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Meet CID: Rebecca Rick
Meet CID

Meet CID: Rebecca Rick

What makes good writing good? What, or who, are we really writing for, and how can we do it creatively in the age of generative AI, calculated keywords, and the insatiable Google machine?

Like she so often is for her teams at CID, Sr. Content Strategist, and all-around creative force Rebecca Rick is here with the answers. Read on to learn where, who, and what she draws inspiration from, hear her advice for fighting back against burnout and embracing creative challenges, and see how she infuses human intuition and empathy into the digital mediums that often lack both.

Meet Rebecca!

Q: What’s your role at CID?

I’m a Senior Content Strategist here. This role is about solving a puzzle where the puzzle is “what is the best way to put the right information in front of our clients’ audiences at the right time?” To people on the outside looking in, it probably seems fairly straightforward — and sometimes it is. But usually it involves thinking about and holding the needs of several constituents in your mind at once and figuring out how to satisfy them while still serving the ultimate goal of delivering content to the target audience that moves them to take notice of it and act.

Q: What does that process look like?

It depends on the ask, but generally it’s a lot of staring into the middle distance. At least that’s probably what it looks like to other people. I mean we joke, but when you have to come up with a plan for content that takes into account client mandatories and preferences, the audience’s needs, our own standards for what we put out into the world, as well as budget, production capacity on our end and the client’s, and time constraints — it’s a lot going on at once even though it may not look like it when the outcome is say, a recommendation to add a blog to a website.

Q: It does seem like a lot of work for a blog though.

That’s true. But it’s not really about recommending a blog. It’s about recommending the right piece of content or mix of content. Sometimes the right answer is a blog. Sometimes it’s a lot more complicated, especially if the right answer is a multi-channel content marketing program. Anybody can tell them to just go do a blog or whatever. If we don’t take the time to do our research and strategize then we’re not doing right by our clients.

Q: How did you get into this industry?

I didn’t know what else to do with myself. My parents were both in marketing to some extent. My mom was a writer/producer at agencies and elsewhere when I was growing up, and my dad was a communications guy. As a kid and then young adult who was always good at writing it seemed like the right move. It was this or be a teacher, and I’m too shy to do that kind of work. So I interned at an agency in college, got my first “real” job as a marketing associate in-house at a local small business (shoutout to Schwartz Bookshops, RIP), and eventually there was an opening for a copywriter at the agency I had interned at.

Q: I assume you got the job?

Sure did! And look at me now!

Rebecca Rick: a content & all-around bad-ass

Q: Are there any trends you like/dislike in content these days?

What I like is when the content is a little unexpected. Something that covers off on all the stats and keywords and features/benefits, but manages to do it in an interesting, or an emotional way.

That’s partly why I personally am pretty wary of the whole rush to adopt AI right now. I think there are definitely uses for it in what we do as content strategists, but in my opinion I think it’s best for doing some of the parts that fall under “admin work.” So like, when I interview a subject matter expert for instance, I’m happy to let AI transcribe it or take notes so I can focus on the conversation. What I don’t like about generative AI, other than some questionable ethical standards, is that it signals a trend toward “good enough as standard practice.”

Of course we all have moments where we’re like “this is as good as it’s going to get.” I don’t want to act like everything I’ve ever written is the best thing since Shakespeare. But what I worry about is winding up in a place where we see a glut of AI-produced content online that is keyword optimized but isn’t actually helpful or engaging to consume. Cranking out more stuff faster isn’t necessarily always better. The nightmare scenario for me would be generative AI tools scraping content generated by AI and starting this feedback loop of garbage that nobody wants.

Q: So to be clear: the “nightmare scenario” is bad content, not, for instance, humanity being subjugated by sentient robots out for revenge?

That’s correct.

Q: Getting back to the real world for a moment, what do you enjoy about your role or being at CID in general?

I appreciate that we are ambitious as far as the things we want to do and the things we have done for clients. We might not be the biggest agency in the world, but you wouldn’t guess that from some of the work we’ve been able to put out over the years.

Q: For writers, there’s a lot of emphasis placed on “finding your voice.” What did that look like for you and what advice would you give someone struggling to find theirs?

You have to have a good imagination. You have to have the ability to put yourself in the shoes of someone else, and to remember that you’re not exactly writing for your client, but for their audience. So, imagine who they are, what they’re going through, and what they most need to hear from the client’s company, because that’s the voice you really have to find.

What happens for the target persona if they pick the right or wrong company or service or product? What would make them relieved to find you over other options? It really all comes down to empathy. It’s about finding the words that will connect with them while still hitting the points the client needs you to hit.

Q: Burnout is a real thing for creatives in every industry and medium, how do you fight back against it?

I think spending time with something you love that’s unrelated to whatever is causing the burnout helps immensely. Personally, I always feel better after looking at or making some art, reading some fiction, or doing a grueling workout with my fitness group. And it always helps me when it starts warming up outside.

Rebecca Rick's colorful and intricate bird work Rebecca Rick: friend to birds of all kinds, especially in art

With client work, so much of it exists within rigid structures or comes with stricter rules and conditions than a personal project might. To me, that challenge of working within those constraints feels like a different kind of creativity, but it absolutely can wear you out. A deadline is a deadline, so you just sort of have to make it happen. But, hopefully you can find pockets in between those deadlines to let your brain relax before jumping back in and moving on to the next thing vying for your energy and attention.

Q: If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice or one “spoiler” about the future, what would you tell them?

Don’t be afraid to ask “why?” Whether it’s to yourself, for clients, or about something you’re working on. If the “why” doesn’t make sense or if it’s missing altogether, that will tell you a lot about how you’ll need to approach the project. More often than not, you, the client, and the work will be better off for having asked.

Q: You’re an artist and creator outside of CID’s walls. Tell us a bit about the mediums you love, what, where, or who you draw inspiration on, or something you’re working on now.

I love drawing and painting and making things, and sometimes they turn out great, but I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m an artist artist. I’m in it for the love of the game! Not like those greedy professional artists out there, living high on the hog.

Rebecca's cool painted border on her house

Rebecca's poppies are amazing

Rebecca's mediums know no bounds

I’ve also played around with short stories, knitting…all sorts of stuff. Generally speaking, I have a very “shiny object syndrome” brain when it comes to finding inspiration. It’s hard, because there are only so many hours in the day.

It’s time for the LIGHTNING ROUND! Don’t think! Just answer. Annnnnd GO.

Q: Artist that always makes it onto your Spotify playlist?

I’m a former record store nerd so this is impossible to answer. Let’s say something by boygenius.

Q: Morning dove or night owl?

Against my will I’m a morning person. I used to love going out and staying up late, but when I got my first dog he had other plans about that, so now I’m just used to waking up early.

Rebecca's cat, the devilish Poppy Rebecca's elegant dog, Cookie Lou

Q: You become a billionaire overnight. What’s the first thing you do?

Pay off my bills and give a ton of it away. I don’t need to hoard it like Smaug.

Q: If you could meet any person, living or dead, who would you pick?

Kurt Vonnegut. No question.

Q: Favorite TV show?

Hit television program Our Flag Means Death.

Q: HOT TAKE: one word, phrase, or slang term that you never want to hear again?

“Awesome sauce.”

Whether you’re focused on improving your digital efforts, creative endeavors, or anything and everything in between, having strong writers in your corner is always a must. Want to work with Rebecca and our team of digital strategists on your latest venture? Contact CID to get started! 

Amy Klinkhammer

Amy Klinkhammer-Thomas

Copywriter & Content Specialist

"Bring in the Klinkhammer," they said...and we did! Amy is part of our award-winning marketing & strategy team where she writes for ads, email, the web, video and so much more. She also drinks too much coffee and spends too much time debating the Oxford comma.

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