What I Learned About Copywriting from a Day at MarketSmiths

Estimated reading time: 11 minute(s)

On Wednesday, December 20, MarketSmiths was happy to host a student from Hamilton College for a day at our office. We introduced her to the world of copywriting, gave her fun projects to work on, and taught her some of the nuances of the world of business. The following blog post is from Stefanie Chin about her experience at our office.

Stefanie & Caroline copywriting visit marketsmiths
Hamilton student Stefanie Chin (left, with copywriter Caroline Harrington) visited the MarketSmiths office recently to learn a little more about the world of copywriting.

I’m a sophomore at Hamilton College, and I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life. In a year and a half, I’m supposed to figure it out. So how do I start?

Luckily for me, the Career Center at Hamilton sets up students every year with alumni in different industries for a day of shadowing. I found myself matched with Caroline Harrington, a Hamilton graduate and a copywriter at MarketSmiths.

I was ecstatic. I desperately wanted to learn how a former student—who was recently in my exact position—found a job that allows her to do what we both love: write.

After a month of anticipation, the day finally arrived. When I got to MarketSmiths, my first impression was of a welcoming atmosphere. Everyone—Caroline especially—was incredibly warm right from the get-go, and the office set-up immediately made it clear that everything MarketSmiths does is a team-effort.

After settling me in with a mug of hot coffee, Caroline was eager to answer questions and to chat about the work MarketSmiths does and what it means for their clients. She talked about how their work boils down to creating emotional, visceral reactions with words. How the best kind of copywriting is, at its core, storytelling. How, in a world so rapidly evolving, MarketSmiths strives to obliterate the emotional distance common in business writing with phrasing that resonates and inspires action.

Over the course of the day, I learned about Caroline’s post-Hamilton experiences, and also the career paths of the other team members, and how they stumbled upon their profession. Prior to this experience, I hadn’t even considered the fact that this job existed. But when I thought more about it, of course it had to exist. When it comes down to it, everything we read can be traced back to a copywriter, or someone acting as a copywriter. Writing copy is telling a story—and our world is full of stories. From websites to blog posts, from email newsletters to eBooks, what readers are consuming is ultimately copy: a blend of information and persuasion.

From this foundational business model, I learned how the ‘Smiths are also engaged in making clients feel well taken care of. I learned how everyone is a bit of their own project manager. I learned about the research department. And I got a taste of the dumpling-eating, the coffee-making, and the constant laughter. It was such a happy, pleasant office full of passionate people. All in all, everything I observed on a chilly December Wednesday has me convinced that there’s never a slow moment in this Brooklyn office.

Learning about MarketSmiths (and copywriting in general) has made me feel like I’m suddenly realizing the existence of something so obvious, yet understated. Like bread, or water. It’s jarring to realize I haven’t wholly acknowledged an entire industry for the amazing thing that it is, especially when this layer is so vital to the success of all businesses.

I now wonder about every word I’ve ever read. I wonder about the unseen minds behind each word and their uncanny ability to create a personal connection. And that’s exactly what I came to MarketSmiths for: to be overwhelmed, to have my outlook flipped on its head. And the company I shadowed didn’t disappoint.

At the end of the day, I’m still a sophomore in college, and I still don’t really know what I’m doing with my life. What I do know, though, is that MarketSmiths added a whole new layer of endless possibilities for me out there. And I’m excited to keep exploring.

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Caroline Harrington

Caroline likes to say that all roads led to MarketSmiths. With a resume full of communications experiences that include PR, journalism, and publishing, she feels the common thread for her has always been a desire to write. If you ask her grandmother, she’ll say that Caroline was born to write. In her free time, Caroline likes to troll Pinterest for DIY projects, explore art museums, and eat her way through NYC—all while quoting Lord of the Rings.

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