyone needed a lift.
I pitched a web page called the Silver Linings series. The idea was to use the page to provide bite-sized news accounts of what was happening across the college and highlight upcoming virtual events to help build community and connection. We could feature cloud photos as a way to have the audience participate and to further the idea of a “silver lining.” This would solve for not being on campus to get new imagery, and also help subtly showcase the fact that CCA has an international community (we stamped each image with location and date).
I wrote the Silver Linings page and all related copy to have a light but thoughtful tone and updated it weekly with new items that we cross-promoted in our internal newsletter. The CCA.edu homepage tableau rotated throughout the semester, featuring a rising sun in the beginning and a setting sun as finals rolled around, with winter break on the horizon.
The Silver Linings idea extended beyond the single webpage, too. This page helped us launch a better collegewide story intake system and gave us an opportunity to encourage its use across a wide range of community stakeholders. We created a Soundcloud playlist that students could submit stay-at-home song requests to via social media. Plus, the idea of our “campus on the cloud” inspired the creative direction and copywriting for the college’s holiday card that goes out to donors.
The Silver Linings Series was an excellent platform for building community, communicating news and events, and sourcing visual content in a truly unprecedented time rife with challenges for marketing and communications teams.
e-commerce product description samples
I’ve written product copy that converts for a range of industries, including fashion, lifestyle, legal, and tech. Much of this work included meeting with product designers, interaction designers, and business leaders to understand the product specifications and features—and to write it all on brand, with the customer top of mind.
Thomson Reuters UK: Legal Solutions
Social media copywriting
I’ve written a Millenial-generation’s-worth of social media copy and captions for the following platforms, including ghost writing copy for celebrity influencers like Steph Curry and Ashley Benson, creating animated content in Photoshop and After Effects, writing bumpers and voiceover scripts for video, and much more.
I’m also fluent in Later’s scheduling and management system (which I use for my personal creative practice), I earned Hootsuite social media marketing certification in 2019, and I understand social media traffic data from platforms like Google Analytics.
The best branding doesn’t feel like branding at all. 🔮 My approach to brand work is rooted in telling a genuine story about the company and developing copywriting and messaging strategy based on that story. My extensive agency experience includes working with content strategists and designers to develop all-new brand guidelines for companies, sub-brands, and advertising/fundraising campaigns. I have led discovery workshops, creative concept presentations, and multi-day client training sessions. I have also developed comprehensive brand guidelines for clients and created voice and tone tools based on the immediate needs of the organization and the scope of work. As a freelancer, I have become very skilled at working from existing brand and style guidelines as well.
CCA voice and tone rebranding
CCA needed a brand refresh. The college had quickly outgrown its former brand and needed better tone and voice guidelines, more powerful headline writing and storytelling, and a more effective content and messaging strategy. I helped develop a new brand that clearly outlined CCA’s values and unique selling points.
The college’s former communications felt stiff—heavy on the academic rigor, light on the love that makes the college so special. I updated the brand voice to maintain the level of intellectual sophistication in appropriate moments, but dial up the friendly, authentic approach when talking to certain audiences (like new college students or high school students who feel intimidated by the thought of applying to art and design school).
Following an audit of competitors and review of challenges within the Bay Area landscape, as well as many cross-college interviews, I helped establish CCA’s messaging and worked with the director of creative and content strategy and vice president of marketing to develop a more focused and effective content development process. My new headline and content writing spoke to location, CCA’s legacy in the Bay Area and making art that matters, told focused student outcome stories, and highlighted better data points (i.e., sharing average salary rates of recent alumni vs. only sharing job placement statistics). Download viewbook PDF