Real Talk: Nicole Franz

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“I don’t get points for effort — it’s all about producing something interesting and compelling”

Ever wondered how your required college composition courses will benefit you once you’re in the “real world”? Ever wondered how important reading and writing skills are to visual designers, nurses, or creative directors at ad firms? I’ve started this series, Real Talk, to give professionals in a variety of industries a chance to share why reading and writing are so critical to what they do.

Today we’re profiling Nicole Franz, who works at Google as an AdWords Account Manager. The ads you see when you use Google services? Nicole is one of the people working behind the scenes to make those happen — which keeps services like Google search, YouTube, and Gmail free for the rest of us.

Describe your job.

I am in sales as an AdWords Account Manager at Google. I work with our large customers & their advertising agencies to advise on how best to manage the online advertising they buy through Google. Ads in Google search results? Ads in gmail? Video ads on YouTube?  Banner ads on websites? Those are all things our team would work on.

What kind of reading and writing do you do on an everyday basis?

I’m reading and writing multiple times a day, every day! Email is definitely the #1 way I communicate with clients; I probably send 20-50 emails a day. After email, putting together presentations is also a large part of my job, which includes both reading (finding the right information to include in the presentation involves combing through a LOT of material) and writing (writing the actual content you plan on using, and the speaking notes). Occasionally we will advise on ad copy, which would be a lot of creative writing.

What kinds of reading and writing skills are key to your job/your field?

I do a ton of rewriting and editing every day. My writing style is to get all my thoughts out first, and then edit and reformat as needed. Pretty much every email I send goes through some kind of edit. Usually it’s just adding words or removing repetitive phrases (apparently I LOVE using “just wanted to…” or “FYI” – I’m constantly taking those out), or fixing punctuation. For longer emails I’ll definitely do more in depth editing like removing passive voice, or restructuring entire paragraphs. I once had an email that was responding to a sensitive issue for a client that went through at least 5-6 revisions before I sent it out.

I also look at my pitch decks with a very critical eye. This is also where I’ll loop in others for advice or feedback. It can be harder to be objective with your own work, especially when I put so much work into a particular slide or thought. Having someone I trust give me feedback on what is unclear or just flat out needs to be cut is critical to a strong final product.  At the end of the day, I don’t get points for effort – it’s all about producing something interesting and compelling that adds value to whoever I’m presenting to.

Why are these skills important to being successful in your work?

In my line of work, I interact with clients all over the country. My team is split between the US and India, and I will work with internal Googlers all around the world on certain projects. I try to meet in person whenever I can, but some in more remote locations I might never see in person, or at most only once or twice a year. This means that for the most part, how I communicate over email is how I present myself overall. If my message isn’t clear, or is confusing, I risk alienating or confusing the client.
For example, the following was sent to one of my clients from another Google employee:
My name is [REMOVED] and I’m an AdWords Billing Support Specialist. I’m contacting you on behalf of Nicole Franz in relation to your query about advising your AdWords budget orders. Nicole shared a spreadsheet with the required information (attached) and I’m currently working on the revision. I’ll send you an update by end of day tomorrow (PST).
Please let me know if you have any questions in the meantime.
The second sentence should read “revising” not “advising.” Even getting one word wrong changes the perception and tone of the email. I’ve seen confusing or poorly written emails get a response among co-workers of “what is she even talking about??” or “I don’t even know how to begin to respond to that question.”  My job requires that my clients see me as the expert in our products, and confusing emails can definitely erode that trust.
What advice do you have for students, particularly students in first- and second-year writing courses?

People editing you have only your best intentions at heart. When I was getting papers back as a student, I would feel almost offended, but people aren’t trying to hurt your feelings, they’re trying to make you better.

It’s extremely rare to be perfect at something the first time you do it. You have to do it hundreds of times and get feedback to truly polish it into that final product. Truly amazing writers don’t just wake up perfect. There’s a reason there’s a whole industry built around editing!

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