Creativity and Technology Collide
In this interview, I talk with Alec Brownstein (Senior Copywriter at Young & Rubicam NY) about how he creatively used Google Adwords to help him land his dream job as a Senior Copywriter. Alec’s story is an inspiration for anyone looking for new, creative ways to help you stand out amongst the sea of resumes you are competing against when looking for new work.
Meet Alec Brownstein
Alec Brownstein is the co-author of the best selling comedy books 50 Relatives Worse Than Yours (Bloomsbury) and 50 Days Worse Than Yours (Bloomsbury). In the fall of 2005, he wrote and directed a short film entitled Trevor’s in Heaven, which was an official selection of the Austin Film Festival and the New Filmmaker’s Festival in New York and Los Angeles. When he’s not paying out of his own pocket to make films or writing books with his friend and co-author Justin Racz, Alec works as an advertising copywriter in New York City. His work can be viewed at www.alecbrownstein.com
Social Media Interview
1. You have a very interesting story about how you used Google Adwords and personally branded yourself online to land your dream job. Can you tell everyone what you did?
The first thing I did was identify the people I wanted to work for and the company where I wanted to work. After doing some research on these companies and people, I noticed there were no sponsored results when you “Googled” the Creative Director’s names. As someone who “Googles” myself quite frequently, I realize that if someone were to put an sponsored ad there directed to me, I would look at it. So, operating under the assumption that someone “googles” themselves sooner or later, I bought the creative directors names as search terms and created an ad for them that would appear at the top of the results that linked to my portfolio.
2. So how long did it take to get a response from the Creative Directors?
I launched it over the summer of 2009. Over the course of about a month to two months, I started getting responses.
3. You were driving traffic to your online portfolio using the Google Adwords campaign. Did you use any social media channels to drive traffic to your online portfolio.
I’m under the view that you need to approach your promotion as a complete package. Whereas the Adwords campaign was used to get their attention, once they got to my site, there was everything else to see.
I did do some creative stuff on Linkedin. I created profiles on Linkedin and then used those profiles to write recommendations for me on my profile. But, the recommendations are completely ridiculous. It’s abundantly clear that the recommendations are completely fake. It was intended to showcase my creativity and writing ability. One of the fake accounts I created was a lawyer in Nigeria who helped me get lottery winnings out of the country.
4. What kind of response have you received from this Google Adwords campaign? Looking at the Mashable article, there were over 1500 Re-Tweets of the article, 833 shares on Facebook and the YouTube video you created has almost 700,000 views.
I posted the video on May 3, 2010, but it didn’t really take off until a week later where it exploded and went viral. I believe it’s been written up and included in 20,000 blogs. A lot of people embed the video into their site. It really wouldn’t have been possible without the use of social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. It’s sort of a modern day miracle in a lot of ways.
5. One of the things that jumped out for me was that you took the time to engage with people that asked you questions and left comments on YouTube. It’s often difficult with social media to manage the workload, but I found it enlightening that you took the time to respond.
With regards to responding on YouTube or Facebook, I believe that social media has to be a two way street. On one hand, it’s a great way to get a message out there, but I think the other component that sometimes people forget is that you want people to realize that you are listening. If people have a thought about something that you’ve done and they’ve taken the time to send you a comment or a message on Twitter, its good to respond and let them know that you hear them.
6. Considering the position you are in, you are in a very creative role as a Sr. Creative Director, do you have any plans on integrating social media into your future client campaigns?
I think that everything that we do from now on in advertising has to have some type of social media or digital component. I think that people are really satisfied to be talked to without some way of responding. And, I think a big part is to empower your brand messengers. If you equip them with the tools, they will talk about your brand with their friends and will be your evangelists. I believe social media is paramount.
7. Do you have any advice for the average individual on how they can use social media to land their dream job?
I guess the best piece of advice, to adopt Nike’s slogan, is to “Just Do It”. There is always going to be a good reason to not do what you really love, but you need to make the decision to just do it. In terms of actually making that move, the beauty of the internet and social media is that it levels the playing field. You can start a blog that is on the internet just as prominently as a giant brand. So, start that blog, start that Twitter feed and just start talking about what you love and enjoy. If you are passionate about it and you have interesting things to say, it will come out. Don’t be afraid to send the blog to people you respect or people you want to work for. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in an interesting way because, the people who you want to work for haven’t hired you yet, but they can’t fire you yet, so you have nothing to lose!
Connect With Alec
Current Occupation: Senior Copywriter at Young & Rubicam NY
Skype Name: jusfonzin
Personal Website/Blog: http://alecbrownstein.com
Business Website/Blog: http://jerksinyourarea.com
Facebook (Personal): http://facebook.com/alecbrownstein
Facebook (Fan Page) http://facebook.com/jerks
Twitter (Personal): http://twitter.com/jusfonzin
Twitter (Business): http://twitter.comjerksinyourarea