26 Jun 88 hours, 8 memories and messages: My internship at Refresh Marketing
By Jerome Wong
Cool co-workers, coffee breaks and copywriting
When I met Vikki and Rob at a business writing workshop last year, it was the second time I’d heard of copywriting. At the time, I couldn’t really tell you what that was.
But after a short but sweet stint at Refresh Marketing, I’ve learnt a lot about copywriting and as cliché as it sounds – a bit about me.
Here are 8 memorable moments and messages I learnt along the way.
1. First-day blues
Bag packed the night before. The oh-so-important first-day outfit planned and ready. I was ready.
I left with enough time – or so I thought. After fighting against Melbourne’s morning traffic and sailing down side streets, I finally reached the office lobby. But I had no idea where to go.
Luckily, I was found and saved by Alanna, Mitch and Rob. A first day at a new job or internship will always feel a bit strange – and chaotic. It’s new. It’s exciting.
My advice to my future self or other interns would be to give yourself extra time. A traffic jam here, a train delay there, you can save yourself that panic.
Take that first-day chaos in. Jumping into the work and learning as you go, it’s all part of the process.
2. Free breakfast and cute puppies?
I’ve seen co-working spaces before. YouTube videos of New York hustlers and London entrepreneurs, with views of sparkling skylines and sounds of percussive keyboards.
But my first time working in an office will always be special. The weekly Tuesday breakfasts, the puppies running about and that one-time cocktail hour. I love that my first office experience was so relaxed. No suit and tie. No endless drab and dreary cubicles.
Instead, we had ‘The Pit’ (much more comfortable than it sounds), a ping-pong table and a pink lounge. Our coffee runs for Monday Mochas, Tuesday Chais and that one Hojicha Hour. I’m going to miss working here!
3. So what is copywriting?
Of course, I know how to write – at least I hope so. All that trauma from endless essays and abundant applications. But copywriting is different.
I wasn’t here to impress my professors and tutors. No longer would I get away with endless conjunctions and extra clauses. It was time to write the Refresh Marketing way. We love plain English, dropping the tautologies and using the active voice.
Adapting my writing for different brands and different pieces was a learning curve. But it’s what copywriting is about. Getting to write webpages and articles was a welcomed break from research projects and essays.
4. A work in progress
1254 words. 7 hours and 12 minutes. That was the amount of time and effort it took me to plan, research and write my first article. But after all of that, I was nervous.
There’s a certain vulnerability showing someone your work. A fear of the feedback. A concern of the critique. I really didn’t want to send my work off.
When Rob got back to me with his edits and feedback, I was amazed. I distinctly remember being a bit sleepy – blaming the two exams and a concert the day. But his knack for alliteration and creative flair actually woke me up.
There’s something distinct about good writing. You’re excited to read the next word. You’re anticipating the wordplay. Without taking that ‘leap of faith’ and sending my work, I wouldn’t have been able to learn from all the edits and feedback.
5. Have a break, change your scenery
Running into writer’s block and feeling restless at a desk, was inevitable. I wouldn’t know what to write. No perfect pun. No alluring alliteration. I’d spin in my chair, even use a standing desk but sometimes I couldn’t come up with anything.
But the advantage of a co-working office is the almost never-ending spaces. Whether it was a private study nook, an open booth or The Pit, there were so many options to have a change of scenery.
I liked to spend the last hour of each day at one of these spots. It gave me a much-needed break from the bright screen of a big monitor. It would be a chance for me to have a fresh mind and eyes to scan my work for errors and cook up something creative.
6. You’re not meant to be a know-it-all
Confession: I hate not having an answer. Being stuck and unsure, they’re not feelings I enjoy at all.
But I quickly realised that I wasn’t expected to know everything. Of course, being new to copywriting and this agency, there’s no way I could know everything. There was a relief accepting that. And admitting it was a first step too.
7. Just ask!
It’s a bit cheesy but being uncertain is a chance to learn. My biggest lesson was to be brave and ask questions.
Of course, it’s important to be solution-driven and take initiative but sometimes you just won’t have an answer.
I was hesitant to interrupt and tap someone on the shoulder, asking for their opinion or clarifying how I should do something. But whenever I did, they were more than friendly and happy to help. People want to see you succeed!
8. Final thoughts
My last morning meeting was bittersweet. A month had flown by. On Fridays we reflect on our week, but I reflected on my month here. I had enjoyed where I worked, who I worked with and maybe most importantly, the work itself.
Maya Angelou said that ‘People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.’
And the Refresh Marketing team made me feel welcomed and part of the team. I couldn’t have asked for a better first internship. Ironically, words can’t fully describe how much I’ll treasure this experience.
Thank you to the RM team, it was a joy working with everyone!